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Bonjour a Tous!
Could someone give me a clear explanation of when you need to contract de with a definite article and when there is no definite article required when you are using it to describe a noun or when showing possession. Is it just a matter of description versus possession? I thought the rule was nom + de + nom (describing) but then my French book had "une pizza du fromage" which seems to contradict this rule. When you are indicating possession like "the student's book" is it le livre de l'etudiant? always including the definite article?
Just when I think I have it straight I see something that seems to contradict my thinking.
Merci Bien! ~ Avril
I can't help you save to say I was under the same misunderstanding for many ,many years. So you are right but I don't have a clear explanation for when you use the definite article and when you don't.
Neil Coffey has explained this fairly recently (in the last year or two) and so perhaps if you search this site you will find the answer (or one of the other contributors can explain)
Well you would say "pizza au fromage" instead of "pizza du fromage" but that's not the matter.
There is always an article after "de" when it's about possession, and du = de le, so there is one in your exemple. It can be any article :
"La porte de la maison"
"Le chien de son père"
"Le bracelet de cette fille"
When there is no article, it's a description.
"La maison de campagne"
"Le verre de vin"
I don't want to sound as if I know the different rules and cases but I am fairly sure expressions of quantity do not need the definite article.
For example "une douzaine de douanniers" ;)
If you were to write "une douzaine des douanniers" I think you would be talking about 12 out of the larger total amount of custom officials
So we also have "beaucoup de" etc etc
Yup, about quantification no article = all of it, with article = some of it.
De + article is also used for non-quantifiable objects.
"Du (= de le) riz"
"De la confiture"
Thank you so much for your helpful reply. It clarifies the grammar to know that it IS a matter of description versus possession.
Thank you for your helpful responses. It was good to refresh my memory on the quantitative expression rules.