De vs du, de la, des

French prepositions and articles

The preposition de can be very difficult for French students, even at advanced levels. Knowing whether to use du, de la, or des rather than just de can be a real challenge! This lesson is a detailed explanation of when to use the preposition de all by itself and when to use the indefinite article, partitive article, or de + definite article (which looks like the partitive – but isn’t. Ugh!)

There are four types of constructions that lead to the de vs du, de la, des confusion. Click these links for lessons with plenty of examples:

  1. Partitive and indefinite articles
    Je veux du pain.
       vs
    Je ne veux pas de pain.
     
  2. Quantities, adjectives, and prepositional phrases
    J’ai regardé beaucoup de films.
       vs
    Beaucoup des films que j’ai regardés …
     
  3. Descriptive de vs possessive de
    le livre d’étudiant
       vs
    le livre de l’étudiant
     
  4. Verbs and expressions followed by de
    J’ai besoin d’argent.
       vs
    J’ai besoin de l’argent que tu me dois.
   
Quiz: De vs du, de la, des

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De vs du, de la, des

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