I have learned that when you have a structure like "des adjective noun" the "des" becomes "de". But a Duolingo sentence seems to contradict this. I have tried really hard but failed to find an explanation. Why is it "il y a des petits morceaux de légumes" not "il y a de petits morceaux de légumes"?

Also this seems to be a separate issue but if I'm talking about some specific vegetables can I also use "des" with légumes and say "des petits morceaux des légumes"? I know it likely changes the meaning a little but would it work?

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1 Answer 1


The "de vs des" question has been answered quite a lot on here already, but in your particular case, this sentence is correct and could be accepted by Duolingo:

il y a de petits morceaux de légumes

But you wrote :

il y a de petits morceaux des légumes

and that's incorrect, you can't use des before légumes here, not if you used de before.

il y a des petits morceaux des légumes

Although rare, this sentence could work technically, it means "there are little pieces of the vegetables" and implies you've mentioned those vegetables before and you're talking about what happened to them. It doesn't make much sense in this sentence but grammatically it's possible to have a sentence like this.

More importantly, it's a "Tap what you hear" exercise so there's no room for "slighty different but also correct sentence" that could be accepted in a translation exercise. You're supposed to input exactly what was said.

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