I'm learning French using Duolingo, and somewhere one of its sentences is:

Nous sommes entre hommes.

Why there is no articles after entre and before hommes? Is it optional?

  • 1
    I need to think more about the why, but the article is not optional, it's forbidden (if you mean “among men”/“between men”). “Entre les hommes” would mean between the (presumably two) specific men that were previously mentioned. Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


Not an option. It depends on what entre is used for.
This preposition may be used for 2 distinct meanings a) between two limits or b) to express a relationship (reciprocity or opposition) inside a set.
In the first case, we most of the time use the article :

Je marche entre le mur et l'arbre.
Je marche entre les hommes réunis dans cette salle.

Except if the limits are related to time or are abstractions:

Je viendrai entre 4 et 5 heures.
J'aime cette couleur entre rouge et violet.

In the second case, when entre expresses a reciprocity, we don't use articles :

Cela se passe entre hommes (ou femmes).
Nous sommes entre amis.

When it expresses an opposition, we do use articles :

Il hésite entre le bien et le mal.
La concurence entre la route et le train.
Seule entre les autres femmes, elle portait fièrement un pantalon.

Particular case : entre autres (among others, inter alea)

Vous devrez fournir, entre autres, votre date de naissance.

A little bit complicated ? No, not at all ! ;)

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