L'eau, d'eau or de l'eau?

• We say de l’eau when referring to an undefined quantity:

Je voudrais de l’eau fraîche. (On ne sait pas quelle quantité) I'd like some cold water (We don't know how much water)
Il y a de l’eau ? Is there any water?

D'eau is used in the following cases:

• When the quantity is defined:

Je voudrais un verre d’eau. (quantité = 1 verre) I'd like a glass of water.
Voici un litre d’eau Here is a litre of water.

• With adverbs of quantity:
Il y a beaucoup d’eau, un peu d’eau, trop d’eau, assez d’eau There is a lot of, a bit of, too much, enough water.
• With negative phrases:
Il n’y a pas d’eau There isn't any water.
• In certain noun and adjective phrases:

une chute d’eau, une trombe d’eau, plein d’eau, etc. a waterfall, a water spout, full of water, etc.

Note that we use the definite article l’ when we speak about water as an entity or 'all the water present'.

J’aime l’eau ! I like water!
L’eau de la rivière est sale The river water is dirty.
Tu as pris l'eau ? (= tu as pris toute l'eau prévue ?) Did you take the water? (= Did you take all the water?)

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