Why do we say:

Demande de divorce

and not:

Demande d'un divorce


  • Can someone explain me when we use demande de when demande d'un/d'une or just demande LE divorce? :(
    – user10544
    Aug 10 '16 at 13:07

Because with the second form, that might mean a divorce itself is asking something (request from a divorce) which is more than dubious.

Divorce is here to be taken as generic, uncounted substantive. A divorce is asked, not some specific divorce.

You might however say both demande de divorce à l'amiable and demande d'un divorce à l'amiable because in that latter case, it is about a specific divorce, not a generic one.

Similarily, when demande is a conjugated verb and not a substantive, le is used when divorce is generic and un if a specific kind of divorce:

Il demande le divorce.

It is rarely:

Il demande un divorce.

but one will say:

Il demande un divorce rapide.

and definitely not:

Il demande le divorce rapide.

  • pretty sure the OP misplaced that question mark. Aug 10 '16 at 11:50
  • One could argue that using "de" gives us a similar ambiguity, or even that "d'un" might not be so ambiguous after all. Usually, if you specify the one who makes the demand, you will not say "demande de pierre" or "demande d'un banquier", but "demande par/de la part d' un banquier (e.g. "demande d'une journée de congé par/de la part d'un banqiuer). The fact that we don't use "d'un divorce" is merely due to the fact that there can only be one divorce, so "de divorce" is specific enough.
    – MorganFR
    Aug 10 '16 at 11:51
  • So demande is always with "DE"? never with a construction d'un, d'une or des?
    – user10544
    Aug 10 '16 at 12:28
  • Answer updated, Demande d'un might also be used.
    – jlliagre
    Aug 10 '16 at 12:58
  • Can you explain me in what meanings?
    – user10544
    Aug 10 '16 at 13:13

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