FR: quelqu'un / quelque chose / personne / rien + de + adjectif


Senior Member
english USA
Why does one say-

Je n'ai jamais rencontré quelqu'un d'aussi intelligent que toi.

as opposed to-

Je n'ai jamais rencontré quelqu'un aussi intelligent que toi.


Moderator note: Multiple threads merged to create this one.
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  • geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    Indefinite and interrogative pronouns modified by an adjective require the use of de. One can give many examples:

    personne d'intelligent, rien d'extraordinaire, quelqu'un d'important, quelque chose d'utile, qui d'autre, quoi de neuf. Even when other adjuncts are used, the structure is the same,

    hence: Je n'ai jamais rencontré personne d'aussi intelligent qu'elle. Note too that the adjectives remain in the masculine singular form.



    Senior Member
    French (France)
    "Quelque chose" or "quelqu'un" followed by an adjective demands "de". There is no logic for that, it's just the use.
    quelque chose de bien
    quelqu'un d'intelligent


    Senior Member
    So, does that mean (and excuse the bad examples) you would say...

    1) Mon père, c'est une personne intelligente
    2) Je ne connais personne d'intelligent
    3) je ne connais pas de filles d'intelligent (nothing personal, but I wanted a 'la' example)

    Just wondering..!?



    Senior Member
    français de France
    Hello Xanthius,

    je ne connais pas de filles d'intelligent:cross:
    has to be
    je ne connais pas de filles intelligentes.:tick:

    Your first two examples are good. :)


    Senior Member
    English Canada
    As already said, your third example is incorrect. The rule applies only to indefinite pronouns. Filles is not an indefinite pronoun. That is why only the masculine form of adjectives is used.


    English (USA)
    Est-ce qu'on faire l'accord avec "quelque chose"?

    Quelle phrase est correcte:

    1) J'ai vu quelque chose blanc.
    2) J'ai vu quelque chose blanche.



    Senior Member
    Bonjour mikenike, :)

    If you're trying to translate it from ''I've seen something white'', then you are missing 'de' somewhere in your sentence # 1. ( blanc )


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    As a matter of satisfaction of curiosity and NOT as something anyone should be doing instead of learning the basic rule (quelque chose + de + masculine adjective), there are a VERY few cases where it CAN be done by French writers (Proust, Maurois) who know what they are doing. For examples, you can look at paragraph 589 of Grevisse, Le Bon Usage. It is most frequent when they are using "quelque chose + adjective + que + a subjunctive verb tense" or another construction using a verbal phrase following the quelque chose (with or without adjective) which indicates that the matter is concessive - where English would use: "whatever it might be" or "whatever thing it might be." In these cases, "chose" retains its full gender and the adjective or participle directly following it is feminine. But these cases are not ones you will run across in everyday speech or, in fact, with great frequency even in reading. Here is an example you can find on line in the Trésor de la Langue Française:

    En constr. concessive. Quelque chose que + subj. Quelle que soit la chose que :
    --- La fascination puissante qu'exerce sur l'âme, comme sur les organes, le passage monotone et continu de quelque chose errante que ce soit, me possède et ne laisse pas mes yeux se détourner un moment de leur spectacle. M. DE GUÉRIN, Journal intime, 1835, p. 235.
    Rem. Dans cet emploi, chose reste subst. fém. variable.

    However, when used with a definite or indefinite article, quelque chose is always invariable (neutral, if one wishes), which, in French, means use of the default gender - masculine (un quelque chose: Voulez-vous prendre un petit quelque chose? Would you like to eat a little somthing?). When an adjective or participle is used to define the nature of the "quelque chose", it is ALWAYS correct if it FOLLOWS the "quelque chose" (ordinarily not preceded by "un" or "le" in such phrases, just as in the use of "something" in English) AND that adjective is preceded by "de": quelque chose de + masculine adjective. It is, except for the very rare exceptions noted in the first paragraph above, always wrong if it is not, and, therefore, always inserting "de" is what all non-native speakers should always do.

