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Partitive Articles : du, de la, de l’
You’ve learned to use the definite articles ( le , la , l’ , les ) and the indefinite articles ( un , une , des ), but French also has a third type of article : the partitive article ( du , de la , de l’ ) ! As you’ll learn in this lesson, the partitive articles have different uses !
1) The basic rules
The partitive articles are usually used to refer to a part of quantity that can’t really be counted or quantified but only measured, like a portion of an item, some food, some drink, a personal quality etc.
Du is used before masculine nouns, de la is used before feminine nouns and de l’ is used before both masculine and feminine nouns starting with a vowel sound :
Je vais acheter du pain, de la confiture et du sucre / I’m going to buy (some) bread, (some) jam and (some) sugar
Vous prenez du sucre Monsieur ? / Do you take some sugar Sir ?
Tu veux de l’ eau ? / You want (some) water ?
Robert a de la patience et du courage ! / Robert has patience and courage !
Il faut de la curiosité pour être journaliste / Curiosity is necessary to be a journalist
Please note that the French partitive article is always used in French even when “some” is omitted in English : veux-tu de la crème dans ton café ? / Do you want cream in your coffee ?
2) Partitive article in the negative sentence
In the negative, the partitive articles become de/d’ :
Je prends du café (I take/drink coffee) -> Je ne prends pas du de café (I don’t take/drink coffee)
Je veux du sucre (I want sugar) -> Je ne veux pas du de sucre (I don’t want sugar)
Tu manges de la viande ? (you eat meat ?) -> Tu ne manges pas de la de viande (you don’t eat meat ?)
Tu veux de l’ huile d’olive ? (do you want some olive oil ?) -> Je ne veux pas de l’ d’ huile d’olive (I don’t want olive oil)
Also, with the expression ne . . . ni . . . ni . . . ( neither … nor… ) the partitive article is omitted :
Je bois du thé et du café (I drink both tea and coffee) -> Je ne bois ni thé ni café (I drink neither tea nor coffee)
Vous prenez du beurre et de la confiture ? (You eat butter and jam ?) -> Vous ne prenez ni beurre ni confiture ? (You eat neither butter nor jam ?)
3) Partitive articles with Faire
In French we usually use the verb faire (to do/make) followed by a partitive article when we talk about an activity, a hobby or the practice of a sport :
je fais du vélo / I bicycle
Mon frère fait de la peinture / My brother paints
Mes amis font du foot / My friends play football (soccer)
Laura fait de la danse moderne / Laura practices modern dance
4) Partitive articles with expressions of quantity
Partitive articles reduce to de/d’ after expressions of quantity :
Quelle quantité de pâtes tu veux ? / How much pasta do you want ?
Vous avez mangé beaucoup de pizzas aujourd’hui ! / You ate a lot of pizza today !
Il y a trop de sel dans cette soupe ! / There is too much salt in this soup
Achète un litre de lait s’il te plait ! / Buy a liter of milk please !
Here are the most common expressions of quantity :
5) avoir envie de and avoir besoin de.
De/d’ is used with unmodified nouns that follow avoir envie de (to want, to wish) and avoir besoin de (to need) :
Pour faire des crêpes on a besoin de lait / To make crêpes we need milk
J’ai besoin de farine ! / I need flour !
Vous avez besoin d’ eau ! / You need water !
J’ai envie de chocolat ! / I want chocolat !
J’ai envie de croissant ! / I want croissants
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Partitive Articles In French: A Complete Guide
However, there are some other grammatical points that might slip under the radar because you use them all the time without ever really noticing they’re there.
One of these is the partitive articles in French. Something that is so basic and common that you probably use it every time you speak French without giving it a second thought.
However, to make sure you always use French partitive articles correctly, it’s worth taking the time to think about what it is and how it works. So here’s my guide to everything you need to know about this simple but important part of French grammar.
By the way, if you want to learn French fast and have fun while doing it, my top recommendation is French Uncovered which teaches you through StoryLearning®.
With French Uncovered you’ll use my unique StoryLearning® method to learn French naturally through story… not rules. It’s as fun as it is effective.
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What’s An Article?
Let’s start with the basics – what’s an article?
“Article” is the technical name for the words “the” and “a” (or “an”) in English.
- I walked the dog
- I bought a plant
More specifically, “the” is known as the “definite article” because it refers to a specific example of that noun while “a” is known as the “indefinite article” because it refers to a non-specific example.
Here, “the dog” refers to one specific dog – when I say “I walked the dog”, we know exactly which dog I am talking about – my dog, the friendly Dalmatian I own called Spot (I don’t actually have a Dalmatian called Spot…).
“A plant”, on the other hand, doesn’t refer to a specific plant. When I say “I bought a plant”, it just means I bought an undetermined plant; which specific plant I bought is not important information in this sentence.
Definite And Indefinite Articles In French
French has more articles than English because French has two genders. It has different versions of the definite and indefinite articles for both masculine and feminine. And it also has another version for plurals.
- j’ai promené le chien (I walked the dog)
- j’ai nourri la chèvre (I fed the (female) goat)
- elle a trouvé un portefeuille (she found a wallet)
- j’ai acheté une plante (I bought a plant)
- j’ai vu les enfants (I saw the children)
What Is The Partitive Article In French?
French also has another type of article that doesn’t exist in English as such. It is often found where English would use “some” (or “any” in negative sentences and questions), and it is used to describe a part, an amount or a quantity of something.
Just like definite and indefinite articles, there are different versions for masculine, feminine and plural, and they are: de l’, du, de la, des in French.
Du is used before masculine nouns, de la is used before feminine nouns and des is used with plural nouns of either gender. The other one, de l’ , is used with nouns of either gender that begin with a vowel or unaspirated ‘h’.
Here are some examples:
- je veux boire du lait (I want to drink some milk)
- je veux boire de la bière (I want to drink some beer)
- il veut boire de l’eau (he wants to drink some water)
- j’ai des amis en France (I have some friends in France)
How To Use Partitive Articles in French
As you can see from the examples above, when we want to translate “some”, using a partitive article is easy. All you need to do is choose the correct form according to whether the noun is masculine, feminine or plural.
However, sometimes English uses a noun alone – without an article or “some” – but French requires an article to make the sentence correct. And in these cases, sometimes it can be a little difficult deciding whether to use a definite article or a partitive article.
Look at some partitive articles in French examples:
- I’ll have coffee
- I like coffee
Since English doesn’t use an article or “some” before the noun, at first glance, it might not be immediately obvious which version to choose in French.
