"We are among women"
When asked to translate "We are among women" into French, I wrote: "Nous sommes entre des femmes." But was corrected with: "Nous sommes entre femmes." I'm confused as to why this is the case.
"Nous sommes entre des femmes" means "We are between women.". This sentence could be used if there were women arond you, like in a bus or a train for instance. "Nous sommes entre femmes" is a sentence that would only be used by a woman, stating that she is in a group composed only of women.
To say "entre femmes" is more correct generally when translating "among". It depends on the context. Omitting the article has the sense for me to mean more "among" or "surrounded by" as opposed to when the article is used each women is somehow singled out. One conveys being part of the group (no article) and the other conveys being apart from the group (article) like you are in between groups of women. And it is an incorrect statement that only women can use the phrase.
I actually agree with Magyar on the point that "'Nous sommes entre femmes' is a sentence that would only be used by a woman, stating that she is in a group composed only of women." It seems more natural to me that only a member of the group/class (or someone pretending to be part of the group to gain access to secrets!) can use the phrase "Nous sommes entre..."
My feeling is that you were correct to use the article, but I'm not 100% sure on this one. As for the preposition, these French Wiktionnaire snippets might help: parmi. invariable Au milieu de. On l’emploie devant un nom au pluriel. On trouve de tout parmi les honnêtes gens. J’ai trouvé un papier parmi mes livres. Parmi les hommes. Entre tous ces. Parmi ces tableaux, lequel préférez-vous ? Quelques traditions sont préservées, parmi elles ... Note : Pour un groupe des deux, on utilise plutôt entre.
entre À l’intérieur de deux limites. La chaîne des Pyrénées est située entre la France et l’Espagne. L’orange est une couleur entre le rouge et le jaune. À propos d’un relation, généralement de deux. On utilise souvent parmi pour trois ou plus. La coopération stratégique entre l’Union européenne et les États-unis. Il y a une similarité entre ces deux langues. On l’employait également devant un nom collectif, mais ce type d’usage s’est perdu.
In another sentence discussion it was suggested that d'entre is the proper way to say "among". Is this not the case? Can we use "entre" as well? In which case, when would you use "d'entre"?
just i have noticed that when the noun is preceded by a preposition it loses its article. so you can't say: sans le sucre. simply ... sans sucre. entre des femmes , is similarly incorrect.
You are correct about the phrase sans sucre, but it is too much of a generalization to say that a noun preceded by a preposition loses its article. There are plenty of examples where it is correct to have a preposition (even sans or entre) followed by a noun with an article.
Sure: anytime you see aux, it's a contraction of the prepostion and article à + les. You can probably think of more in the same vein (au, à la, sometimes du, etc.). To give examples of the "heavier" prepositions, if you're ever referring to a specific noun (using a definite article), it's appropriate to use sans or avec with the article as in Je suis sorti(e) ce matin sans la pomme pour le prof (meaning you had already picked out an apple for the teacher but forgot it -- if you didn't have the article, I believe it would mean you intended to bring the teacher an apple but never even had a specific one in mind). Specifically for entre, there are several examples in the Wikitionnaire excerpt from my earlier post, although it is interesting to note that these uses all have the definite article. I did turn up a poem of Apollinaire's which has the line Et la ville entre nous comme entre des ciseaux, so the the expression entre des is not in and of itself incorrect.