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We know that we always use the definite articles with aimer, adorer, préférer, détester.

I wanted to know what about if another verb comes after these verbs?

J'aime bien prendre ...... tasse de café après le déjeuner.

une or la? which one is correct? which verb is the main verb?

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"We know that we always use the definite articles with aimer, adorer, préférer, détester." is not quite true. "J'aime une fille de ma classe.", "J'adore un vin de montagne qu'on ne trouve qu'en Italie.", "Je préfère un pastis.", "Je déteste un politicien qui ment tout le temps." are all correct examples. –  Joubarc Dec 6 '11 at 9:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The complement of the verb “aime bien” is the phrase “*prendre __ tasse de café après le déjeuner*”. Since the sentence is not referring to any specific cup of coffee, there should be an indefinite article: “j'aime bien prendre une tasse de café après le déjeuner”. By metonymy, you can also say “j'aime bien prendre un café après le déjeuner”. It's also possible to treat coffee as a mass noun and say “j'aime bien boire du café après le déjeuner” (the sentence with the verb prendre is not wrong, but it is less idiomatic).

Another way to phrase the same idea is “j'aime bien mon café après le déjeuner”. Using a personal pronoun gives a certain cozy feel to the idea of a cup of coffee.

It is also possible to say “j'aime bien prendre le café après le déjeuner”, but the meaning is slightly different, and the sentence sounds a little off to my ears. Here, what is liked is the activity of “prendre le café”, rather than the drink. You couldn't say “j'aime bien prendre le café après le déjeuner, ça m'aide à digérer”. But you could say “j'aime bien prendre le café après le déjeuner, les conversations sont intéressantes”, and you might say that even if you were a tea drinker, as “le café” is generalized to mean a social activity.

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"J'aime bien prendre le café après le déjeuner" is also said. Not sure it is a correct french though, is it? –  Otiel Dec 4 '11 at 22:41
    
@Otiel You're right; this is a subtly different meaning. I've revised my answer. –  Gilles Dec 4 '11 at 22:46
    
I've been wondering whether "après le déjeuner" was a complement of the verb prendre, or if it was a complement of the verb "aime". I settled initialy to "aime" but you write it's not. Is there a fixed rule for this? –  Didier Trosset Dec 5 '11 at 8:30
    
@DidierTrosset Je crois que les deux marchent, puisqu'on peut aussi bien dire « prendre un café après le déjeuner, c'est une activité que j'aime » que « après le déjeuner, j'aime prendre un café ». –  Gilles Dec 5 '11 at 12:18

une is definitely correct.

The main verb of the sentence is 'aime'.

“prendre une tasse de café” is a “proposition subordonnée infinitive”.

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