However, if you think about it, in the first one, you are talking about a quantity of coffee. In a way, “some” is implied, so you need to use the partitive article in French.
In the second one, on the other hand, you are making a generalisation. You are making a statement about coffee in general, about all coffee, always – and in this case, you need to use the definite article:
- je prendrai du café (I’ll have coffee/I’ll have some coffee)
- je n’aime pas le café (I don’t like coffee)
Here’s another example:
- je prendrai du gâteau (I’ll have some cake)
- je n’aime pas les gâteaux (I don’t like cakes)
In the first example, you are saying you want some cake – a piece of cake – so you use the partitive article, but in the second, you are making a statement about cakes in general, so you use the definite article.
If you are talking about a quantity or a part of something, you need to use the partitive article. However, if you are making a generalisation – talking about all coffee or all cakes, for example – you should use the definite article.
Partitive Articles In French For Negative Sentences
With negative sentences, things work slightly differently. Instead of using du, de l’, de la or des , you simply use de (or d’ before a vowels or unaspirated ‘h’). This is often used when English uses “any”. Here are some examples:
- ils n’ont pas d’amis en France (They don’t have (any) friends in France)
- je ne prendrai pas de café (I won’t have (any) coffee)
- je ne veux pas boire de bière (I don’t want to drink (any) beer)
The same is also true for other negative forms, for example ne…plus, ne…jamais etc . (but not ne…que ) – for example:
- je ne bois plus de vin (I don’t drink wine anymore)
- je ne mange jamais de frites (I never eat chips (“fries” for any American readers!))
- je n’ai qu’un jour à attendre (I just have one day to wait)
The same form is also used in negative sentences – rather than un or une – when English would use “a”:
- je n’ai pas vu de sanglier (I didn’t see a wild boar)
- je n’ai pas entendu de voix (I didn’t hear a voice)
Exceptions To The Rule
With negative sentences, there are three specific exceptions to this rule when you shouldn’t use de . You should just try to remember these.
The first is when you make a contrasting statement, like this:
- je n’ai pas vu des chiens mais j’ai vu des chats (I didn’t see any dogs but I saw some cats)
The second exception is in negative sentences with the verb être , like this:
- ce n’est pas un lion (it isn’t a lion)
The final exception is when the meaning is “not one at all” or “not a single one”, for example:
- je n’ai pas vu une personne (I didn’t see a (single) person)
In this last example, in spoken French , the stress of the sentence would fall strongly on une to reinforce the point. You could also add words like même or seul to further emphasise this meaning, like this:
- je n’ai même pas vu une seule personne (I didn’t even see a single person)
French Partitive Articles With Abstract Nouns
We've looked at when to use partitive articles in French – to express a part, quantity or amount of a noun.
But they are also used when referring to abstract nouns, things like beauty, intelligence or hate.
- il y a de la haine dans son cœur (there is hate in his heart)
- ce n’est pas de la faim, c’est de la gourmandise ! (it’s not hunger, it’s self-indulgence!)
However, if it follows an expression with de , like beaucoup de (lots of) or tellement de (so much), the partitive article is dropped, like this:
- il y a beaucoup de haine dans son cœur (there is a lot of hate in his heart)
- il y a tellement de beauté dans le monde (there is so much beauty in the world)
(The de in these expressions is the de that goes with beaucoup and tellement – it is not the de from the partitive article.)
French Partitive Articles With Faire (To Do)
Partitive articles are also used in many expressions with faire (to do), usually talking about activities. For example:
- j’aime faire de l’équitation (I like horse riding (“I like doing horse riding”))
- je veux faire du yoga (I want to do (some) yoga)
The same rules as before also apply when using negative sentences, like this:
- je n’aime pas faire de sport (I don’t like doing sport)
Grammar That’s Better Practised Than Learned
Partitive articles in French are a perfect example of the kind of grammatical point that is better learned through practice rather than by memorising rules. As long as you are aware of the basic principles, by using it, it will become second nature.
And you won’t need to think about choosing the correct form because you will do so instinctively. And in the end, that’s your ultimate goal when trying to master any foreign language.
So, it's time to immerse yourself in French from home, whether that's by listening to podcasts in French or reading French books . As you read and listen, try to spot the French partitive articles. You'll get used to them and be using them in your own French in no time!
And if you want to immerse yourself in French through stories, so you can learn while having fun and not while learning rules, I think you'll enjoy French Uncovered. The course will teach you using the StoryLearning® method. Click here to find out more and try it out for free.
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What are the partitive articles in French? - Easy Learning Grammar French
- du is used in front of masculine singular nouns .
- de la is used in front of feminine singular nouns .
- de l’ is used in front of singular nouns that start with a vowel and most nouns starting with h , whether they are masculine or feminine.
- des is used in front of plural nouns , whether they are masculine or feminine and whatever letter they start with. It is also a combination of de + les and has other meanings, such as saying who something belongs to or where something is from.
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Partitive articles in French: Rules & Examples
Understanding and using partitive articles in french.
Partitive articles in French are a type of indefinite article used to indicate a portion or a part of something, rather than a whole. The two partitive articles in French are “du” and “de la.”
Here are the main rules to keep in mind when using partitive articles in French:
- The partitive article “ du ” is used before masculine singular nouns.
- The partitive article “ de la ” is used before feminine singular nouns.
- The partitive article “ de l’ ” is used before a masculine singular noun beginning with a vowel.
- The partitive article “ des ” is used before masculine or feminine plural nouns.
Here are some examples of partitive articles in action:
- Du pain (some bread): Je voudrais du pain s’il vous plaît. (I would like some bread, please.)
- De la miel (some honey): Elle ajoute de la miel à son thé. (She adds some honey to her tea.)
- De l’eau (some water): Nous avons besoin de l’eau pour la lessive. (We need some water for the laundry.)
- Des pommes (some apples): Je mange des pommes tous les jours. (I eat some apples every day.)
Partitive articles are used to express a portion or part of something, as opposed to a whole.
This is useful in a variety of contexts, such as:
- Expressing the idea of “some” or “a little bit of”: Je veux juste un peu de sucre. (I just want a little bit of sugar.)
- Expressing the idea of “any” or “some”: Avez-vous des amis à Paris? (Do you have any friends in Paris?)
- Expressing the idea of “part of”: C’est une partie de la ville. (It’s a part of the city.)
Partitive articles are a key aspect of French grammar that allow you to express the idea of a portion or a part of something.
By understanding the rules and examples of partitive articles, you’ll be able to use them with confidence and precision in your French communications.
