When you are talking about a portion of one item (food, like "some bread"), or something that cannot be quantified (quality, like "some patience"), use what the French call " a partitive article": Ex: Je voudrais de l’eau, s’il vous plait.
"Here is some cake", not "some cakes" which we will study below.Here, we are talking about a portion of one item, portion that is vague, not specific.These articles "du, de la, de l'" are called "partitive articles" in French.Important: these articles are often used after the verbs vouloir (“Je voudrais des chaussures noires”) or avoir (“J’ai des chats”) and with food (we use these all the time with food, so it's a good topic for training with them.)To describe an unspecified plural quantity, use “des” (both feminine and masculine)"Des" tells you there is more than one item, but again, it’s a vague plural quantity (could be 2, could be 10,000 or more)…This “des” usually applies to whole items, that you could count, but decided not to. (more than one, but I am not telling exactly how many)Ex: Je vais acheter des pommes. In English, we’d probably won’t use any words before "apples". In French, you need to use “des”)Ex: Elle a des amis formidables (she has (some) great friends)In English, the word “some” is used for unspecified quantity (I would like some milk) but also as a derogative adjective (he went home with some girl).
In French, you would never say “il est rentré chez lui avec de la fille”…He didn’t go home with an unspecified quantity of a girl. Same thing goes with one of my example “elle a des amis formidables”.In English, if you say “she has some great friends” you’d be strongly implying that her other friends are not so great…Expressing quantities is quite an important part of daily conversation.But in French, there seems to be a lot of little two to three letter words, all looking the same, and choosing the right one can be a real headache.The key to understanding which one to use is to understand Now let's have a look at them.It’s the notion of “some” in English, but we don’t always use the word “some”.