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Does the following sentence have two different meanings, depending on whether to use the masculin or feminine noun for the word "nouveau"?

Je te préviens si j'ai du nouveau.

{Does it mean "if there’s a new development", that is, some new information?}

Je te fais signe si j'ai des nouvelles.

{Does it mean "if there are some news", indicating that those pieces of information are not necessarily new, but just something to impart to you?}

  • I tried to write an answer, but it's very hard to explain the difference, I didn't manage to write anything clear enough... Maybe a clue: You can say "je te donnerais des nouvelles demain", but never "je te donne du nouveau demain"... – Random Aug 29 '16 at 13:52
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In the cases shown, yes there is a difference but it is small. In the first sentence, nouveau means new (recent). Some France residents could correct me with this but they sometimes replace it directly with neuf. So you were right to assume "if there’s a new development" as a meaning. As for the second sentence, nouvelles seems to be refering to new information like "I'll contact you when I know more". In a wider context like a missing person, one might say this to a family member while waiting for the police report.

Be aware that both meanings are really close. In fact, you could mix them up while speaking and people would not necessarily notice it (I wouldn't).

So in short,

nouveau = something changed

nouvelles = new pieces of information arrived

  • 1
    Je parle le français de France. Je ne dirais pas « je te préviens si j'ai du neuf » par contre je pourrais l'employer dans la question « quoi de neuf ? ». – Laure Aug 29 '16 at 17:08
  • Je pourrais quand même dire « Je te préviens si j'ai du neuf » mais dirais plutôt « Je te préviens s'il y a du neuf » qui me semble plus naturel. – jlliagre Aug 29 '16 at 21:26
  • @Laure Je parle le français de France et « je te préviens si j'ai du neuf » me paraît parfaitement normal. – Gilles Aug 29 '16 at 21:28
  • @Gilles Comme Laure, la tournure me surprendrait un peu, je m'attendrais à entendre "nouveau" après "je te préviens si j'ai du ...", mais si dire "neuf" serait compréhensible et valable... – Random Aug 30 '16 at 7:27

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