When to use the partitive article when talking about general things?

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Kwiziq community member

22 September 2018

1 reply

When to use the partitive article when talking about general things?

It looks like sometimes you use the partitive article 'des' even when referring to general things, for example:

Le vin blanc me donne des maux de tête.

or the following sentence from an exercise: 'J'étudierais un sujet qui me plaît, en rencontrant des gens intéressants

Can someone explain this please?

This question relates to:
French lesson "Using le, la, l', les before nouns when generalising (definite articles)"


Kwiziq language super star

4 October 2018


Hi Madeleine,

Thank you for your very interesting question and I will try and answer it.

In French for generalities you imply that it is almost a fact as in,

'Les enfants aiment le chocolat et les bonbons.'

It is not true of every child but of most of them.

I think you have to use the partitive in the two examples you give because: 

 'white wine clearly give you (some/a) headache'

In the second example 'you will meet (some) interesting people while studying...'

You might say: ' J'aime les gens intéressants'  in that case it is all of the people under that genus.

It is so instinctive it's quite hard to explain...

Hope it helps!

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