Being sick (and I’m still not feeling all that well), I haven’t been up to getting back to my 45 Days of French. But I have done some French study on the side, and found something interesting that I don’t have any explanation for. It is a set of example sentences in Le Français: Ecouter et Parler, an older (1960’s) French textbook.
Here are the examples:
- Je suis un ami de Pierre.
- Je suis une amie de Marie.
- Je suis un ami de tes parents.
- Nous sommes de bons copains.
- Nous sommes de bons amis.
- Nous sommes de bonnes amies.
So I’m okay with the set starting in Je suis… In the third person, this would not be allowed. Il est bon, but Il, c’est un bon ami. But I doubt in the first person you would want to use the demonstrative ce. So though that hasn’t been addressed explicitly in either of the other texts I have been using, I don’t find this a huge leap.
But moving from there to the plural first person, I am quite perplexed as to the use of de. I might have expected des, but de? The textbook offers no hint or instruction. It shows repeated examples so you can learn by pattern – which is fine, but doesn’t answer this question for me. Now, des would mean something along the lines of “some”. So maybe referring to oneself that way would be odd, e.g “We are some good friends.” Maybe de should be taken as a class partitive, “We are (of the sort) good friends.” In any case, I haven’t seen anything to justify this pattern. I don’t know if it is required, if it is only required in the first person (and thus in the third would make use of des), or if I am just missing something. Maybe it is just older, and no longer the norm.