https://www.duolingo.com/KomaGawa

Combien de or combien...........des...?

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/18646953 could we get some attention to the open questions attached to this sentence? And for those of you in the Trumped West, Merry Christmas! from Japan, Joe

December 23, 2017

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth

See the answers to your questions in the sentence discussion.

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

Gosh thanks for finding this. I also am learning French. And am fascinated by topics people have raised here.

The sentence was: "How many birds did you recognise?"

des is used for an unspecified plural quantity.

Here there is a specified quantity that we will are seeking to find out about?

So instead the partitive masculine article of du is used. And an elision occurs between the two vowels, and you replace the first vowel with an apostrophe.
The du is used as we are needing to count them ?

We are not referring to an unspecified plural quantity?

If we were talking about birds in general, we would say des oiseaux ?

However here we are asking about a specified number, and so we use d'oiseaux ?

Please note - I am also learning French. So I am also waiting for those who are more proficient than I to come along and confirm if I have got this correct.

Edited: note question marks added to help highlight I was wrong. If others read this.

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth

des is used for an unspecified plural quantity.

It is better to consider "des" as simply the plural of "un" or "une."

So instead the partitive masculine article of du is used. And an elision occurs between the two vowels, and you replace the first vowel with an apostrophe.

"Du" is used for uncountable nouns. "Birds" are countable, so "du" doesn't apply here. Also, you will not see "du" in front of a vowel since "de l'" is used if the uncountable noun starts with a vowel. So no elision with "du" is necessary.

If we were talking about birds in general, we would say des oiseaux.

It would be "les oiseaux" for birds in general.

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Gavier

Not sure I understand the problem... Combien d'oiseaux - how many birds...
Combien des oiseaux - how many of the birds...
The difference in the French sentences is the same in English. The second sentence only really makes sense if you have already mentioned the birds.

I saw some birds.
Oh yes? How many of the birds did you recognise?

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

Thank you both of you for this discussion. I think I am now understanding.
Thank you for your time.

December 23, 2017
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