From a press article in Le nouvel Observateur:

[…] il rencontre entre autres des hommes obsédés par la science, abîmés dans des spéculations abstraites, et qui ont perdu tout contact avec le monde.

In both examples, des hommes obsédés and des spéculations abstraites, des seems to be the English equivalent for the zero article: obsessed people and random speculations.

Is this des, in these two examples, the famous French partitive article, which is otherwise used when saying, for instance, Tu as du vin? Non, je n'en ai plus.?

1 Answer 1


Here des is, as you've said, the equivalent for the English zero article.

Indeed des here is an indefinite article and is the plural form of un

un oiseau → a bird ⟹ des oiseaux → birds

  • thx indoxica for the corrections I am a little tired :) Jul 25, 2013 at 12:18
  • Avec plaisir. You're welcome.
    – indoxica
    Jul 25, 2013 at 12:22

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