Les/des

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Joakim

Kwiziq community member

11 July 2017

3 replies

Les/des

In a B1 question, "They collect antique cars" was translated as "Ils collectionnent les voitures anciennes". Why not "des voitures"?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 July 2017

14/07/17

Bonjour Joakim !

Aaaah l'éternelle question ;)

Here we're talking about a general category of collected items: I collect stamps...

If you said "Je collectionne des voitures anciennes", it would reduce the scope of items you're collecting = I collect some antique cars.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Joakim

Kwiziq community member

15 July 2017

15/07/17

I think it is hard to understand the distinction because one can obviously only collect *some* cars no matter how you express it.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

17 July 2017

17/07/17

Bonjour Joakim !

In the case of collection, you will use the more encompassing les, because collectors' purpose is never to collect just "some" of the items :)

In general, the definite article will be less restrictive than the partitive, in that it refers to a whole category in a general manner:

J'aime le chocolat.
I love chocolate. -> the general category known as chocolate, comprising all subcategories of it

Je mange du chocolat.
I eat [some] chocolate. -> not all the chocolate that exists, but a restricted part of it!

I hope that's a bit clearer :)

Bonne journée !

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