    Thus, quelque chose de blanc, de vert, de grand, de mystérieux, as was stated above by all the native speakers.


    New Member
    France. French.
    "Quelque chose" or "quelqu'un" followed by an adjective demands "de". There is no logic for that, it's just the use.

    There is a logic behind it. I'm better in English linguistics than my own but still, I think it's because it's far easier to say if you add a "d" after.
    In "Quelqu'un intelligent" , you have to mark a pause between the two words.
    In "Quelqu'un d'intelligent", it feels more fluent.


    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Quelqu'un sait-il la raison pour laquelle on utilise de + adjectif avec quelque chose et pas un adjectif ?
    On dit, par exemple :
    quelque chose d'important
    mais pas :
    quelque chose importante.

    Merci d'avance,


    Senior Member
    English Canada
    Chose n'est pas un nom féminin dans votre exemple. "Quelque chose" est un pronom indéfini, le contraire de "rien." Les deux expressions exigent la préposition de lorsqu'ils sont suivis d'un adjectif.

    On dit aussi:

    Quoi de neuf, rien d'extraordinaire, quelqu'un d'important, personne d'autre. A part le premier, ce sont tous des pronoms indéfinis.



    Senior Member
    I'm trying to translate the following sentence into French:
    "He is almost like an infant that becomes happy at the sight of something pretty […]."

    Here's my attempt:
    "[…] à la vue de quelque chose très jolie […]."

    My teacher commented that:
    1) I need a preposition between "chose" and "très jolie",
    2) "jolie" is in a wrong gender.

    But I have no clue how to correct (1) and (2)... Especially for (2), I don't know why "jolie" isn't feminine, since"quelque chose" is feminine...
    Please help me, I'm confused!!!

    Thanks very much~ :)
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    New Member
    France, french

    The correct sentence would be "[…] à la vue de quelque chose de très joli […]"

    "Quelque chose" must be followed by "de" in your sentence.
    When "quelque chose" is followed by an adjective this one is always masculine (although "chose" is feminine...).
    This sentence is now grammatically correct although with the context it might be improved.

    I hope it will help.

    I wasn't meaning that "quelque chose" is masculine only when followed by an adjective. "Quelque chose" is always considered as masculine, for ex. : "Quelque chose est arrivé" (and not "arrivée").
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    New Member
    england, english

    I understand that the following means, "i want something pretty" -

    "je voudrais quelquel chose de joli"

    and that the "de" doesn't translate into english here. How, though, do the french understand/'hear' de in this case - of,some,any,with? or in general where the indefinite pronoun is followed by de and an adjective.

    i hope that is clear?!




    Senior Member
    They hear it as [də]… ;) Seriously, in this case de is just a part of the construction, and it has no (clearly identifiable) meaning.

    There is a "constructional" aspect in English, too: the adjective comes after the word it modifies. This is unusual. We don't say flower pretty or outfit pretty, so how do you "understand/hear" the position of the adjective in something pretty?

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    In your example, you can think of de as "that is": quelque chose de joli = something [that is] pretty

    At any rate, I agree with CP: qqch de <adjective> is an idiom.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Est-ce qu'on dit de neuf, de brillant, de spécial, etc. seulement après quelque chose? Oui? On ne dit pas des femmes de ravissantes. Euuughhhh, horrible! Alors, pourquoi est-ce qu'on ne dit pas quelque chose ravissante? Pourquoi le "de," c'est nécessaire pour "quelque chose"?


    Senior Member
    French French
    Quelque chose ravissante peut se dire, mais signifie une certaine chose ravissante.
    Pour que l'expression quelque chose garde la signification de something, il faut effectivement mettre de avant l'adjectif qui la complète.

    Le sujet a été indirectement abordé dans ce fil.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Hmmmm, je pense que je comprends maintenant.

