3.1.1.3.1 De + le and de + la as partitive articles


de + le / la as partitive articles
Je veux de la confiture I want marmelade.
  Je veux du (de + le) beurre I want butter.

Translating the sentence word by word we come to the following overview:.

Example 1:
Je veux de la confiture.
    I want     marmelade.

There is something that is not directly translated in the sentences above: de la, respectively. du. If we try to do some kind of translation we would have the following logic: de is of. Since this does not work so well, and the article in question describes an undefined quantity we would say: some of.

Examples
Je veux de la confiture.
    I want some of the marmelade.
  Je veux du (de + le)   beurre
    I want some of the butter

In French the partitive article defines a quantity of something that cannot be devided. In English when we say
I want marmelade, it is our understanding that it is some of the marmelade, but it is not explicitly said so.
In French one would have to say it explicitly.

You might have noticed that the masculine partitive article is du, the merger of de + le.

And even if we just said, that usually in English we would not use the partitive article as the French do, there is one exception: when the undefined quantity is defined more in detail by a relative clause.

  The partitive construction in English
Give me some of the soda, that is in the refridgerator.

Having this in mind, it will only be half as difficult as it seems on the first glance.





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