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> >Oh, dear God, I _still_ haven't figured out what
> >construction to use in what case! 'Je n'ai pas de
> >fromage' or 'je n'ai pas du fromage'? Frustrating!
> >
> 
> It's strange that I never noticed that, "J'ai DU
> fromage" but "Je n'ai pas 
> DE fromage", "J'ai DE LA soupe" but "JE n'ai pas DE
> soupe"
> 
 for me, I've always rationalized it by saying that
the negative is much less defined than the positive
version of the sentence, hence the object is
unaccompanied by the definite article. Similar things
happen in Russian (where for some verbs, the object
becomes genitive in the negative, whereas in the
positive the object is in the accusative [except for
animate nouns, which are always genitive when they're
an object]). Also, in Finnish, the partitive instead
of ...whatever objective case they have, is used in
the negative. 



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