    Alors, dans ce contexte:

    On demanda à la princesse comment elle avait dormi. - Bien mal! répondit elle. C'est à peine si j'ai fermé les yeux de toute la nuit! Dieu sait ce qu'il y avait dans le lit! C'était quelque chose de dur qui m'a rendu la peau toute violette....

    La princesse aurait pu aussi dire c'était quelque chose dure? Parce que c'était une chose spécifique dans le lit?
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    Senior Member
    Non on ne peut pas.
    Pour confirmer ce que dit tilt, quelque chose ravissante veut bien une certaine chose ravissante mais c'est une tournure qui n'est employée que rarement et qui fait partie à mon avis du langage soutenu. On trouve cette tournure en poésie par exemple.

    Je traduirais cela en anglais par some beautiful thing/some beautiful creature, etc.
    et pas something beautiful qui donne en français quelque chose de ravissant


    Senior Member
    English - British

    I have come across the following - "je cherche quelqu’un de motivé pour remplacer ma secrétaire".

    However, I am a little confused as to the finer detail within. Is speaker saying that he is looking for someone who is a motivated person, and that person is someone the speaker wants to replace the secretary? Or is the speaker saying that he is looking for someone whose (individual) motivation is to replace the secretary?

    Subtle difference, but I want to ensure that I have got it correct. What confuses me is the use of "quelqu'un + DE + past participal". I don't understand why the DE is needed, since surely "a motivated person" would be "quelqu'un motivé"?
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    English - USA
    looking for someone who is a motivated person, and that person is someone the speaker wants to replace the secretary? :tick:

    looking for someone whose (individual) motivation is to replace the secretary :cross:
    When you have an indefinite word like quelqu'un (or quelque chose, etc.) and you want to describe that thing with an adjective, you link the adjective via de.

    quelqu'un de motivé =
    someone motivated, a motivated person

    This then acts as a unit in your sentence. Does that help? :)


    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Is speaker saying that he is looking for someone who is a motivated person, and that person is someone the speaker wants to replace the secretary?
    that is what it is here ...
    If this boss were
    looking for someone whose (individual) motivation is to replace the secretary
    (a bit strange), it would then be :
    cherche quelqu’un motivé pour remplacer ma secrétaire or better : cherche quelqu’un dont la motivation serait de remplacer ma secrétaire . But then, who knows, that could be close to sexual harassment (depending on what the former secretary stood for ...).:eek:

    quelqu'un de motivé = someone motivated, a motivated person
    or also, someone driven (by/ motivé par)
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    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Bonjour à tous,

    I was watching a French TV show today (Plus belle la vie, épisode 422, 14m55), and heard a woman say "Tu as dit quelque chose intéressant ... ". I thought that I must have misheard, since I learnt that there should be a "de" between "quelque chose" and the adjective following. After relistening, I realized that she clearly pronounces "quelque chose intéressant" without a "de".

    Is the "de" optional? (d'un point de vue normatif ou descriptif ?) or is it sometimes omitted in speech, but kept in writing?

    Thanks/Merci d'avance !


    Senior Member
    French (France's)

    No, "d' " is not optional... in most cases.

    But if you're sure you did hear "intéressant", then it must have been followed by some kind of name.

    "Quelque chose intéressant (someone's name, for instance)"

    That is, "quelque chose qui intéresse (that person)".

    Otherwise, it should have been "quelque chose d'intéressant" = something interesting

    "Quelque chose intéressant X" = "Quelque chose d'intéressant pour X"
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    This is probably a mistake. I mean, if the woman had had the time to think it through, she probably would have included the de.

    At any rate, omitting de in the expression quelque chose de <adjectif> would be really strange. I would personally never say it that way.



    Je faisais une traduction et la phrase "There was nothing better to do" était mal écrit, en fait il faut écrire:

    "Il n'y avait rien de mieux a faire" en lieu de "Il n'y avait rien mieux a faire"

    Il y a quelqu'un qui puisse m'expliquer pourquoi?



