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Added by August 7, 2014


Learn what French partitive articles are & how to use them

Partitive articles – also more simply referred to as partitives – are very useful language tools. So let’s get familiar with them right now!

What are partitive articles (or partitives)?

They can often be translated by “some” or “any” in English, and are used whenever we’re talking about quantities, portions. They’re particularly widely used when talking about food, as you may already know it.

Learn French: Partitive articles.

How to form partitives?

Here’s the magic formula: DE + DEFINITE ARTICLES! To be more specific, you’ll end up with: 

DU + Masculine noun (contraction of DE + LE):  Ex. Soso mange du chocolat.

DE LA + Feminine noun:  Ex. Lili veut de la  viande.

DE L’ + Noun starting with vowel sound (gender doesn’t matter here):  Ex. Les filles veulent de l’eau.

DES + Plural (contraction of DE + LES):  Ex. Pablo cherche des bananes.

Watch out for: partitives’ reduction to the preposition DE or D’!!!

Learn French: partitive articles.Partitives will be reduced to DE or D’ in the following situations: 

  • In negative sentences… 

Ex. Lili et Soso ne veulent pas de poires ou d’amandes, elles veulent des fraises.

  • Whenever you’re using nouns of quantity such as…

Ex. un kilo de tomates (a kilo of tomatoes); un paquet de biscuits (a pack of cookies), un morceau de fromage (a piece of cheese); une bouteille d’eau (a bottle of water); un verre de vin rouge (a glass of red wine).

  • Following adverbs of quantity such as beaucoup (a lot), peu (little), assez (enough), combien (how many/much), plus (more), moins (less), tant (so much/many), trop (too much/many).

Ex. Combien de touristes visitent Paris chaque année? / En France on a beaucoup d’idées! 

  • Whenever the noun that follows the partitive is in the plural form and preceded by an adjective (often called a BAGS adjectives – related to Beauty-Age-Goodness-Size)

Ex. Il y a de jolis villages en France.

French Village Gordes

French village of Gordes

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