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Je reviens des vacances. and not ~je reviens de vacances.~

I don't understand why des changes into de here. Is there a special case with the verb venir that leads to contracting the article following it and if so why is it correct to say “Je reviens de la mort” then?

I've come across several cases like this especially with verbs and it feels hard to memorise all of them.

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You can use des vacances but when you are talking about a specific vacation:

Je reviens des vacances de février.

If you don't, vacances is a generic, indefinite noun and doesn't take an article:

Je reviens de vacances.

like we say:

Je rentre de vacances.
Je rentre de voyage.
J'ai besoin de vacances.
J'ai besoin de sucre.
J'ai besoin de sommeil.

There is a difference between :

Je reviens des grandes vacances. (I'm back from summer holidays)

and

Je reviens de grandes vacances. (I'm back from long holidays)

This is actually a case of haplology (repeating sounds avoidance). The undefinite article (des or du) disappears when it follows the preposition de

What is intended to say is:

Je reviens "de des" vacances.
J'ai besoin "de du" sucre.

La mort is not generic, it's not de de la mort: I'm back from (some) death, but de la mort: I'm back from (the) death, so you say:

Je reviens de la mort.
Je reviens de la prison.: I'm returning from the jailhouse.

Other examples with revenir

Je reviens d'examens. (de des examens)
Je reviens de prison. (de de la prison): I'm back from jail.

Reference: http://research.jyu.fi/grfle/060.html

  • @jiliagre but why Morte can't be generic after all we can specify Morte like : la morte de Nicolas, la morte qui est dure. In addition, alot of the nouns you have mentioned above can take an article in another cases like : dans le sommeil , on fond le sucre. And there is that sentence also which I do not know why the article was omitted from : Ses murs sont ornés de photos. – Manar May 29 at 13:36
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    Beware that the word is mort and not morte in your sentences. Both mort and morte are feminine... – jlliagre May 29 at 15:19
  • Ahh I got it now. But just one last thing, why it is je rentre de voyage not du voyage or d'un voyage. I thought voyage is a definite noun. – Manar May 29 at 16:18
  • I know it can mean travelling and when so it takes de but when I search google for du voyage I find only de voyage . – Manar May 29 at 16:24
  • If you are talking about a specific voyage, you say je reviens du voyage inaugural de la nouvelle ligne de métro. If you are talking about a unspecified voyage, but which has nevertheless some specificity, you say je reviens d'un voyage en hélicoptère. – jlliagre May 29 at 16:29
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Je reviens de XXX

This is actually a very specific sentence that could translate to "I'm coming back from" : you can't really use another sentence to express the same.

  • Je reviens de chez le voisin
  • Je reviens de l'étranger
  • Je reviens de magasins de mode
  • etc.
  • Personnaly I have never heard "je reviens des vacances", but rather "je reviens de [mes] vacances". But then again, I'm not a fan of language rules, I'm just telling you on an everyday basis what I hear/say – Maryannah May 29 at 12:13
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    You already heard Je reviens des vacances de Pâques, didn't you? – jlliagre May 29 at 15:52
  • 1
    Indeed I heard ! – Maryannah May 29 at 16:02

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