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Les articles partitifs

November 1, 2012

In French there are 3 types of articles :

The partitive articles are used to express a quantity of something that can not be counted.

Masculin Féminin
DU / DE L’ DE LA / DE L’
  • Ex : Je bois de l’eau. (I drink water.)
  • Ex : J’ai de la chance. (I am lucky.)
  • Ex : Je mets du sucre dans mon café. (I put sugar in my coffee.)
1. How to decide when to use “article indéfini” and when to use “article partitif” ?

The indefinite article is used with countable nouns.

  • Ex : J’ai une voiture. (I have a car.)
  • Ex : Je mange un sandwich. (I eat a sandwich.)

The partitive article is used with indivisible or uncountable nouns.

  • Ex : J’ai de l’argent. (I have  money.) → J’ai un argent. J’ai deux argents.
  • Ex : Je mange du riz. (I eat rice.) Je mange un riz. Je mange deux riz.
2. How to decide when to use “article défini” and when to use “article partitif“.

The definite article refers to something as a whole. With uncountable nouns, it is especially used after verbs like “aimer”, “détester” etc., or when the uncountable noun is subject of the sentence.

  • Ex : J’adore le riz. (I love rice.)
  • Ex : Le vin est délicieux. (The wine is delicious.)

The partitive article refers to a part of the whole. It is especially used after verbs like “manger” (to eat), “boire” (to drink), “acheter” (to buy), “vendre” (to sell), “mettre” (to put) etc.

  • Ex : Je vais acheter du pain. (I am going to buy some bread.)
  • Ex : Vous voulez du vin ? (Do you want some wine ?)
Remarque :

In negative sentences du/de l’/de la become de/d’

Ex : Tu as de la chance → Tu n’as pas de chance.

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