Du vs De

What is the difference between the two? Is one of them masculine and the other feminine?

May 21, 2012


The word "du" is indeed the (necessary) contracted form of the "de le" as an article. It is masculine -- the feminine counterpart is "de la" and the plural is "des" (before a vowel or mute h, it is "de l'," which is used regardless of gender).

The bigger question is when to use these so-called partitive articles (as opposed to plain old definite le, la, l', les). The partitives (with "de") basically mean "some." In English, the fact that the thing (du pain, e.g.) we're talking about is just some bread (as opposed to all of the bread in the restaurant, house, world, etc -- which it might mean if you neglect the "de" part of the partitive) is not always explicit. If you told your friend to "bring bread," that person would likely understand that you mean "bring some bread" (just a quantity). In French, it is necessary to make this fact explicit, and so "du" (or de la/des/de l') is required.

Also, just for the record, the word "fromage" is masculine.

Thanks Milestogo, this post was very helpful in understanding the use of "du."

is this what half a century does to a language...."Partitive article!" I only remember "article indefini" Or is it how it is said in English? "De" on its own can't be and is only use in the feminine mode by adding "la" Oh with as usual exception as in "Je me leve "de" bonne heure" (just happen to remember that one!) And I'm not too sure if it's a 'partitive' article or another word meaning a little like 'from'

[deactivated user]

    "Du" is "De le..." combined and masculine, "De la..." is feminine. e.g. "Du pain, du vin, et du Boirsin" (masculine brand name for feminine " fromage").

    Is there a combined form for the feminine?

    Nope, it's just de la.

    Merz r u sure it's not "Boursin"?

    Maksy Yes very good and clear - Just does not say that the third section is usable for both genders ALTHOUGH it gives example for each of them.

    I've forgotten when to use "du" vs just using "de" Is it "du" when you're doing something to the thing you're talking about like this sentence: "Je mange du pain" vs when you're just talking about a quantity of something like this: "Je n'ai pas de temps a perdre" ? Other than that I can't tell the difference between those sentences.

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