Based on what I've learned so far, "of some women" can be translated to "de des femmes". Google translate suggests "de certaines femmes" though. Which one is correct?

4 Answers 4


Depending on the surrounding context, you might translate of some women to, for example:

de certaines femmes

de quelques femmes

d'un certain nombre de femmes

de (d'un) bon nombre de femmes

de des femmes is however never correct.


You should remember that:

des= de + les

so you may conclude that:

de des femmes

is equivalent to:

de de les femmes

Thus it can not be grammatically correct.

Google Translator gave you a correct answer which may or may not be the right one depending on the context.

  • This is how I constructed "de des": 1- de = of, 2- de les = des (which can mean either "of the" or "some", depending on the context, therefore, I concluded that "de" + "des" could mean "of some", which turns to be incorrect :)
    – B Faley
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:14
  • But repeating a preposition (de de in this case) is incorrect both in French and English :)
    – user6768
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:15
  • Also note that des expresses the idea of plural but not of a quantity. It is un article défini.
    – user6768
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:28
  • 1
    @Thank you for the note
    – B Faley
    Nov 8, 2015 at 11:24

"de des femmes" isn't correct : You can't write this. Choose "de" or "des", but don't use the twice on the same time.

"de certaines femmes" is correct. But you need to check the sentence.


All of the three good answers given so far accurately state that “de des femmes” is incorrect and they all provide good and idiomatic ways to translate “of some women.” Just as importantly, they all wisely caution you about the importance of context.

What little I have to add for your consideration is essentially just:

(1) a reiteration of the importance of context (with a discussion of the two most obvious contexts that I see) and

(2) my personal observation that there could be some slight nuances in English between “some,” “certain,” “a few,” and “a [good] number,” which if they also exist in French, might be worth considering as you choose the most suitable translation to capture the desired nuance in whatever context you encounter.

The most obvious context that I see for using “of some women” in English would where the "of" means possession. That is to say:

“[The …] of some women is … .” (“hair” … “short.” for example) is being used to express possession (instead of using English’s possessive apostrophe = “Some women’s hair is short”).

In this context, "of some women" could be translated (as already correctly mentioned in the previous answers) as:

“Les cheveux de certaines femmes (or de quelques femmes or d’un certain nombre de femmes or d’un bon nombre de femmes [but not, as noted, “de des femmes”]) sont courts.”

With the above “possession” context in mind, in English I detect slight nuances between:

“[of] some [women]” (which I see as a basically neutral, non-specific, non-quantifying plural determiner);

“[of] certain [women]” (which I see as a determiner that, although unmentioned, implies some specificity, begging the question “Which ones?” slightly more than “some women” does [and perhaps it even implies a hint of judgment, as mentioned in the last, 4-sentence parenthetical of this answer]);

“[of] a few [women]” (from ‘quelques’) (which I see as a determiner that quantifies more specifically (with, imo, a downward bias) than does the neutral “some”); and

“[of] a [good] number of [women]” (from ‘un bon nombre de’) (which I see as a determiner that quantifies more specifically (with, imo, an upward bias, either with or without “good,” but especially with it) than does the neutral “some”).

((You’ll perhaps notice that I didn’t attempt to discuss any possible nuance in English between “some” and “a certain number of” above [and also that I don’t mention “a certain number of” below in the re-writes suggested to address possible nuance issues].
(This is simply because I personally don’t detect much of a nuance, if any, in the case of “a certain number of.”
(Regarding Laurent’s intriguing suggestion of “d'un certain nombre de femmes,” for some reason that I can’t explain, I feel that the combination [in both languages] of these two quasi-specific/non-neutral determiners somehow magically captures best the neutral and non-specific/unbiased nature of “some” in English and “des” in French.
(Therefore, if you do decide to go with “d'un certain nombre de femmes,” that decision would probably render my discussion of possible nuances above and my suggestion of using alternative “il y a” constructions below even more irrelevant than they already are.))

To the extent that these nuances also exist in French (and assuming that you want to maintain the neutrality that “des” might provide), you could consider somehow re-writing your sentence in a way that permits you to maintain the use of “des,” perhaps by using the “il y a” construction as follows:

“The hair ‘of some women’/[Some women’s hair] is short” =

“Il y a des femmes aux/[avec/qui ont des] cheveux courts.”

Of course, if the above nuances that I detect in English do not exist in French, you could still use the “il y a” construction with “certains”/“quelques”/”un bon nombre de” to mean the same thing as “il y a des femmes qui …”, not to address a [non-existent] nuance issue, but simply as a means of adding variety to your writing/translation style.

Although a distant second to the “possession/possessive” context mentioned above, “of some women” in English could also be found in contexts where the “of” kind of means “about”:

e.g., “There is talk ‘of some women’ [actually] coming to the party tonight!”

If necessary, you could also use an “il y a” construction here to maintain “des” and its neutrality:

e.g., “On dit qu’il y aura [vraiment] des femmes à la boum ce soir!” ...

but considering the rather sad (although stated quite enthusiastically) implications of this sentence, I think the speaker would be happy enough if [only] “a few” women were to show up and I think he could just as easily and accurately (if not grammatically) have said:

“L’on parle ‘de quelques femmes’ qui risquent [vraiment] d'y être ce soir!”

((Although this excited party-planner/goer would probably be just as (even more?) excited if:

(“there [was/had been] talk ‘of certain women’ coming to the party tonight!” ...

(in English [for me at least] using “certain” here could easily be [mis]interpreted as being judgmental of the women who might come = “of [a] certain [type of] women” = “women of/with certain reputations.”

(Therefore, to whatever extent that “L’on parle ‘de certaines femmes’ qui risquent d'y être ce soir!” could likewise be possibly so [mis]interpreted, perhaps it would be safer to use “d’un certain nombre de femmes,” at least in this context.))

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