FR: de/des + adjectif + nom au pluriel

tobywashere

Member
English - Canada
If adjectives come before the noun [excellent, bon etc.], do you use de [d'] or des?

Moderator note: Multiple threads merged to create this one. See also this thread discussing exceptions to the standard rule. If you are interested in the appropriate article before singular nouns, see this thread.
 
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  • lilliputthegreat

    Senior Member
    English; United Kingdom
    Bon soir tout le monde;

    J'ai cru que quand un nom est écrit dans la forme plurielle, il faut que l'article (de, la, le, etc...) corresponde en nature au nom.
    Par exemple: La phrase « La petite fille » devient « Les petites filles » dans sa forme plurielle.

    Donc, pourquoi est-ce que les phrases suivantes (extrait d'une nouvelle) ne se conforment pas en plus? (L’article en question est en caractères gras)

    (1) Sinon, nous nous exposons à de graves désillusions.
    (2) Nous avons pris de nouvelles dispositions […].

    J’ai hâte de vous lire.
     
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    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Bonsoir

    Ici, c'est un cas un peu particulier car il s'agit d'un adjectif + nom
    Sans l'adjectif, on aurait eu :
    (1) Sinon, nous nous exposons à des désillusions.
    (2) Nous avons pris des dispositions […].

    Mais avec l'article "les", cela ne change pas :
    Les élèves arrivent
    Les nouveaux élèves arrivent


    Des élèves arrivent.
    De nouveaux élèves arrivent.


    Does it help?
     
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    pieanne

    Senior Member
    Belgium/French
    Julz said:
    J'ai acheté aussi de nouveaux vêtements (no "des" if there is a plural adjective :))
    But I don't see anything wrong with "des nouveaux vêtements". I'm afraid that, to me at least, it even sounds better than "de ..."
     
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    pheelineerie

    Senior Member
    American English
    Directly quoted from the Nouvelle Grammaire du Français de la Sorbonne:

    Lorsque le nom pluriel est précédé d'un adjectif, des est remplacé par de.

    Comparez:

    J'ai acheté des roses.
    J'ai acheté de jolies roses.

    Ce jeune pianiste a fait des progrès.
    Ce jeune pianiste a fait de grands progrès.

    Mais l'article est conservé lorsque le groupe adjectif + nom est considéré comme un nom composé.

    Ex: des petits pois, des jeunes gens, des petites annonces, des grands magasins, des petites filles, des petites cuillères, des petits pains, des gros mots, etc.

    Also,
    Résultats 1 - 10 sur un total d'environ 642 pour "des nouveaux vêtements".
    Résultats 1 - 10 sur un total d'environ 67 600 pour "de nouveaux vêtements".

    Still, I don't think it's that important when speaking. Lots of French speakers don't seem to bother with this rule!
     
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    pieanne

    Senior Member
    Belgium/French
    I don't contest that... But I still don't agree!

    "Ils ont fait de grands progrès" sounds perfectly OK to my ears :) , but "de jolies roses" doesn't.
    I'd say "il n'y avait pas de jolies roses chez la fleuriste" = none
    but "j'ai acheté des jolies roses" = some/a few...

    Yet, I can't explain why...
     
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    Julz

    Senior Member
    Thank you pheelineerie for that clarification. Well I thought that strictly speaking it would be "de nouveaux vetements", but not really learning grammar in a technical sense, I was unsure. Furthermore, when speaking and always saying "des" anyway (I think for ease and flow of speech), it increases the confusion.
    Thanks also for providing the results :) It's hard to know the grammar rules strictly when you don't learn it as a foreign language :(

    Edit: In response to pieanne, I know where you are coming from. I guess it's just for ease of speech, or better flow?
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Directly quoted from the Nouvelle Grammaire du Français de la Sorbonne:

    Lorsque le nom pluriel est précédé d'un adjectif, des est remplacé par de.
    I entirely agree with pheelineerie. It's the way I've been taught and I had been a bit distressed to hear things like "des nouvelles industries". Fortunately I was really happy to see that it was not correct. I think it's just easier as there is a rule and no exception.

