In linguistics, the partitive is a word, phrase, or case that divides something into parts. For example, in the English sentence I'll have some coffee, some is a partitive determiner because it makes the noun phrase
Noun phrase
In grammar, a noun phrase, nominal phrase, or nominal group is a phrase based on a noun, pronoun, or other noun-like word optionally accompanied by modifiers such as adjectives....

 some coffee refer to a subset of all coffee. Similarly, the preposition of often serves as a partitive, as in many of my friends, the youngest of the children, a glass of wine, some of the milk, and some of the people.

In English, the use of the partitive some is optional: I'll have some coffee can be equivalently phrased as I'll have coffee. In most Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

, however, the partitive must be included. For example, in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 I want to drink some coffee is expressed as Je veux boire du café; here du (a contraction of de le "of the") is the partitive and is the equivalent of the optional English some. The feminine form is de la and the plural form is des (a contraction of de les "of the (plural)").

Some languages, for example Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

 and Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, have a special partitive case
Partitive case
The partitive case is a grammatical case which denotes "partialness", "without result", or "without specific identity". It is also used in contexts where a subgroup is selected from a larger group, or with numbers....

. In Latin, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 the partitive is expressed by the genitive case
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

. In Russian, though, for a limited number of words, partitive has its own form, which usually is regarded as additional form of genitive ("second genitive"). Its use is quite common.
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