Du, de la, de l', des all become de or d' in negative sentences (partitive articles)

You know how to use partitive articles (du, de la, de l', des) in affirmative sentences by now (see Using du, de la, de l', des to express some or any (partitive articles)).


Now look at these negative sentences:

Je mange des pommes. - Je ne mange pas de pommes.
I eat apples.  -  I don't eat any apples.

Je bois du lait. - Je ne bois pas de lait.
I drink milk.  -  I don't drink any milk.

J'ai des animaux.  - Je n'ai pas d'animaux.
I've got (some) animals.  -Me, I don't have any animals.

Nous avons bu de la bière.  -  Nous n'avons pas bu de bière.
We drank beer.  - We didn't drink any beer.

Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande.
Do you eat meat? - No, we never eat meat.

Tu fais encore de la natation ? - Non, je ne fais plus de natation.
Do you still go swimming? - No, I don't go swimming anymore.

Partitive articles du, de la, de l' and des all become de or d' (in front of a vowel or mute h) in negative sentences using ne...pas, ne...jamais, ne...plus etc (See also N'avoir plus de = To have none left (negation))

ATTENTION: 

This rule does NOT apply to sentences using the verb être and other Verbes d'état, with which the partitive article doesn't change.

C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.
Is that Guerande salt? -No, it's not Guerande salt.

C'est de l'huile d'olive ? -Non, ce n'est pas de l'huile d'olive.
Is this olive oil? -No, this is not olive oil.

Le plomb devient de l'or. - Non, le plomb ne devient pas de l'or !
Lead becomes gold. - No, lead doesn't become gold!

Also see Un, une become de or d' in negative sentences (indefinite articles) 

Note that definite articles (le, la, l', les) don't change in negative sentences: 
J'aime le chocolat. -> Je n'aime pas le chocolat.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tu fais encore de la natation ? - Non, je ne fais plus de natation.
Do you still go swimming? - No, I don't go swimming anymore.


Nous avons bu de la bière.  -  Nous n'avons pas bu de bière.
We drank beer.  - We didn't drink any beer.


Tu as de la colle ? - Non je n'ai plus de colle.
Have you got glue? - No, I haven't any glue left.


Je bois du lait. - Je ne bois pas de lait.
I drink milk.  -  I don't drink any milk.


C'est de l'huile d'olive ? -Non, ce n'est pas de l'huile d'olive.
Is this olive oil? -No, this is not olive oil.


Je mange des pommes. - Je ne mange pas de pommes.
I eat apples.  -  I don't eat any apples.


Le plomb devient de l'or. - Non, le plomb ne devient pas de l'or !
Lead becomes gold. - No, lead doesn't become gold!


C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.
Is that Guerande salt? -No, it's not Guerande salt.


Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande.
Do you eat meat? - No, we never eat meat.


J'ai des animaux.  - Je n'ai pas d'animaux.
I've got (some) animals.  -Me, I don't have any animals.


Q&A Forum 12 questions, 29 answers

DuncanA2Kwiziq community member

Why no 'de'?

One of my 'test recommended' questions was: Il prend toujours l’avion. - Non, il ________ l'avion

The answer given was: 'ne prend jamais' and my answer 'ne prend jamais de' was marked incorrect.

Why is there no 'de' in this case when the 'vous mangez de la viande' example on this page shows there is?

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Duncan,

In the case of prendre l'avion, (which would translate as - to travel by plane - in English), it could also be, prendre le train  (to travel by train), or prendre le bus ( to travel by bus) you will use a definite article.

In the case of manger de la viande, you use the partitive article as you eat a quantity of meat.

Here are a couple of links to relevant Kwiziq lessons to explain further -

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/article-type/french-definite-articles-les-articles-definis

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/article-type/french-partitive-articles-les-articles-partitifs

Hope this helps!

Why no 'de'?

One of my 'test recommended' questions was: Il prend toujours l’avion. - Non, il ________ l'avion

The answer given was: 'ne prend jamais' and my answer 'ne prend jamais de' was marked incorrect.

Why is there no 'de' in this case when the 'vous mangez de la viande' example on this page shows there is?

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JudithB1Kwiziq community member

What are verbes d'état? S'il vous plait

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Judith,

Les verbes d’état /verbes attributifs are verbs which denote a state of being, or a change in state of being, the verb ‘être’ being the one most used in language.

The list also include -

avoir l’air, paraître, sembler, rester, demeurer......

Unlike the transitive and intransitive verbs, which have direct/ indirect objects or not, the verbs of state have an attribute which can be an adjective, adverb or a nominal group which changes the state they describe.

Take a look at the updated Kwiziq lesson on ‘demeurer’ as an example..

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/demeurer-can-be-used-with-avoir-or-etre-in-le-passe-compose-and-changes-meaning

Hope this helps!

