FR: de (la) France - article

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by kimiko, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. kimiko Member

    California, USA -- English
    Hey Everyone,

    What is the difference between de France and de la France?


    Moderator note: Multiple threads have been merged to create this one. This thread is specifically about France. For more general guidelines, see our language resources about countries. See also the following threads:
    FR: venir de l'/d'Angleterre, de (la) France, du Canada - article devant les noms de pays
    de (la) France, de l'/d'Angleterre, etc. - article devant les noms de pays après "de" ? - forum Français Seulement
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2016
  2. vachecow Senior Member

    USA English
    Why would one ever use "la France"? Is there some sort of rule?
  3. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    We say il vient de France.

    When de can be translated to "from", we don't use the article before a country name.

    Ce voyageur arrive d'Amérique
    Nous venons de France

    But when it is a possessive, then we must use the definite article
    Le poids de l'Amérique au plan international (America's weight at international level)
    L'image de la France à l'étranger (France's image abroad).
    That's all I can think of right now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  4. gnat Senior Member

    India - [hin]English
    bonjour tous!
    je confonds toujours entre de la France / de France
    je sais bien qu'il soit toujours "je viens de France" et pas " de la France"
    Quelqu'un me dit que quand on utilise "France" comme un adjectif, il faut éviter "la"
    donc, the french embassy est "l'ambassade de France"
    mais "the young people of France" est " les jeunes de la France"?
    [je sais qu'on peut écrire " les jeunes français" aussi. ]
  5. gweched

    gweched Senior Member

    French (France)
    Je traduirais "young people of France" par "les jeunes en France". Désolée, je n'ai pas d'explication rationnelle à ça, c'est juste que ça sonne mieux.
    On utilise "de la France" quand on parle d'une propriété que le pays possède : la superficie, le PIB de la France.
    Hope it helps!
  6. Lezert

    Lezert Senior Member

    french, France
    the young people of France" = " les jeunes de France"

    mais on dit
    "les malheurs de la France"
    les inconvénients de la France
    le coté positif de la France

    peut-être qu'un grammairien pourra dire pourquoi?
  7. NYCPrincesse Senior Member

    New York
    English, USA
    It's exactly that (or at least that's how I learned it in school). Just as Gweched and Lezert wrote: "de la" suggests possession. France "possessed the "malheurs" in Lezert's example just as it possessed the inconveniences and positive aspects, etc. If it is something that is just coming from France like young people, wine, etc. it is just "de". I now see that it is extremely nuanced...sorry about that.
  8. I was just watching a French quiz show when the host offered a book called "Histoire de France" as a prize. However I was taught that you must use le, la or les in front of a country depending on it's status.

    Thus it's: Je viens de la France.


    Thus can anyone explain why the book is called "Histoire de France" instead of "Histoire de la France"?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  9. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    I can only give you my opinion about your examples...

    "Je viens de la France" doesn't have to mean you're French. You may have been travelling around Europe, and your latest stay was in France.

    On reflection, that's not right. It's not "la France", it's "France" […]. So the title of the book is correct.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  10. Jean-Louis Senior Member

    Histoire de la France would probably imply something like "as compared with the history of other countries"
  11. hibouette Senior Member

    France and French
    Here the "de France" is qualifying the history. It's the same in "jeu d'enfants", "musique de fous"

    You could also say"L'histoire de la France" . But when your saying la France, you seem to refer to the geographical Country and not it's political and historical image.

    I'm not really clear, sorry !
  12. […] Is that confined to just this context or not at all. E.G. could I say "Je viens de France"?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  13. hibouette Senior Member

    France and French
    Yes you can and it's the way to say it. (Je viens de la France sounds incorrect)
  14. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    The use of the article here, though, seems to go beyond this question (aller/venir + countries) and requires further analysis. From what I've gathered, books tend to be titled "Histoire de France" (no article) unless France is qualified by an adjective. There's a major series of books, for example, called "Histoire de la France contemporaine", and another called "Nouvelle histoire de la France médiévale". In passing, I've also noticed a "Histoire culturelle de la France".

