If an adjective comes before its noun then des becomes de like this: J'ai acheté de nouveaux pantalons. Does this rule apply to les as well or does the old "gender and number has to agree" rule takes the cake this time?

  • 3
    That's a nice inference to make, but the issue here is that "de" in "de nouvelle voitures" isn't the singular of "des", it's just the preposition/partitive marker without a definitive article to merge with. Jul 23 at 12:49

It's neither la nouvelles voitures, nor le nouvelles voitures.

The singular of des (indefinite article) is not de but un / une.

Des/de can also be partitive articles, along with du, de la.

  • Indefinite article:

J'ai acheté des nouveaux pantalons. Singular: J'ai acheté un nouveau pantalon.
Je veux des nouvelles voitures.Je veux une nouvelle voiture.

  • Definite article:

J'ai acheté les nouveaux pantalons. Singular: J'ai acheté le nouveau pantalon.
Je veux les nouvelles voitures.Je veux la nouvelle voiture.

  • Partitive article:

J'ai acheté de nouveaux pantalons. No partitive singular (or would be j'ai acheté du nouveau pantalon), should use an definite or indefinite article.

Je veux de nouvelles voitures. → Ditto

  • 1
    I think pantalons is countable so it can only take the "indefinite article des" and not the "partitive des" so your answer is really confusing to me. Although I'm a newbie so that's that.
    – uhu23
    Jul 23 at 14:04
  • 1
    Pantalons (plural) is uncountable in j'ai acheté de nouveaux pantalons thanks to the prepended adjective. J'ai acheté de pantalons doesn't work. Note that classifying the articles that way is part of the traditional French grammar but it's no surprise it can be confusing in some cases. Here is an alternative approach: Claude Muller, Indéfinis et partitifs en français
    – jlliagre
    Jul 23 at 14:40
  • Thank you very much!
    – uhu23
    Jul 23 at 14:54

It depends : If brand A release a new car model, and you want one of the many car released in this model, you say "Je veux la nouvelle voiture".

If you want many car (from the same new model, or many different model) you'll say "Je veux les nouvelles voitures"

And if you just want a new car, any one, because the old one doesn't fit anymore, you'll say "Je veux une nouvelle voiture"

But to be more precise on your question, for the trousers, you can use "J'ai acheté les nouveaux pantalons" (many) but can't use "J'ai acheté le nouveaux pantalons" (many).

You have to match number first, then gender.

You'll use "J'ai acheté le nouveau pantalon" when single.

"Il/Elle" => "Ils/Elles" have plural gender. But "Le/La" only have "Les".

So by matching number first, you'll lose the gender information.


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