Why do you have to include de before nombreux? Is it because the adjective requires a preposition? What is the grammatical reason for putting de before nombreux?

Pour de nombreux Américains, la guerre contre la pauvreté déclarée il y a cinquante ans par le président démocrate Lyndon B. Johnson est un échec.

  • I know it's confusing, but since pour is the preposition, de cannot also be a preposition. Here it's an article. Jan 15, 2014 at 11:58
  • I think your question is more about the rule than the historical reasons for the appearance of this article. So I think it's a duplicate of the other question. If it was about historical reasons please rephrase your question and it will be reopen. Jan 15, 2014 at 12:03

2 Answers 2


"de" is not in that sentence a preposition but an article required for "Américains" like one would be in:

  • "Pour les Américains, ..."
  • "Pour des Américains, ..."

Note that in the similar

  • "Pour nombre d'Américains, ..."

"d" is not an article but an elided preposition "de":

  • "For a large number of Americans"
  • This is my first post, and I am blown away by how fast I have received an answer. Thank you jlliagre. I'm slightly confused by the articles in your example... using d'Américains and des Américains.
    – Kyle
    Jan 15, 2014 at 1:10
  • Thanks. I'm sure you'll get more "professional" answers later. Anyway, in the last example "d'" stands for "de" (elision) and I guess is that time a preposition.
    – jlliagre
    Jan 15, 2014 at 1:25
  • @Kyle: In d' the apostrophe replaces the e that has to be dropped in front of the vowel. Same phenomenon when we say l'enfant (but les enfants) ...
    – None
    Jan 15, 2014 at 6:24
  • @Kyle "des Americains" "des" is equivalent of "some" but with "nombre d'Américain" "d'" is equivalent of "of" (a large number of american people)
    – goto
    Jan 15, 2014 at 9:22
  • The second statement was quite confusing, you say “similar” but in “Pour nombre d'Américains”, de is a preposition; only applicability of the elision rule is “similar”. I tried to make it clearer. Jan 15, 2014 at 12:06

Note that the article used is different depending on whether the adjective precedes the noun or follows it:

(1) De nombreux Américains considèrent que ...

(2) Des Américains influents considèrent que ...

  • 1
    This doesn't really answer the question that is "why is this preposition needed".
    – Kareen
    Jan 15, 2014 at 7:49

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