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In the expressions certains d'entre eux, aucun d'entre eux, etc., is there an explanation why there is a "de"? The meaning seems to be just "some of them" and "none of them", so I'm not sure why it is necessary to place a "de" in front of the preposition.

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    Maybe because of is said de in french? and without the de, certains entre eux would mean some between them. – oldergod Oct 14 '16 at 5:07
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As underlined @oldergod, without "de" those expressions would not have the same meaning :

  • certains / aucun = some / none
  • de = of
  • entre = between
  • eux = them

So without "de" you have no link between the quantity (some/none) and the fact that this quantity is taken inside the group (of them).

You would be understood because it is not a big word missing, but it will appear as strange and incorrect - you will probably be corrected.

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