Definite articles with "de"

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Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

16 December 2017

5 replies

Definite articles with "de"

This is probably a hopeless question, but why do masculine countries require an article with "de" whereas feminine ones do not? Why not "Je viens de la France"?

This relates to:
Venir de, d', du, des + country / state / region = To come/be from -

Ron

Kwiziq community member

17 December 2017

17/12/17

Bonsoir Tom, To start, I do not believe this is a hopeless question. In French there are certain verbs that require a certain structure depending on usage, i.e. venir de, venir à, etc. We might, in English, call these a fixed phrase. However, depending on what follows the verb, the sense changes. So «Je viens de France» means I come from France, so in this case venir de is followed by a complement indicating the origin of the movement. With «Je viens à lui» means I come to him/her. In this case, venir à is followed by a complement indicating the terminus of the movement. Personally speaking, I have not heard the phrase «venir à» in use so I would suspect this to be somewhat colloquial. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisée par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet Ron (un locuteur non natif )

Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

17 December 2017

17/12/17

Thank you, but I was thinking more about the difference between “je viens de France » and « je viens du pays de Galles ». The latter is considered singular and masculine, as far as I understand. Why is the article “le” used with the masculine country (contained in the contraction “du”), while the feminine country doesn’t use an article?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

18 December 2017

18/12/17

Hi Tom, I believe there is no explanation to your question except that that's just the way it is. Learn it and use it. Don't think about it too much.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

18 December 2017

18/12/17

Thanks. Yeah, I had a feeling, thus the "hopeless question" comment. Would it be fair to say that "en" never takes an article? That's my impression up until now, at least.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 December 2017

19/12/17

Bonjour Tom !

Yes, unfortunately, I have to go with Chris on this one : I cannot think of an explanation other than the very frustrating "That's just the way it is".

Désolée :)

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