"Du poivre"


March 6, 2013

This discussion is locked.


What sort of pepper is this? Is this the vegetable or the seasoning? Thanks


The vegetable is "un poivron"


How do you know whether to use du, de or de la?


Du= Some,masculine form - du poulet, merci (some chicken please

De La= Femine form of du


A. To show belonging= le orange de Sarah ( sarah's orange)

B. Starting point or origin= Je suis de Nouvelle-Zélande ( i am from new zealand)

C. Contents or description of something= un conteneur de jouets (a container of toys)

Visit this site to see the rest http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_de.htm


l'orange de Sarah


I thought please = sil vous plait ?


Vous is used when you are in a formal situation and tu is for informal. For example, S'il vous plaît, le professeur (excuse me professor)


Just for the sake of clarification:

  • excuse me professor = excusez-moi, Professeur (no article, this is a title).


This question is one that everyone struggles with at this stage. Here's how it works.

  • le poivre = the pepper (the stuff in the shaker on the table). It's called a "mass noun" because it's uncountable, i.e., there no "a pepper" when talking about this stuff.
  • le poivron = the pepper (which is a vegetable which many people grow in a garden). There are many different kinds and it is a wonderful addition to many dishes to spice things up a bit.
  • Because the vegetable "pepper" is countable, you can say "un poivron" (a pepper), "le poivron" (the pepper), "les poivrons" (the peppers), or "des poivrons (peppers). Note that the "des" used with a plural countable noun simply means that there is more than one. It's an undetermined number of them.

Now comes the interesting part. When dealing with an undetermined amount of most any kind of foodstuff, the partitive article is used. There are two forms of the partitive article: 1) "du" for masculine gender nouns, and 2) "de la" for feminine gender nouns. This partitive article tells us there is an undetermined amount. There is no real counterpart for this in English, but sometimes you can think of it as "some". Although we don't really have to say "some" in this situation and it's generally ignored in English. But you cannot ignore it in French. For an undetermined amount, you must use a partitive article when referring to an undetermined amount of something. Examples:

  • du sel (m) = salt, note that it's not "the salt", but just "salt".
  • de la viande (f) = meat (no, it's not "of the meat", it's just "meat", an undetermined amount of it.
  • de l'eau (f) = water
  • du poulet (m) = chicken. It's not "the chicken" (le poulet) or "a chicken" (un poulet). It's an undetermined amount of chicken, so it's "du poulet".

Read more here for information about partitive articles. https://www.thoughtco.com/du-de-la-des-1368977


Thank you so much. Your post really helped me


I still have problems with the "vre" sound, any tips?


like in les miserables in which you only pronounce lay misriabl (bli at the end), you only pronounce du poivr, pronounce pahv and than allow your tongue to rasp over the r i hope this helps!


I like to describe it as "swallowing the r", although the movement you make is more akin to gargling, but stopping before the g sound is made.


If you keep the tip of the tongue touching the bottom teeth and then read the word as you would in English, even sounding the R as an English R, you will find the French R comes to you easily. There is no need to risk turning your throat inside out trying to sound the French R.

Since it is formed by the back of your tongue rather than the front, if you pin your tongue tip down and read this sentence as you would in English "Round the rugged rock the rugged rascal ran", you will be surprised at how French you will sound and how easy it will be to produce the French R sound. Then words like poivre, robe, grand-mère... will be a breeze to say.


Thank you! I can finally make this sound! :-)


This is a weird question. But what I was wondering is when you talk about salt and pepper in general, does one usually refer to pepper as du poivre (as introduced by duolingo) and salt as le sel. Would one never generally speak of salt as du sel? Or pepper as le poivre?


Both are used both ways, but to introduce every word in both forms would mean less vocabulary could be demonstrated. The earlier lessons do it. As you go up the tree, you will eventually just know the le is definite article, un for a single item and du for some or plural indefinite. or la , une , de la, or les, des, des. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles.htm

If I am speaking to my kids and I tell them to put the salt and pepper on the table, I will say "le poivre et le sel". If I am asking them if they want some salt or pepper on their food, I will say "Du sel ou du poivre".


Why is it pepper and not any of the other options? This was not explained. Thanks.


The other words proposed were "bière" (feminine), "eau" (feminine, starting with a vowel) and "salade" (feminine).

Knowing that "du" can only be used in front of a masculine word starting with a consonant, "poivre" is the only one matching it:

  • de la bière
  • de l'eau
  • de la salade


Since we don't all get the same question, it is a good idea to be more explicit when you ask a question. When I got this question, I simply had to write du poivre in English, so "pepper" was my answer. I did not have options to choose from. Someone else might get the audio asking him/her to write what the audio says, so again, no options to choose from. What were the other options you got?


