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FR: negation + partitive article

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by RJW, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. RJW New Member

    Germany English
    Helo

    can someone help me, I am having trouble understanding the partitive article when using e.g. aimer or using negation.

    J'aime la tarte aux oranges, mais ils n'ont pas ..... tartes

    thanks

    Moderator note: Multiple threads have been merged to create this one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  2. marget Senior Member

    Bonjour and welcome to the forum!:)
    In general, the partitive article changes to de in the negative, but the definite article, which is used with aimer, does not change, even if the verb is negative.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  3. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Marget is right:

    Au supermarché, je cherche du beurre et du lait.
    -> Chez le boucher, je ne cherche pas de pain ni de beurre, mais du boeuf.

    Ils ont des tartes.
    -> Ils n'ont pas de tartes, mais ils ont du gâteau.
     
  4. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Marget mentioned this above, but I just want to make sure it's clear... :)

    If you are using aimer to make a general statement, "I like X" then you don't use the partitive!
    J'aime la glace, j'aime la plage, j'ai aimé le film, etc
    I like ice cream, I like the beach, I liked the movie, etc.

    But if you use aimer as way to make a request, "I would like some X" then you do use the partitive.
    J'aimerais de l'eau, s'il vous plaît.
    I would like some water, please.

    This is because the partitive is for indicating part of something. You like ice cream (any ice cream, all ice cream) --> no partitive. But you aren't asking for all the water in the world; you only want "some" water, part of all the water that exists --> partitive.

    The opposite of "some" is "not any." Thus a sentence that takes the partitive in the positive uses just de in the negative:
    Ils ont des tartes --> Ils n'ont pas de tartes.
    They have (some) pies --> They don't have any pies.

    There is one notable exception to the "use de instead of the partitive in the negative" rule: when you are identifying something with être.
    Ce n'est pas du vin, c'est de l'eau !
    It's not (some) wine, it's (some) water!

    Notice how you're not saying that there isn't any of the misidentified substance. You're not saying, "it isn't any wine." Instead you're saying that the "some" of the substance you do have isn't wine, it's water. So you use the partitive even in the negative.

    Many people find this article helpful. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  5. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    I'd say the rule involved here is more general than only using être.
    Du is kept despite the negative sentence when the partitive refers to a specific "part of something", and not any part of it.
    This rule works with any verb.

    For example, you may say:
    -> Je ne bois pas de vin, which means you never drink (any) wine,
    But also:
    -> Je ne bois pas du vin, which means what you're currently drinking is not wine.

    In a sentence with être, like in ce n'est pas du vin, the subject (ce) refers to something specific (here the content of a specific glass or bottle), and then the partitive has to remain du.
     
  6. DT4 Senior Member

    Toulouse, France
    Scotland(UK), English
    Je viens de voir quelquechose qui dit que après pas un/une/du/de la/de l' deviennent de. Est-ce que c'est le cas avec les autres négations ex ne...rien, ne...jamais et caetera ?
     
  7. Odyssée

    Odyssée Senior Member

    Bordeaux - FRANCE
    French - France
    Je ne comprends pas grand chose. Donc quelques exemples où "l'" ne devient pas "de" :
    "je ne veux pas le voir maintenant"
    "ce n'est pas un idiot"
    "vous ne voulez pas de pain ?"
     
  8. Gargamelle Senior Member

    Here's the rule as I memorized it in high school (and didn't understand until grad school).

    "After the negative, the indefinite (un, une, des) and the partitive (du, de la, de l') become de, except in sentences with être."

    What the @#*%$ does that mean?

    OK, I think you know what the indefinite articles are. The partitive (de+definite article) means "some" of a singular thing that can't be counted. (If you're familiar with this term, the partitive is "some" of a mass noun.)

    examples: du sucre (some sugar, you normally don't count sugar)
    de la farine (some flour, normally you don't count flour)
    de l'ail (some garlic, normally you don't count garlic)

    In most negative sentences, the du, de la, and de l' turn into "de" after the pas (or the jamais or whatever). So....

    Je n'ai pas de sucre.
    Il n'emploie jamais de farine.
    Vous ne voulez pas d'ail.

    Two important exceptions...
    If the main verb in the sentence is être, you do not change the partitive article to de.

    So you would say (if you take your coffee black)

    "Je ne voudrais pas de sucre."
    but if you saw someone absent-mindedly putting salt in his coffee, you would say

    Attention! Ce n'est pas du sucre, c'est du sel!

    Or if someone asks if you're a student, (and you're not) you would say,
    "Je ne suis pas un(e)
    étudiant(e)."

