3

Another user pointed out some poor phrasing in a French sentence I had linked to by saying "C'est du mauvais français."

I am not sure why this uses du rather than de; my impression was that the adjective would cause you to use de. I still oftentimes confuse the proper usage of de/du/de la/de l'/des in cases like this one.

  • Je soupçonne que c'est le résultat du construction «être de» qui indique le qualité de membre d'un groupe, en ce cas le groupe des mots qui constitue «le français»? Voir 2.I.B.6.c de cnrtl.fr/definition/être – Micromégas Jan 14 '16 at 0:55
  • An adjective can only cause you to use "de" instead of "des," not instead of "du" or "de la." – sumelic Jan 15 '16 at 6:02
3

The correct usage would be "C'est du mauvais français", not "de". "français" is here used as something quantifiable and definite (de le => du français, de la langue française, des mots en français, that you can touch and split like du pain), not something abstract like an adverb describing a manner (e.g. c'est de bonne heure = it's early, c'est de bonne guerre = it's fair enough)

Distinction is made (sometimes not easily) between the quantifyable noun and the abstract notion as an adverb. Example given, "c'est de bonne guerre" meaning it's only fair, and "c'est de la bonne guerre" meaning this is some good war.

You are not constrained to use "de" with an adjective + noun, but more often with the adverbial clause.

4

Le français = la langue française. (l'anglais = la langue anglaise).

this is singular => du (bon / mauvais) français = de la (bonne / mauvaise) langue française.

  • masculin + singulier + indéfini => du or un
  • féminin + singulier + indéfini => de la or une
  • masculin / féminin + pluriel + indéfini => de ou des

du/de la/de = partitif/indénombrable (matière, liquide): du lait, de bons sentiments.

de mauvais français = de mauvaises personnes françaises.

On dirait ce sont de mauvais français (pluriel => ce sont)

  • Surely it would be ce sont des mauvais français ? – Micromégas Jan 14 '16 at 0:34
  • @Micromégas both are equal. "de" is more stylish. – guillaume girod-vitouchkina Jan 14 '16 at 7:29
1

It's a rule in French, the construct "de le" doesn't exist and is replaced by "du". As opposed to the feminine for which it is "de la".

Je mange de la glace. I eat ice cream

Je mange du pain I eat bread

Je me souviens de la mer. I remember the sea

Je parle du français. I'm talking about French

  • Yes, this is not the point of the question~ I know de le contracts to du. I am asking why le is present at all, why we are saying du mauvais français rather than de mauvais français, as you might when saying J'ai plus d'argent. But thank you anyway. – temporary_user_name Jan 13 '16 at 20:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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