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Usage of De, De La, Des

Hi there! I was wondering if you'd be able to help with the usage of du, de la, and des. I understand that you use du with masculine words, de la with feminine words and des with an unspecified plural word.

So, for sentences,

J'ai du gâteau. J'ai de la patience. J'ai des chiens.

However, I came across the following sentence and don't understand it: Voici mon ami qui a reçu de bonnes notes.

Why is it de here? I thought that it would be "des bonnes notes", because it's an unspecified amount of grades that was received? What is this "de", and why is it used here?

November 26, 2017


  • 1186

This is a rule in french that when there is an attributive adjective in front of the noun, you use "de" In your case the adjective is "bonnes" (meaning good/great). Another example: In this town there are some tall buildings. Dans cette ville, il y a DE grands bâtiments.

If you ever speak with french people, some might use "des" in those cases, as there are some differencies between spoken and written french.

There is also another rule about adverbs of quantity: Ex : There are too many cars in this street Il y a trop DE voitures dans cette rue. Works the same with fewer/less.


Okay! I think I understand. Can you check the following sentences, just to see if I understand this?

Il y a de bonnes personnes. J'ai beaucoup de jouets.

However, I thought of this one: Il y a des gens sympas, dans cette ville. Why is it "des gens" here, instead of "de gens"? Because the adjective is after the noun, in this case?

Thanks for you help!

  • 1186

Your sentences are good. You got it by yourself! Indeed the positionning of the adjective has an impact. When it's in front of the noun, you'll use "de". When it comes after, you'll use "des". @Prenom.Pierre gave a good example right below.


Il y a de sympathiques personnes dans ce lycée.

Il y a des gens sympathiques dans ce lycée.

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