Chapter 1.7 and 1.8 "some"



Hi there,

Chapter 1.7 translates “some” in to "des" (some bread = des pain)

Chapter 1.8 introduces “of the” which can also translate into “des” and then further explaines that “some” can also be translated with “de la, du, etc.” but provides no explanation in which situation which translation is correct for “some”.


In short:

Chapter 1.7 some bread = des pain

chapter 1.8 some bread = du pain

I am confused…




My understanding is that des = de + les, du = de + le, and of course there's de la, or de l'.


Des is followed by a plural noun, like des fleurs, des livres, etc.


“Je veux des livres” = I want books (or some books).


“Je veux du pain,” = I want bread (or some bread)


“Je veux de la confiture” = I want jam (or some jam)


“Je veux de l'argent,” = I want money (or some money).


I didn't see “des pain” in 1.7, I saw things like “des copines,” “des crayons” etc.


This is my understanding and I'm not far ahead of you in the lessons so I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.




Bonjour Stephanie (et devbanana),


These are called partitive articles. Partitive articles are used to express an unspecified quantity of something (i.e. food, liquid or something we cannot count). It may appear confusing because in English we have no equivalent, which is why the partitive article is usually translated using the adjectives ‘some’ or ‘any’. 


In your above comment you asked which one is correct, but the answer is that all of them are. They all mean ‘some’.


There are four different partitive articles in French based on gender, number and one more used before vowels or a muted h:

SingularDuDe la
Vowel or muted hDe l'

I hope this table makes sense. I'm going to add a few examples here along with translations which will hopefully clear things up.

  • J'ai mangé du pain aujourd'hui. (I ate some bread today.) - bread is masculine, thus du
  • Il faut ajouter de la farine. (We must add some flour.) - flour is feminine, thus de la
  • Peux-tu acheter des pâtes? (Can you buy some pasta?) - pasta is plural, thus des
  • Tu veux de l'eau? (Do you want some water?) - water begins with a vowel, thus de l'

Note that all examples include items we cannot directly count (i.e. we cannot say three breads, four flours) so in French we use the partitive article, while in English we simply say ‘some’.


I hope this clears things up.

   -   Mitchell

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