"Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait de problème" vs "Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait un problème"

ChristianC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait de problème" vs "Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait un problème"

About "de problème" in "Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait de problème": Isn't "un problème" at least correct as well? "penser" is negated, "il y ait" is not. When googling the two versions, I get twice the number of the hits for the version with "un problème". E.g. https://onefootball.com/fr/news/thierry-henry-je-ne-pense-pas-quil-y-ait-un-probleme-elye-wahi-38557664

Asked 2 weeks ago
JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Bonjour Christian,

I'm not sure that I agree with Google being a reliable grammar reference.

The story tells us that a great many actions are happening in sequence, any one of which could spoil the outcome if there were to be any problem. This is why I see "de problem" as being appropriate rather than one problem "un problème" in particular.

Un/une become de/d' in negative sentences in French (French Indefinite Articles)

Bonne journée

Jim

ChristianC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Jim, thank you for answer! I was aware of the general rule about "un" becoming "de" in a negated sentence but in this case the sentence "il y ait" is not negated. I checked a few grammar books, did not find anything and gave up. However, after your answer I did some more search and finally found a definite confirmation of your answer in "Le Bon Usage":

"Le complément d'objet ou le sujet réel peuvent se trouver dans un syntagme verbal positif (infinitif ou verbe d'une proposition conjonctive) dépendant d'un verbe négatif (ou faisant partie d'une phrase averbale négative) :

Il ne faudrait pas perdre DE temps (PROUST, Rech., t. II, p. 261).

Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait DE pays dans le monde où [.,.] il se trouve aussi peu d'ignorants (TOCQUEVILLE, Démocr. en Amér., I, I, 3).

Non pas que j'eusse D'illusions (DE GAULLE, Mém. de guerre, 1.1, p. 72 )."

I think this should be added to the Kwiziq article about "Un/une become de/d' in negative sentences in French".

"Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait de problème" vs "Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait un problème"

About "de problème" in "Je ne pense pas qu'il y ait de problème": Isn't "un problème" at least correct as well? "penser" is negated, "il y ait" is not. When googling the two versions, I get twice the number of the hits for the version with "un problème". E.g. https://onefootball.com/fr/news/thierry-henry-je-ne-pense-pas-quil-y-ait-un-probleme-elye-wahi-38557664

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