"This is a recipe book."

Translation:C'est un livre de recettes.

March 19, 2013

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Interesting that this is a book of recipeS, while jus de orange is just the juice of an orange, regardless of how many you use.


Smart comment... one of the mysteries of language!


I agree with sitesurf, partly because it would sacrilege to disagree with him, an astute observation. May I be so bold as to offer a hypothesis? (silly question when you think about it)

Oranges are a category of fruit, so jus de orange may refer linguistically to the juice produced by that category of fruit, separate from the juice produced by other categories of fruit, rather than referring to the specific item(s) from which you have obtained it.

Naturally, expressing that statement in full would be disruptive to our speech so it was reduced to a more manageable expression at some point during the evolution of the language many centuries ago.

Of course this is based only on my knowledge of how English functions structurally, I have no clue if this principle carries over to French.


I believe you are on the right track. If you compare with other juices, you will notice that the singular prevails even though it may need many fruits to get a glass of juice: jus de fraise, jus de framboise, jus de pomme, etc. Actually, I found a nice article about it. the basic outcome is that our famous Académie Française leaves us the choice with singular or plural, be that about jus, confiture, gelée... (I copy it hereunder, it is in French, so if you don't get it all, shout!)


  • Confiture de fraises, d'oranges, de fruits rouges, de tomates.

  • Gelée de coings, de pommes.


  • Confiture de fraises. (Mais tarte aux fraises.)

  • Compote de pommes.


  • Confiture de fraises. (Normalement au pluriel, dit-il.)

  • Gelée de fruits.

  • Gelée de groseille(s). Pourquoi ? La réponse est dans Grevisse : l'Académie laisse explicitement le choix. Sans explication. Bizarre ! Et pourquoi se limiter aux groseilles ?

En tout cas, je lis sur des pots à la cuisine : gelée de groseilles, de mûres ; mais : confiture de rhubarbe. (Materne et Bonne-Maman)


A propos de confiture

"Le substantif complément désignant le fruit dont est faite la confiture se met de préférence au pluriel, comme en général après compote, pâte, etc. Mais il n'y a pas de règle stricte dans ce domaine."

A propos de gelée

"Dans l'emploi culinaire, ce mot est généralement suivi d'un nom de fruit au singulier : gelée de groseille."

A propos de compote

"Le substantif qui suit est le plus souvent au pluriel : de la compote de pommes."


A propos de confiture

"Avec confiture, comme avec compote, marmelade et pâte, le complément se met généralement au pluriel : confitures de groseilles, de prunes ; compote de poires ; pâte d'amandes, de groseilles, d'abricots, de coings.

Avec gelée, jus, liqueur, sirop, le complément se met généralement au singulier : gelée de pomme, de groseille, de coing ; jus de citron, d'orange ; liqueur de framboise ; sirop de fraise."


I doubt I understood 100% of it, but I believe I have the gist, merci beaucoup.


But just to be sure I understood, you are not suggesting that "C'est un livre de recette" would pass muster at the Academy, right?


I believe that the logic with "un livre de recettes" is that if it is a book, ie a collection of pages, chances are that it is also a collection of recipes. So, our dear Academy would reject it for sure.


Merci. je comprends plus.


Why is it not "un livre des recettes", instead of "un livre de recettes"?


That is because the content is "recettes", like: une boîte de chocolats (a box full of chocolate bites)


Even after reading the comments I don't understand. Recettes is plural so therefore why is it "de" recettes and not "des" recettes? Isn't des for plurals?


In this case "de" means "of" not "some". For example:
I have a book of recipes. (J'ai un livre de recettes.) vs. I have some recipes (J'ai des recettes)


Good answer. I'm going with it.


now i am getting it ,merci....!!!


I think it is because "recipe book" does not stand for "book of the recipes", but for "book of recipes". So, since you are talking in general and not of specific recipes, you omit the article, and the same you do in French. That's only my thought, though.


Can you use voici instead of c'est?


"voici" better translates to "here is"


Doesn't this also fall under the same rule as the one where you use 'des' if it applies to a specific thing and 'de' if it applies to things in general? So here, it would apply to recipes in general? Like the sentence we saw, "Avez-vous les recettes de légumes ?" which also takes 'de' where one might expect 'des'. I was thinking it may be something similar to the English 'fish' vs 'fishes', where we can speak of all the fishes in the sea, stressing the various different species, as compared to the simple plural, all the fish in the sea, which simply implies a whole lotta fish.


This case is "un complément de nom" (Noun of Noun) used in a variety of expressions to complement the main noun with another noun to specify it and that introduced by a preposition.

In this sentence, preposition is "de" and it drops the article:

  • un livre de recettes (content)

  • un gant de cuir (material/substance)


That clarifies it. Thanks.

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