    I can't say I understand any of these nuances, though. :confused:
  15. senga New Member

    chines china
    Is it "la politique migratoire de la France" or "la politique migratoire de France"; [...]

    I'm really confused by definite article. When shall i and when shouldn't I use it before nouns?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  16. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Not that easy.
    I would say "la politique migratoire de la France"

    but I couldn't explain why :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  17. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Hi, there was a recent thread about this, but not very conclusive (it is a difficult question).

    In your first example, you have to say politique de la France. De France without the article is almost always used to indicate source/origin. So, if you can say from France in English, you can probably use de France in French. Of France or France's usually corresponds to de la France. (Sorry about the "almost always", "probably", "usually": There are many exceptions.)

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  18. zinc Senior Member

    England/ English
    Hello. Can someone tell me the rule for using/omitting articles for countries and regions when using the preposition "de" ? I generally go with what sounds right, but I am sure there is a rule...

    E.g. "il vient d'angleterre mais il croit que les chances de l'angleterre dans le tournoi sont surestimées".

  19. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Here the "de" are different.

    1) je viens de France, d'Angleterre. It expresses the origin (=from), and when the name of a feminine/sing. country follows, there is no article.
    Note that there's an article if the country is masc. (je viens du Luxembourg, du Nicaragua,...), and if the country's in the plural (je viens des Pays Bas, des USA)

    2) les chances de la France, de l'Angleterre. Here, the = of. You use the article in all cases
    les chances du Nicaragua, les chances du Pérou, les chances des Pays Bas, des Iles Malouines
  20. zinc Senior Member

    England/ English
    Thanks Pieanne. So if I were expressing this as a general rule: the article is omitted when the preposition "de" expresses origin, but not omitted when it expresses possession ? Does that sound about right ?
  21. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    It does sound right, but remember the article is omitted only when the name of the country is singular and feminine. Don't ask me why! :)
  22. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Not in all cases. In fact, this is where it really gets tricky. Products commonly associated with a country often play a role, as in:

    les vins de France. Here de means "of," but I think the article would normally be omitted.

    And would one not say: la reine d'Angleterre.

    And still with others, one may find both. L'histoire de (la) France.
  23. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    I understand "les vins de France" more as "the wines from France", but you're right for "la reine d'Angleterre".
    Let me be picky: to me "l'histoire de France" is "France history", whereas "l'histoire de la France would be "(the) history of France"
  24. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Perhaps, France's history or French history

    The you would say: les vins de la France for the wines of France? Somehow that sounds odd.
  25. egremoq Senior Member

    England / English
    Are there any rules for deciding between

    ils viennent de la France or de France
    ils viennent de l'Angleterre or d'Angleterre
    ils viennent de l'Inde or d'Inde ?

    For masculine countries, I think it has to be du eg du Maroc

    Similarly, for of

    les pays de l'Afrique or d'Afrique
    une carte de l'Inde or d'Inde
    la capitale du Maroc?

  26. omahieu Senior Member

    Belgium and French
    De France, d'Angleterre, d'Inde, d'Afrique (fém.); du Maroc, du Brézil, du Canada (masc.)
  27. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    It seems to me that the former (with the article le/la/l') are rather used for people who have travelled from that country. The latter would rather describe the origin of the people:

    Ils viennent de la France = They are now in some other country, say Italy, and they have come from France

    Ils viennent de France = They are French

    Note that I think this subtle distinction is only a general trend but definitely not a rule!
  28. catie332003 Member

    USA, English
    Happy New Year to all!

    I am confused about when to use le/la before the name of a country. I'm trying to create a PowerPoint about the rivers of France, and am wondering if someone could verify which of the following phrases are correct.

    Les Fleuves de la France
    Les Fleuves de France
    La Loire est le plus long fleuve de la France.
    La Loire est le plus long fleuve de France.
    La Loire est le plus long fleuve en France.

