There are four grammatical constructions used to express possession in French: adjectives, pronouns, and two different prepositions. In English, we use ‘s (apostrophe s) to indicate that one noun possesses another. The French equivalent is the preposition de or à with the order of the nouns reversed. We will cover possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns in future units.
Previously, we discussed how to talk about possession using possessive adjectives (my, your, his, etc..) In English, we also show possession by using an apostrophe.
In French, to show possession in the same way that we use an apostrophe, one should use the “possessive de.” Take a look at the same two examples to see their relationship:
Le sac-à-dos de John = The backpack of John = John’s backpack
La voiture d’Annette = The car of Annette = Annette’s car
Just as we learned with partitive articles, de must connect with any definite article that follows it.
The lion’s roar is loud. → Le rugissement du lion est fort.
The cow’s favorite food is grass → La nourriture favorite de la vache est l’herbe.
The bird’s color is yellow. → Le couleur de l’oiseau est jaune.
Dogs’ best friends are men. → Les amis des chiens sont les hommes.
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
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