Whether you’re talking about food, drink, or anything else, partitive articles will help you express yourself clearly and effectively.
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Master Partitive Articles in French Right Here and Now
Eggs, flour, sugar… they may not seem like much on their own, but combined they can make everything from delectable cakes to delicious macarons.
Often in life, it’s the sum of the small parts that count the most… or rather, that lead to something truly delicious.
In French grammar, these are called partitive articles, short French words that allow you to talk about the small parts that make all the difference.
The partitive articles in French are du, de la, de l’ and des , and you’ve likely already encountered them, as they are used regularly in the language.
So let’s take a closer look so that you too can speak French without fear of ruining dessert!
What Are Partitive Articles Used for in French?
Uncountable concrete nouns, uncountable abstract nouns, unsure of when to use partitive articles in french try these quick tests, does this work in english, does it sound clumsy, how much of something do i need, positive or negative, awesome tips for practicing partitive articles in french, practice with online quizzes and exercises, watch authentic videos, play a counting game, use a noun generator, and one more thing....
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There are many different kinds of articles in French , each with a specific function. Partitive articles are used before nouns (and corresponding adjectives) and roughly translate to the words “some” and “any” in English. Often English speakers omit these words, but in French, they must always be included.
Here are the partitive articles. They change form depending on whether the noun(s) are masculine, feminine, begin with a vowel/ mute “h” or are plural.
Masculine: du (e.g., du café).
Feminine: de la (e.g., de la glace).
Vowel/mute “h”: de l’ (e.g., de l’eau).
Plural: des (e.g., des carottes).
When we’re talking about a physical object with no specific quantity, we need to insert a partitive article. This shouldn’t be too much trouble for English speakers as “some” or “any” is the equivalent way to express this.
For example: “Il faut que j’achète des pommes.” (I need to buy some apples.)
Or: “Tu as du lait?” (Do you have any milk?)
This is where English speakers need to remain open-minded. It’s not to say that partitive articles are never used before these nouns in English, but it’s far more common (and necessary) in French.
For example: “J’ai de la patience.” (I have patience.)
You probably noticed here (clever you) that the English translation doesn’t include an article. It doesn’t care how much patience I have, whether it’s a little or a lot! Yet French does, so we need to use it.
Generally speaking, if we can insert “some” or “any” before the French words we want to use, it’s a green light to use a partitive article.
As previously mentioned, English speakers often omit these from their speech, and so it doesn’t always come naturally when speaking French.
If we want to go even further, there’s always the option of training ourselves to include them as much as possible when speaking English, so that it becomes an instinctual habit when switching languages.
Since we’ve been having so much fun with quantities, I think it’s time to explain what happens to the partitive article in French when using an expression of quantity .
An expression of quantity is usually expressed as an amount of a particular noun. For example: a kilo of oranges, a liter of water, or even something more abstract such as a lot of happiness.
In this circumstance, French partitive articles always change to de .
Yes, it’s really that simple!
So now you know that whenever you “avez besoin d’acheter des pommes” (need to buy apples), but then realize you need exactly a kilo, you’ll know to say, “un kilo de pommes” (a kilo of apples).
The reason I call this the “clumsy” test is that if we use partitive articles in such circumstances, instinctually something jars. We might not be able to put our finger on it, but it won’t feel quite right.
It’s like saying, “I want a kilo of some apples” instead of “I want a kilo of apples,” which is a straightforward and better form.
This simple test works well for concrete nouns. If you’re certain of how much of something you need and have a quantity you wish to express then, you don’t need to use a partitive article. If you feel unsure or enjoy being vague with your French friends, it’s best to use them.
As in the previous example of expressions of quantity, partitive articles in French also change to de in the negative .
For example: “J’ai du vin” (I have some wine), becomes:
“Je n’ai pas de vin” (I don’t have any wine).
It’s an easy rule to remember and comes in handy when you can’t remember the gender of a noun. So put on your best French accent and use the negative with confidence. In this instance, you can’t go wrong!
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I’m not suggesting you spend hours doing grammar drills and getting cranky in the process.
Yet doing a few exercises to get used to the basic rules can be super beneficial if you’ve never encountered partitive articles before. There are plenty of online quizzes such as this one at Quizizz, which will help test your knowledge of this article.
Partitive articles (whether you love them or hate them by the end of this article!) are part of everyday life in the French-speaking world. Therefore, what better way to practice than watching authentic videos made by and for native speakers?
You can try watching your favorite French movies , TV shows and news broadcasts and play the very “in” game of “Spot the Partitive Article” (Ok, maybe it’s just me playing?) where you note down the times the articles are used in the video and even tricky nouns that you didn’t know needed them.
As partitive articles are all about quantity, buying a pack of flashcards of objects in various amounts is a great way to practice them on the go! Put them in your bag for some inspiration when in line at the grocery store or while waiting for some stubborn paint to dry.
Speaking of games, there are plenty of textbooks that offer something a little more creative when it comes to practicing articles of all kinds. “French Grammar and Practice” is my favorite book for this because of all the fun activities that make it feel like you are playing a puzzle game.
Alternatively, you can use a noun generator. As partitive articles have a close relationship with nouns, it makes sense to focus on this grammatical unit in order to sharpen your skills. Generate as many words as you wish, write them down and make sentences using all the different scenarios you’ve encountered in this article.
Sometimes it’s the small things that mean the most. In the case of partitive articles, this is especially true! When you add mastery of the partitive articles in French to your repertoire, you are only that much closer to French fluency!
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
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When to use the indefinite article in French
When to use the definite article in french, what is the partitive article in french, how to contract articles and prepositions in french, when to use no article in french.
- Online exercises to improve your French
- Lingolia Plus French
What is an article?
In French, nouns are almost always preceded by an article or a determiner . This indicates the gender of the noun (masculine or feminine) and its number (singular or plural). There are two types of articles: definite articles (articles définis) (le, la, les) and indefinite articles (article indéfinis) (un, une, des).
Learn how to use definite and indefinite articles in French with Lingolia’s quick and easy examples then put your knowledge to the test in the free exercises.
Léna est une copine de Lara et la copine de François.
Léna a acheté une glace. Elle aime beaucoup la glace.
In French, the indefinite articles (articles indéfinis) are un (masculine singular), une (feminine singular) and des (plural for both genders). We use the indefinite article in the following cases:
- to talk about something non-specific Example: Léna est une copine de Lara. Léna is a friend of Lara. (one of many)
- in an introductory capacity to mention something for the first time in a text
The French indefinite article for the plural (des) is similar to the English “some”.
