Ça nous détournera un peu les idées du déménagement.

= "That way, even for a little while, we can think about something other than moving house."

As I understand it, « détourner quelqu'un de quelque chose » is the way you usually use the verb "détourner". But « de » is nowhere to be seen in the sentence above. I wonder why it is not correct to say:

Ça nous détournera un peu des idées du déménagement.

(Comments and answers addressed the issue of de déménagement, which indeed was wrong and should read du déménagement as above.)

  • 1
    Where did you see that first sentence? It feels wrong to me. The second sentence doesn't feel idiomatic either, but at least it makes sense. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 18:39
  • @Gilles In an email that I received from a person who works as an interpreter between Japanese and French. Merci. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


The first doesn't look correct to me. I'd also have said the latter, where did you see it ?

However, a common phrase is "Ça nous changera les idées" ("(se) changer les idées" is the generic form). Maybe it was a deformation, a mix of several expressions, if said orally it wouldn't be that surprising.

The last thing I'm thinking of is maybe the sentence was "Ça nous détournera les idées du déménagement" as in "we will think about something else than the moving", it talks about the moving specifically, while the other are talking about a hypothetical moving, or a moving to come.

EDIT : I see you changed your question, do you still feel the first one is weird ? In english I think it would be "that would take our minds off the moving", and the second one is not correct. It would be with "de", talking about, as I said, a hypothetical moving, or one to come, but with "du" it's not !

  • Regarding "du": Exactly! Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 18:49
  • If you use the verb "changer" instead, is the use of "de" necessary: "Ça nous changera un peu des idées du déménagement." Or: "Ça nous changera un peu les idées du déménagement." Merci. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 18:59
  • "Changer les idées" is a expression, you have to use it as is ! I can't think of a sentence where "changer des idées" is correct. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:06
  • Keep in mind that "changer les idées" is more often used alone : "On va regarder une comédie, ça nous changera les idées". I think that's why he used "détourner" instead. It's still correct with "changer", jst sued a little less often with something else. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:10
  • Oh, I see. And I just came across this sentence: "Ça nous change des inepties habituelles !" In this specific instance, is it acceptable to use the construction "changer quelqu'un de quelque chose"? Merci. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:17

How to use the verb “détourner” ?

Well, french language mostly use "détourner" when you a hi-jack an airplane, or when you use an object to not fill his primal function, like when you do music with your gameboy you can say that "j'ai détourné l'objet de sa fonction"

In your case, we use more usually "se changer les idées/s'aérer l'esprit", idiomatics expressions.

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