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Grammar question

 
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telli22



Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:36 am    Post subject: Grammar question Reply with quote

This is something I just don't get.

de (=from, about, of) + les (=plural of the) = des , is that correct ?

To give you an example:
Je parle des garcons ( I am speaking about the boys )

But des in its own right (ie without constructing it by combining de + les)
means 'some' or 'any'. I guess it's also the plural of 'a' or un/une. So, if you examine that sentence again with that meaning in mind, it no
longer makes any sense!

Je parle des garcons - I am speaking some boys, I am speaking any boys.

How can des mean two different things ? How is the reader supposed to know if des in this context was used as it is, or by adding de and les together?
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Rob



Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 117
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have found the many wonders of trying to translate french to english. You can't translate des literally, it has no english meaning. That's why it's either plural form of un/une or you can use it as some. You yourself must be able to translate thinking about how it is used in the sentence.
Je parle des garçons.
That has to mean I am talking about the boys because if you think about it I talk about some boys doesn't make sense. Ciao, hope that helped.
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mad



Joined: 06 Nov 2005
Posts: 69
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Je parle des garçons.=I speak of the boys. (de+les=des)
Je parle aux garçons.= I speak to the boys. (à+les= aux)
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