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What is “du” in “c’est du désir”?

I’m a little confused with “du”. I read somewhere it can be used as a quantifier “any/ some.” But how about for the sentence, “ce n’est pas l’amour. C’est du désir.”? I understand that the article “le” is needed for the noun “amour”, but how about “désir”? Why not say “le désir”?

April 2, 2020



Your sentence is awkward in the first place. It should be either
Ce n'est pas l'amour, c'est le désir.
Ce n'est pas de l'amour, c'est du désir.


I see, thank you. And sorry about the error. But why use “de” and “du” in the second option? How is it different from the first one?


2020-04-02 In a word, euphony.

It is different because amour starts with a vowel, so one never says le amour, as Jimmy points out. Therefore when we're smushing together de le amour, we end up with de l'amour rather than du amour. On the other hand, when we smush together de le désir, we end up with du désir, because using l' is not an option.

Timor mortis conturbat me.


Du remplace également "de le" qui n'éxiste pas au masculin. ex: De la tarte (nom féminin) Du gâteau (nom masculin)


Exactement. I did not mean to imply it was valid; only that we smush it together (because we are obligated to do so), and we do it differently if the noun begins with a consonant or a vowel.

  • de and du refers to a quantity or a certain amount.

  • l'amour and le désir are ideas, concepts.

For a more detailed explanation: https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/french-easy-learning/the-partitive-article-du-de-la-de-l-and-des


Actually, amour, in the singular form, is a "masculine" noun --- le + amour = l'amour

As to why it was written "du désir" instead of "le désir", I am unsure. Maybe a mistake?


I was wondering about something quite similar yesterday. If you start with "de l'amour" (and it's "de le amour"), then shortening it would be "du amour" and then again "d'amour". Is that done?


It doesn't work because you are changing the article, not just shortening it. And don't mistake de (l') as preposition before a possessive phrase for de l' as a partitive article.

La confiance est une preuve d'amour. (preposition)
Cette bague est une marque de l'amour que j'éprouve pour toi. (preposition + definite article)
Ce n'est pas de l'amitié, c'est de l'amour. (partitive article)


de+ le= du de+la= de la de+les= des


isnt this a song?

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