En réponse à bnathyuw <[log in to unmask]>: > > what about phrases such as 'il est medecin', 'OEdipe > roi', &c ? is there a further rule that french doesn't > use articles on ( unqualified ) predicative nouns ? > No. It's just that the construction "il est" can only be followed in French by an adjective, or something that behaves that way. So "médecin" in this sentence is not really a noun. The sentence "il est médecin" maps with "il est grand", where "médecin" and "grand" have exactly the same role. On the other hand, you cannot say *"il est un médecin" or *"il est le médecin". You have to say: "c'est un médecin" or "c'est le médecin". "Il est" can only be followed by an adjective, and thus in "il est médecin", "médecin" is really an adjective (Note that only nouns of occupations can become adjectives like that). As for "OEdipe roi", it's a structure willingly archaising (coming from a time where the French article was not mandatory yet), and purely written language. It's the name of a play, and only for that it can be used. Normal French syntax would have "le roi OEdipe" or "OEdipe le roi". Note the article always present. > why could that be ? > In Written French, you still don't normally put an article in front of a noun in apposition to another (a little like "OEdipe roi" above, but apposition is normally always marqued by a comma between the nouns). So for instance you have: "cet homme, grand écrivain s'il en fût...". But like the title above, it's an archaising construction, and in Spoken French you always add an article, which article depends on the meaning of the apposition. For instance, my little litterary phrase would become in Spoken French: "cet homme, un grand écrivain comme pas d'autre...". Written French carries on habits and rules that are not valid nowadays. Appositions without articles are like the use of the simple past: sign of an elevated written register which is prescriptively taught but never used except by authors. Christophe. http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.