However, if there is an adjective before a plural noun, the indefinite article des becomes de .
The French definite articles (articles définis) are le in the masculine singular, la in the feminine singular, l’ for singular nouns that start with a vowel, and les in the plural (both genders). They correspond to the English article the .
We use the definite article in the following cases:
- to talk about a specific person or thing Example: Léna est la copine de François. Léna is François’ girlfriend.
- to refer to a person or thing that has already been mentioned or is already known to the listener/reader Example: Elle éteint la lumière. She turns off the light.
- after the verbs aimer to like , adorer to love , préférer to prefer , détester to hate Example: Elle adore les chevaux. She loves horses.
The partitive article (l’article partitif) is used to talk about an undetermined amount of something. It is formed using the preposition de + article. English uses no article in these cases, but French employs the partitive article:
- with uncountable nouns Example: Il faut acheter de l’ eau et du café. We have to buy water and coffee.
- to talk about sports and musical instruments with the verb faire Examples: Il fait du foot. He plays football. Il joue de la flûte. He plays the flute.
When the masculine singular definite article (le or les) follows the prepositions à or de we combine them to make one word. This is known as contraction (la contraction).
In French we don’t use an article for:
- names of towns Example: Ils habitent à Paris . They live in Paris.
- days of the week Example: Nous l’avons vu lundi . We saw him on Monday.
- months Example: Je suis né en juillet . I was born in July.
- phrases with en + transport Example: As-tu voyagé en train ou en voiture ? Did you travel by train or by car?
- jobs (in a general context) Examples: Elle est laborantine . She is a technician. but: Je connais la laborantine . I know the technician. → to talk about a specific person C’est une bonne laborantine . She’s a good technician. → to talk about a particular quality
- religions Examples: Il est catholique . He’s Catholic. but: C’est le catholique qui va tous les jours à l’église. That’s the Catholic who goes to church every day. → to talk about a specific person C‘est une bonne catholique . He’s a good Catholic.
In some cases, the partitive article de appears without another article:
- to express quantities (except after bien, la plupart, une partie, la majorité and la moitié) Example: J’ai bu beaucoup de café. I drank a lot of coffee.
- after a negation Example: Il n‘a plus d’eau dans son verre. There’s no more water in his glass.
- after certain verbs or expressions that contain de Examples: J’ai besoin d’ argent. I need money. J’ai envie de fraises. I feel like strawberries.
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7.3 Partitive Articles
Partitive articles are used both in English and in French to express quantities that cannot be counted. While the indefinite article ( un, une, des ) is used with countable quantities ( un oeuf, deux oeufs , etc.), the partitive article is used before nouns that are indivisible or uncountable. In English, we use the article “some” to that end, but it is often omitted.
Elle mange du pain. (She’s eating bread.)
Elle mange des pommes. (She’s eating apples.)
There are three partitive articles in French:
Definite Articles vs Partitive Articles
While the definite article designates something in its totality or as a whole, the partitive article designates a part of the whole. Depending on what you want to say, the same noun may be introduced by a definite, an indefinite, or a partitive article. Compare these examples:
- Vous prenez du vin, n’est-ce pas? You are having (some) wine, aren’t you?
- Le vin rouge est bon pour la santé! Red wine is healthy!
- Nous avons un Beaujolais nouveau ou un Chambertin. We have a Beaujolais nouveau, or a Chamberti.
After the Negative
In negative sentences, partitive articles ( du, de la, des, de l’ ) change to de:
Joe mange de la viande. Joe eats meat .
Tammy ne mange pas de viande. Tammy doesn’t eat meat
This section includes content derived from Francais Interactif , originally released under CC-BY and Tex’s French Grammar , originally released under CC-BY 3.0.
Introduction to French Copyright © 2017 by Rita Palacios is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Partitive articles in French
- January 14, 2022
Partitive articles in French are a concept in grammar, difficult for learners to perfect. There is often confusion between the four partitive articles in the French language. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid mistakes when you know this French grammar rule.
In this blog, I will give you examples in French ( click here for the French version ) and in English that will help you to avoid making mistakes !
Partitive articles: a review
There are four partitive articles in the French language: DU, DE LA, DE L’ and DES.
>> These articles are used in sentences to designate things that cannot be counted .
Example: il boit DE L’ eau, il mange DES rillettes, il consomme DU lait, elle achète DE LA semoule .
In English language, there is no article > he drinks water, he eats rillettes, he drinks milk, she buys semolina.
These words represent a certain quantity, but it is not possible to count them.
Partitive articles are therefore used before uncountable words.
>> They are also used before natural elements.
Example: tu vois DES nuages, il s’assoit sur DE L ’herbe, il marche sur DU sable .
In English language, there is no article > you see clouds, he sits on grass, he walks on sand.
>> They can also be used in front of words that designate qualities and shortcomings .
Example: tu as DU courage, il ressent DE LA gentillesse, elle a DES peurs, il a DE l’audace .
How to use Partitive articles in French?
There is a simple rule for using partitive articles correctly.
You should use DU, DE LA, DE L’ and DES according to the grammatical category of the word that follows the article.
Partitive articles before a masculine singular word
In front of a masculine singular word that begins with a consonant, the partitive article used is DU .
Example: elle a DU sable dans ses chaussures, elle boit DU café le matin, elle a DU courage .
Translation : she has sand in her shoes, she drinks coffee in the morning, she has courage.
In front of a masculine singular word that starts with a vowel, the Partitive article used is DE L ’.
Example: il mange DE L ’emmental, elle ressent DE L ’amour, tu as DE L ’orgueil .
Translation > he eats Emmental cheese, she feels love, you have pride.
Partitive articles before a feminine singular word
In front of a feminine singular word that begins with a consonant, the partitive article used is DE LA .
Example: elle aime manger DE LA confiture, il aime le bruit DE LA nature, elle utilise DE LA levure pour ses gâteaux.
Translation > she likes to eat jam, he likes the sound of nature, she uses yeast for her cakes.
Partitive articles before a plural word
In front of a plural word, whether masculine or feminine, the Partitive article used is DES .
Example: elle aime manger DES céréales au petit déjeuner, j’aimerais manger DES haricots verts, je veux faire DES biscuits .
Translation > she likes to eat cereals at breakfast, I would like to eat green beans, I want to make biscuits.
Be careful not to forget the -S at the end of plural nouns!
Remember : DU / DE LA / DE can be prepositions or DES an indefinite article. If DU / DE LA / DE L’ / DES do not express a quantity of something then they are not Partitive articles!