    Is there a rule for when to use le or la before a place name?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  29. celijade Member

    Happy new year to you too

    To be honnest, i don't know the rule, maybe because i am french.
    But you must say
    Les Fleuves de France
    la Loire est le plus long fleuve de France
  30. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    I'm not sure this is really the rule, but I'd say la must be used when referring to the nation (l'économie de la France) whereas it musn't for the place (les montagnes de France)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  31. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog Senior Member

    California, USA
    France, French
    - Les fleuves de la France méridionale se jettent au sud de la ligne de partage des eaux.
    - Les grands fleuves de (la) France sont au nombre de cinq.
    - La liste des grands fleuves de France est très courte.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  32. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    C'est une question difficile.
    Parfois il faut dire "de France" et parfois "de la France".

    De la France
    1) La France a cinq grands fleuves. Les cinq grands fleuves de la France sont ...

    Il suffit de remplacer "France" par le nom d'un autre pays pour mieux voir.

    2) Le plus grand fleuve des [de les] États Unis est le Mississipi.

    3) Les singes du [de le] Maroc sont dangereux une fois devenu adultes.

    De France
    4) Le conférencier viendra directement de France sans passer par Bruxelles.

    5) J'ai reçu pas mal de courriers de France ces derniers temps.

    Au vu de ces exemples, je me demande si la règle ne serait pas:
    1) "de France" quand il s'agit d'une provenance
    2) "de la France" quand il s'agit d'une localisation

    Qu'en pensez-vous?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2012
  33. pioupiouz Senior Member

    France French
    je pense que là encore l'usage semble prévaloir car on peut dire "Les 5 grands fleuves de France sont..."
    Par contre pour la provenance il est vrai qu'on utilise pas "de la"
  34. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Je ne crois pas qu'on puisse utiliser un nom de pays pluriel ou masculin pour s'en sortir, puisque on dit des États-Unis ou du Maroc dans tous les cas.

    La règle que j'ai proposée au début de cette discussion continue par contre à me sembler tout à fait valable (mettre l'article pour parler de la nation, notion politique, et l'omettre pour parler du pays, notion géographique). Je ne dirais d'ailleurs pas Les cinq grands fleuves de la France sont ..., qui sonne mal à mon oreille.
    Qu'en pensez-vous, les uns et les autres ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2012
  35. Camilus

    Camilus New Member

    Hello everyone
    I have a problem understanding the occurrence of the definite article in noun constructions linked by “de”. As I reckon, the general rule is that when the second noun functions adjectively the article is omitted as in:

    L’ambassade de France
    un tableau d'affichage
    un arrêt de bus

    However when the second noun is modified, the definite article occurs as in:

    une carte de la France métropolitaine
    un arrêt du bus no 25

    Essentially, what my question comes down to is why the definite article exists in many situations despite the lack of the modification as in:

    La capitale de la France
    L’histoire de la France

    Thanks a lot in advance to everyone contributing to the exlanation.
  36. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France - français
    Il me semble qu'il y a cette règle que tu rappelles et... des usages...
    les vins de France, les vins de Loire (mais je pense qu'on entend également "de la Loire"), les châteaux de la Loire (jamais de "châteaux de Loire"), l'histoire de la France, mais, autrefois, on étudiait l'"Histoire de France" à l'école primaire...
  37. patassa Member

    Lafayette, Louisiane
    anglais américain
    Alors, dit-on que La Guadeloupe est "un département de France" ou "un département de la France"?
  38. archijacq Senior Member

    french France
    un département français d'outremer
  39. CapnPrep Senior Member

    C'est une question qu'on préfère souvent esquiver (comme archijacq vient de le faire) pour ne pas avoir à y répondre directement. Insistez, patassa !

