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Tell me please if I need to use the definite article in the following sentence:

(The) French people cannot live without wine and cheese.

What I want say that in general the French adore wine and cheese. I am aware the use of the could mean some specific french people, but also that the could be used to refered to the whole group. I am confused because I heard people drop the the article in similar contexts.

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French people doesn't really refer to the nation in the way that the French people does. You could say

The French cannot live without wine and cheese.

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    What would be the difference between "The French people" and "French people" in the context I gave? – Dmytro O'Hope Oct 16 '18 at 14:49
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The French people refers to all the people in France, as a nation. It conveys the idea of nation implicitly.

The French people are not very nationalistic. The French people as opposed, to say, the Russian people.

French people is for making general statements about the people whose nationality is French. It just identifies the nationality but does not refer to it as unique as does "The French people", there is only one in this sense.

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