How To Master Partitive Articles In French

For such a beautiful language, French grammar can be a real pain in the derrière.

One of the strange and delicate grammar issues many amateur French speakers have trouble with are partitive articles, a.k.a. the words you stick in front of other words in order to quantify them. These are the words you use to say you had “some” of something: “I had some bread,” or, “I didn’t have any wine.”

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There are six of these articles: de, du, de la, de l’, d’, and des. To say you had “some” of a thing, you use the article that matches the gender and plurality of the noun. Du goes to singular masculine words, de la to singular feminine, des to plural, and de l’ to singular words that start with a vowel or h.

But when you get to negations or specific qualifiers (e.g., I had “little” or “a lot” of something), you revert back to de or d’, even if the word is plural. The same goes for a specific quantity (e.g., I have 500g of something).

Not so hard, once you get a handle of it. If you thought this video was helpful, check out others from Learn French With Alexa here or here.