Quantities, Adjectives, and Prepositional Phrases with De

Trop de sel
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De vs du, de la, des

For quantities, adjectives, and prepositional phrases, the question of de vs du, de la, des depends on the noun that follows.

1) When the noun is unspecific, de stands alone after adjectives and prepositional phrases as well as after most adverbs of quantity and expressions of quantity.

2) However, if the noun after de refers to specific people or things de must be used with the definite article.

Unspecific noun Specific noun
N’ajoute pas trop de sel.
Don’t add too much salt.
N’ajoute pas trop du sel que j’ai acheté en France.
Don’t add too much of the salt I bought in France.
(that specific salt)
Il a beaucoup de questions.
He has a lot of questions.
Beaucoup des questions sont intéressantes.
A lot of the questions are interesting.
(specific or previously mentioned questions)
Peu d’étudiants sont ici.
Few students are here.
Peu des étudiants de Lisette sont ici.
Few of Lisette’s students are here.
(not students in general, but specifically Lisette’s students)
J’ai mangé moins de soupe que Francine.
I ate less soup than Francine.
Le repas est délicieux, mais j’ai mangé moins de la soupe que lui.
The meal is delicious, but I ate less of the soup than he did.
(soup from this previously mentioned meal)
Je veux un verre de vin.
I want a glass of wine.
Je veux un verre du vin que tu as acheté.
I want a glass of the wine that you bought.
(specifically what you bought)
La salle est pleine de livres.
The room is full of books.
(books in general)
La salle est pleine des livres d’Éric.
The room is full of Éric’s books.
(specifically his books)
Les tables sont couvertes de tartes.
The tables are covered in pies.
(a bunch of pies)
Les tables sont couvertes des tartes dont je t’ai parlé.
The tables are covered in the pies that I told you about.
(specifically those pies)
J’ai acheté du jus au lieu de vin.
I bought juice instead of wine.
J’ai acheté du jus au lieu du vin que tu as recommandé.
I bought juice instead of the wine you recommended.
(specifically that wine)
J’aimerais te parler au sujet d’écologie.
I’d like to talk to you about ecology.
J’aimerais te parler au sujet de l’écologie de paysage.
I’d like to talk to you about landscape ecology.
(specifically that aspect)

 Conseil concis

The word "the" is often needed in English when the noun is specific.

 More about de vs du, de la, des

Introduction
Partitive and indefinite articles
Quantities, adjectives, and prepositional phrases
Descriptive de vs possessive de
Verbs and expressions with de
Quiz on de vs du, de la, des

 Related lessons

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De vs du, de la, des

 

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D' vs de l'

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