Barszczow A. N. (orpheus_samhain) wrote in linguaphiles,
  • Mood: frustrated
  • Music: The Doors "The Soft Parade"

FRENCH: plural or singular

A sentence like this:

Un des passangers tombe sous un wagon de métro et meurt.

my teacher corrected like this:

Un des passanger tombe sous un wagon de métro et meurt.

I don't understand why. In all the languages that I know it doesn't make sens logically. It's one of the passengers, one of many, so why singular? She couldn't explain it to me, just said that it's ok.
Tags: french
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  • 20 comments

sollersuk

April 29 2014, 11:04:15 UTC 4 months ago

What is your teacher's background? " Passanger" isn't a surname, which is the only circumstance I know of in which there would be a singular noun in this context

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 11:11:41 UTC 4 months ago

she's French, actually.

olga_aif

April 29 2014, 12:56:06 UTC 4 months ago

You know when it comes to grammar, native speakers are not always the best teachers, specifically if they teach their own native language as a foreign language. :)

I would say : "Un des passangers", with an 's' at the end of the noun. Also: It should be "passager'" in French not "passangers".

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 14:24:05 UTC 4 months ago

Well, that's true :)

Thank you!

o_huallachain

April 29 2014, 11:12:18 UTC 4 months ago

This word spells 'passager' in French. If the teacher didn't correct the spelling, maybe she's unsure about French in general?

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 11:15:36 UTC 4 months ago

She's French, actually O.O And yes, you're right. I've written it correctly earlier in the text, but in this sentence not. Maybe she was tired, or something, I don't know. [and I've misspelled the English word, too, now corrected]

o_huallachain

April 29 2014, 11:38:02 UTC 4 months ago

https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=cr&ei=N41fU4SPDsHwPMbpgIgI#q=%22Un+des+passagers%22

https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?tab=ww&ei=N41fU-WSIobHPNeigegD&ved=0CBEQ1S4#q=%22Un+des+passager%22

I'm not French, so I used Google search, and it shows that the variant with plural is far more often, yet the variant with singular does exist, too.

Feeling embarrassed)

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 14:20:32 UTC 4 months ago

I had a quick look at the results of both searches, both on yahoo.co.uk and .fr, and it seems that the singular version is an error. It's mostly two or three articles on plane crashes, copy-pasted by the other sites, and they made crowd this way :)

My teacher was probably tired and as sidheag said: Maybe the spelling error set off her "something is wrong" sensor but she was tired enough to misidentify what.

Thank you!

sidheag

April 29 2014, 11:39:43 UTC 4 months ago

This search for your version

http://www.google.fr/#q=%22un+des+passagers%22

yields about 12 million results, while hers

http://www.google.fr/#q=%22un+des+passager%22

yields only 178,000 or so. That's enough to suggest that her version exists, though, which surprises me - I hadn't come across it.

sidheag

April 29 2014, 11:42:09 UTC 4 months ago

Your version spelling-corrected, that is. Maybe the spelling error set off her "something is wrong" sensor but she was tired enough to misidentify what. Now I must get back to my pile of marking :-)

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 14:20:59 UTC 4 months ago

I think this is it :) Thank you!

doire

April 29 2014, 13:34:15 UTC 4 months ago

I looked for various modifications of the phrase in Google's French corpus, but all it could find was "un des passagers". All the other variations came up as "not found". Ngrams

Perhaps the results you found are typos, or maybe this is a new trend that has picked up since 2000.

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 14:23:13 UTC 4 months ago

This convinces me. The errors are less likely to occur in printed books, as they are still checked, better or worse, but still. The internet news are not reliable when it comes to grammar or spelling.

Thank you!

murasaki_lovex3

April 29 2014, 15:41:28 UTC 4 months ago Edited:  April 29 2014, 15:50:14 UTC

Hey! I'm French and felt the need to comment. Your teacher got confused, it's "un des passagers".

nb : The verb takes a singular form, unless you have a "subordonnée relative" (for example "un des passagers qui étaient sur le quai du métro") in which case it would take a plural form :)

cafecomics

April 29 2014, 20:38:14 UTC 4 months ago

+1 from another french person.

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 22:16:26 UTC 4 months ago

Thank you :)

orpheus_samhain

April 29 2014, 22:16:13 UTC 4 months ago

Thank you :)

rinrei_san

April 29 2014, 23:54:11 UTC 3 months ago

Un des passanger tombe sous un wagon de métro et meurt.

From a third French : un des passagerS..... :) seeing it without the S shocked me, maybe your teacher has lived too long in your country and starts to forget her own language... it happens.....

orpheus_samhain

April 30 2014, 22:32:55 UTC 3 months ago

Thank you!

tinimaus

May 1 2014, 06:49:37 UTC 3 months ago

Apart from anything else, why would it be 'des' if the noun following wasn't in the plural?