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Why sometimes there is 'de' after 'manger' and sometimes not

Why do you say 'Je mange un pomme' but 'Elle manges de la viande' . Why there is 'de' in the second phrase but not in the first one

December 3, 2017



Here you should be looking at "de la" not just de.

"de la" (feminine) and "des" (plural) and "du" (masculine) indicate non-specific quantity/a general statement.

whereas "de" (uncountable) and "une" (singular countable, feminine) and "un" (singular countable, masculine) indicate a specific quantity.

"I drink milk" (General statement/non-specific quantity) "Je bois du lait"

"I drink one glass of milk" (specific quantity) "Je bois un verre de lait"

"I eat meat" (general statement) "Je mange de la viande"

"I eat vegetables" (general statement) "Je mange des légumes"

I hope this helped.


"I eat meat" is not a general statement. Each time you eat meat, you only eat "some", as an undetermined amount of meat. This is a partitive case = Je mange de la viande.

Generalities in French use definite articles.

  • "Cats can see in the dark" is a general statement = "Les chats voient dans l'obscurité"

Generalities are not only general statements or universal truths, they are also categories and concepts:

  • I love chocolate: "chocolate" is general because it is a category (all types of chocolate, any chocolate specialty, chocolate as an ingredient, etc.) = J'adore le chocolat (en général)
  • I study Latin/arts/politics: all these nouns are generalities = J'étudie le latin, les arts, la politique.


Sitesurf, "I eat meat" is also a general statement.

"I eat meat" as opposed to "I don't eat meat" (I'm a vegetarian).

Unless I misunderstood what you meant.


"du/des/de(la)" (some) is an object in general or more than one, "de la viande" is some meat or meat in general. "un/une" (a/an) is more specific referring to one thing, "une pomme" is "an apple, one apple". If you wanted to get more specific "le/les/la(without de)" (the) refers to an object specifically, "la fraise" is "the strawberry". There is 'a strawberry' on the plate - "une fraise". He eats 'the strawberry' - "la fraise". Daniel really likes to eat 'strawberries' (in general) - "des fraises"


You have to distinguish countable vs uncountable nouns.

With uncountable nouns, whether or not the English sentence has "some" before a mass noun, and whenever the meaning is "an unknown amount of a mass thing", you have to use a partitive article:

  • du (contraction of de+le) is used in front of uncountable, masculine nouns starting with a consonant.
  • de la is used in front of uncountable, feminine nouns starting with a consonant
  • de l' is used in front of uncountable nouns starting with a vowel sound (vowel or mute H).

[deactivated user]

    Well when it comes to these two sentences Je mange un pomme- I eat an apple Elle manges de la viande- She eats meat / She eats some meat

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