That is correct. I read an ancient French grammar that nonetheless explained it well:
- le - masculine singular
- la - feminine singular
- les - masculine plural
- les - feminine plural
« de » + article:
- « de » + « le » = « du »
- « de » + « la » = « de la »
- « de » + « les » = « des »
- « de » + « les » = « des »
« à » + article:
- « à » + « le » = « au »
- « à » + « la » = « à la »
- « à » + « les » = « aux »
- « à » + « les » = « aux »
Mikukaito: That's not correct. "Des" is a contraction of "de+les." It does literally mean "of the." We could quite correctly say in English "The pockets of the dresses." But it's more common to use a possessive: "The dresses' pockets." French does not have possessives, so one must use the first formulation.
If "des" translated only to "of," the English sentence would read "The pockets of dresses," which is another thing entirely - not the pockets of a particular set of dresses, but pockets of dresses in general. In English, the more usual way of saying that would be "The dress pockets," not "The dresses' pockets." If the former is what you want to say, the French is different: "Les poches de robes." Or if referring to the pockets of only one dress, "Les poches de robe."
In the sentence in question, "des" is a possessive, meaning "of" and therefore having no relation to "les". It's kind of hard to understand and/or explain, but when you say "de la" or "du" or "des", it doesn't translate to "of the", it translates to "of". There is also the other use of the "de"'s, which takes the place of "le"'s and translates to either some or just takes away the "the" and just shortens the sentence. For example, "Elle mange des citrons.", or "She eats (some) lemons." Sorry for any mistakes I have made.
I disagree with your husband interpretation when dl wasreminding us that des refers to indefinite article "some". Les the definite article"the." It was correct to omit the English translation some but the french translation "des" must always be included before the noun. So why the confusion now?
It doesn't, the 'les' is what translates to the 'the.' Word for word the first sentence would become "the pockets of dresses," which seems unnatural so we move around the word order to make in seem more normal and it becomes "the dresses' pockets." The 'the' is still referring to the pockets because 'dresses' is acting as an adjective describing the pockets. Think of it in a sentence: 'The dresses's pockets were too small to hold anything.' The dress is not what is small, the pockets are, so both the 'the' and the 'dresses' refer to the pockets as the subject.
I hope that helped, I had a hard time trying to figure out how to word that... It's a confusing thing to explain, but it makes sense once you get it heheh.... :)
Le – les, de – des, robe – robes. Bucko gave some pronunciation tips above, but... I'm not a native English speaker and maybe I'm wrong, but I would pronounce i. g. "lay" completelety differently from what I hear here in the French course when "les" is said. And I can't tell it from "le" :-(
The vowels in Czech are quite different to French. Notably, Czech doesn't have the unstressed vowel sound in « le » which is found in most other languages. I'd suggest listening to some recordings on https://forvo.com/
« robe » and « robes » are pronounced the same.
Thank you very much for your explanation. The fact is in Czech (what is my native language) there's nothing like the vowel you pronounce in the word „the“, we have only this like in „thee“. So I had to learn to hear it and to pronounce it. I thought I had managed it but now it seems it works only for English, not generally. OK, I will keep trying to learn it for French as well :-).
"Les" is not exactly "lay" but it's close. It's not quite as high, and definitely not a diphthong as in English. But very different from "le" which is like the e in "the." (but not "thee) So the le/les and de/des pairs are similar to the English pair the/they.
There is probably an audio resources online with these things spoken by French people. My old set of French records has a demonstration of all the vowel sounds where they speak them back-to-back so you can hear the subtle differences.
Verb? Did you mean adverb? I don't believe "dress" is an adjective. "Dress pockets" is a compound noun made of the nouns "dress" and "pockets".
I think I misunderstood what he was trying to say; I thought he was saying the pockets couldn't be the pockets of one dress, but on second look I think that's not the case. I guess you're both just pointing out that the main noun of the compound is "pockets", not "dress"; that's obvious to me but perhaps it's odd to non-native speakers.
It looks like I confused you as much as I confused myself! I meant "noun", not "verb" (or "adverb"). In English we're allowed to use just about any noun as an adjective in front of another noun (as you say, a compound noun), so even though "dress" is a noun, in "dress pockets" it is an adjective. Of course, we can't say "These pockets are dress" because the rule doesn't work that way.
It is /ʁɔb/, very similar to "Rob". You can also hear native speakers saying it here:
I'm not so sure. Les poches des robes=The pockets of the dresses (the dresses' pockets). ie the pockets of these particular dresses. If we wanted to talk about pockets of dresses in general ("The dress pockets), I think we would have to say "Les poches de robe." In other words, we are talking about multiple pockets, but not necessarily multiple dresses.
Why isn't "The pockets of dresses" correct? Every other time "des" or "de" is used I get pinged for accidentally saying "the". The correct solutions don't even make sense; I was not under the impression that we were discussing specific dresses or I would have expected "les poches de les robes".
Visually, there is usually a plural form - both poche and robe add an "s" to form a plural. Also, the article changes to the plural form "les." (Or "des," which is de+les in this case). You can't hear the difference with the added s, but you can hear that "les" sounds different from "le" or "la."
If you hear a sentence completely out of context, there's often no way to tell the singular and plural apart. This is why the Duolingo moderators have decided to allow both homophones whenever they occur, even if technically it doesn't match the spelling of the original sentence.
I was talking about pronouns and verbs, not articles which, although similar, are different enough to always be able to be distinguished by careful listening. In other words, my original comment was almost completely off-topic.
« le » and « les » sound different from each other, etc.
Apologies, I may have been a bit vague but yes, the article has an audible difference. The plural, being a noun, doesn't have an audible difference unless followed by a consonant (i.e. poche sounds the same as poches).
CJDennis is referring to the declension of the article, rather than the plural noun itself.
Of course robe is an English word! Robes are what judges wear, what graduates wear to the ceremony, what Jesus wore in all those paintings, etc. Also, a bathrobe is a type of robe.
The French "robe" is primarily translated as "dress," but also "robe." "Suit" is a completely different word. Costume, complet, tailleur, ensemble. Many other words as well, depending on context.
Having a dictionary can be useful, but you can always look up translations online!