NNous sommes des animaux vs Nous sommes animaux

Why do you have to use de + les in this sentence? What would be the meaning of Nous sommmes animaux without des?

September 26, 2012

  • 1106

In the sentence "Nous sommes des animaux", the word "animaux" is a noun, masculine, plural. In English, it means "We are (some) animals". In the sentence you suggest, "Nous sommes animaux", the word "animaux" would be an adjective, masculine, plural. This adjective is rarely used, and it is mostly used in this kind of expressions: "l'├ęchelle animale = the evolutionary ladder". Thus, the sentence "Nous sommes animaux" (without "des") would have no relevant meaning, both in French and English.

September 26, 2012

In French, all nouns need an article or an adjective except in very limited circumstances. Animal is not one those exceptions. Therefore it needs an adjective or article.

In this sentence there is no adjective. Thus you need to have an article. The only question is which article.

Remy discusses that in this thread.

March 11, 2013

I think "des" is not "de + les" here. It is the plural form of the indefinite article that is not used in English.

September 27, 2012
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.