French Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

From a press article in Le nouvel Observateur:

[…] il rencontre entre autres des hommes obsédés par la science, abîmés dans des spéculations abstraites, et qui ont perdu tout contact avec le monde.

In both examples, des hommes obsédés and des spéculations abstraites, des seems to be the English equivalent for the zero article: obsessed people and random speculations.

Is this des, in these two examples, the famous French partitive article, which is otherwise used when saying, for instance, Tu as du vin? Non, je n'en ai plus.?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Here des is, as you've said, the equivalent for the English zero article.

Indeed des here is an indefinite article and is the plural form of un

un oiseau → a bird ⟹ des oiseaux → birds

share|improve this answer
thx indoxica for the corrections I am a little tired :) – GnsBeldaran Jul 25 '13 at 12:18
Avec plaisir. You're welcome. – indoxica Jul 25 '13 at 12:22

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.