I want to say the sentence below in French:

My parents are American.

Why is it translated as "Mes parents sont Américains"?

Why it is not "Mes parents sont les Américains"?

  • [correction: I want to say the sentence below in French.]
    – Lambie
    Jan 3, 2022 at 17:40
  • 1
    Would you say My parents are the American ? Same.
    – Damien
    Jan 3, 2022 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


In your sentence:

My parents are American

the word American is an adjective, so it has to be in the french sentence.

When you say:

Mes parents sont les Américains

we tend to understand that your parents are all the american people, which I think is not the case ! This is because by adding les which is a definite article, Américains becomes a noun.

To finish i will add that, at least for me, it's more common to see written Mes parents sont américains than Mes parents sont Américains.

When nominating people from a country, we have to put an uppercase. For example, you would say (uppercase):

Les Français aiment manger du pain.

Nevertheless, adjectives do not take uppercases. (no uppercase):

Je préfère le pain français.

There is kind of a debate to know wether or not "Mes parents sont Américains" needs uppercase or not.


Mes parents sont les Américains only make sense if there are pair of parents, on a list or whatever, only one of which is composed of American people.

For example:

Le journal a interviewé des parents de diverses nationalités. Il y avait un couple d'Anglais, un couple de Canadiens, un couple d'Australiens et un couple d'Américains. Mes parents sont les Américains.

Here, the meaning is "My parents are the American ones".

If you just want to say that your parents are American, that's mes parents sont américains (or Américains, your choice.)

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