FR: certains peinent à contenir des/leurs larmes

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New Member
in this sentence certains peinent à contenir des larmes. why is it des larmes
and not leurs or les larmes.
thank you in advance
  • newg

    Senior Member
    Personally, I would say it is:

    certains peinent à contenir leurs larmes.
    It sounds much better, I think. Where did you read this sentence?

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    There is a slight nuance for me:

    Certains peinent à contenir des larmes. → a few / some tears
    Certains peinent à contenir leurs larmes. → most probably many tears


    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Generally speaking, I would say "leurs larmes" too; yet, sometimes, when the context is precise enough, "des larmes" can be used:
    certains peinent à retenir des larmes de joie.

    Or maybe the journalist just wanted to take a detached style...
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