Du, de la, de l', des all become de or d' in negative sentences (partitive articles)

You know how to use partitive articles (du, de la, de l', des) in affirmative sentences by now (see Using du, de la, de l', des to express some or any (partitive articles)).


Now look at these negative sentences:

Je mange des pommes. - Je ne mange pas de pommes.
I eat apples.  -  I don't eat any apples.

Je bois du lait. - Je ne bois pas de lait.
I drink milk.  -  I don't drink any milk.

J'ai des animaux.  - Je n'ai pas d'animaux.
I've got (some) animals.  -Me, I don't have any animals.

Nous avons bu de la bière.  -  Nous n'avons pas bu de bière.
We drank beer.  - We didn't drink any beer.

Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande.
Do you eat meat? - No, we never eat meat.

Tu fais encore de la natation ? - Non, je ne fais plus de natation.
Do you still go swimming? - No, I don't go swimming anymore.

Partitive articles du, de la, de l' and des all become de or d' (in front of a vowel or mute h) in negative sentences using ne...pas, ne...jamais, ne...plus etc (See also N'avoir plus de = To have none left (negation))

ATTENTION: 

This rule does NOT apply to sentences using the verb être and other Verbes d'état, with which the partitive article doesn't change.

C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.
Is that Guerande salt? -No, it's not Guerande salt.

C'est de l'huile d'olive ? -Non, ce n'est pas de l'huile d'olive.
Is this olive oil? -No, this is not olive oil.

Le plomb devient de l'or. - Non, le plomb ne devient pas de l'or !
Lead becomes gold. - No, lead doesn't become gold!

Also see Un, une become de or d' in negative sentences (indefinite articles) 

Note that definite articles (le, la, l', les) don't change in negative sentences: 
J'aime le chocolat. -> Je n'aime pas le chocolat.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je mange des pommes. - Je ne mange pas de pommes.
I eat apples.  -  I don't eat any apples.


Le plomb devient de l'or. - Non, le plomb ne devient pas de l'or !
Lead becomes gold. - No, lead doesn't become gold!


C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.
Is that Guerande salt? -No, it's not Guerande salt.


Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande.
Do you eat meat? - No, we never eat meat.


J'ai des animaux.  - Je n'ai pas d'animaux.
I've got (some) animals.  -Me, I don't have any animals.


Tu fais encore de la natation ? - Non, je ne fais plus de natation.
Do you still go swimming? - No, I don't go swimming anymore.


Nous avons bu de la bière.  -  Nous n'avons pas bu de bière.
We drank beer.  - We didn't drink any beer.


Tu as de la colle ? - Non je n'ai plus de colle.
Have you got glue? - No, I haven't any glue left.


Je bois du lait. - Je ne bois pas de lait.
I drink milk.  -  I don't drink any milk.


C'est de l'huile d'olive ? -Non, ce n'est pas de l'huile d'olive.
Is this olive oil? -No, this is not olive oil.


Q&A

Marianne

Kwiziq community member

6 November 2018

0 replies

The quiz question translates "Pierre n'achète pas de vélo." To "Pierre doesn't buy a bike." It seems to me one could say , "Pierre n'achète pas un

Paul

Kwiziq community member

8 October 2018

2 replies

de preceding the possessive adjective

Même si ce n'était pas de sa faute.Hi, Can you please explain, is "de" necessary before "sa" in this sentence? Thanks, Paul.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

9 October 2018

9/10/18

Hi Paul,

Well spotted!

In fact you can say both "C'est ma faute" or "C'est de ma faute".

The first one is considered more correct but you will hear both in French .

It is an idiomatic 'de' so hard to justify...

C'est ma faute, c'est ma faute, c'est ma très grande faute = Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Hope this helps!

Paul

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2018

9/10/18

Thanks Cécile, that's very helpful. I'm encouraged by my experience that "de ma faute" didn't sound quite right. Maybe I'm starting to develop an ear for French! Paul.

Sivavathana

Kwiziq community member

27 May 2018

4 replies

Partitif article followed by propername

I have the following sentence

Il biot ------ Coca-cola tous les jours.

Here i need to fill it using partitif article, because Coca-cola is a propername i have to use Il boit de Coca-cola tous les jours?

Is this correct. Please correct me if i am wrong.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 May 2018

27/05/18

HI Sivavathana,

The answer would be 'Il boit du Coca-cola tous les jours'.

It would be the same for any beverage, e.g.

Il boit du lait, du vin, du champagne, de la bière, du Pineau des Charentes tous les jours...

Hope this helps!

Sivavathana

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018

28/05/18

Thank you so much.. It helped me a lot.. After your response i underdtood that all drinks are masculine gender.. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018

28/05/18

De la bière!! ;) -- Chris.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 May 2018

29/05/18

Indeed Chris, "On boit de la bière , de la limonade et de la Vodka..."

Have been racking my brain to think of any other beverages which are feminine but these are the only ones I could muster...

Please feel free to add to the list ...

Sivavathana's comment is valid though as most are masculine which is something that a native speaker wouldn't necessarily appreciate as useful to a learner.

