HOME > WordMaster® > (A)FAMILY vs. FAMILIES | (一つの)家族 vs. (複数の)家族

For Life
2009.06.10(Review of 2003.06.11 edition)

Today's edition may look simple, but it's simply one of the most common errors we hear in the classroom!

Today's LessonCATEGORY: 混同しやすい言葉CATEGORY: ジャパニーズイングリッシュ
(A) FAMILY vs. FAMILIES   (一つの)家族 vs. (複数の)家族


  • ONE SET of parents and their children is called “a family.” If there are many children, it's “a large family.” If there are, for example, only one or two children, it's “a small family.”

    To talk about TWO OR MORE SETS of parents and children, we can say, for example, “three families,” “many families,” “a few families,” etc.

    Be Careful! A common mistake among Japanese students of English is to translate, for example, うちは4人家族です as “I have four families.” But a family is a group, NOT an individual person. In this case, you have only ONE family - a wife/husband and two children.
  • 両親とその子供は、合わせて1つの family といいます。子供が多ければ a large family 、子供が1人か2人しかいなければ、 a small family となります。

    複数の家族について話す場合、例えば、 three families 、 many families 、 a few families などと言うことができます。

    注意:英語を学んでいる日本の学生によくある間違いは、例えば、「うちは4人家族です」という文を I have four families. と訳してしまうことです。 family は、個々人ではなく、ひとつのグループをさすので、この場合、 family は一つだけで、I have only ONE family - have a wife/husband and two children 、つまり、妻(夫)と2人の子供がいるひとつの家族、ということになります。



  1. Maria is from a large family. She has three brothers and two sisters.
  2. We're planning to have a small family - just one or two children.
  3. Over 20 families came to the 4th-grade picnic on Sunday. There were about 75 people in all.
  4. Many families in the United States live in houses big enough for two or even three families.
  5. A few of the families in my neighborhood come from Southeast Asian countries. There are two families from Thailand and one from Malaysia.

英会話レッスンAll the best to you today!