What are verbes d'état? S'il vous plait

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JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Partitive articles

We are told that partitive articles become de or d' in negative tenses. Yet in Aurélie's Chrismas quiz 'il ne veut que de la bûche' is given as a correct answer.

Please explain.

Asked 1 year ago
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi John,

Although 'ne..que' resembles a negative construction, it does not connote actual negation but rather restriction and does not follow the rules for the substitution of the partitive article in negative constructions. So, 'il ne veut que de la bûche' is perfectly correct.

Hope this helps.

Tom

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Il ne veut que de la bûche. -- He only wants log-cake.
Il ne veut pas de bûche. -- He doeesn't want log-cake.
JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Tom et Chris

Merci pour ces réponses. Maintenant je comprends.

John

Partitive articles

We are told that partitive articles become de or d' in negative tenses. Yet in Aurélie's Chrismas quiz 'il ne veut que de la bûche' is given as a correct answer.

Please explain.

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MarianneA1Kwiziq community member

The quiz question translates "Pierre n'achète pas de vélo." To "Pierre doesn't buy a bike." It seems to me one could say , "Pierre n'achète pas un

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi marianne, 

Could you give me the full context to see if I can answer your question?

The quiz question translates "Pierre n'achète pas de vélo." To "Pierre doesn't buy a bike." It seems to me one could say , "Pierre n'achète pas un

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

de preceding the possessive adjective

Même si ce n'était pas de sa faute.Hi, Can you please explain, is "de" necessary before "sa" in this sentence? Thanks, Paul.
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Paul,

Well spotted!

In fact you can say both "C'est ma faute" or "C'est de ma faute".

The first one is considered more correct but you will hear both in French .

It is an idiomatic 'de' so hard to justify...

C'est ma faute, c'est ma faute, c'est ma très grande faute = Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Hope this helps!

PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Cécile, that's very helpful. I'm encouraged by my experience that "de ma faute" didn't sound quite right. Maybe I'm starting to develop an ear for French! Paul.

de preceding the possessive adjective

Même si ce n'était pas de sa faute.Hi, Can you please explain, is "de" necessary before "sa" in this sentence? Thanks, Paul.

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PokimonKwiziq community member

Partitif article followed by propername

I have the following sentence

Il biot ------ Coca-cola tous les jours.

Here i need to fill it using partitif article, because Coca-cola is a propername i have to use Il boit de Coca-cola tous les jours?

Is this correct. Please correct me if i am wrong.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

HI Sivavathana,

The answer would be 'Il boit du Coca-cola tous les jours'.

It would be the same for any beverage, e.g.

Il boit du lait, du vin, du champagne, de la bière, du Pineau des Charentes tous les jours...

Hope this helps!

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Indeed Chris, "On boit de la bière , de la limonade et de la Vodka..."

Have been racking my brain to think of any other beverages which are feminine but these are the only ones I could muster...

Please feel free to add to the list ...

Sivavathana's comment is valid though as most are masculine which is something that a native speaker wouldn't necessarily appreciate as useful to a learner.

 

PokimonKwiziq community member
Thank you so much.. It helped me a lot.. After your response i underdtood that all drinks are masculine gender.. 
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
De la bière!! ;) -- Chris.
AbigailA1Kwiziq community member

Tisane is feminine, also eau and champagne.

CécileKwiziq team member

Champagne is masculine -

On boit du champagne....

AbigailA1Kwiziq community member

Sorry, you're right about champagne.  I guess it just feels feminine to me.  

Absinthe also is feminine.

Partitif article followed by propername

I have the following sentence

Il biot ------ Coca-cola tous les jours.

Here i need to fill it using partitif article, because Coca-cola is a propername i have to use Il boit de Coca-cola tous les jours?

Is this correct. Please correct me if i am wrong.

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MaddieA1Kwiziq community member

D'animaux vs DES animaux

Why is it "Elle n'aime pas d'animaux" rather than "Elle n'aime pas DES animaux"? I didn't think that it mattered if the noun started with a vowel when it was plural; it would alway become "des" and the 's' would be pronounced in front of the vowel sound.
Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Maddie !

In this case -  negative sentences - the des becomes de.

J'ai des pommes.  -> Je n'ai pas de pommes.

And de will become d' in front of a vowel or mute "h", for pronunciation reasons.

J'ai des animaux.   -> Je n'ai pas d'animaux.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

D'animaux vs DES animaux

Why is it "Elle n'aime pas d'animaux" rather than "Elle n'aime pas DES animaux"? I didn't think that it mattered if the noun started with a vowel when it was plural; it would alway become "des" and the 's' would be pronounced in front of the vowel sound.

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HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ils n'ont pas de l'habitude / pas "d'habitude" or pas "l'habitude"?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Helen,

As the expression is - 'avoir l'habitude de faire quelque chose', the le is maintained after the pas or it would not make any sense...

but I can understand your confusion...

HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I'm not sure why when I post questions, the body doesn't post but here's the rest of the question: I'm thinking that "de" follows pas before nouns( except when using etre.) So would this sentence be correct: "Ils n'ont pas d'habitude de parler francais." Or should it be "ils n'ont pas de l'habitude de parler francais"? I actually had a French speaker tell me there is no "de" and it's "Ils n'ont pas l'habitude de parler francais. Help!:)
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Helen,

"Ils n'ont pas l'habitude de parler français" -- They are not in the habit of speaking French.

You don't use "de" in this case because that would signifiy that what comes after is part of a bigger thing (e.g. "un morceau du gâteau" -- a piece of the cake). Since there isn't something like a "bigger piece of habit" you don't use the preposition "de".

Hope that helps, -- Chris  (not a native speaker).

HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Chris, thank you for this. I love the logic about it not being "part of a bigger thing". Would you say the majority of time, we would use "pas de" before a noun?
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, definitely. According to this pattern:

"Tu as du lait?" - "Non, je n'ai plus de lait." -- "Do you have some milk?" - No, I have no more milk."

-- Chris. 

Ils n'ont pas de l'habitude / pas "d'habitude" or pas "l'habitude"?

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PaulA1Kwiziq community member

Use of etre

Please will someone enlighten as to when, where or how the verb 'etre' is used in the following sentences: C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Hi Paul - I'm not sure if I've understood your question but 'est' (in C'est and Ce n'est pas) is être.
PaulA1Kwiziq community member
Many thanks Gruff. Of course you are correct. Still struggling with etre and avoir.
GruffKwiziq team member
Pleasure. In that case, I'd suggest you add these two lessons to your notebook:
Conjugate être in Le Présent (present tense)">Conjugate être in Le Présent (present tense)">Conjugate être in Le Présent (present tense)">Conjugate être in Le Présent (present tense)

Conjugate avoir in Le Présent (present tense)">Conjugate avoir in Le Présent (present tense)">Conjugate avoir in Le Présent (present tense)">Conjugate avoir in Le Présent (present tense)

There are add buttons on the lessons, and then you can go to your notebook (the bookmark icon in the top right) and practise them from there.

Just keep kwizzing until you feel you've mastered them.

Hope that helps.
KarenA1Kwiziq community member

Hi Paul,

C'est is the contraction of ce est. Est is third person singular form of être.

Use of etre

Please will someone enlighten as to when, where or how the verb 'etre' is used in the following sentences: C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande.

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AnishA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is this rule exclusive for partitive articles?

Is it correct to say "Je ne Viens pas de natation" as a negative form of "Je viend de la natation"
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Anish, This is the lesson statement that most aptly fits your question: ATTENTION: This rule does NOT apply to sentences using the verb être, with which the partitive article doesn't change. C'est du sel de Guérande ? -Non, ce n'est pas du sel de Guérande. Is that Guerande salt? -No, it's not Guerande salt. C'est de l'huile d'olive ? -Non, ce n'est pas de l'huile d'olive. Is this olive oil? -No, this is not olive oil. J'espère que cela vous aidera. Ron

Is this rule exclusive for partitive articles?

Is it correct to say "Je ne Viens pas de natation" as a negative form of "Je viend de la natation"

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MaryA2Kwiziq community member

Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande. - No, I never eat meat.

Why have you used "nous ne mangeons jamais" for first person singular?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Mary ! This was a mistake, thanks you so much for letting us know! The English has now been edited accordingly :) Merci et à bientôt !

Vous mangez de la viande ? - Non, nous ne mangeons jamais de viande. - No, I never eat meat.

Why have you used "nous ne mangeons jamais" for first person singular?

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BruceA1Kwiziq community member

What about negative sentences referring to body parts?

Which is correct and what references can you provide to convince my teacher? Elles n'ont pas les yeux verts? Elles n'ont pas des yeux verts? Elles n'ont pas d'yeux verts?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Bruce ! This case is actually quite different, as the affirmative sentence would be "Elle a les yeux bleus", so the negative equivalent would still be "Elle n'a pas *les* yeux bleus". Look at our related lesson: Using le, la, les with body parts and clothing (definite articles) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
BruceA1Kwiziq community member
Bonjour! Merci bien pour votre réponse. I had reviewed the lesson you mention. I suppose it could be inferred that a definite article should be used for one's own body parts in the negative but it didn't specifically address it. It was my understanding that a definite article should be used, even in the negative, but my teacher says that this is wrong. Can you provide a reference that I can use to show my teacher? L'Académie française, peut-être? Merci. Bruce

What about negative sentences referring to body parts?

Which is correct and what references can you provide to convince my teacher? Elles n'ont pas les yeux verts? Elles n'ont pas des yeux verts? Elles n'ont pas d'yeux verts?

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