    The other exception is with ne...que. You don't change the partitive with ne...que because ne...que is restrictive. That means that it doesn't totally wipe out the sugar or salt or whatever grammatically, it just limits how much you have. You still have some, so you still use the partitive.

    Example:
    "Avez-vous du sel et du sucre?"
    "Non, je n'ai que du sucre."


    Sorry the examples are so lame...I couldn't think of anything interesting.

    It takes awhile to get it...bonne chance! (Really)

    Gargamelle
     
  9. edla Junior Member

    Australia, English
    I'm just wondering what form the partitive takes with nouns modified by an adjective in a negative construction. I.e. est-ce que c'est

    je n'ai pas bu du lait chaud ou
    je n'ai pas bu de lait chaud?

    I'm learning all about 'de' at the moment and this is the one thing which remains unclear. Merci d'avance!
     
  10. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    Hi,
    I have written a post recently ( http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=869396 ) about the preposition DE, and the articles, and I had left out the negative part.

    So here is the remainder :
    In negative sentences, the form of the articles (when direct object only) is :
    Definite : "Le, La, Les". (unchanged)
    Indefinite : "De, De, De" (instead of "Un, Une, Des")
    Partitive : "De, De, De" (instead of "du, de la, des")

    The affirmative form of your sentence is :
    "J'ai bu du lait chaud" (partitive article), if you put it in the negative, it becomes : "Je n'ai pas bu de lait chaud".
    It has nothing to do with the adjective.

    You can transform other sentences using the above rule :

    J'ai vu un lapin (indefinite) -> Je n'ai pas vu de lapin
    J'ai écouté la radio -> Je n'ai pas écouté la radio
    j'ai pris des vacances (partitive) -> Je n'ai pas pris de vacances.
    J'ai préparé de la colle (partitive) -> Je n'ai pas préparé de colle.

    This rule does not explain the use of verbs that need the prepositon "de" like "avoir besoin de" or "avoir envie de", though.

    I hope this is useful...
     
  11. darras New Member

    France/French
    Hello edla, It appears that "de" is used when the noun can be preceded by "aucun(e),aucune quantité de", as in "Il n'y a plus de vin; Il ne fait pas de fautes" (Source: Grevisse).
    "Du" is used if the object takes a more restricted meaning, as in oppositions for ex.,as in "Ils n'ont pas utilisé du béton, mais du bois."
    It's a ticklish point: let's not lose heart!
     
  12. va08 New Member

    usa
    english, french and protuguese
    how do you change Nous faisons de la photographie to the negative?
     
  13. itka Senior Member

    France
    français
    Nous faisons de la photographie ---> nous ne faisons pas de photographie.
     
  14. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France
    France - français
    Tilt, je n'opposerais pas "tartes" à "gâteau" car je range les tartes dans la catégorie des gâteaux "tout court", sauf, bien sûr, si elles sont aux oignons ou aux poireaux. Par ailleurs, je serais tenté de mettre "gâteau" au pluriel. J'opposerais la tarte, gâteau aux fruits, à une sorte de gâteaux très différente : "ils n'ont pas de tartes mais ils ont DES gâteaux au chocolat/DE magnifiques gâteaux au chocolat.
     
  15. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Je t'accorde que tartes étant au pluriel, il eut été assez logique que gâteau le soit aussi. Mais pour le reste, tu chipotes ! :rolleyes:
     
  16. Dediteach Senior Member

    English
    Hi! Please can you clarify the use of de in negative sentences. I understand that when it means some/any then you can only use de or d' in a negative sentence eg je n'ai pas de pommes, je n'ai pas mangé de poisson etc but when the de does not mean some or any do the normal rules apply? For example, je n'ai pas écouté de la musique (not de musique) or je n'ai pas fait de la natation (not de natation)?
    Merci d'avance.
    Also, if you say 'je n'ai pas écrit une lettre de ma tante' - should it actually be de lettre? And 'je n'ai pas bu une tasse de thé' - should that be 'de tasse de thé'?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  17. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    France
    French
    Hi,

    I would say Je n'ai pas écoute de musique,
    ................Je n'ai pas fait de natation,
    ................Je n'ai pas écrit de lettre,
    ................Je n'ai pas bu de tasse de thé...

    If you keep the structure of an affirmative sentence (de la musique, une lettre, une tasse,...) then it sounds like you purposely repeat the sentence in order to set the record straight and make sure the person you're talking to understands what you mean.

    — Est-ce que tu as écrit une lettre à ta tante?
    — Non, je n'ai pas écrit une lettre, j'ai écrit trois lettres!


    Here, you couldn't say Je n'ai pas écrit de lettre. You must specify une lettre (otherwise, it would amount to saying I didn't write any letter, I actually wrote three letters, which doesn't make much sense).

