Answered! Jump to accepted answer.
Kwiziq community member
9 October 2018
Articles OR no articles depending on the context?
In this Weekend Workout (5-10-2018) in the 'Californian Dream' level C1 quiz we are asked to translate:
'But what fascinated her the most remained this image of a land both arid and lush, which comprised desert, forests, ocean and mountains,'
Two possible anwers were given (see below) one with articles and the other without articles.
Is this perhaps because the one with articles relates to general things BUT the one without articles relates to specific things (a specific forest, say, rather than forests in general)? Could you please advise/explain.
Answer 1. qui comprenait le désert, les forêts, l'océan et les montagnes,
Answer 2. qui comprenait désert, forêts, océan et montagnes,
This relates to:Using le, la, l', les before nouns when generalising (definite articles) -
Both refer to general things but are stylistically different. You can find traces of this in English as well:
I love forest, sea and sky.I love the forest, the sea and the sky.
Both versions say the same thing but they have a different "ring" to it.
Input from a native speaker would be greatly appreciated.
Kwiziq language super star
10 October 2018
It is just a stylistic tool used to recite/declame in literature which you would not find in spoken French.
It made me think of a beautiful Lamartine poem ( French romantic poet) called Le Lac where he asks time to stand still so that he can savour the moment :
"... ô lac! rochets muets! grottes! forêt obscure
Vous que le temps épargne ou qu'il peut rajeunir..."
Here is a link to it if you are interested -
Hope this helps!
Hi Cécile (and Chris) Thank you for the response.
Do I understand correctly thay the sentence without the articles would typically be found only in, say, a novel or a poem but the sentence with the articles is the one that should be used in spoken French?
12 October 2018
Yes, your last comment is correct, the lack of articles is used for lyrical purposes.
In normal speech you will need an article unlike ( sometimes) in English.
Look at the following examples:
If you have time, come and see me = Si vous avez le temps, passez me voir
Or, describing what a person might have going for her -
Elle a beaucoup d'humour, des amis merveilleux, un mari adorable, de beaux enfants = She has humour, wonderful friends, a wonderful husband, beautiful children
Knowing which one to use is more tricky!
15 October 2018
English is actually quite tricky in this respect. Consider this:
If you have time, I'd love to visit.If you can spare the time, I'd love to visit.
The article is used for some verbs and not for others in English. Try to explain that to someone learning English :)
Login to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard