Article partitif

French Partitive Article

See also: Article and Article Types

French partitive articles are used with uncountable* nouns and generally mean "some."

  1. du (masculine)
  2. de la (feminine)
  3. de l' (masculine or feminine in front of vowel or mute h)
  4. des (plural)

French partitive articles are more complex than the simple English "some" because they need to agree in number and gender with the nouns they apply to. Also, they are required whereas "some" is often optional in English.

For example

J'ai acheté du pain. - I bought (some) bread.

Je veux de l'eau. - I want some water.

Il y a des épinards sur la table. - There's (some) spinach on the table.

*For countable nouns like drinks and peaches, you need indefinite articles instead.

Note: Des can also be the contraction of de + les in which de is the preposition 'of' and les is the definite article, so it's not always immediately clear which role des is playing in a sentence.

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