    You know, it's much like the Present Perfect Continous tense. It's hardly ever used in a negative sentence. Even though you could say It's been raining for 3 days, it would sound strange to say It hasn't been raining for 3 days (it's much more common to say It hasn't rained for 3 days). If you use the Present Perfect Continous, then it sounds like you intentionally repeat a affirmative sentence : "You're wrong, it hasn't been raining for 3 days: it's been raining for 3 hours".
     
  18. Dediteach Senior Member

    English
    Thank you very much that is very helpful. I don't know why but it just sounds a bit odd to me but maybe that's my English ear interfering!
     
  19. silica New Member

    English -
    Hi! I came along this question today:

    Moi, je ne veux pas ___ vin mais ____ eau.

    The given answers are du, de l', i.e.: Moi, je ne veux pas du vin mais de l'eau.

    I was wondering if it were acceptable to say je ne veux pas de vin, mais de l'eau instead?
     
  20. atcheque

    atcheque mod errant

    Česko - Morava
    français (France)
    Bonjour,

    Actually, du vin or de vin are both correct depending the meaning.

    du : de le, definite article (the wine) ;
    de : indefinite article (wine).

    I was not so clear. So:
    Yes we are talking about partitive.
    du : some of the wine ;
    de : some of wine.

    I have hesitated to write that wine (the one we are dealing with: definite article), so as not to develop the discussion around the demonstrative.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  21. silica New Member

    English -
    Thanks very much!
     
  22. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    I beg to disagree. In this context du is not the contraction of the preposition de with the definite article le. Both du and de are indeed partitive articles. In other words, both du vin and de vin mean "(some) wine".

    When there is a negation, the partitive article du usually becomes de. It is however possible to keep the original article when there is an opposition.

    Je veux du vin. (partitive article)
    Je ne veux pas de vin. (partitive article changed to de because of the negation)
    Je ne veux pas du vin. :thumbsdown: (usually not appropriate, but may be used in some contexts)
    Je ne veux pas de vin, mais de l'eau.
    Je ne veux pas du vin, mais de l'eau. (original partitive article maintained to insist on the wine/water opposition)
     
  23. Gargamelle Senior Member

    I also beg to disagree with atcheque (for the most part) and agree with Maître Capello.

    atcheque said:
    "Actually, du vin or de vin are both correct depending on the meaning.
    du : de le, definite article (the wine) ;
    de : indefinite article (wine)."


    and "I have hesitated to write that wine (the one we are dealing with: definite article), so as not to develop the discussion around the demonstrative." :tick:

    I think atcheque is wise not to develop discussion around the demonstrative ("this" or "that")

    The opposition between (some) wine and (some) water is what determines whether you use "Je ne veux pas de vin" and "Je ne veux pas du vin, mais de l'eau." You don't want (some of) one drink, instead you want (some of) another drink.

    Maître Capello said:
    In this context du is not the contraction of the preposition de with the definite article le. Both du and de are indeed partitive articles. In other words, both du vin and de vin mean "(some) wine".:tick:



    When there is a negation, the partitive article du usually becomes de.:tick:
    It is however possible to keep the original article when there is an opposition.

    Je veux du vin. (partitive article)
    Je ne veux pas de vin. (partitive article changed to de because of the negation)
    Je ne veux pas du vin. :thumbsdown: (usually not appropriate, but may be used in some contexts)
    Je ne veux pas de vin, mais de l'eau.
    Je ne veux pas du vin, mais de l'eau. (original partitive article maintained to insist on the wine/water opposition) :tick:


    It should be noted that it is highly unlikely that you would ever encounter a context where you would absolutely need to use "Je ne veux pas du vin, mais de l'eau." It's also unlikely that if you were to say "Je ne veux pas de vin, mais de l'eau" that someone would correct you in real life. This is a very fine point of grammar that may come up on an very difficult exam, but almost never on a day-to-day basis. When using negation, it is safest to say to say "pas de [noun]" because "pas du [noun]" is, as Maître Capella says, "usually not appropriate."

    The take-away: if the opposition between, for instance (some) water and (some) wine is really important, "Je ne veux pas du vin, mais de l'eau" is very correct (très soutenu). But in almost all situations, "Je ne veux pas de vin" is fine, while "Je ne veux pas du vin" is incorrect. Err on the side of "pas de [noun]."
     
  24. silica New Member

    English -
    Thanks for the clarification, Maître Capello! Gargamelle, thanks very much for the additional info about the unlikelihood of "negation + partitive article" occurring in everyday French: This issue has been bothering me for some time, and it's a relief to know that it is not likely to crop up on a day-to-day basis!
     

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