Exercise – Complete with the correct partitive article : DU, DE L’, DE LA, DES.
- Le matin, je prends ___ pain avec ___ beurre et ____ confiture.
- Tu prends ___ sucre avec ton café ?
- Ce midi à la cantine, nous mangeons _____ lasagnes avec ____ légumes.
- En hiver, le soir nous prenons ____ soupe et ____ croûtons.
- Pour faire des crêpes, il faut ____ farine, ____ lait, ____ œufs, ____ huile.
- La professeure de français a _____ patience avec les enfants.
- Il faut ____ courage dans la vie.
- Nous avons _____ travail à faire.
- Vous devez boire _____ eau.
- Tu veux _____ jus d’orange ?
Thank you for reading my article! I hope you enjoyed learning the partitive articles in French .
Don’t hesitate to ask your questions on the Your Online French Teacher blog!
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Le, La, L’, Les, Un, Une, Des: A beginner’s guide to the French articles
What is a French article ? Articles are important elements of French grammar, enabling us to indicate some level of specifics to nouns. In this post we’ll examine the three different types of French articles , and go over how to use all of them!
French Articles: The Basics
There are three types of French articles: definite articles , indefinite articles , and partitive articles . Each type has a different meaning, but they all follow a set of standard rules:
1. An article comes before a noun. A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea.
2. As nouns have gender in French, the article must match the gender of the noun (masculine or feminine).
3. Each noun’s article must also match its number (singular or plural).
4. While articles can often be omitted in English, they cannot be omitted in French. In English, for example, we can say “I like bread,” whereas in French we would have to say “J’aime le pain,” which literally translates to “I like the bread.”
Definite Articles: “The” in French
Definite articles refer to known or specific nouns. All of the French definite articles translate to English as the . They must match the gender and number of the noun they precede. The definite articles in French are:
Both le and la will form contractions with nouns that begin with a vowel or vowel sound (like a silent “h”) in French. To make these contractions, we simply drop the last letter from the article and add an apostrophe. Both le and la will become l’ before a noun that begins with a vowel, regardless of whether that noun is masculine or feminine. This is the closest comparison we have to your English article an , which is also placed before vowel sounds.
Les is used before both masculine plural nouns and feminine plural nouns.
Let’s see the French definite articles with some examples:
- Le cahier – The notebook (masculine)
- La recette – The recipe (feminine)
- L’ ordinateur – The computer (masculine)
- Les cahiers – The notebooks (masculine, plural)
- Les recettes – The recipes (feminine, plural)
- Les ordinateurs – The computers (masculine, plural)
Masculine vs feminine nouns
Unfortunately, there is not a simple way to tell whether a French noun is masculine or feminine on its own, so you’ll need to memorize each noun’s gender as you learn it. You can do this by memorizing the definite (or indefinite) article that precedes it. If the noun begins with a vowel (preceded by l’ ) or is plural (preceded by les ), however, the definite article will not indicate the noun’s gender, so you’ll need to identify the noun’s gender in another way. Most language resources indicate a noun’s gender with an abbreviation, usually “m.” for masculine and “f.” for feminine.
Contractions with “à” and “de”
When used with the prepositions à (indicating to , at , or in ) and de (indicating from , of , or about ), the masculine and plural definite articles le and les become contractions. We’ll look at these specifics in the following tables, along with examples demonstrating each one. Note that with the feminine definite article la , as well as with the definite article preceding a vowel l’ , there is no change.
À is a preposition that generally translates as to , at , or in , so all four forms shown in this table can translate as to the , at the , or in the .
- Au parc (m.) – To the park, At the park, In the park
- À la librarie (f.) – To the bookstore, At the bookstore, In the bookstore
- À l’école (f.) – To [the] school, At [the] school
- Aux magasins (m.) – To the stores, At the stores, In the stores
De is a preposition that generally translates as from , of , or about , so all four forms shown in this table can translate as from the , of the , or about the .
- Du parc (m.) – From the park, Of the park, About the park
- De la plage (f.) – From the beach, Of the beach, About the beach
- De l’ambassade (m.) – From the embassy, Of the embassy, About the embassy
- Des amis (m.) – From the friends, Of the friends, About the friends
Indefinite Articles: “A,” “An,” and “Some” in French
Indefinite articles refer to unknown or general nouns. The French indefinite articles un and une are for singular nouns, which in English can be either a or an , while the indefinite article des for plural nouns generally translates as some . The indefinite articles in French must match the gender and number of the nouns they precede. The indefinite articles in French are:
The indefinite articles un and une can also mean one , and will still agree with the noun’s gender.
Des is used for both masculine plural nouns and feminine plural nouns.
Now let’s see the French indefinite articles with the same nouns we saw when introducing the French definite articles:
- Un cahier – A notebook, One notebook
- Une recette – A recipe, One recipe
- Des cahiers – Some notebooks
- Des recettes – Some recipes
Partitive Articles: “Some” or “Any” in French
Partitive articles in French refer to “part of” or “some of” a whole object, or to several objects among many. The partitive articles du , de la , de l’ , and des generally translate as some in French, while they can also take other translations depending on the context, namely any .
When the noun is singular, the partitive article indicates “part of” or “some of” a whole object, or “some” of a noncount noun. A noncount noun is a noun that cannot be counted and only exists in abstract quantities (such as “butter” or “water”). When the noun is plural, the partitive article indicates several objects. The partitive articles in French are:
- Veux-tu du gâteau. – Do you want some cake? – Do you want any cake?
- Je mets toujours de la moutarde dans mes sandwichs. – I always put [ some ] mustard in my sandwiches.
- Le chanteur utilise toujours de l ’argot dans ses textes. – The singer always uses some slang in his lyrics.
- Il nous faut des pièces de monnaie pour les parcomètres – We need some change for the parking meters.
“Du,” “De la,” “De l’,” “Des”: Contraction or partitive article?
You may have noticed that the definite article contractions with de and the partitive articles in French are the same words. You can tell the difference from the context of the phrase or sentence.
Examples of contractions:
- C’est le bureau du professeur. – That’s the desk of the teacher. (Here, the contraction du means of the and indicates possession.)
- Je viens de la bibliothèque. – I am coming from the library. (Here, de la means from the and indicates direction.)
- Tu parles des trains ? – Are you talking about the trains? (Here, the contraction des means about the and indicates subject matter.)
Examples of partitive articles:
- Je voudrais du bacon, s’il vous plaît. – I would like some bacon, please. (Here, the partitive article du means some of a noncount noun: bacon.)