    Senior Member
    English Atlanta, GA USA

    Quand un adjectif suit les mots ne...rien, ne...personne, et leurs contraires quelque chose, ou quelqu'un, il est toujours précédé du mot de:

    Il n'y a rien d'intéressant à la télé ce soir.
    Il y a quelque chose d'intéressant à la télé ce soir.
    Je ne connais personne de compétent dans cette équipe.
    Je l'aime parce qu'elle est quelqu'un de bien et de sincère.

    L'adjectif ici qualifie un pronom indéfini. On peut faire la même chose après d'autres indéfinis tels que certains de, aucun de, autre chose de ou devant l'épithète des nom de nombres un/deux/trois/etc. de (Il y en a deux de trop).
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    Marcius Sanctus

    Senior Member
    Is there a difference between quelqu'un and quelqu'un de.

    J'ai vu quelqu'un sur le rocher.

    Il apparaît comme quelqu’un de réfléchi, d’intelligent, de pragmatique …

    Could you, please, give me more examples?



    Senior Member

    The words quelqu'un (someone), quelque chose (something), personne (nobody) and rien (nothing) require the preposition de when they are used with an adjective.

    Quelqu'un d'intelligent (someone clever),
    Rien de bon (nothing good),


    US - English
    I'm sorry, I'm just a beginner in French, so this is a very basic question. Can someone please explain why this is written as "de mignon" and not just "mignon" in this sentence: Je cherche quelque chose de mignon pour mes amis"? "Mignon" is an adjective so I don't understand why it isn't simply "...quelque chose mignon..." Thanks in advance.


    US - English
    Thanks wildan1. I understand what it means but why the need for "de"? Is there a reason why mignon can't modify chose without the de, i.e., quelque chose mignon?


    Senior Member
    'Quelque chose' + adjective doesn't work without 'de' in french, you need a preposition, 'quelque chose de gentil/nouveau/spécial...' I think you're used to the english structure, so it maybe seems weird in french, but it isn't.
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    New Member
    English - USA
    One of the hardest things for French (or any language) beginners is to set aside English grammatical concepts and learn the language's rules. Quelque chose de adjective is just a thing. The simple answer to your question of 'why' is 'because that's the way it is'.

    Similarly, in your sentence "Je cherche quelque chose" - when I was first learning, I kept adding 'pour' (e.g. je cherche pour quelque chose'). Took me a while to stop doing that.

    Bonne chance!


    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    The advice above is good: you just have to accept that different languages work in different ways.

    The same construction is used with quelqu'un, personne, and rien.
    quelque chose de mignon - something sweet, cute, charming
    quelqu'un de gentil - someone nice
    personne d'intéressant - no one interesting
    rien de différent - nothing different


    American English
    Hi all, based on the paradigm of quelque chose d'intéressant, quelqu'un d'intéressant, etc., is "de" needed in the construction "j'en ai un d'intéressant" (=I have an interesting one [to share, etc]?" Merci!

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    You may think of "de <adjectif>" as "qui est/sont/etc. <adjectif>."

    quelqu'un d'intéressant = quelqu'un qui est intéressant
    quelque chose d'intéressant = quelque chose qui est intéressant
    ne…personne d'intéressant = ne…personne qui soit intéressant
    ne…rien d'intéressant = ne…rien qui soit intéressant

    Note, however, that with a numeral, it is certainly a lot better to use de, but you may hear it without the preposition in informal speech. Anyway, with a numeral I would rather use a relative clause instead:

    un intéressant (:thumbsdown:) / un d'intéressant (:thumbsup:) / un qui est intéressant :thumbsup:
    deux intéressants (:thumbsdown:) / deux d'intéressants (:thumbsup:) / deux qui sont intéressants :thumbsup: