French Language

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Re: Pads is confused again

1) In English we say 'some' in postive statements, such as 'I have some books '
We use 'any' with negatives and questions  ' I haven't seen any books about that ' 'Have you any books about..'

French doesn't quite work in the same way.

For 'some' (or 'any'  in questions) French uses :
de l' ( infront of vowels or H)
de la (fem)
du ( masc)
des (plural)
as you stated.


For 'any' in negatives French uses 'de' when the sense is none (not any) i.e quantity
'je n'ai pas de carottes ' I haven't any carrots

 but keeps the others when it is about the quality or nature of what is being talked about

'Ce n'est pas de la soie'  (it's not silk)


This is the basic rule

2)  A more subtle complication is that they all become just 'de' when there is an adjective between them and the noun that qualifies  the noun

'Il faut prendre de grandes précautions '

There are exceptions to this in that there are some set phrases which don't change

'des jeunes filles' 'des bons mot' ' des petits pain'


3) Sometimes du de la etc doesn't mean some or any
'de la' etc can mean 'of the' or 'about'  in the sense that we weren't talking about the visitors (it doesn't mean some or any here)
'On ne parlait pas des visiteurs'

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: Pads is confused again

Thanks Norman. That is a really helpful explanation.

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Re: Pads is confused again

Great explanation Norman Big Smile [:D]

I think in general I get it right in speech as I tend to mimic and am always re-assessing my understanding of things when listening to the paroles on the television.

Its when I come to write these things that the doubt creeps in, I did learn a lot if not all that you posted in my formal lessons but hving no knowledge of grammatical terms thanks to my dreadfull English education I really could not understand what I was being taught.

Pads.

It sounds like your teacher may be like the worst one that I had, the only qualification she had was being a native speaker, unable to explain the grammatical reasons and nuances like Norman did and lacking the training/skills to teach which in itself is yet another metier.


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Re: Pads is confused again

Norman, that's the best clarification of this subject that I have seen anywhere. At last I understand. (And thanks, Pads, for posting the question.)
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Re: Pads is confused again

Thanks Norman and everyone for your help.. I am now happy that I pretty much understand ... Now for the next problem....!!
Dirty Tom =^..^=
Where ever I lay my paw thats my home

I support SPA Carcassonne ...go get a dog today
http://spacarcassonne.e-monsite.com/
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Re: Pads is confused again

Good for you Pads, it's a bit hard to understand. But I could never remember all that.Confused [8-)]

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Re: Pads is confused again

 Chancer wrote:

Pads.

It sounds like your teacher may be like the worst one that I had, the only qualification she had was being a native speaker, unable to explain the grammatical reasons and nuances like Norman did and lacking the training/skills to teach which in itself is yet another metier.



I think it's been discussed on here before - whether having a native speaker as a teacher is always better.  Personally I think you cannot learn a language without being able to listen to the native voice and both understand and mimic the accent.  However, unless they have a very good grasp of the rules of grammar in both their native language and yours - they (and you) will struggle.  We had private lessons (expensive but really worthwhile) with a non native French speaker - who had a thorough understanding of both English and French grammar and linguistics and word origins / meanings.  For us it was hugely helpful.  The ability of the teacher to break the language down and compare / contrast with English meant we understood more in a few weeks with him that we had throughout our entire secondary education language lessons (which, for me, wasn't much!).  Nevertheless, converting this knowledge to real conversations 'in situe' definitely improved when we could listen and talk to a native speaker.

Mrs R51

PS Thanks Pads for asking the question.  You're the sort of student everyone loves - the one that admits to needing the explanation that everyone else in the classroom wants- but is too timid to ask for!

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Re: Pads is confused again


PS Thanks Pads for asking the question.  You're the sort of student everyone loves - the one that admits to needing the explanation that everyone else in the classroom wants- but is too timid to ask for!

Indeed, well done, Pads, and thank you NormanH.

I'm not sure that I could easily get it right in spite of having both good English and French grammar, but when you see the explanation given in the web site earlier in the thread is is any wonder we don't get it right .....  I do sometimes think that if there is a complicated way to do it the French will do it the most difficult way - be it in language or activity.

Judith
ex W1, via 47 and 11 and now [just] in 34, equidistant from Carcassonne, Narbonne and Béziers, where I hope we'll finally stay!!

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