In this series, we are studying articles. You know, these little words that come before nouns. In Part One, we studied le, la, les, l’. In Part Two, un, une, des. Part Three was about “pas de“. This post will cover:
de la /dlah/ ——-> (some) / ~
de l’ /dl/
Whazizat? You say. Let’s look at some examples:
Let’s say you want soup.
In English, you would say:
In French, though, you can’t just go:
You have to put something before that noun. Even if in English you wouldn’t. And that something is either du, de la, de l’ or des. Here, “soupe” is feminine, and starts with a consonant, so it will be:
… which either means: I want soup! or I want some soup! (depending on the context).
But should you want something masculine, such as “café”, then it will go like this:
I want coffee… or I want some coffee.
Or, alternatively, you want something, masculine or feminine, but that starts with a vowel, you will go:
I want gold, or I want some gold.
des /day/ is used when what you want is divisible in units:
If you just say the word café, it doesn’t mean much yet. Or, rather, if could mean many things. Such as café, as in couleur café. The meaning will change depending on which article you choose to put before it:
Le café: the idea of coffee in general, its concept.
du café: an indeterminate amount of coffee.
un café: a unit of… or one cup of coffee.
un café: a coffee shop.
To Sum It Up
If you would use no article in English, or “some”, then in French use:
du /dü/ for masculine nouns
du café, du pain, du temps, du travail, du talent
coffee, bread, time, work, talent
de la /dlah/ for feminine nouns
de la crème, de la tarte, de la patience, de la joie, de la diplomatie
cream, pie, patience, happiness, diplomacy
de l’ /dl/ for nouns starting with a vowel
de l’eau, de l’espoir, de l’argent, de l’amour, de l’imagination
water, hope, money, love, imagination
des /day/ for when there is more than one.
des gâteaux, des stylos, des amis, des dates, des intentions
cakes, pens, friends, dates, intentions
Over To You!
Fill in the blanks with the appropriate partitive (Via Deanne Cobb / Beginner French exercises / University of Regina – Canada)
Partitive or not? (Via Ressources FLE / UPS Université Paul Sabatier – Toulouse III – France)
Which article? Click and drag (Via Dynamots / Centre linguistique de l’université de Padoue – Italy)
Test yourself: write out the correct article (Via http://people.wku.edu/nathan.love/101-102/interact101-102/r-p_u03_articles.htm)
Test yourself again (Via Alison J. Murray Levine / Department of French / University of Virginia – USA)
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