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1. Mon chien a peur des chats

2. J'ai besoin d'oeufs

If sentence 1 is correct then shouldn't sentence 2 be..."J'ai besoin des oeufs"? What is the difference between the two?

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Hi Joseph,

Both sentences are perfectly correct.

J'ai besoin d'oeufs and J'ai besoin des oeufs are both correct, but with a twist.

The former means that you need (some) eggs while the later means that you need the eggs, i.e. a specific set of eggs that you spoke about before.

Here's another example:

J'ai besoin de pain (de = d' when followed by a consonant)
J'ai besoin du pain (du = de le)

The former means that you need (some) bread. The later means that you probably want the piece of bread that is right under your very nose.
That's very interesting, Frank. I didn't appreciate that subtle difference.

Merci Frank.  This is very clear and helpful.  I was pretty lost when I read " J'ai besoin des clés" :P

A similar question:

J'ai besoin de lunettes? Not …des lunettes? (I don't understand this)

and

J'ai des lunettes? Not …de lunettes? (This makes sense to me)

There are set expressions like avoir peur de and avoir besoin de.

As explained in the earlier post  these can be followed either by de or des depending on the specific sense expressed.

So you can say either j'ai besoin de lunettes or j'ai besoin des lunettes (ones you already had in mind)

But you can't really say j'ai de lunettes  (except perhaps in certain unusual circumstances) ;It has to be j'ai des lunettes

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