"Je ne bois jamais de ton café, il est trop amer."

Translation:I never drink your coffee; it's too bitter.

July 2, 2020

This discussion is locked.


Can't I just say "je ne bois jamais ton café, il est trop amer"? What is the function of "de"?


I have the same question. Can someone please explain why "de" needs to be in this sentence?


In my opinion "de" here is a negated partitive article, meaning "any".

"De ton café" is the possessive equivalent of "du cafe", whereas "ton café " is the possessive equivalent of "le cafe".

In my opinion, either could be used here, "Je ne bois jamais de ton café" => "I never drink (any of) your coffee" or "Je ne bois jamais ton café" => "I never drink your coffee (in general)".

  • 1372

Just to venture a guess as a learner: "je ne bois jamais ton café" indicates that you are not drinking the very cup of coffee that had been made specifically for the addressee to drink, whereas "je ne bois jamais de ton café" indicates that the addressee made a quantity of coffee for various people to drink, but of (hence the "de") this quantity the speaker never drinks anything, because it is allegedly too bitter.


"Je ne bois jamais ton café" is a habitual or continuous action, so it cannot refer to one specific coffee. "Ton café" would be the equivalent of a generic "les", "your coffee in general".

The "de" makes "ton café" partitive in the same way that "de l'argent" is the partitive version of "l'argent".

"De ton café" => "(some of) your coffee", but when negated (as it is here) "some" becomes any => not "(any of) your coffee".


so should it be "I have never drunk your coffee,..." in case of the "de" scenario?


No, "not drinking" the coffee is a habitual present tense action. Past tense would be a valid option, but that is not what is expressed here.


shouldn't it be "I never drink from your coffee it is too bitter", given "de" after jamais


The "de" here is not the preposition "from" but the negated partitive article (like the negated version of "du") meaning "any" (because "some" becomes "any" when it is negated).


On my mobile, 'toncafe' is displayed as one word - took me a while to work out it's not a special kind of drink!


Why not "c'est trop amer"?


It's an adjectival phrase and you use (generally) "il/elle est" with adjectives and "c'est" with nouns (except with nouns that are pretending to be adjectives, like professions and occupations).

You could use "c'est" to refer to the resulting situation rather than the coffee, but that would not make sense here (a "bitter" situation?).


Generally, when you are referring to a particular thing, rather than something impersonal, you say "il/elle est". But the rules are a bit, um, fluid.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.