Why "le sens de l'orientation" instead of "de sens de l'orientation" ?

StephenC1Kwiziq community member

Why "le sens de l'orientation" instead of "de sens de l'orientation" ?

I understand about the "l'orientation" part, but shouldn't this read "Je n'ai jamais eu DE sens . . .." ?   In negative sentences, we are told to use "de" after a negative express in order to express no/any, which seems to be exactly what this sentence is doing.  Why translate "I've never had A good sense of direction" with a definite article?

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

Asked 2 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

The rule to use de in negations to mean "none" or "any" applies when specifying a certain quantity of a thing, with "nothing" also being considered a quantity:

J'ai une bouteille de lait. -- I have one bottle of milk.
Je n'ai pas de lait. -- I don't have milk. (literally: "I have not of milk")

The sense of orientation isn't something that has a quantity as, e.g., one bottle of sense of orientation. You cannot have "something of" a quantity of orientation, which is what the preposition de signifies: a quantity of something. Therefore the rule you are taught still stands, but it doesn't apply in this case: Je n'ai aucun sens de l'orientation.

Why "le sens de l'orientation" instead of "de sens de l'orientation" ?

I understand about the "l'orientation" part, but shouldn't this read "Je n'ai jamais eu DE sens . . .." ?   In negative sentences, we are told to use "de" after a negative express in order to express no/any, which seems to be exactly what this sentence is doing.  Why translate "I've never had A good sense of direction" with a definite article?

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

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