32 votes
Accepted

Is the "les" needed in "dans les deux jours"?

There is indeed a nuance: "Dans deux jours" means "in two days" "Dans les deux jours" means "within the next two days" So if I say on a Monday "je reviendrai dans deux jours", that means I'll show ...
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  • 17k
16 votes
Accepted

Possessive adjective before a body part

In a full sentence (ie, with a verb), if the body part is preceded by a possessive adjective "ses/son/sa/leur/leurs", it means that the body part does not belong to the body of the subject (...
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  • 17k
8 votes
Accepted

Why do we use apostrophe in definite articles but not indefinite articles?

The apostrophe is commonly taught to come so that vowels don't come close to each other. This is not stated precisely, and you might be misunderstanding. The apostrophe is a consequence of the ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Difference between “le cinéma” and “un cinéma”

In both English and French, certain places are considered to have a kind of general version as well as a specific location. Here are a couple in English: Where did you get that book? Oh, the library. ...
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  • 17.1k
6 votes
Accepted

Why does French use definite plural articles when the meaning is indefinite?

The meaning is not indefinite but generic, and in English the use of the zero article is the norm in generic determination whereas in French what is used is the articles "le", "la"...
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  • 37.9k
5 votes

Why the definitive article instead of the preposition (and vice versa) in these sentences?

With expressions of clock time, use the preposition à to say (at) what time. You can leave out the "at" in English, but not the à in French. It answers the question « À quelle heure ... ? »...
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  • 1,700
4 votes
Accepted

À la main vs à sa main

Si on parle d'une partie de son propre corps, la règle est d'utiliser l'article défini, et éventuellement un pronom réfléchi avec le verbe (ce qui n'est pas possible dans votre exemple): Elle a mal à ...
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  • 17k
4 votes

Placement of "éclatante" + use of definite article

Dans le cas d'un titre, ici un nom de site, il n'est pas nécessaire d'écrire un article défini (le/la/les). Coutures éclatantes est le plus approprié. En français, une grande partie des adjectifs ...
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  • 384
4 votes

Why "les croissants avec DU beurre" ?

There is something not quite usual in this locution; the only solution from those proposed is "Jaime les croissants avec du beurre." and so the test is quite right from the point of view of grammar ...
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  • 37.9k
4 votes

Article défini "les", mais défini par qui? et comment?

Je vois ça comme deux façons de dire la même chose. La deuxième est une assertion plus générale, donc plus forte. On peux faire le rapprochement avec la différence entre ces deux phrases : Il n'y a ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Why are both definite article ("les") and possessive determiners ("mes", "tes") used here for body parts?

In this answer, I learned that with "correct" French, you aren't supposed to use possessive determiners for body parts ("ma tête, mes jambes"), but instead use a definite article (&...
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  • 132k
4 votes
Accepted

Quand emploie-t-on l’article défini (Le/La) devant le mot « weekend » ou « semaine »

L'absence d'article est possible avec le nom d'un jour de semaine mais weekend ne correspond pas à cette définition, comprenant deux jours successifs (voire plus si prolongé). Pour distinguer les deux ...
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  • 132k
4 votes

Why do we use apostrophe in definite articles but not indefinite articles?

This use of the apostrophe goes back to Old French, at a point when the final /ə/ of any word was always pronounced, unless it was followed by a vowel, in which case it was systematically elided. In ...
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  • 9,111
3 votes

Why do we use apostrophe in definite articles but not indefinite articles?

The simple reason is that in "le" the e is not silent, whereas in "une" the e is silent e. le [lə] une [yn]
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  • 37.9k
3 votes

Il a le sens de l'humour VS Il a un sens de l'humour

As a complement to user jlliagre's answer I'll add the following. It is possible to speak of "un sens de l'humour" on the condition that "sens" be modified by an adjective; however,...
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  • 37.9k
3 votes
Accepted

Il a le sens de l'humour VS Il a un sens de l'humour

The first form is the most usual one. Here sens de l'humour is seen as something you have or you haven't. It is assumed there is just one sens de l'humour. If you say il a un sens de l'humour, you ...
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  • 132k
3 votes
Accepted

'Un' vs 'le' for days

"Nous sommes le lundi", as is, is not used; there must be precisions added as to what "lundi" you are talking about; what you can use is "Nous sommes lundi." or "...
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  • 37.9k
3 votes

Why are both definite article ("les") and possessive determiners ("mes", "tes") used here for body parts?

This rule does not take into account exceptions that are dictated by context in which various parts of the same sort have to be differentiated. In the last sentence, if the article is used there is ...
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  • 37.9k
3 votes

Why is it "De l' " and not "Des" in this sentence

First, why did we use the partitive article "de l'" instead of the indefinite articles "des" for the word "ananas". You can use either the partitive or the indefinite ...
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  • 132k
3 votes
Accepted

Why is there no article in the phrase 'Je parle français'?

In je parle français, français is used adverbially so doesn't require an article. Other examples of such usage are: Je m'habille français. Je mange français. J'achète français. Je roule français. Je ...
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  • 132k
3 votes

Why does French use definite plural articles when the meaning is indefinite?

When generically describing a job, the plural definite article might be used in French where English would use no article: Le pompier éteint les incendies Le garagiste répare les voitures Le docteur ...
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  • 132k
3 votes
Accepted

Struggling with definite/indefinite article usage in French

In French, we say je regarde le paysage because there is only one paysage to see. We do not say je regarde un paysage unless maybe if you are talking about paintings1. When referring to a trip, you ...
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  • 132k
2 votes

Placement of "éclatante" + use of definite article

L'adjectif "éclatant" est plus souvent placé après qu'avant le nom qu'il qualifie, mais la différence n'est pas très grande (rapport de 1 à 2) d'après ngram viewer. D'un pur point de vue de ...
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  • 6,488
2 votes

Pourquoi emploie-t-on un article pour le nom d'un pays ?

Both Italian and French being romance languages (derived from Latin) and very close cousins, the mechanism of introduction of article is the same. A justification could be that name of a country is ...
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  • 1,012
2 votes

Why "les croissants avec DU beurre" ?

La phrase couramment utilisée en français est : J'aime les croissants au beurre. Ce qui signifie que les croissants sont réalisés avec une pâte (feuilletée) contenant du beurre. J’aime les ...
user avatar
  • 14.5k
2 votes

Question on usage of 'de la' with 'avec' and 'beaucoup'

Dimitris answered very well questions 1 and 2. Here are some elements on question 3 (avec cinq huiles... vs. beaucoup d'huile). Actually, the difference between the two sentences — (2) «Il cuisine ...
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  • 606
2 votes
Accepted

Question on usage of 'de la' with 'avec' and 'beaucoup'

Je préfère cuisiner avec de l'huile. I prefer cooking with oil. Here de l' is a partitive article. It may be conveyed by 'some' (or 'any'). Nevertheless,'some' is often omitted. The partitive ...
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  • 26.5k
2 votes

Why do we use apostrophe in definite articles but not indefinite articles?

The apostrophe's aren't simply "used", they are used for a purpose. In French, as in English, apostrophes can be used to indicate that some letters have been omitted. For instance: la ...
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1 vote

Why do we use apostrophe in definite articles but not indefinite articles?

The purpose of the elision between two words is to avoid a hiatus. There's no hiatus in une école since it is pronounced [yne'kɔl], the final e in une is not sounded.
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  • 56.9k

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