    Still, I don't think it's that important when speaking. Lots of French speakers don't seem to bother with this rule!
    Agreed once more.
    I guess "des jolies roses" is becoming very common but is not grammatically correct for the moment though it's commonly used.
    I must say that since I've read the rule once again I feel better using "de", knowing that I'm right.
    Here it what I also found in my Bescherelle.
    At least it's easier for foreigners and natives as well as ears have nothing to do here ...
     

    francais_espanol

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Bonjour

    « il existe déjà des expériences probantes où des appuis à des institutions démunies ont donné de bons résultats ...»

    OU

    « il existe déjà des expériences probantes où des appuis à des institutions démunies ont donné des bons résultats ... »

    de bons résultats ou des bons résultats?

    Je vous remercie beaucoup de m'éclairer.
     

    born in newyork

    Senior Member
    U.S.A./English
    La vie ne va pas sans de grands oublis.

    A quote from Balzac (La Cousine Bette).

    My question to the French speakers is:

    1) why isn't it "des" grands oublis?

    2) could we say the same thing without "de"? that is: "La vie ne vas pas sans grands oublis."
     
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    Pikrass

    Member
    France - Français
    2) "La vie ne va pas sans grands oublis." is possible. ;) But personally I prefer "La vie ne va pas sans de grands oublis".

    For the first question... I don't know why...
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    For "de" instead of "des", quite simple:
    when there is an adjective before the noun, "des" becomes "de":

    "des élèves sont arrivés"
    :cross: "des nouveaux élèves"
    is not correct
    -> "de nouveaux élèves"


    But
    "des chiens"
    "des chiens noirs"
    "de petits chiens (noirs)" :)
     

    AllyApple

    Member
    I live in France but my native language is English - I'm Scottish
    I'm confused by a phrase I've read - it says 'tu as toujours de beaux yeux'. Why is it 'de' and not 'des' with the eyes being plural?
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    When a plural noun is qualified & preceded by an adjective, then "des" => "de" basically:
    "Tu as des yeux immenses"
    "Tu as des
    de beaux yeux"
     

    pouet

    Member
    France- French
    You can say both. "de" or "des" are grammatically correct in this case.
    In general, you can use "de" when it's plural if the adjective is before the name, like
    "on mange de bons fruits en été", or "il a de grandes oreilles",
    but not in any case, I believe there is no grammar rule about it...
    best
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    It is indeed correct. Here is what Le Bon Usage says:
    Au pluriel, des est remplacé par de (de bons fruits) ordinairement dans la langue écrite et aussi dans la langue parlée de type soigné. Mais des (qui n'est pas récent : cf. Hist.) prévaut dans la langue parlée et se répand dans la langue écrite.
     
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    itka

    Senior Member
    français
    Anyway, if you say :
    "J'ai acheté des belles roses"
    it would still be perceived as a mistake.
    Or course, you'll be understood but you'd be looking like a person who doesn't know the right grammar...
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Let me disagree with you… It is indeed less elegant than de belles roses but not a mistake nor perceived as such – at least in Eastern France and Switzerland.

    Moreover des belles roses seems more natural in:
    Une belle rose, c'est bien ; des belles roses, c'est mieux !
    (when you want to stress that you have several roses rather than beautiful ones…)
     
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    moiVendremoi

    New Member
    Canada, English
    Je passe beaucoup d'heures avec mes études pour obtenir des bons points.

    I used "des" in the sentence to describe what i got ("bon points" or "good grades"). is there a rule which obtenir is followed by? perhaps it is like beaucoup where it is only followed by "DE" and nothing else?
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    It has nothing to do with obtenir and everything to do with the adjective bon that precedes points.

    […]
     
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    itka

    Senior Member
    français
    Je passe beaucoup de temps à mes études/à étudier pour obtenir des bons points.

