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My French course (Rosetta Stone) has the following examples:

  1. Cet homme est d’Australie
  2. Cet homme est de France
  3. Cet homme est de Russie
  4. Cet homme est du Japon

Why the other three just use “de” but Japon has to use “du”?

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  • 2
    C'est un vaste sujet… french.stackexchange.com/questions/7508/… Dec 8, 2017 at 4:21
  • 4
    Note that none of those sentences is really idiomatic. We'd rather say "Cet homme vient d'Australie" or "Cet homme est australien" I think.
    – Distic
    Dec 8, 2017 at 9:20
  • Il y a même des nuances dans l'usage comme gouvernement de la France/ambassade de France. Vraiment un sujet touffu et ça finit par déborder le seul cadre du nom du pays. Merci !
    – user3177
    Dec 8, 2017 at 17:45

1 Answer 1

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Masculine vs feminine. "de" + feminine country name vs "du" [de+le] + masculine country name.

  • du Japon, du Gabon, du Pérou

NB some countries are not used with an article (so technically they have no gender), like Cuba or Puerto Rico. In which case, for "neutral" country names, it is "de + name". De Cuba, de Guernesey.

Finally, for country names that are used with the plural form, like Etats Unis, or Caraïbes, it is [de + les] = des. Des Etats Unis, des Caraïbes.

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  • Non. Not an exception but a different case. Cuba is Cuba. Neither le Cuba, nor la Cuba. It doesn't have a gender, like Puerto Rico.
    – dda
    Dec 8, 2017 at 11:24
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    It still has a gender (masculine here), as every noun in French has a gender. Dec 8, 2017 at 12:41
  • Also it doesn't work for URSS: de l'URSS Dec 8, 2017 at 12:45
  • U in URSS is Union, a common noun, not a proper noun.
    – dda
    Dec 8, 2017 at 12:48
  • and so is "états" in "États Unis" Dec 8, 2017 at 13:02

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