Expressing possession with être à

Look at these sentences expressing possession:

Cette ceinture est à eux.
This belt is theirs.  (a mixed group or male group)


C'est à qui? / À qui c'est?
Whose is it?


C'est à moi!
It's mine!


Ce sac est à lui.
This bag is his.


Ces chaussures sont à elle.
These shoes are hers.


Ces bonbons sont à elles.
These sweets are theirs (female group).

To express possession in French (It's mine, yours...), you can use the expression être à + moi/toi/lui/elle/nous/vous/eux/elles (literally it is to me/you/...)

Grammar note: in French you use the disjunctive/stress pronouns (moi/toi/lui/elle ...), whereas in English you use the possessive pronouns (mine/yours/his/hers ....)

 

See also Le mien, le tien, le sien, etc = Mine, yours, his/hers/its (possessive pronouns)
and Le nôtre, le vôtre, le leur, etc = Ours, yours, theirs (possessive pronouns)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Cette ceinture est à eux.
This belt is theirs.  (a mixed group or male group)


Ces bonbons sont à elles.
These sweets are theirs (female group).


C'est à moi!
It's mine!


Ces chaussures sont à elle.
These shoes are hers.


C'est à qui? / À qui c'est?
Whose is it?


Ce sac est à lui.
This bag is his.


Q&A Forum 9 questions, 12 answers

Madhavi LathaA1Kwiziq community member

Confusion between Pronouns

I cannot differenciate between pronoun etre a and le mien la mienne ...

What is the difference in their function (use)

Asked 2 days ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Madhavi Latha,

It is just two different ways of saying the same thing to express possession.

You can say -

Cet ordinateur, c'est le mien 

or

Cet ordinateur, il est à moi.

Because of the preposition à, you use a different pronoun, the same ones used after 'chez'', sometimes called 'stress pronouns'. If not sure take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/common-uses-of-moi-toi-lui-elle-nous-vous-eux-elles-disjunctivestress-pronouns

So to recap, if you say -

Cet ordinateur est le mien = This computer is mine

Cet ordinateur est à moi = This computer belongs to me ( = is mine)

Hope this helps!

Confusion between Pronouns

I cannot differenciate between pronoun etre a and le mien la mienne ...

What is the difference in their function (use)

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ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Query regarding être + à and possessive pronouns

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

I am unable to understand the concepts behind the following sentences.

 (A)Ce portable, appartient-il à ce monsieur?

The answers I thought were->

1.Oui, c’est le sien. 2. Oui, il est à lui. 3.Oui, il appartient à lui.

Are they correct ? Can one say- Oui, il est le sien ?

(B)Tout le monde n’a pas les mêmes goûts, chacun a __________

Here, the correct answer will be les siens. Why cannot it be le sien ?

Merci beaucoup et bonne journée!

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Shrey,

A) the possible answers would be -

Oui, c’est le sien

Oui, il est à lui

Or

Oui, il lui appartient

N.B. Remember you cannot say - il est le

B) It is because of ‘les mêmes  goûts’ so ‘les siens’ is correct

Hope this helps!

Query regarding être + à and possessive pronouns

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

I am unable to understand the concepts behind the following sentences.

 (A)Ce portable, appartient-il à ce monsieur?

The answers I thought were->

1.Oui, c’est le sien. 2. Oui, il est à lui. 3.Oui, il appartient à lui.

Are they correct ? Can one say- Oui, il est le sien ?

(B)Tout le monde n’a pas les mêmes goûts, chacun a __________

Here, the correct answer will be les siens. Why cannot it be le sien ?

Merci beaucoup et bonne journée!

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MabitaB1Kwiziq community member

"à moi" ou "de moi" ?

Bonjour tout le monde!

Je suis perdue par rapport à ce sujet.

Il y a quelques années une personne française m'a corrigé. On ne dit pas "à moi", on dit "de moi". Je sais que la manière la plus populaire est la première (et, normalement, c'est cela que j'utilise), mais je vais présenter un examen et je ne sais pas laquelle est correcte !

Voici un liens qui supporte cette déclaration:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/expressions-francaises/2017/10/24/37003-20171024ARTFIG00004-l-ami-a-pierre-ou-l-ami-de-pierre-ne-faites-plus-la-faute.php

MERCI BEAUCOUP ! 

