Showing possession with de in French


Showing possession - who owns something - is very different in French and English. You can't use "'s" in French! Ever! In order to show possession, use de ("of"). This means the literal translation of "Julia's book" is something more like "the book of Julia." Either way, the message is the same - the book belongs to Julia.

If you use de before a noun rather than a proper name or subject pronoun, you must use the definite article (le, la, les) to say "of the." When de comes before le, they combine to form du. When de comes before les, they combine to form des.

Make sure you know the following definitions:
of = de
of the = du, de la, des
du is the contraction of de+le and is used before a masculine singular noun.
des is the contraction of de+les and is used before masculine plural and feminine plural noun.
Be careful! des is also the definite article masculine and feminine plural.

Examples:

Le cahier de Louise. [Louise's notebook]
Le livre de Paul. [Paul's book]
La voiture du professeur. [The teacher's car]
La patte du chien. [The dog's leg]
La fête de la voisine. [Neighbor's party]
Les voitures des garçons. [The boys' cars]
La glace des filles. [The girls' ice cream]

Related Links:
French
Subject Pronouns in French: The Basics
Telling Time in French


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