- Tu veux de la baguette ? – Would you like some bread? (Here, the partitive article de la means some of a whole object: a long, thin loaf of French bread.)
- Reste-t-il de l’ avocat ? – Is there any avocado left? (Here, the partitive article de l’ means any of an object: avocado.)
- Elle mange des raisins. – She is eating some grapes. (Here, the partitive article des means some grapes. We could also simply consider this to be an indefinite article on its own.)
Conclusion: Articles in French
We’ve written a lot here to give a full explanation on all the ways to say the and a in French. Known respectively as the definite articles and indefinite articles , the main difference with their English counterparts is that French has different forms of each one to match the gender and number of the nouns they precede. In plural, the indefinite article generally translates as some .
In addition to getting to know the basic list of French articles, we saw some specific contractions where the masculine and plural forms of the articles combine with the prepositions à and de . Finally, we looked at the partitive articles in French, which enable us to talk about imprecise portions of whatever noun we’re describing.
We hope this post has helped you clear up all the differences between the various articles in French, while also helping to understand their parallels with the English articles you’re already familiar with. As one of the fundamental building blocks of basic grammar, mastering the French articles will come quickly enough as you imrove your skills in the language!
French texting abbreviations: the definitive guide, the french infinitive: how to recognize and use the basic verb form, joyeux anniversaire: how to say happy birthday in french.
Partitive articles (some/any) in French
Read more about how to use Partitive articles (some/any) in French. Feel the need to learn new grammar tips fast? Learn French online and test your grammar knowledge with Frantastique for free.
Partitive articles (some/any)
- Qu’est-ce que vous voulez manger ? - Du poulet et de la salade. -What do you want to eat? -(Some) chicken and (some) salad please. Aujourd'hui, il y a de la pluie et du soleil. Today, there is some rain, and some sun.
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An Introduction to French Articles
The French Language Has Three Different Kinds of Articles
- Pronunciation & Conversation
- Resources For Teachers
French Definite Articles
Meaning and usage of the french definite article, definite article contractions, french indefinite articles, meaning and usage of the french indefinite article, french partitive articles, meaning and usage of the french partitive article, choosing a french article, partitive article vs indefinite article.
French articles are sometimes confusing for language students because they have to agree with the nouns they modify and because they don't always correspond to articles in other languages. As a general rule, if you have a noun in French, there is virtually always an article in front of it, unless you use some other type of determiner such as a possessive adjective ( mon , ton , etc.) or a demonstrative adjective ( ce , cette , etc).
The French language has three different kinds of articles:
- Definite articles
- Indefinite articles
- Partitive articles
The table below summarizes the different forms of French articles.
Tip: When learning new vocabulary, make your vocabulary lists with a definite or indefinite article for each noun. This will help you learn the gender of each noun along with the word itself, which is important because the articles (as well as adjectives , pronouns , and just about everything else) change to agree with the gender of the noun.
The French definite article corresponds to "the" in English. There are four forms of the French definite article:
- le masculine singular
- la feminine singular
- l' m or f in front of a vowel or h muet
- les m or f plural
Which definite article to use depends on three things: the noun's gender, number, and first letter:
- If the noun is plural, use les
- If it's a singular noun starting with a vowel or h muet , use l'
- If it's singular and starts with a consonant or h aspiré , use le for a masculine noun and la for a feminine noun
The definite article indicates a specific noun.
- Je vais à la banque. / I'm going to the bank.
- Voici le livre que j'ai lu. / Here is the book I read.
The definite article is also used in French to indicate the general sense of a noun. This can be confusing, as definite articles are not used in this way in English.
- J'aime la glace. / I like ice cream.
- C'est la vie ! / That's life!
The definite article changes when preceded by the preposition à or de — the preposition and article contract into a single word .
The singular indefinite articles in French correspond to "a," "an," or "one" in English, while the plural corresponds to "some." There are three forms of the French indefinite article.
- un masculine
- une feminine
- des m or f plural
Note that the plural indefinite article is the same for all nouns, whereas the singular has different forms for masculine and feminine.
The indefinite article usually refers to an unspecified person or thing.
- J'ai trouvé un livre. / I found a book.
- Il veut une pomme. / He wants an apple.
The indefinite article can also refer to just one of something:
- Il y a un étudiant dans la salle. / There is one student in the room.
- J'ai une sœur. / I have one sister.
The plural indefinite article means "some":
- J'ai acheté des pommes. / I bought some apples.
- Veux-tu acheter des livres? / Do you want to buy some books?
When referring to a person's profession or religion, the indefinite is not used in French, although it is used in English.
- Je suis professeur. / I am a teacher.
- Il va être médecin. / He's going to be a doctor.
In a negative construction , the indefinite article changes to de , meaning "(not) any":
- J'ai une pomme. / Je n'ai pas de pommes.
- I have an apple. / I don't have any apples.
The partitive articles in French correspond to "some" or "any" in English. There are four forms of the French partitive article:
- du masculine singular
- de la feminine singular
- de l' m or f in front of a vowel or h muet
- des m or f plural
The form of the partitive article to use depends on three things: the noun's number, gender, and first letter:
- If the noun is plural, use des
- If it's singular starting with a vowel or h muet , use de l'
- If it's a singular noun and starts with a consonant or h aspiré, use du for a masculine noun and de la for a feminine noun
The partitive article indicates an unknown quantity of something, usually food or drink. It is often omitted in English.
- Avez-vous bu du thé? / Did you drink some tea?
- J'ai mangé de la salade hier. / I ate salad yesterday.
- Nous allons prendre de la glace. / We're going to have some ice cream.
After adverbs of quantity , use de instead of the partitive article.
- Il y a beaucoup de thé. / There is a lot of tea.
- J'ai moins de glace que Thierry. / I have less ice cream than Thierry.
In a negative construction , the partitive article changes to de , meaning "(not) any":
- J'ai mangé de la soupe. / Je n'ai pas mangé de soupe.
- I ate some soup. / I didn't eat any soup.
The French articles may seem similar at times, but they are not interchangeable. Below, learn when and why you should use each one:
Definite Article The definite article can talk about a specific item or something in general.
- J'ai mangé le gâteau. / I ate the cake (the whole thing, or the specific cake that we were just talking about).
- J'aime les films. / I like movies (in general) or I like the movies (that we just saw).
Indefinite Article The indefinite article talks about one of something and is the easiest of the French articles. It can almost be guaranteed that if what you want to say requires "a," "an," or "one" in English — unless you're talking about someone's profession — you need the indefinite article.
