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In the following sentence:

En entrant, je suis tombé sur un groupe de personnes bruyantes.

I thought since the personnes is plural, the article must be either les or des. So in any case the article is concatenated with de, to become des (un group des personnes).

However, the sentence uses de, not des.

I have learned that some of the expressions that are related to the quantity always use de, irrespective of any articles following de. These expressions include beaucoup de, un peu de, or autant de.

Is the un groupe de in such a group? Otherwise, why does the sentence above not take the article to make it un groupe des?

marked as duplicate by Toto, Nino Filiu, jlliagre, Ced, Dimitris Apr 1 at 12:17

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First of all I'll go though the larousse definition of "groupe" which is a name:

[nom masculin]
Ensemble de choses, d'animaux ou de personnes, formant un tout et définis par une caractéristique commune : Groupe ethnique. Le groupe des moyens et le groupe des forts.

Than we'll check the definition of « personne » :

[nom féminin, pronom indéfini]
Individu en général, être humain.
Traduction anglais : person, (pluriel) people

When looking for "un groupe de personnes" in Linguee we can see some exemples:

Les fiducies servent à procurer un avantage durable à une autre personne ou à un groupe de personnes.

Si vous prévoyez rassembler un groupe de personnes à cette occasion, faites-le-nous savoir!

Leur ferme tire son nom d'un mot russe qui signifie un groupe de personnes travaillant ensemble vers un but commun.

So in conclusion, in the sentence:

En entrant, je suis tombé sur un groupe de personnes bruyantes.

You should not look at « de » like a word alone in the sentence, but rather to entire « un groupe de personnes » which will always be written this way (if we're talking about only one group) no matter the rest of the sentence.

To go further

If there are various groups of people, we can say instead:

En entrant, je suis tombé sur des groupes de personnes bruyantes.

  • This does not answer the question of why 'de' rather than 'des'. – Mathieu Bouville Mar 24 at 12:26
  • 'groupe' is a noun which can be used by itself, unlike 'un peu de', etc. which are set adverbial phrases.
  • 'un groupe' can be followed by 'des', for instance "le groupe des huit" (the G8). In a sense (or accurately, I am not sure) 'des' is the definite version ('de' + 'les') against the indefinite 'de': "un groupe de huit" would be any eight (countries in this case), rather than 'the 8'.

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