    Mind ! Here, the words "bons points" is like "one word". It is not perceived as an adjective + noun... So we would say : des bons points.

    ... but are you really meaning "bon point"... or something else ?
    This word is usually used to mean a piece of paper with a nice picture that the teacher gives to a good young pupil, at the elementary school...

    I assume you mean "bonnes notes"... So, your sentence becomes :
    "Je passe beaucoup de temps à étudier pour obtenir de bonnes notes".

    de : according to the rule jann gave you.
     

    davideguada

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    Bonjour,

    est-ce quelqu'un peut m'expliquer quand utiliser "des" et quand "de+pluriel"

    par ex

    Assurez-vous qu'ils veuillent apprendre et qu'ils aient le courage d'affronter des/de nouvelles situations

    Merci
     

    ancel

    New Member
    français
    Je ne sais pas exactement mais instinctivement je mets De nouvelles situations, et non pas Des nouvelles. Peut-être à l'oreille, ça me semble plus évident.
     

    VanOo

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    Hum...
    Je pense que le problème vient en fait de 'nouveau'.

    We cannot say:
    'Découvrir de anciennes situations'.
    But:
    'Découvrir des anciennes situations'.

    Anyway, you can use 'des'.

    'De' is better but 'des nouvelles situations' is not wrong.

    I hope I could help you.
     

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    de nouvelles situations
    d'anciennes situations
    d'autres situations

    If the partitive particle de is followed by adjective, even if it is in plural form, it should always be de and not des. However, if the adjective that follows starts with a vowel, the de should be contracted to d'.
     

    duhme

    New Member
    USA - English
    des becomes de when the adjective precedes the noun.


    des fleurs, mais de belles fleurs.
     

    çamegonfle

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    "des" becomes "de" when the adjective is before a plural noun:
    "J'ai des vêtements"
    "J'ai de beaux vêtements"
    I think it is important to precise that "Tu as des beaux vêtements" is also possible: "Tu as de beaux vêtements", that's something that you nearly only write.
     

    LandSurveyor

    Member
    USA, English (or "American" if you prefer)
    Salut tout le monde!

    Je pense que la bonne construction est "passer de bonnes vacances", par exemple, après les vacances, je pourrais dire à un collègue, "j'espère que tu as passé de bonnes vacances".

    Le truc est que je ne comprends pas pourquoi c'est "passer de" et pas "passer des" bonnes vacances. Les vacances sont pluriels, n'est-ce pas? Est-ce qu'il y a quelqu'un qui peut éclairer ma laterne?

    Merci d'avance!
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Hello

    When a plural noun is preceded by an adjective, "des" becomes "de".
    "J'ai mangé des champignons (blancs)"
    "J'ai mangé de gros champignons"


    Supposedly, in colloquial language, you can say "des", but that's not what my grammar says :p

    I hope it's clearer :)
     

    mieumieu

    Member
    English/Spanish - Canada
    Je veux juste clarifier, est-ce qu'on dit "il a des bonnes lignes" ou "il a de bonnes lignes". Mon camarade pense que quand il y a un adjectif if faut dire "de" et pas "des".
     
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    Punky Zoé

    Senior Member
    Pau
    France - français
    Not only the purists do ;), "des bonnes lignes" isn't totally incorrect but probably used in limited contexts. IMHO, I would rather say "de belles lignes", what are you talking about?
     

    marget

    Senior Member
    I also say de belles lignes, but I think that based on the rule as described in grammar books these days, the usage is changing and that many people consider des (as well as de, of course) to be perfectly correct in front of plural adjectives that precede the noun. I probably misused the term "purists".:eek:
     

    Tim~!

    Senior Member
    UK — English
    Je m'intéresse à des choses irregulières ou inattendues quand j'apprends de nouvelles langues.