I was provided with bière, l'eau, and salade. I understand that they are feminine, but how can you tell? I was told that if they end in a vowel then they are feminine but they all ended in vowels including poivre. Can this please be explained? Thank you.


Katelyn, at this point in the course, you should have been already exposed to "bière", "eau" and "salade". You have probably made one or more exercises for each of these words, together with a determiner, like "une" or "la".

So you have to learn every new word with its gender, otherwise, at the end of the tree, you will still count on false rules to determine whether a noun is masculine or feminine and you will still be only 50% right. Endings can be deceiving, and the last letter is not at all a good guide to determine a noun's gender.

If at lesson 6 you do not remember the gender of the nouns taught in lessons 1 and 2, maybe you should go back and redo these lessons until you know all new nouns' genders by heart.


Correct - you simply have to learn each noun with its gender. I have always thought I could outfox the system by thinking (playing) symbolically or even - dare I say it - psychoanalytically - to figure out the gender of the noun by tapping into some deep and mysterious logic. There is none. A phallic banana is feminine not masculine, and what some might think of as being a feminine bowl, is in fact a masculine noun. So - I am afraid we are stuck with memorization!


"Du" means some, but then why the translation is only given as "pepper" and not "some pepper"


Because while in French you MUST have an article before a noun, unless some other modifier like ton, ce, etc is used, in English you don't need it:

  • Apples -- des pommes

  • Water -- de l'eau

  • Wine -- du vin

  • Meat --de la viande


It's because "du" (along with "de la" are special articles called partitive articles. They are used to express an unspecified quantity of something. In French, the indefinite articles (un, une) refer to a single unit of whatever it is, but when there is an undetermined amount, the partitive article is used. There is no direct equivalent in English, although "some" may be used. In English, this form of "some" is generally be ignored, but in French, the partitive article must be used. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/fl/Du-De-La-Deshellip-Expressing-Unspecified-Quantities-In-French.htm

  • un pain = a (loaf of) bread. du pain = (some) bread, an unspecified amount of bread.
  • une bière = a beer (i.e., a glass of beer). de la bière = (some) beer, i.e., an unspecified amount of beer.


What is the definition and basic use of "Du" ? I feel like it showed up without much explanation.


You may not know this but every lesson is introduced by a section called Tips and Notes which can only be seen on a browser so easier to access on a PC. Before starting a section on the French Tree, it is a good idea to log onto Duolingo on a browser and scroll down past the lessons to that section. For du that section can be found in the Tips and Notes called The Partitive Article found here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Food


what sort of pepper


Why does she say "du"? This doesn't make a full sentence, right?


It does not matter if it is a full sentence or not, the meaning is still "some pepper" to be translated by "de" + definite article.


since such nouns like pepper are uncountable, the logic of using du(=de+le) express the partitive meaning of de: of the pepper, thus some pepper..


Wait a sec...poivre is a verb as well? :o


Yes, from the verb "poivrer" (add pepper), in 1st and 3rd person singular, indicative present.

And "saler" means add salt, "sucrer" = add sugar, "épicer" = add spices.


Is "le poivre" correct for "the pepper" like we have "le sel" for "the salt"? Is "du salt" correct for "salt"?


the salt and the pepper (specific) = le sel et le poivre (specific or in general)

salt and pepper (in general or "some" of each) = du sel et du poivre (partitive)

without salt nor pepper = sans sel ni poivre (with preposition "sans": no article)

with salt and pepper = avec du sel et du poivre (regular) or avec sel et poivre (shortened)


I read the previous comments but I still don't understand when to use "du/de la/de l'" and when to use "le/la/l'" with uncountable nouns. For example: when do I use "le poisson", "du poisson", "le poivre" and "du poivre"?


le poisson = the fish / du poisson = some fish / le poivre = the pepper / du poivre = some pepper - In French you can't just say you put pepper on something, you have to say you put SOME pepper, because in French nouns must always have an article. The partitive (du/de la/de l') is an article in French meaning "some", but not in English, we don't have partitives, we use adjectives. In French there are other words that also mean "some", but those will come later.


Curious about something: When I checked the translations for poivre, I saw -add pepper to-. Because my sentence was Du poivre, I thought -add some pepper-, was a correct translation. Why am I wrong?


