FR: Vous n'auriez pas un/de X ? Tu n'as pas une/d'X - article dans une phrase interronégative

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TaiChiChuan

Senior Member
Chinese-Mandarin
In the book le petit prince, I see the following dialogue:

"J'ai horreur des courant d'air. Vous n'auriez pas un paravent?"


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Since I learned that all particle and indefinite articles should be replaced by de when the noun right behind it acts as a direct object in a negative sentence, I wonder:

1. Why then
Vous n'auriez pas un paravent but not Vous n'auriez pas de paravent
[…]
 
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  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    With the "Vous n'auriez pas un paravent ?" we're dealing with a more polite question form. It might be translated as "You wouldn't happen to have a screen, would you?"

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    Donaldos

    Senior Member
    French - France
    L'interrogation globale à la forme négative suppose souvent que le locuteur attend une réponse affirmative: Ne viendra-t-il pas me voir?
    (Le Bon Usage)

    Now, this nuance may not seem so obvious in your example due to the simultaneous use of the conditional mood, which adds nuances of its own, but compare the following sentences :

    Vous auriez un paravent ?

    Vous n'auriez pas un paravent ? (question suggérant davantage l'espoir d'une réponse positive : "Si, j'ai un paravent.")

    Vous n'auriez pas de paravent ? (question mettant en doute une affirmation négative : "Vous soutenez donc que vous n'avez pas de paravent ? Pourtant...")



    Which form of the indefinite article will be used in such questions depends less on their grammatical features than on the speaker's intention.

    Thus, while a sentence may be negative in form, it may still contain a positive idea :

    Je n'aurais pas acheté un paravent si j'avais su qu'il n'y avait pas de vent. (= but I did buy one/j'en ai acheté un)​
     

    TaiChiChuan

    Senior Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Merci beaucoup, lucas and Donaldos. Before I asked this question, I felt that using un might be better than de, but couldn't tell exactly why. Now I understand this usage much better.
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    A simple rule is that when a question is both negative and interrogative to which a yes or no answer is expected, do not replace the articles with de. There may be differences in nuance, but this rule is pretty standard.
     

    profenfloride

    New Member
    English
    I have a question. We learned that indefinite articles became "de" or "d'" after negation; are there exceptions to that? I have a textbook that teaches the phrase "tu n'as pas une autre idée?".. should it be "tu n'as pas d'autre idée"? […]
     
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    lamy08

    Senior Member
    "Tu n'as pas d'autre idée?" me paraît plus général que "tu n'as pas une autre idée?" dans laquelle la personne qui pose la question a vraiment envie de savoir si l'autre personne n'a rien d'autre comme idée.

    […]
     
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    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Je pense que l'on dirait, de façon assez égale quant au sens :

    - Tu n'as pas une autre idée ?
    - Tu n'as pas d'autre idée ?
    - Tu n'as pas d'autres idées ?

    Dans ces 3 cas, une idée a été exposée, qui ne convient pas, et il faut en chercher une autre (ou d'autres).
     

    kouraguine

    Member
    French
    There are indeed a few exceptions to that indefinite article rule. It doesn't depend on the verb (except for "être" of course), but on the type of negation (so on the meaning of the phrase).

    Your phrase is a typical example of a question in the so-called "polite" form: we use the negation to attenuate a question/request. E.g. "Tu ne pourrais pas me prêter un maillot de bain pour les vacances ?" or "Vous n'auriez pas une petite pièce, s'il vous plaît ?"

    "Tu n'as pas une autre idée ?" doesn't negate the fact that "you" have another idea. To the contrary, I actually hope that you have another idea and I ask you to give it. As I don't negate it, the article doesn't change form.
    "Tu n'as pas d'autre idée ?" is correct but hasn't the same meaning: I assume that you don't have any other idea and I reproach you for that : "So, you don't have any other idea?"
     
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