"Je bois de l'eau."
Translation:I am drinking some water.
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Ohhh, I get it.... de la/le/l' is same as un/une in this context, but for uncountables and when you mean that they're eating an unquantified amount of something (i.e. they didn't eat THE onion or ONE onion, but they ate SOME onion(s) or just they ate onion).
Correct me if I'm wrong. :-)
In English it would be, "A bottle of water." To say, "A water bottle" means we are referring to the container for water, but have not specified as to the water bottle being full or empty.
We would never say, "A water" without referencing something associated with the water, a water glass, a water dam, a water heater, a water bill, etc.
The different ways to phrase a sentence with "eau" have got me quite confused. So, I'm going to try and summarize what I understand (I promise to update this post in case I gather more from other discussions). Of course, native French speaker input would be very welcome here :)
"eau" is a (feminine) mass noun, which means that it can either be modified by definite articles, or partitive articles, but not indefinite articles.
Using "eau" with "de l'" (partitive article): We use the appropriate partitive article (de l') in case we refer to "eau" without expressing any amount. E.g., "Je bois de l'eau." = "I am drinking [some] water".
Using "eau" with "de": In case we do express the amount of water, we use "de" in the sense of "of". E.g., Je bois un peu / beaucoup d'eau" = "I am drinking a little / lots of water". Another example of using only "de" is when we want to refer to something "of water". For example, "Je bois un verre d'eau".
Using "eau" with "l'" (definite article): To refer to a specific water (e.g. the water you got from the river), we modify "eau" with the definite article, "l'". E.g., "Je bois l'eau" = "I am drinking the water". Another use of the definite article is when "eau" is the direct object of a verb that expresses preference: "J'aime / deteste l'eau". However, this use of the definite article is because it is required with such verbs, not because we refer to "the water".
Lastly, "eau" may appear without any article. This is the case when it is used with "sans"/"avec". E.g., "Avec/sans eau" = "With/without water". Notice that we do not mention the amount or referring to a specific water. In this case, we'd say "Avec/sans l'eau", or "Avec/sans beaucoup d'eau", as explained above.
It's not using "de" alone, it's called a partitive. And it's used when you talk about an indefinite quantity, as "some" in English
To say 'some' or 'any' in French, use: -"du" before a masculine word, eg Je mange du pain le matin (I have [some] bread for breakfast) -"de la" before a feminine word, eg Vous avez de la salade? (Do you have any lettuce?) -"de l'" before a singular word beginning with a vowel or silent h, eg Tu bois de l'eau? (Are you drinking [some] water?); Ma mère a acheté de l'huile (My mother bought some oil) -"de"' before a word in the plural form, eg Nous mangeons des légumes (We eat [some] vegetables) I found that on the "Bitesize" French course website, and it certainly helped me!
Someone on another thread helped me. I was confused because you say "mon eau" so I thought water was masculine. But water is feminine, it takes masculine pronoun-adjectives because it begins with a vowel and it's easier to say. So "de l'eau" = de+la+eau. But a masculine word like hotel would be "d'hôtel" = du+hôtel.
"d'hôtel" shouldn't be in your example. Everything you said is right, except the "d'hôtel" part. Because you make the confusion here between the "de" + article = meaning the partitive article, and the "de" alone as a particle, and not an article.
With a masculine word use "du", because it's "Je mange du chocolat", and if it begins with a vowel or a non-aspirated "h", use Je mange de l'emmental (it's a cheese); It's never "de" or "d' " alone, you have always the definite article. (but in "du" or "des" it's contracted inside)
Exactly. But be careful "de l'hôtel" is not a partitive.
It doesn't mean "an indefinitive quantity" of hotel.
Je viens de l'hôtel = I come from the hotel.
Here, "de" is not a part of the partitive article, it's only the particle (and not the article! )
Here the meaning is"from" or "of", according to the uses, and not "some" as when you say "de l'eau".
"Je boir de l'eau" means "I (am) drink(ing) (some) water." "Je boir l'eau" just means "I drink water". It could mean "I am drinking all of the water (in the world!)" A teacher once explained without "de" it is like talking about the entire concept of something. "de" narrows that down to just a portion of something.
"Je boir de l'eau" is incorrect. You have to conjugate the verb. "Boir" doesn't exist, the infinitive form is "boire" = to drink.
The conjugated form is "Je bois".
You're wrong in your explanation. "Je bois l'eau" is NOT "I drink water". it's "I drink THE water". It's not "I'm drinking all of the water in the world. That's incorrect. We would say "Je bois toute l'eau (du monde)" in this case. Your teacher is wrong. Or was talking about another grammar case.
There is no "some the water". Apart from this exercise, you could say "I am drinking THE water" (Je bois l'eau) referring to some specific water, for example. Or you could say "I am drinking (some) water" (Je bois de l'eau). For an explanation of when you use "de" in this context, see here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_4.htm
I have a question. In English, someone might ask you "is the water safe for drinking from the tap?" And in English I could respond with or without a yes, "I drink the water".
How does this sentence "I drink the water" get translated into French. The "the" is emphasised because I don't just drink any water, I am drinking the specific water from this source (in this illustration, from the tap).
Anyone can assist? Thanks!