1

Du Lowell tout craché, en effet.

As I understand it, this sentence means:

That’s very typical of Lowell, indeed.

But I’m not sure why you need to place "du" at the top.

  • 1
    Compare to "c'est du béton" or "c'est de l'eau". It says the stuff the thing is made of. Metaphorically, in your example. – Christoph Frings Jun 22 '16 at 18:07
3

As Ctouw has written du here represents something Lowell did or made.

C'est du Lowell tout craché.

  • If we're talking here of a poem by Lowell it means this poem is typical of Lowell's writing.

    We could rephrase it this way :

    C'est représentatif de l'écriture de Lowell.
    C'est représentatif de ce que Lowell écrit d'habitude.

  • If we're talking about my brother Lowell - famous for getting into mischief - it means this new prank is typical of Lowell's behaviour. We could rephrase it:

    C'est représentatif de ce que fait Lowell d'habitude.
    C'est représentatif des bêtises habituelles de Lowell.

Du, de/des, de ce don't represent a person and it wouldn't change if it were a girl.

C'est du Sophie tout craché.

But careful if the person's name starts with a vowel sound.

C'est de l'Hugo tout craché.

C'est de l'Annie tout craché.

  • You don't "need to place du" here but not having it could be ambiguous if out of context.

    C'est Lowell tout craché.

    can either refer to what Lowell did, c' representing something, but it could also represent someone, being rephrased as:

    C'est le portrait craché de Lowell.

2

Because the sentence is not about Lowell himself but about something Lowell did or made. This is why you need to refer to it using "Du".

As this phrase is a shortcut for "C'est du Lowell to craché" where "C'est" indicates you are talking about something Lowell did (here probably some kind of stylistic writing effect), the shortened version needs to keep this "Du" as a clue.

Furthermore we sometimes (less often though) say things like : "Ça, c'est Lowell tout craché !" ; so without "Du" but keeping "C'est". I can't tell you why exactly we sometimes say it one way, sometimes the other, and I am not even sure this alternative is grammatically correct ; but I happen to say it myself or hearing it.

  • Merci. I've got two additional questions. If we're talking about a woman, do you say "De la Sophie tout craché"? And does the "du" in the "Du Lowell" mean "some"? Or is it more like "of"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jun 22 '16 at 15:57
  • 1
    It's more like "some". Du pain = (some) bread. – Destal Jun 22 '16 at 22:12
  • My fist reaction is that if it was about a woman I'd keep using "Du" and not "De la" but the more I think about it the more I wonder (and yes I am a native speaker ! aha). If it was about a woman I think I'd say "C'est Sophie tout craché" without "Du"... And agreeing with @SimonDéchamps in this case "Du" is indeed more like "some" ;) – Ctouw Jun 23 '16 at 8:17

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.