    Ici vous trouverez une bonne vingtaine de fils où on pose plein d'autres questions du même genre, et les réponses dans l'ensemble sont loin d'être satisfaisantes. (Ce n'est pas un reproche : mine de rien, la question est très difficile.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2012
  40. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
    J'ai le sentiment que "de la France" laisse entendre plus fortement une idée de possession ou d'appartenance tandis que "de France" indique plus l'origine ou l'existence d'un lien autre (peut-être plus vague) entre le nom qui précède et la France. Mais ça n'est vraiment qu'une impression vague.

    Pour choisir entre les deux propositions de patassa, de façon neutre, je pense que je dirais "est un département de France" (avec un sens très proche (pour moi) de "est un département français" et comme on dit "une région de France" ou "les (belles) régions de France").
  41. marcbloch Senior Member

    I am fairly sure that "département de France" is correct but I don't think I'm sure why. Why "province du Canada" and not "département de la France" is not clear but I think that's how it goes.
  42. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Patassa, "department of France" has not much more meaning in English than Département de France in French
    We would say département français and, to add a geographic precision, d'outremer, as suggested by Archi.
    Where did you find department of France?
  43. itka Senior Member

    Nice, France
    Je ne crois pas qu'Archijacq ait voulu esquiver la réponse.
    On ne dit ni "département de France" ni "département de la France" mais bien "département français" comme le dit aussi JDS.
  44. CapnPrep Senior Member

    JDS, department of France is a normal expression in English. I suppose that patassa just found it spontaneously. See, for example, the English Wikipedia article.

    And by the way, in the French Wikipédia article, we can find these examples:
    • la population médiane d'un département de France continentale s'élevait à 511 012 habitants (with a modifier continentale)
    • Préfectures des départements de France (in a section heading)
    Je ne vous contredis pas, l'expression ordinaire est département français, c'est clair. Mais ce n'est pas toute l'histoire.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  45. patassa Member

    Lafayette, Louisiane
    anglais américain
    Non, ce n'était pas spontané. Une recherche de "département de France" sur Google en relève 94,800 exemples, contre 21,900 de "département de la France." Il est vrai que "département français" est beaucoup plus fréquent sur l'internet (Google m'en a indiqué plus d'un million de cas.), mais les chiffres pour les deux autres structures sont assez importants pour me faire croire que leur emploi est commun.

    Quant à sa traduction, je crois qu'on éviterait de dire en anglais "French department" pour "départment français" parce que cela serait plutôt un "département de français" comme à l'université.

    En tout cas, j'ai trouvé très intéressant et utile ce que Donaldos a indiqué, c'est-à-dire que "département de la France" a une connotation d'appartenance à un pays alors que "département de France" exprime plutôt son origine, ce qui convient aux règles générales du français. Distinguerait-on "les vins de France" de "les vins de la France" de cette façon?
  46. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
    Pour être juste, il faut chercher "un département de France", "un département français" etc.

    D'autres articles permettent d'autres constructions qui sont elles plus courantes et qu'il ne faut pas compter ici.
  47. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    CapnPrep, Wiki's title is departments, not department.
    Now, in English, department has no relation with French administration - you have departments in stores, university, etc.; when speaking of the French system, please talk of French departments...!
  48. CapnPrep Senior Member

    The article also contains an example in the singular: the 90th department of France (Territoire de Belfort). And if you look up "Guadeloupe" you will see that it is described as an overseas department of France. That's just how we talk, I'm afraid… :eek: But in fact, the best way to say it in English is probably "département of France" or "French département", using the French word.
  49. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    I have always been told at university that saying departments in English is erroneous, since no English-speaking country has any equivalent for this system that is specific to France.

    But we are getting off-topic here, since Patassa's question has to do with how we say this in French. I would also have said un département français (d'outre-mer). If talking about France from a foreigner's viewpoint, I am not so sure we should include d'outre-mer since this is the internal organization of the country.
  50. toileur New Member

    England English
    I sometimes see 'de La France' and sometimes 'de France'. What is the difference, if any ? e.g. Is it - Le vin de France or 'Le vin de La France'. Merci en avance.

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