FR: aimer les/des X - article défini / indéfini


New Member
Canada, English, French
can someone help distinguish between "les" and "des". For example would you say:

"les choses"
"des choses"

and how would one know the difference and when to use "les" and when to use "des"

j'aime "les/des" choses bleues?

or... je voudrais travailler sur "les/des" choses...

--All help is much appreciated, Thank you

Moderator note: Multiple threads merged to create this one. This thread is about the article type choice after aimer (definite or indefinite). If you have a question about the choice between the singular and plural, please post it in FR: aimer + le/la / les X - singulier / pluriel.
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  • la rose rouge

    New Member
    United States

    Personally, I would say: "j'aime les choses bleues" et "je voudrais travailler sur des choses"

    I would say "les" in the first instance because I assume you are referring to things in general, in which case "les" would be used. In the second I used "des" because I interepreted what you were saying as "to work on some things." Honestly, it's just something that you pick up with practice and I don't even know which to use sometimes.
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    Canada - French ~ English
    Here's my try:

    You need to use "les" when you use "the" in English.
    You need to use "des" when you don't use "the".
    I don't think it works everytime though.

    For example:

    I like the forums. = J'aime les forums.
    I like forums. = J'aime des forums.

    In other words, "les" for defined things, "des" for undefined things.
    Of course, context always helps!


    Senior Member
    Here is yet another French student, c'est moi. :)
    J'aime le bleu. J'aime le chocolat. Ça prends toujours l'article défini. It does not mean that you like this chocolate (but not that chocolate) or you like this blue (but not that blue).
    The same goes with détester, préférer and adorer.
    A textbook example :
    Les chiens sont fidèles. = Dogs are faithful. It is not just these dogs in front of you.


    Senior Member
    English - English
    the clue is in the name of the articles: the most important lesson you can learn is when the french language considers the noun(s) that you are talking about as a defined set or an undefined set.


    i like dogs: j'aime les chiens

    because you are implying that when you say "i like dogs" that you like all dogs in general.


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    Jean-Michel Carrère

    Senior Member
    French from France
    Emploi de LE, LA, LES en français

    comparer : j'aime le lait : I like milk (en général) but : où as-tu mis le lait ? Where did you put the milk ?
    comparer : les pins et les sapins ( en général ) sont des arbres à feuilles persistantes :
    pine trees and fir trees are evergreens
    mais : les pins et les sapins de la forêt avaient beaucoup souffert :
    the pine trees and the fir trees had suffered a great deal

    :arrow: L'article défini s'emploie en français lorsqu'on parle de quelque chose en général, devant les notions abstraites ( qualités / défauts ) / les sciences / les activités humaines / les matières / les couleurs / les substances …

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    New Member
    english, usa
    when am I suppose to use les and des for article of clothing,
    ie: J’aime des or les t-shirts
    J’aime les rayures
    Je porte les jupes


    Senior Member
    Langue française ♀
    Welcome to the forum msmp :)

    Just a few other examples...

    J'aime les T-shirts à rayures
    J'aime porter des T-shirts à rayures

    J'aime les rayures bleu/blanc/rouge

    Je porte des jupes courtes, longues, à carreaux etc.
    Je porte les jupes de ma grande soeur:D


    English - USA
    to help you understand why we use "les" or "des" in the examples people have given you, you might want to read up on the definite article (le/la/les), the indefinite article (un/une/des), and the partitive (du/de la)... here are a couple of quick and easy sources. I think the second article gives a good concise overview:
    first article
    second article


    Chinese (Mandarin)
    Hello there,

    I am playing with the duolingo language game, and here's what I ran into - Translate: "I like parties/holidays." The correct answer duolingo shows is: J'aime les fêtes.

    I am confused. When to use 'les', and when to use 'des'?

    Thanks in advance.
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    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Des would be close to the English I like some parties, with maybe an undercurrent of ...but not all of them, for example I might think begging for candy on Halloween is rude. :rolleyes: In this instance at least, les is broader.


    Senior Member
    France - français
    "J'aime les fêtes en général". "J'aime des fêtes" ne se dit pas. si l'on veut exprimer une restriction dans le choix de ces fêtes, il convient de dire : J'aime certaines fêtes" ou de développer un peu sa pensée : j'aime assister à des fêtes où tout le monde se connaît / où l'alcool ne coule pas à flots / où l'on chante en choeur etc... etc...
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    Ti Bateau

    Senior Member
    I always thought that the definite articles 'le la & les' referred to specific things (e.g. I like the apple (on the table) = J'aime la pomme),
    & if I want to say I like something in general, I would say: I like apples = J'aime des pommes.

    However, a French friend corrected me the other day saying I should use the definite article for a generalisation:
    I like fish = J'aime le poisson (versus: J'aime du poisson)

    Do I therefore say: I like apples = J'aime les pommes?

    I have tried to find an explanation, without success.
    Merci d'avance.


    Senior Member
    Do I therefore say: I like apples = J'aime les pommes?

    You would say 'j'aime les pommes vertes', but you would say 'dans le panier, il y avait des pommes vertes, des pommes rouges et des pommes jaunes'

    J'aime la musique douce - Il entendit une musique douce.

    J'aime le vélo - Il s'est acheté un vélo

    On the other hand, you would say 'J'ai vu une voiture passer devant la maison. La voiture qui est passée devant la maison était jaune';

    I hope somebody will be able to give you the grammatical explanation that you are asking for.


    Senior Member
    Langue française ♀
    Hello BTB,

    There is more to it, but one of the reasons why your friend corrected you is this :
    Après les verbes de sentiment (aimer, détester, adorer…), on utilise les articles définis (le, la, les, l’).
    Here you used the verb « aimer », so : J'aime les pommes / le poisson.

    Had you used « manger » for instance, then for a generalisation (I eat apples/fish) it would be : Je mange des pommes / je mange du poisson.


    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    I know "Il aime les bons livres." means "He likes good books." (generalization)
    Would "Il aime des bons livres." have meant "He likes some good books." (not a generalization)?