- J'ai mangé un gâteau. / I ate one cake (there were five, and I ate one of them).
- Je veux voir un film. / I want to see a movie.
Partitive Article The partitive is usually used when discussing eating or drinking because one normally only eats some butter, cheese, etc., not all of it.
- J'ai mangé du gâteau. / I ate some cake (one slice, or a few bites).
- Je cherche de l'eau. / I'm looking for some water.
The partitive indicates that the quantity is unknown or uncountable. When the quantity is known/countable, use the indefinite article (or a number):
- Il a mangé du gâteau. / He ate some cake.
- Il a mangé un gâteau. / He ate a cake.
- Du, De La, Des: Expressing Quantities in French
- Expressing a Specific Quantity In French
- Top 10 Beginning French Mistakes
- Learn to Use the French Word 'Tout' and Its Variations
- French Vocabulary Lesson: Quantities, Weights, and Measures
- French Negative Adverbs: How to Form Them
- Learn French Adverbs of Quantity
- French Demonstrative Adjectives: Adjectifs Démonstratifs
- Masculine and Feminine French Nouns ~ Noms
- French Indefinite Adjectives (Adjectifs Indéfinis)
- 'Lequel,' a Difficult French Pronoun, Explained
- How and When to Use French Possessive Pronouns
- Il n'y a pas du pain: Avoid This Common French Mistake
- How to Pronounce More Than 2,500 Words in French
- French Superlative Adverbs - Adverbes Superlatifs
- Understanding French Numerical Adjectives
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Partitive Articles in French (A1) French Grammar Made Easy
- June 29, 2020
- , A1 , Beginners , French Grammar Explained , Grammar
Table of contents
Bonjour à toutes et à tous! Aujourd’hui, nous allons découvrir un nouveau sujet : les articles partitifs. En anglais : partitive articles. In order to be able to properly form sentences and speak French, you will need to know how to apply and use the grammar that you’ve learned.
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1. What is a partitive article?
First of all, let’s answer to the first question that could come up to your mind: What are partitive articles?
A partitive article is an article that is placed before the noun to express something that you can’t count ( uncountables ). Partitive articles do not exist in most languages, which is why it could be a little challenging for you to use them.
What do they represent? They can be used before pretty much anything that you can’t count:
Something physical : food, objects…
Something abstract : an idea, feelings…
They are almost the equivalent of “some” in English, or the article zero:
“ Some bread”, or just “bread”.
2. What are the partitive articles used in French?
There are 4 partitive articles to use in French : du , de la , de l’ , and des .
Du will come before a masculine noun : du beurre, du fromage. De la will come before a feminine noun : de la confiture, de la salade. De l’ will come before a singular noun starting with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) or a silent “h” : de l’eau, de l’huile. Des will come before a plural noun : des pâtes, des lentilles.
3. Let’s practice !
Try to look for the partitive articles in the text below. Hover to see answers :
4. How about countables ?
As we’ve seen right above, partitive articles are used before a noun when there is no quantity specified .
But what about when there is a quantity ?
You can either use the amount (number) : une salade, deux salades;
Use other words for quantity, such as weight or adverb of quantity + de (or d’ before a vowel) :
Beaucoup de salade / Un peu de salade / Un kilo de fraises / Une bouteille d’ eau.
As long as the quantity is specified , you will replace du, de la, de l’, and des with “ de “.
5. Let’s practice !
Look at the example below. ( f. ) is for a feminine noun. ( m. ) is for a masculine noun. Fill in the blanks using du , de la , de l’ , des or simply de .
Ce matin, je suis allée au marché. J’ai acheté 500 grammes _____ viande (f.), un kilo _____ tomates (f.) et une salade. J’ai aussi acheté deux kilos _____ pommes de terre (f.) et _____ haricots verts (m.).
Pour le déjeuner, je mange d’abord une entrée : _____ salade (f.) avec _____ tomates (f.) et un peu _____ croûtons (m.). En plat principal, je prends _____ viande (f.) avec _____ pommes de terre (f.) et une portion _____ haricots verts (m.).
Bon appétit !
Ce matin, je suis allée au marché. J’ai acheté 500 grammes de viande, un kilo de tomates et une salade. J’ai aussi acheté deux kilos de pommes de terre et des haricots verts.
Pour le déjeuner, je mange d’abord une entrée : de la salade avec des tomates et un peu de croûtons. En plat principal, je prends de la viande avec des pommes de terre et une portion de haricots verts ( the “h” of “haricots” is not a silent”h” ).
6. BONUS Listen to the podcast : Partitive Articles in French.
If you want to check out more podcasts, listen to them right here !
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A1 french listening comprehension.
Et voilà ! You now know how to use partitive articles in French. If you want more articles and lessons like this one, check the French Grammar Explained category or the Basics of French.
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Ultimate Guide To Definite & Indefinite Articles In French
French definite and indefinite articles
To say, “the” in French say: le, la, les and l’. Le garçon (the boy), la fille (the girl), les enfants (the kids). To say “a/an” and “some” in French say: un, une and des. Un garçon (a boy), une fille (a girl), des enfants (some kids).
The words for “the” are referred to as the “definite article” and the words for “a/an” and “some” are referred to as the indefinite article.
Key Rules for definite and indefinite articles:
- Both the definite and indefinite articles must agree with the gender and number of the noun they proceed; and
- These article are always required whereas they can be omitted in English.
In French, all nouns have a gender, masculine or feminine and all French nouns must be preceded by an article.
On this page we’ll look at all three kinds of articles: definite (the = le, la, les) , indefinite (a/an and some = un, une, des) and partitive (a portion of, some = un, une, des) .
We’ll also look at the rules for contractions with the prepositions à and de .
French definite articles
- le precedes masculin nouns: le garçon ( the boy).
- la precedes feminine nouns: la voiture ( the car).
- les precedes plural noun (masculine feminine): les gens ( the people).
l’ precedes masculine and feminine singular nouns starting with a vowel.
- l’ élephant (the elephant)
- l’ hotel (the hôtel)
- l’ ami (male friend)
- l’amie (female friend)
- l’île (island)
- l’école (school)
While you can omit the definite article in English, i.e., ‘I like pizza’, you absolutely must include it in French: ‘ J’aime la pizza ‘.
Contraction of the definite article
Contractions with à.
The French preposition à translates to both ‘to’ and ‘at’. When expressing ‘to the’, you must apply the following four contractions:
- à + le -> au -> Je vais au magasin. I’m doing to the store.
