1) Imaginez-vous vous-même en 1941 dans la France occupée, vous avez comme lui 23 ans, qu’est-ce que vous faites ? Etudiant bien sage ? Résistant ? Je vous pose la question, mais vous interdit d’y répondre.

In the example above, a question is asked before the phrase "je vous pose la question", so it makes sense to use the definite article "la (question)".

In the following example, on the other hand, a question is asked after the phrase "je vous pose la question", as indicated by the presence of a colon, and yet the definite article "la (question)" is still used. Is the use of "la" justified here, even though an actual question is yet to come?

2) Le fructose a en effet un pouvoir sucrant assez nettement supérieur à celui du glucose, d’au moins 20 % en moyenne. Je vous pose la question : mais pourquoi croyez-vous que le fructose est aussi utilisé en confiserie ?

  • Let me ask you a question: how else do you think your 2) could be said? You could use: Alors, je vous pose la question, cette question, une question; any of those could be right. But what do you think may be used?
    – Lambie
    Aug 21 '17 at 22:05
  • I wonder if OP isn't mixing up between "la" the article being used here and "la" as in "cette question, je vous la pose"...
    – Laurent S.
    Aug 22 '17 at 11:22
  • @LaurentS. Hi. Could you elaborate on your comment? :) It eludes me the way it is now. Aug 22 '17 at 13:53
  • in your example sentence, "la" is an article, and you're wondering if we could get rid of it. Translated in English, the sentence would then be "I ask you question: why do you think..." . Basically, removing the article doesn't seem a better idea in English than in French. But "la" can also be used to replace the whole complement "la question" proposition in some cases, when the whole complement was already mentioned. In this case indeed it would be strange to have it in some case and we should avoid it. I think you're considering your example to be of the second type, hence your question.
    – Laurent S.
    Aug 22 '17 at 14:38
  • @LaurentS. Thanks. Actually, what I find odd about the 2nd example is: The definite article "la" should refer to something that has already been mentioned in a preceding sentence (as is the case with the 1st example), but in the 2nd example, an actual question is asked after "la". So shouldn't we phrase it as "je vous pose une question" with an indefinite article? Aug 22 '17 at 14:45

Seems pretty justified to me.

By using only "la", it implies that the question has already by mentioned before, perhaps indirectly. There's no harm in recalling it or reformulating it. I believe the first part of the sentence is supposed to make you wonder about the question, and the speaker helps you by formulating it clearly.

Other (and possibly more correct) ways to say it would be:

Je vous pose la question suivante : mais pourquoi croyez-vous que ...

Je vous pose cette question : mais pourquoi croyez-vous que ...

Is the fact that the question start with "mais" related to anything?


Lorsque vous dites :

J'ai vu le chien du voisin.

Le chien que vous avez vu n'est pas non plus spécifié au moment où vous utilisez l'article défini, il faut attendre le complément du nom.

On peut aussi écrire :

C'est alors qu'il vit le chien.

Même si c'est la première fois que l'on rencontre ce chien, à condition d'en reparler. C'est une manière sobre de dire :

C'est alors qu'il vit un chien suffisamment important pour que nous en reparlions plus tard.

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