"Add pepper" is a verb "poivrer" which would be conjugated as "poivre" for "je" or "il" or "elle" for present tense and would require a subject. "du" precedes a noun "some" pepper, but in English we often omit the word "some" This is the noun as there was no subject given and the verb would not have "du" in front of it.


How to spell 'poivre'?Can anyone help...? Plz


You mean how to pronounce it? To spell is to call out the letters that make the word P O I V R E is how you spell the word poivre. To pronounce is to say the word out loud making out how it should sound and if that is what you are asking, here goes (although au is added): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Df1MGO2Qrc4


When I answered “the pepper” I got it wrong (of course) but the correction was “some pepper”. When I answered it again as “some pepper” it showed the correction as “pepper”. Why would it show “some pepper” as the correction at all all?

I learned a lot from the responses below but it seems so silly to me to show a correction when it’s not actually the answer.


When one word is wrong, the system picks another translation where there is a correct word at the same place. Remember: it is a computer, not a human teacher.

By the way, "some pepper" is not wrong.


Haha I just finished my wordy post below and then saw yours. Great minds think alike!


Well done, and in better English, of course!


Oh please, Modest One! The only difference between my English and yours is you have mastered the art of being concise while I apparently suffer from an incurable case of word diarrhea.


Duolingo is not human. Because you put a word before pepper the computer program pointed out that du means "some" not "the". IIRC you do not get penalized for writing "some". Duo may, however, state that leaving out "some" would be correct too.


What sort of pepper is this??????and I also wanted to ask 'bout what should I use to say the pepper "le" or"la"??


Okay so what does du means cause sometimes it means some. Then other times it doesnt mean anything. And its hard cause now that im in 6th grade we say this but ill be wrong cause i used it wrong. We didnt learn any of this stuff in elementary school.


Please get into the habit of reading the discussion whenever you have a question before rushing to post. I already provided a link to the Tips and Notes that explain du a year ago and even suggested how you can get to know this before starting the exercises related to this.


I was given 4 choices: poivre, bière, eau and salade. Why do I choose poivre?


After "Du____" only a masculine noun starting with a consonant can work.

  • du poivre
  • de la bière
  • de l'eau
  • de la salade.


Typos count as wrong, good job


Why 'Du' is used?


Did you read the thread before posting? It is good practice to take a moment and read what has been posted before posting a question to avoid adding clutter with redundancy. Kindly find your answer in previous posts.


why do we use du for poivre ???or where do we use du???


"Du poivre" means "some pepper". In English, you don't need "some" to mean "an unknown amount of a mass thing" but in French, you need a partitive article.

"du" is the partitive article when the noun is masculine and starts with a consonant sound: du pain, du vin, du beurre, du poivre

"de la" is the partitive article when the noun is feminine and starts with a consonant sound: de la bière, de la viande, de la soupe

"de l'" is the partitive article when the noun (masculine or feminine) starts with a vowel sound: de l'eau (fem), de l'alcool (masc), de l'huile (fem)


My question was matching Du Poivre to pepper. And the question I am asking is, shouldn't this be matched with some pepper, or why cant the question just stand alone as Poivre?


In a nutshell: "some" is optional, but "du"' is required.


French 101: French nouns must always be preceded by an article, whether the English translation has one or not:

  • There are apples on the table -- Il y a des pommes sur la table (Usually the indefinite/partitive article in this case)

  • I love cats -- j'adore les chats (With verbs of preference, you always use the definite article)

  • Love never dies -- L'amour ne meurt jamais (When talking in the general sense, you use the definite article)


I didn't get a photo and there was no context for the object of the partitive du. So, no way to know which noun to use.


You did not need a photo or context because you have already learned that the other nouns suggested, "bière, eau, salade" are feminine.

As a consequence "Du....." can only welcome a masculine noun: "Du poivre".

For the other nouns, the partitive articles would be:

  • de la bière
  • de l'eau
  • de la salade.


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there was no picture when i looked at it.


Wow, i never knew that and I've been learning French for 6 years! Thanks!


Why is there a feminine and a masculine?


What's wrong with du bière?


As has already been explained bière is feminine so could never be preceded by du which is de+le. It would be de la bière.

If you would read the discussion first instead of rushing to ask your question, you would avoid the embarrassment of being redundant. Most questions you may have are usually already addressed in the discussions.


Why not de la poivre. Poivre is feminine isn't it


Would you please read before asking questions so you don't ask questions that have ready been answered? Refer to the discussion for the answer. (A dictionary could have also answered your question.)


what dose "Du" means?

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