I saw this sentence:

Mais le plus intéressant avec le bitcoin, c’est la technologie qu’il y a derrière.

A literal translation of course is "But the most interesting about bitcoin..." rather than "But the most interesting thing about bitcoin", even if that's how we would say it in English.

I would have phrased this as mais la chose la plus intéressante... and not have realized it isn't idiomatic. When can you omit the noun this way, and is it obligatory or optional? Is it more idiomatic?

1 Answer 1


Mais la chose la plus intéressante avec le bitcoin [...] would have been idiomatic, just a little longer but still common.

Mais le plus intéressant avec le bitcoin [...] is of course also idiomatic but it is not a case where the noun chose has been omitted as the sentence would have been mais la plus intéressante avec le bitcoin, [...] which just doesn't work unless chose has explicitely been mentioned earlier.

Here, intéressant is used as a neutral noun, as the TLFi tells:

III.Emploi substantivé masculin singulier à valeur de neutre. Ce qui est intéressant (dans quelque chose, quelqu'un), ce qui fait l'intérêt de (quelque chose, quelqu'un). Revenez! Vous manquez le plus intéressant. C'est à Ruth de nous parler de son mari... (Giraudoux, Sodome, 1943, I, 1, p. 33). En autrui, elle [notre attention] ne poursuit pas l'existence, mais l'« intéressant », c'est-à-dire le pittoresque (Mounier, Traité caract., 1946, p. 484)

  • I didn't even notice the gender change. The subtleties still escape me after all these years. Thanks. Jul 30, 2022 at 3:33
  • 1
    In English, we generally only use neutral nouns for people (and only in the plural) — the dead, the poor, the meek, the merciful, the dispossessed, the educated. This may be what was confusing for the OP, as in the example it's used for a singular thing. Jul 30, 2022 at 15:29

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