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Des vs Les

When do I use Des, and when do I use Les???

I've basically scoured the web, but all the sites use very complicated explanation that my simple brain can't follow? I tried to look at the duolingo tips for when to use "des" and when to use "les" but I also couldn't find it? 0_0

Can someone explain the difference using simple terminology?

April 5, 2020



To keep things simple (as you requested), just remember these two sentences:

J'ai les pommes. --- I have the apples.

J'ai des pommes. --- I have some apples.


mERCI BEAUCOUP!! this helped a lot I will get A now


Maybe even an A+.


my school doesn't do A+s but Maybe i'll be so good they'll give me an exception :P



Simple enough?


WAIT, but my textbook says for example "Nous portons des maillot de bains" which translates to "We wear some swimsuits" that doesn't make sense ?_?

[deactivated user]

    It does - it just isn't how we would normally say it in English. But "we" can only wear "some" of all the swimsuits in the world. We can't wear all the swimsuits.

    You just have to accept that you can't translate everything word-for-word, and that different languages have developed different conventions. In French, you have to differentiate between all of something and only some of something.

    Unfortunately, you can't have both a "simple" and a "complete" explanation for this, but Jack's suggestion is a really good starting point.


    We wear some swimsuits. Plural.

    Also Nous is plural. The entire sentence has to "agree".


    I think I get it now thank you so much :D


    Je porte un maillot de bain. I'm wearing a swimsuit.
    Ils portent des maillots de bain. They are wearing swimsuits.

    English language doesn't have a plural indefinite article, french has one : des.


    Oh so des is a plural and les is the plural i see thank you!!!


    Have a look at this :Grammar Glossary, Helpful Links, and Tips & Notes!, it gives (among many others), this link: les-des


    Use «les» when you're talking about something generally, liking or disliking it. In English we don't use it to say, "I like apples". The French would say, "J'aime les pommes".

    When buying, eating, or otherwise referring to more than one, like "some cars", "some chairs", "some things", you tend to use "some", in French «des» (which is the contraction of «de les».

    When you have something singular (We used some ice cream for the float) you use «de»+ the genderized. So, "some icecream" is «de la glace». "Some rice" is «de le riz», but the "de le" contracts to make it «du riz».

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