The description of the conditions under which generic definite articles appear in the sentences of French is a real issue. We present here a simple syntactic rule, based on the theory of support verbs (Z. Harris 1968, M. Gross 1975), which accounts for the appearance of these articles in a particular set of sentences. In these sentences, the generic article is followed by a noun which can be associated with a support verb, and be replaced by a sentential complement of the type que S (that S). We first briefly describe a transformation which relates this sentential complement to its reduced form of simple noun. We then indicate a rule which consists in erasing the preposition de while applying this transformation. Various examples of sentences are shown in order to illustrate the wide range of application of the proposed rule. We also extend this rule to the case of sentences in which a generic definite article precedes a noun non linked with a support verb, and discuss the additional conditions required.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language