Tag Archive | de

Simple Prepositions – Literal & Idiomatic Uses Part 3

Part 3 in this series.

de – from/of

“Ces oranges viennent d’Espagne.” | “These oranges come from Spain.”

Du jour au lendemain la situation politique s’est transformée.” | “From one day to the next, the political situation has been transformed.”

“Tu as vu la photo de notre équipe ?” | “Have you seen the photo of our team?”

“Paris est la capitale de la France.” | “Paris is the capital of France.”

De can express the way in which something is done, especially with the following nouns:

  • d’un seul coup | with a single blow
  • d’une façon surprenante | in a surprising way
  • d’une manière aimable | in a friendly way
  • d’un pas rapide | walking fast/at a fast pace
  • d’un ton irrité | in an irritated tone/voice
  • d’une voix douce | in a soft voice

De can be used to translate the English “with” to express the means or cause:

  • accablé de terreur | overcome with terror
  • chargé de fruits | loaded with fruit
  • plein d’espoir | full of hope

De expresses the substance something is made of, or what it contains:

  • un mur de briques | a brick wall
  • une boule de cristal | cristal/crystal ball
  • une assiette de charcuterie | a plate of cold cuts (cold meats)
  • une tasse de thé | a cup of tea

De is used to translate “more/less than” when plus or moins is followed by a number or quantity:

  • “Il y a plus de 500 délégués.” | “There are more than 500 delegates.”
  • “Ils nous reste moins d’un litre de lait.” | “We have less than a liter of milk left.”

De is used after adjectives expressing measurements:

  • un trou large de deux mètres | a hole two meters wide

De is used after the verb être when prices, numbers, and quantities are given:

  • “Le prix de la pension complète est de 1.000 Euros.” | “The full board costs 1,000 Euros.”
  • “Le nombre des manifestants était de 5.000.” | “The number of protesters was 5,000.” | “There were 5,000 protesters.”
  • “La consommation moyenne est de deux litre d’eau par jour.” | “On average, two liters of water are drunk a day.”

De is used after a superlative adjective to translate the English “in/of”:

  • “C’est le plus beau pays du monde.” | “It’s the most beautiful country in the world.”
  • “C’est le modèle le plus économique de toutes les petites voitures.” | “It’s the most economical of all the small cars.”

Stay tuned in for the next part in this series! Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !



Special Cases with “de”

Many verbs and verbal expressions require de before an infinitive complement. Among them are verbs signifying an interruption of the action expressed by the infinitive.

Special Cases with “de”

S’indiquer de is usually translated as “it makes (someone) indignant that”.

  • Le prof s’indigne de voir que nous ne travaillons pas.
  • It makes the professor indignant to see that we are not studying.

Se souvenir de is most often followed by the infinitive of the auxiliary + the past participle (the perfect infinitive).

  • Je ne me souviens pas de l’avoir vu.
  • I don’t remember having seen him.
  • Elle ne se souvient pas d’être sortie avec lui.
  • She doesn’t remember going out with him.

In French, n’oubliez pas de is used to tell someone to remember to do something.

  • N’oubliez pas de rédiger le rapport.
  • Remember to write up the report.

Bien faire de means “to be right in (doing something), to do the wise thing by (doing something)”.

  • Tu as bien faire de nous prévenir.
  • You were wise to let us know.

Venir de means “to have just (done something)”.

  • Il n’est plus là. Il vient de quitter le bureau.
  • He’s not here anymore. He has just left the office.

See you all next week, everyone. Have a good one!

A bientôt !


The Partitive Construction

The Partitive Construction

In English, words like “some” or “any” are understood in sentences like: “Do you want coffee?” or “We have have apples and bananas.” English eliminates the need to use “some” or “any”. French, however, requires the partitive construction, which means that the words “some” or “any” must be expressed.

“Some” or “any” are represented in French by the preposition de plus the form of the definite article that agrees in gender and number of the noun it follows. Before a masculine singular noun, the expression du is used; before a feminine singular noun, de la is used; de l’ is used before a masculine or feminine singular noun which begins with a vowel or a silent h; and before a masculine or feminine plural noun, des is used.

  • Voulez-vous du cafe? – Do you want (some, any) coffee?
  • Nous avons des bananes et des pommes. – We have (some) bananas and (some) apples.

The negative requires de alone, without the article.


  • Nous avons du fromage. – We have (some) cheese.
  • Il y a des poires. – There are (some) pears.
  • Elle a des amis ici. – She has (some) friends here.


  • Nous n’avons pas de fromage. – We don’t have any cheese.
  • Il n’y a pas de poires. – There aren’t any pears.
  • Elle n’a pas d’amis ici. – She does’t have any friends here.


Have a great week, readers! Please let me know if I can help you with anything. I am happy to help.

Until next time. À bientôt !