"I drink wine."
Translation:Je bois du vin.
Direct objects need an article in French.
There are 3 classes of articles: indefinite, definite and partitive.
"I drink wine" means "I drink some wine", ie an undefined quantity of a mass thing.
In French, this translates to a partitive article: "du" with masculine nouns, "de la" with feminine nouns and "de l' " with masculine or feminine nouns starting with a vowel sound:
- je bois du vin (masculine)
- je bois de la bière (feminine)
- je bois de l'alcool (masculine)
- je bois de l'eau (feminine)
Note: "du" is the contraction of preposition "de" and definite article "le".
French nouns need an article. This rule has a few exceptions you will know about in next lessons.
Many English sentences cannot be translated word for word and you have to understand the meaning before translating.
"I drink wine" means "I drink some wine", an undefined quantity of wine, which is an uncountable noun.
This is a "partitive case" (part of mass thing), which needs a "partitive" article in French.
Partitive articles are: du (masculine), de la (feminine) or de l' (in front of a word starting with a vowel sound).
Note: "du" is a required contraction of preposition "de" + definite article.
- je bois du vin (masculine) = I drink (some) wine
- je bois de la bière (feminine) = I drink (some) beer
- je mange de l'edam (masculine) = I eat (some) Edam cheese
- je verse de l'huile (feminine) = I pour (some) oil