"I drink wine."
Translation:Je bois du vin.
Ah! Thanks, Sitesurf. I have just read another of your comments elsewhere about using le only with "verbs of appreciation" like aimer, apprécier or détester. It sort of makes sense now. The appreciation/non-appreciation split does not quite overlap with the English distinction between simple present and present continuous where we are used to using le (S.P) or du (P.C.).
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
From my understanding, we were taught that "des" means some for plural nouns. But since vin is uncountable, we use du (de + le) vin (singular.) Like English, we say "I'm drinking some wine." you wouldn't be saying "I'm drinking the wine" which is "je bois le vine." I'm also trying to understand the use of it as with "je mange de la salade" vs "je mange la salade."