Definite versus Partitive

Although the definite article (le, la, l', les) is used with nouns in a general sense, the partitive is used to express some or part of something:

 

  • J'adore le chocolat. (I love chocolate.)
  • Donne‐moi du chocolat. (Give me some chocolate.)

Although you use un or une when speaking about one portion or serving, you use an adverb or noun of quantity or the partitive to express amounts:

  • Un chocolat chaud, s'il vous plaît. (A hot chocolate, please.)
  • Un bol de chocolat chaud, s'il vous plaît. (A bowl of hot chocolate, please.)
  • Du chocolat chaud, s'il vous plaît. (Some hot chocolate, please.)