French Grammar: The Preposition DE

French Grammar: The Preposition DE

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French Grammar: The Preposition DE
la grammaire française: la préposition DE

The preposition DE means “of” or “from” in French!

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ORIGIN: The preposition DE means “of” or “from” in French!  It is often combined with the verb ÊTRE.

Je suis de California.
I am from California.

Je viens de Paris.
I come from Paris.

POSSESSION: DE can also be used to indicate possession, since the English form  ‘s  (as in “Lucy’s shoes” or “Michael’s book”) doesn’t exist in French.

Les chaussures de Jeannot.
Johnny’s shoes.  (Literally: The shoes of Johnny.)

Le livre de Marie.
Marie’s book.  (Literally:  The book of Marie.)

COMPOSITION: DE can identify the composition of an object, to express what material it’s made of. It is often combined with the verb ÊTRE.

Le placard est de métal.
The cabinet is (made of) metal.

La table est de bois.
The table is (made of) wood.

When the preposition DE precedes any word that begins with a vowel or silent ‘h’, it becomes D’.

La bague est d’or.
The ring is (made of) gold.

Le collier est d’argent.
The necklace is (made of) silver.

When the preposition DE is combined with the definite article LE, they contract to create a new word: DU.

C’est le bureau du professeur.
It is the professor’s office.  (Literally: It is the office of the professor.)

Le plat du jour.
Today’s special.  (Literally: The special of the day.)

When the preposition DE is combined with the definite article LES, they contract to create a new word: DES.

Hélène est la mère des enfants.
Hélène is the children’s mother.  (Lierally: Hélène is the mother of the children.)

Le livre est à gauche des stylos.
The book is to the left of the pens.

Adapt:

Vous êtes d’où?
Where are you (formal) from?

Je suis de Montréal.
I am from Montreal.

C’est le livre de qui?
Whose book is this?

Le livre est de Michel.
The book is Michael’s.

La boucle d’oreille est faite de quoi?
What is the earring made of?

La boucle d’oreille est d’argent.
The earring is made of silver.

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