 

Maddie

Kwiziq community member

10 May 2018

1 reply

D'animaux vs DES animaux

Why is it "Elle n'aime pas d'animaux" rather than "Elle n'aime pas DES animaux"? I didn't think that it mattered if the noun started with a vowel when it was plural; it would alway become "des" and the 's' would be pronounced in front of the vowel sound.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

11 May 2018

11/05/18

Bonjour Maddie !

In this case -  negative sentences - the des becomes de.

J'ai des pommes.  -> Je n'ai pas de pommes.

And de will become d' in front of a vowel or mute "h", for pronunciation reasons.

J'ai des animaux.   -> Je n'ai pas d'animaux.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

helen

Kwiziq community member

20 February 2018

5 replies

Ils n'ont pas de l'habitude / pas "d'habitude" or pas "l'habitude"?

helen

Kwiziq community member

20 February 2018

20/02/18

I'm not sure why when I post questions, the body doesn't post but here's the rest of the question: I'm thinking that "de" follows pas before nouns( except when using etre.) So would this sentence be correct: "Ils n'ont pas d'habitude de parler francais." Or should it be "ils n'ont pas de l'habitude de parler francais"? I actually had a French speaker tell me there is no "de" and it's "Ils n'ont pas l'habitude de parler francais. Help!:)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

21/02/18

Hi Helen,

"Ils n'ont pas l'habitude de parler français" -- They are not in the habit of speaking French.

You don't use "de" in this case because that would signifiy that what comes after is part of a bigger thing (e.g. "un morceau du gâteau" -- a piece of the cake). Since there isn't something like a "bigger piece of habit" you don't use the preposition "de".

Hope that helps, -- Chris  (not a native speaker).

helen

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

21/02/18

Chris, thank you for this. I love the logic about it not being "part of a bigger thing". Would you say the majority of time, we would use "pas de" before a noun?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2018

21/02/18

Yes, definitely. According to this pattern:

"Tu as du lait?" - "Non, je n'ai plus de lait." -- "Do you have some milk?" - No, I have no more milk."

-- Chris. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 August 2018

27/08/18

Hi Helen,

As the expression is - 'avoir l'habitude de faire quelque chose', the le is maintained after the pas or it would not make any sense...

but I can understand your confusion...

Paul

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2017

4 replies

Use of etre

Please will someone enlighten as to when, where or how the verb 'etre' is used in the following sentences: C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

3 August 2017

3/08/17

Hi Paul - I'm not sure if I've understood your question but 'est' (in C'est and Ce n'est pas) is être.

Paul

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2017

3/08/17

Many thanks Gruff. Of course you are correct. Still struggling with etre and avoir.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

3 August 2017

3/08/17

Pleasure. In that case, I'd suggest you add these two lessons to your notebook:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/conjugate-etre-in-le-present-present-tense

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/conjugate-irregular-avoir-in-le-present-the-present-tense

There are add buttons on the lessons, and then you can go to your notebook (the bookmark icon in the top right) and practise them from there.

Just keep kwizzing until you feel you've mastered them.

Hope that helps.

Karen

Kwiziq community member

31 May 2018

31/05/18

Hi Paul,

C'est is the contraction of ce est. Est is third person singular form of être.

Anish

Kwiziq community member

24 June 2017

1 reply

Is this rule exclusive for partitive articles?

Is it correct to say "Je ne Viens pas de natation" as a negative form of "Je viend de la natation"

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 June 2017

24/06/17

Bonjour Anish, This is the lesson statement that most aptly fits your question: ATTENTION: This rule does NOT apply to sentences using the verb être, with which the partitive article doesn't change. C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande. Is that Guerande salt? -No, it's not Guerande salt. C'est de l'huile d'olive ? -Non, ce n'est pas de l'huile d'olive. Is this olive oil? -No, this is not olive oil. J'espère que cela vous aidera. Ron

Mary

Kwiziq community member

11 April 2017

1 reply

Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande. - No, I never eat meat.

Why have you used "nous ne mangeons jamais" for first person singular?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

11 April 2017

11/04/17

Bonjour Mary ! This was a mistake, thanks you so much for letting us know! The English has now been edited accordingly :) Merci et à bientôt !

Bruce

Kwiziq community member

10 February 2017

2 replies

What about negative sentences referring to body parts?

Which is correct and what references can you provide to convince my teacher? Elles n'ont pas les yeux verts? Elles n'ont pas des yeux verts? Elles n'ont pas d'yeux verts?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 February 2017

10/02/17

Bonjour Bruce ! This case is actually quite different, as the affirmative sentence would be "Elle a les yeux bleus", so the negative equivalent would still be "Elle n'a pas *les* yeux bleus". Look at our related lesson: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/using-le-la-les-with-body-parts-and-clothing-definite-articles I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Bruce

Kwiziq community member

10 February 2017

10/02/17

Bonjour! Merci bien pour votre réponse. I had reviewed the lesson you mention. I suppose it could be inferred that a definite article should be used for one's own body parts in the negative but it didn't specifically address it. It was my understanding that a definite article should be used, even in the negative, but my teacher says that this is wrong. Can you provide a reference that I can use to show my teacher? L'Académie française, peut-être? Merci. Bruce
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