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French grammar question - il n'y a pas de... + noun

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by mpc, May 16, 2011.

  1. mpc


    I'm working on hotel problems at the mo (non French specialist - please be gentle with me).
    In Eurovision style, can you please vote...
    (a) il n'y a pas de serviettes OR
    (b) il n'y a pas de serviette.
    One confuddled MFL teacher. Lovely French nationals who've helped so far differ in opinion!
    mpc :)
  2. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I'd say it depends on what you expected there to be.
    If there should've been a towel, but there wasn't, use the singular. If you expected towels, but there aren't any, use the plural. (Same as in English and Spanish?)
    So in the context of hotel room (where you'd expect more than one towel), probably the plural is best.
    That's what I reckon, any way.
  3. Seconded. As long as you don't put il n'y a pas des serviettes, I think you can rely on context.

  4. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Perfect explanation as above.
  5. mpc


    Thanks very much indeed.

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