For example: The country "The Comoros" is "Les Comores" in French.

As we know, in French; if there is a "de" and a "les", they form a "des". Now since in a sentence, "de" would not be capitalized; however "les" will be due to it's nature of relating to a proper noun.

So now I have "des". How am I supposed to write "of the Comoros" in French? Is "des" capital or not? Or is it a completely different way.


No, that would be des Comores, e.g. "L'archipel des Comores".

In fact, even les in les Comores is not capitalized simply because articles used with or inside country names and articles used inside city names are not capitalized in French, unless the article is not written in French, e.g.:

Je part de La Nouvelle-Orléans vers le Québec.

Je suis à Mantes-la-Jolie.

Je navigue vers les Bahamas.

Où se trouve l'ambassade de El Salvador or … l'ambassade du Salvador

Of course, when the article starts a sentence, it must always be capitalized:

Les Comores se trouvent dans l'Océan Indien.

Initial articles in town are capitalized, we write La Rochelle, Le Havre, La Haye and Des Moines. In the latter case, des grammatical function has been lost (we say the ugly la ville de Des Moines), probably because the first part of the name was dropped as it used to be called Fort-des-Moines.

When the article is modified (à Le and à Les), it loses its capitalization:

Je vais au Havre.

Je suis aux Sables-d'Olonne.

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  • About the exception on article "Des": I think it is also related to Historical naming. No unique rule fully applies. There is other exceptions for sure. This answer should be accepted. +1 – Louys Patrice Bessette Nov 29 '16 at 2:46
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    Pourquoi la majuscule à "La Nouvelle-Orléans" ? – Destal Nov 29 '16 at 9:43
  • @SimonDéchamps I'm unable to find a definitive answer. It seems there is no agreement about it so both capitalized and non capitalized form are used. The Bescherelle capitalizes articles in city names. – jlliagre Nov 29 '16 at 12:10

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