Do I say "the French people" or "French people"?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by francescazzurra, May 20, 2008.

  1. francescazzurra Senior Member

    Genova, Italy
    Italian
    :) Hello to everybody!! :)
    Can someone tell me whether the use of the article "the" is necessary when i speak about Nationality?

    Do I say "the French people" or "French people"?
    Do I say "the French" or "French"?

    Thank you!!!
     
  2. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Hi francescazzurra,

    You're going to hate this answer but... it all depends on context! Can you give us some examples? :)
     
  3. russcore New Member

    English - United States
    Yes, it really does depend on context.

    I.e., you could say

    I love French. [short for, "I love the French Language."]
    I love the French. [short for, "I love French people" ]
    I love French people. [ "I love French people in general"]
    I love the French people (here). ["I love these particular French people"]
     
  4. russcore New Member

    English - United States
    I think it's safe to say, you'd say "the French people" over "French people" when you're referring to a specific grouping of French people.
     
  5. frenchyfries Junior Member

    English
    I agree.

    However to be polite, the article "the" should be used. In writing, for example, the sentence, "French People went there." can be regarded as slightly rude.
    It all depends on how formal you would like to be.
     
  6. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    No, it is not really a question of politeness; it means different things with or without the definite article.

    French people went there. Some people who are French went there.
    The French people went there. All the people who are French went there.
     
  7. francescazzurra Senior Member

    Genova, Italy
    Italian
    Thank you.. I'm a bit confused now, but thank you anyway for all your answers!!
     

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