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When to use de verus à for possesion

April

Kwiziq community member

11 January 2018

2 replies

When to use de verus à for possesion

Un stylo est à moi Un stylo est de moi?

This relates to:
Expressing possession with 'de' -

Chris

Kwiziq community member

11 January 2018

11/01/18

That's a good question, April. Somehow I've managed to get a feel for it which I'll try to put in words.

"De" is used to denote intellectual ownership while "à" implies personal physical ownership. It is often translated as "by" in this context:

"Ce livre de Zola est excellent." -- This book by Zola is excellent.

"De" is also used to describe an object further. In these instances one could translate "de" with "of the":

"La balle des enfants." -- The ball of the children.

"À" really expresses ownership in a more direct sense as "de".

"Ce manteau-ci est à moi." -- This coat belongs to me.

I hope I was able to shed some light on this. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Chris

Kwiziq community member

11 January 2018

11/01/18

Looking at the two sentences from your question:

Le stylo est à moi -- The pen belongs to me.
Le stylo est de moi. -- The pen is by me (i.e., I made it)

The first one sounds very natural to my ears, whereas the second one doesn't.

-- Chris.

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