Un couple et leur enfant or un couple et son enfant?

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Jean

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

7 replies

Un couple et leur enfant or un couple et son enfant?

Which is correct? In other words, is "couple" considered two people or a single unit ?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

19/10/17

Bonsoir Jean, Actually, «un couple et son enfant» --> is best translated as «a couple and his infant», for example, a friend of the couple and the friend's infant is with the couple. «Un couple et leur enfant» --> is best translated as «a couple and their child». J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet Ron (also a non-native speaker)

Ron

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

19/10/17

One other thought for an example: «un couple et son enfant» the inference could also be a couple and the son of one of the persons comprising the couple.

Jean

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

19/10/17

Thanks Ron, However I guess I didn't make my question clear. It's not the translation I needed. I have seen both sentences written in cases where it is a married couple with their own child, child of both parents, and I wanted to know which form was correct. Maybe they are both correct, maybe one is pre-1990 and one is post-1990 French perhaps ? Maybe one is Belgian or Canadian French ? But in any case, the real question is whether the word couple is treated as a unit or as two in this case. It seems clear when one doesn't have to use a possessive pronoun. One say " Un couple chante " and not " un couple chantent" for example, but it gets a bit fuzzy when the son or leur is in play.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

19/10/17

The spontaneous answer of a French native speaker was "leur". Apparently one tends to focus more on the two people forming the couple than the couple as an independent entity. -- Chris.

Jean

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

19/10/17

Thanks Chris. "Leur" sounds more natural to me too as an anglophone, although I know that is not the best way to determine correct usage in French!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

16 March 2018

16/03/18

Hi Jean,

Indeed Chris is right and

Un couple et leur enfant is the correct answer.

With collective nouns the rules are a bit elastic but in this case the couple is clearly composed of two people so their child, leur enfant is correct.

Hope this helps!

 

Jean

Kwiziq community member

16 March 2018

16/03/18

Thanks Cécile.

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