FR: de/des jolis pantalons

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by sethmachine, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. sethmachine Senior Member

    English-US
    Hello everyone,
    I was wondering if the partitive article «des» changes to «de» in front of adjectives dealing with size, beauty, and age.
    ex: Ils ont des jolis pantalons. :cross:
    but rather
    Ils ont de jolis pantalons. :tick: Right?
     
  2. Burgundy Miss

    Burgundy Miss Senior Member

    Burgundy, France (for many long years)
    English (West coast American)
    Right! It's exactly that.
     
  3. sethmachine Senior Member

    English-US
    I thought so, but what are the origins of this?
     
  4. Burgundy Miss

    Burgundy Miss Senior Member

    Burgundy, France (for many long years)
    English (West coast American)
    Seth, You're asking me to justify a decision taken by our illustrious Academy Française?? :) Actually, often "literary" texts will go against the rule: ex "Il y a une affluence de mendiants qui nous offrent des petits bouquets de roses." (P. Loti), but the grammar books will tell you that this is in contradiction with what is, elsewhere, a very strict rule to be applied: "de" before a noun preceded by an adjective, du, de la, de l', our des before a compound word like "des grands-pères" or before an adjective which is at one with the noun like " de la bonne volonté" or"des jeunes-gens". Does this help?
     
  5. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Hello Seth, :)

    It's not limited to adjectives dealing with size, beauty and age. It's that des may change to de when there is an adjective that precedes the noun (i.e., when there is an adjective in between des and the noun). Since the adjectives for size, beauty and age generally appear before the noun, they are definitely affected... but they're not the only ones! Remember that many French adjectives can be placed before the noun for stylistic purposes (even ones that usually goe after)...

    de nombreuses années
    d'excellentes soirées
    de longues heures
    etc.

    More information here (point #5)... and in many exisiting threads (note the search terms).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2012

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