    Une de ces choses en le français est que le forme 'des' se transforme en 'de' lorsque l'on ajoute un adjectif devant le nom. Par exemple, dans ma première phrase j'ai écrit "de nouvelles langues." Sans l'adjectif 'nouvelles' j'aurais mis "des langues."

    Je voudrais en savoir plus.

    Est-ce que ça fonctionne comme ça exclusivement si l'adjectif précède le nom, mais pas s'il le suit?

    J'ai lu recemment dans "L'histoire de la langue française" de Mireille Huchon que l'Académie officialisa cette règle, mais l'auteur ne le mentionne que dans une phrase, sans en donner plus de renseignements.

    Est-ce qu'il y a une histoire intéressante derrière ce changement (comme est le cas pour, par exemple, l'usage de l'article dans "l'on")? Si oui, je voudrais en lire.

    Merci :)
     

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    French
    Hello Tim,

    When you have an adjective which is in front of the noun, the indefinite article automatically becomes de, as shows the example found on this site:

    J'ai des fleurs rouges / j'ai de jolies fleurs.
    For more on these articles and their use, you can look here (see Section A5)

    Hope it helps.
     
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    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    [...]

    Tim~! said:
    Est-ce qu'il y a une histoire intéressante derrière ce changement (comme est le cas pour, par exemple, l'usage de l'article dans "l'on")?
    Sans doute, mais cela remonte à très loin et on manque de renseignements pour comprendre tous les aspects du développement de l'article partitif depuis l'ancien français. Grevisse (§584, a) fournit quelques éléments de réponse à ta question.
     
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    Tim~!

    Senior Member
    UK — English
    Thanks for the rapid response.

    I understand what happens. What interests me is why, whether there is a history behind it.

    Is there any reason why "J'ai des fleurs" keeps its indefinite article when we postpone the adjective ("J'ai des fleurs rouges") but loses it once we decide to place an adjective in front ("J'ai de jolies fleurs")?

    I imagine that, for the Académie to authorise the change, there must be some logic or history behind it.

    Or is it just one of those quirks that we have to learn, and which just happens "because"?

    Thanks again :)

    [...]
     
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    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Tim,

    I'm afraid that I can't give you a reason, but I can tell you that the "rule" has nothing to do with postponing adjectives. The rule is that des > de before a prenominal adjective:
    J'ai des fleurs.
    J'ai des fleurs rouges.
    J'ai de jolies fleurs.
    J'ai de jolies fleurs rouges.
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    Yes, but learners must perhaps know that this rule is just recommended, not really mandatory. (So they will not be puzzled when they see that sometimes, it is not applied)
     

    Tim~!

    Senior Member
    UK — English
    Thank you.

    I'll remember it as that then. In the same way as "a preceding direct object requires an agreement on past participles", I'll add "des changes to de before a prenominal adjective" to my memory.

    Thank you for articulating it for me, and also to those who took the time to respond and merge threads :)
     

    mattdelm

    Senior Member
    Hi,

    It is quite simple, some adjectives always come before nouns live bon, tres, grand (mostly the well used adjectives). But the other adjectives go after the noun (most of them).

    Singuler:

    un grand livre
    un chat noir

    Plural:

    de bons resultats (plural adjective before noun)
    des chats noirs (plural adjective after the noun)

    I hope this makes Sense. For adjectives that are before the noun its always de.

    Mattdelm
     

    Mikebo

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Alors, je me trompe ou est-ce qu'il y a, en effet, une autre règle à prendre en compte?

    A savoir, dans le cas où "de" s'utilise comme pure préposition, sans valeur partitive, n'est il pas vrai qu'on dit "des" et non pas "de"?

    ex

    Histoire et mécanisme des grands pouvoirs de l'état (titre d'un livre)
    Union Chrétienne des Jeunes Gens du Sénégal
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    This is completely different.
    This "des" is the contraction of "de + les", the preposition followed by the definite plural article.

    We were talking about "des", the indefinite plural article, with no preposition, that becomes "de" when an adjective follows.
     
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