Are there times when you say "de les" instead of des? For example, in this sentence ... Ils essaient de l'atteindre dans l'arbre afin de l'empêcher de les manger versus Ils essaient de l'atteindre dans l'arbre afin de l'empêcher des manger??? Thanks for any feedback.
In the case of your example, where it says "essayer de les empecher", you cannot contract "de" and "les" because "les" functions as the direct object of the sentence. Only when used as a definite article do you contract "les" with "de". The same is also true for "le".
Both of these aspects of grammar have more than one meaning.
Try here for "de" https://www.wordreference.com/fren/de
"Les" can be a definite article or a direct object pronoun -- there may be other uses but these are the two that come immediately to mind.
You may find this link helpful as well:-
Thank you very much!
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