If I said "chicken leg" (or leg of chicken), I'm pretty sure it would be "cuisse de poulet", but if I said "majority of people" it would be "majorite des gens". So why doesn't the first phrase have a definite article (i.e cuisse du poulet), and what is the general rule?
There won't be a definite article behind DE ever when it defines the quantity of something.
- Une cuisse de poulet
- Beaucoup de travail
- Un morceau de pain
- Un peu de tranquilité
- Une carafe d'eau
Here, DE is specifying what these quantities are about.
DE can therefore be translated as of something.
But, DE must be followed by a definite article when it precedes a word alone. For instance:
- De la tranquilité
- De l'eau
- De l'herbe
- Du travail (Why putting du here? you may ask. Well, the very thing to know is that DU is the combination of DE + LE. As travail is masculine, you won't say de le travail, you say du)