De vs Du/De la/Des

For a long time I've struggled with when to use De vs the other partitive articles, and I think I've finally figured it out. If someone could confirm or correct I would greatly appreciate it.

From what I gather, use whatever partitive article matches the gender and number of the noun EXCEPT when the sentence is a negation, or when the noun is preceded by an adverb of quantity, in which case always use De.

Je mange de la viande / Je ne mange pas de viande / Je mange beaucoup de viande

Il y a des gens / Il n'y a pas de gens / Il y a beaucoup de gens

April 28, 2015


You got it. Good job. :)

There are rare cases where you could use an article, though.

In negation, you would use an article when you're contrasting. Observe:

"Je ne mange pas de la viande mais du poulet."

Also, when there is an adverb of quantity, it depends on whether or not you're referring to a specific group:

Beaucoup de gens mangent de la viande. (A lot of people eat meat.)


Beaucoup des gens que tu as rencontrés hier mangent de la viande. (A lot of THE people that you met yesterday eat meat.)

This is just like in English. Just ask yourself: "Am I saying 'a lot of x' or 'a lot of THE x'?".

April 29, 2015

Is this why you would say "le prof de français" but also say "un jour de semaine"? (Because it's French teacher or teacher of French, and day of the week not day of week?)

June 8, 2017

Hi Jordan, you probably know this but de le is contracted to du. I agree with the negative but Beaucoup de is a phrase meaning a lot of. I will let someone else comment on the 'adverb of quantity' ...not sure if that is always true.

April 28, 2015

there are five pages in this article, study them and I think your questions will be answered.

De vs Du, De la, Des

April 29, 2015
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