Asked 7 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

This dress belongs to Marie. -- Cette robe est à Marie.This is the robe of Marie. -- C'est la robe de Marie.

It can be confusing, but maybe these two example sentence help clarify the matter. It would be wrong to say, "C'est la robe à Marie". One way to help you remember: à follows a verb and de follows a noun.

MabitaB1Kwiziq community member

Oh! Thank you so much! That has been confusing me for a long time (as you could see), but now I get it. Thanks!

"à moi" ou "de moi" ?

Bonjour tout le monde!

Je suis perdue par rapport à ce sujet.

Il y a quelques années une personne française m'a corrigé. On ne dit pas "à moi", on dit "de moi". Je sais que la manière la plus populaire est la première (et, normalement, c'est cela que j'utilise), mais je vais présenter un examen et je ne sais pas laquelle est correcte !

Voici un liens qui supporte cette déclaration:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/expressions-francaises/2017/10/24/37003-20171024ARTFIG00004-l-ami-a-pierre-ou-l-ami-de-pierre-ne-faites-plus-la-faute.php

MERCI BEAUCOUP ! 

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SusanA1Kwiziq community member

in this phrase: C'est à qui? Why is the liaison not used?

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Susan,

This is a case of an optional  liaison after, ‘c’est’, il est..

 

in this phrase: C'est à qui? Why is the liaison not used?

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Claudia A2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Salut a tous. "sont à elle" et "sont à elles"

In the example they sound exactly the same. I know you are going to say that context will let me know if it is "hers" or "theirs" but when you are not proficient it can be quite confusing, n'est-ce pas?

Asked 10 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

I am afraid it is Claudia, but the last 's' of 'elles' is not pronounced ....

Salut a tous. "sont à elle" et "sont à elles"

In the example they sound exactly the same. I know you are going to say that context will let me know if it is "hers" or "theirs" but when you are not proficient it can be quite confusing, n'est-ce pas?

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RobC1Kwiziq community member

Pronunciation of "t" in "C'est à moi"

Why does the pronunciation accompanying this lesson not pronounce the "t" in "C'est à moi"? I have another French language program (and a French speaking daughter) which does pronounce it. Is this possibly a regional difference? Which is correct in formal Parisian French?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Rob,

I have listened to the audio and can't hear the 't' .

However, both would be correct, .The 't' should be sounded but you will hear both. Children are less likely to want to be formal.

Hope this helps!

Pronunciation of "t" in "C'est à moi"

Why does the pronunciation accompanying this lesson not pronounce the "t" in "C'est à moi"? I have another French language program (and a French speaking daughter) which does pronounce it. Is this possibly a regional difference? Which is correct in formal Parisian French?

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PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Liaisons

In the pronunciations for this lesson there don”t appear to be any liaisons between the est and the à. For example “c’est à moi” “sont à elles” we can”t hear the letter t. Is it wrong in these cases not to liaise?
Asked 1 year ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Paul,

The liaison in these examples is optional: using it would make the phrase very formal.

See optional liaisons, section 6.

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Merci Laura. J'avais oublié que le français est une langue si espiègle! (Mais j'aime les règles optionnelles!)

Liaisons

In the pronunciations for this lesson there don”t appear to be any liaisons between the est and the à. For example “c’est à moi” “sont à elles” we can”t hear the letter t. Is it wrong in these cases not to liaise?

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Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is it as correct to say, Ce stylo est le mien, as,

Ce stylo est à moi?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Susan, "Ce stylo est le mien" is a bit awkward - "le mien" isn't used with the noun in the same clause. It's more for something like "Voilà ton stylo, et voici le mien," or else just "C'est le mien."
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour Laura, et merci.

Is it as correct to say, Ce stylo est le mien, as,

Ce stylo est à moi?

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StuartB1Kwiziq community member

Is there an 'appropriacy' issue with 'c'est à moi' over 'c'est le miens'?

Would one be be considered more formal than the other? (If so, which one!) Thanks.
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Stuart, No, there's no difference in formality, but c'est à moi is a bit more emphatic than c'est le mien.* C'est à moi is also a bit vaguer, more global, since le mien is focusing on / replacing the specific item, rather than stressing the owner. *Note that there's no s in the singular: le mien, les miens.

Is there an 'appropriacy' issue with 'c'est à moi' over 'c'est le miens'?

Would one be be considered more formal than the other? (If so, which one!) Thanks.

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