I saw the sentence "Hospitalité pour deux nuits" as an example in my French grammar book. I was wondering why this is not "L'hospitalité pour deux nuits"?

For example, a quick Google finds the sentence "L'essence coûte très cher en France", which does have the L' at the start.

  • While waiting for any grammatical answers/reasons for this from Francophones, is it possible that this phrase was included in your text book as an example of language from an advertisement for a hotel or travel agency (where strict grammar rules might not always apply)?
    – Papa Poule
    Jan 17, 2015 at 0:21
  • 1
    It's in a section giving examples for the use of "pour" (with no wider context for where it came from).
    – RichardB
    Jan 17, 2015 at 0:29
  • Ok. Maybe it's because the sense of "hospitality" here is a general one. If it were "Hospitality that you deserve for two nights" that would be more specific and probably merit the definite article in French (probably in English, too, for that matter): "L'hospitalité que vous meritez pour deux nuits", but the general idea of hospitality, as in your sentence, might not require it (even in French, where definite articles are present more often than in English), but all that's just a guess, subject to confirmation or rejection by someone who knows more than I do.
    – Papa Poule
    Jan 17, 2015 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


There are many cases where the article is either optional or forbidden in French, this is usually called article zéro, article nul, or article ∅.

Hospitalité pour deux nuits

is a nominal group where both Hospitalité and deux nuit are lacking an article. The fact this sentence lacks a verb too shows it is something like a book title, chapter name, information panel, advertisement, or point form format where omitting the initial article is often the rule.

Just like with your second sentence which contains a verb, L'essence coûte très cher en France, an article would have been mandatory in:

J'ai demandé l'hospitalité pour deux nuits.

A second article is still optional and would slightly change the meaning of the sentence:

J'ai demandé l'hospitalité pour les deux nuits

Here these are specific nights, not two nights in general.

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