- à + la -> à la -> Je vais à la plage. I’m going to the beach
- à + les -> aux -> Je vais aux États-Unis. I’m going to the United States.
- à + l’ -> à l’ -> Je vais à l ‘aéroport. I go to the airport.
Contractions with de
The preposition de translates to both ‘from’ and ‘of’. When expressing ‘from the’ or ‘of the’ the following contactsions apply:
- de + le -> du -> Je viens du magasin. I’m coming from the store.
- de + la -> de la -> Je viens de la plage. I’m coming from the beach.
- de + les -> des -> Je viens des Etats-Unis. I come from the United States.
- de + l’ -> de l’ -> Je viens de l’aéroport. I’m coming from the airport.
Definite article examples
- Je mange le pain. I eat the bread.
- Je conduis la voiture. I drive the car.
- Je vois les gens. I see the people.
- L’ ami de Pierre est anglais. Pierre’s friend is English.
French indefinite articles
Un precedes masculine singular nouns:
- un sac – a bag
- un livre – a book
- un homme – a man
- un ami – a friend
Une precedes feminine singular nouns.
- une fille – a girl
- une femme – a woman
- une maison – a house
Des precedes masculine and feminine plural nouns.
- des stylos – (some) pens
- des chiens – (some) dogs
- des étudiants – (some) students
Similar to the definite article above, you absolutely must include the indefinite article in French before a noun. While you can say ‘I buy pens’ in English, you must say, ‘ J’achète des stylos ‘ in French. The word ‘some’ is assumed in English but must be included in French.
Indefinite article examples:
- J’ai un chien dans le jardin. I have a dog in the year.
- J’achète une table pour la cuisine. I buy a table for the kitchen.
- Il y a des voiture dans le parking. There are some cars in the parking lot.
Negation rules for the indefinite article
There’s a special negation rule that applies to the indefinite article. Un, une and des all become de in the negative.
- Est-ce que tu as un chien? Do you have a dog?
- Non, je n’ai pas de chien. No, I don’t have a (any) dog.
The un becomes de and translates to any. I don’t have ‘any’ dog.
- Est-ce que tu as une voiture? Do you have a car?
- Non, je n’ai pas de voiture. No, I don’t have a (any) car.
The same applies to plural nouns:
- Est-ce que tu as des pommes? Do you have some apples?
- Non, je n’ai pas de pommes. No, I don’t have any apples.
The de in negative sentences becomes d’ before a noun starting with a vowel.
- Est-ce que tu as des amandes? Do you have some almonds?
- Non, je n’ai pas d’ amandes. No, I don’t have any almonds.
French partitive article
The French partitive article is an indefinite article that precedes an undefined amount or part of something. It would translate to some or any in English. To form the partitive article, combine de with the definite article:
- de + le = du -> Je veux du pain. I want (some) bread.
- de + la = de la -> Je veux de la confiture. I (want) some jam.
- de + les = des -> Je veux des frites. I want (some) French fries.
- de + l’ = de l’ -> Je veux de l’eau. I want (some) water.
The partitive must precede a noun
In English you can say, I drink juice. However, in French every noun absolutely must be preceded by an article. Hence, to say, ‘I drink juice’ translates to ‘ Je bois du jus ‘, with the du translating to ‘ some ‘.
Examples with partitive articles
- Tu veux de la pizza? Want some pizza?
- J’apporte du fromage. I’m bringing cheese.
- Voulez-vous des oignons? Would you like onions?
- Je prends du sucre et de la crème. I take cream and sugar.
- Je commande des oeufs. I’m ordering eggs.
- J’achète du saumon fumé et du camembert. I’m buying smoked salmon and camembert.
Partitive articles in negation
In negative sentences du, de la, des and d’ all become de or d’ . The partitive here translates to any .
- Je n’achète pas de pain. I’m buying (any) bread.
- Elle ne prend pas de viande. She’s not having any meat.
- Je ne veux pas de sucre. I don’t want sugar.
- Il ne veut pas de salade. He doesn’t want salad.
Note de or d’ also replaces the indefinite articles un or une in the negation.
- Est-ce que tu as un cheval? Non, je n’ai pas de cheval. Do you have a horse? No, I don’t have a horse.
- Est-ce que vous avez une table? Non, nous n’avons pas de table. Do you have a table? No, we don’t have a table.
When the verb être is involved the partitive doesn’t change in the negation.
- C’est de la limonade? Non, ce n’est pas de la limonade. Is it lemonade? No, it’s not lemonade.
- C’est du chocolat? Non, ce n’est pas du chocolat. Is it chocolate? No, it’s not chocolate.
- Ce sont des cerises? Non, ce ne sont pas des cerises. Are they cherries? No, they’re not cherries.
- French subject pronouns
- French possessive adjectives
- Preposition À
- Preposition de
- French Le, La, Les (Frenchtoday.com)
- French Articles – Linolia.com
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David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.
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Although the definite article (le, la, l', les) is used with nouns in a general sense, the partitive is used to express some or part of something:
- J'adore le chocolat . (I love chocolate.)
- Donne‐moi du chocolat . (Give me some chocolate.)
Although you use un or une when speaking about one portion or serving, you use an adverb or noun of quantity or the partitive to express amounts:
- Un chocolat chaud, s'il vous plaît . (A hot chocolate, please.)
- Un bol de chocolat chaud, s'il vous plaît . (A bowl of hot chocolate, please.)
- Du chocolat chaud, s'il vous plaît . (Some hot chocolate, please.)
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- French - A1
What are partitive articles, when to use partitive nouns.
Apart from definite and indefinite articles, there are also partitive articles in French.
J'ai du thé à la maison.
I have tea at home.
Let's learn how to use these.
Rule 1: A partitive article is used with uncountable nouns. It’s formed with the preposition “de” + a definite article. It is used to express an indefinite quantity. We could translate it to "some."
There are several partitive articles: du ( de+le ), de la , d' , and des .
Rule 2: du or de la is used before uncountable nouns, depending on the gender of the noun.
Je mange de la confiture.
Je bois du lait.
I drink milk.
Rule 3: du or de la will become de l’ when it is followed by a word beginning with a vowel or a muet h .
Je bois de l’eau.
I drink water.
Rule 4: des is used before countable nouns, independent of the gender of the noun.
Je mange des épinards.
I eat spinach.
French do not use the partitive articles ( du, de la, des ) with verbs that express opinion. Instead, they use the definite article ( le, la, les ) as a reference to an entire category of something.
Il boit du café.
He drinks coffee.
Il aime le café.
He likes (all kinds of) coffee.
Je voudrais _ thé.
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