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French Possessive De

Learn how to express possession in French


The French preposition de is used to express possession with names and nouns. It is equivalent to 's or s' in English.

le livre de Jean - John's book

les rues de Rome - Rome's streets, the streets of Rome

les idées d'un étudiant - a student's ideas

Note that the order of the nouns is inverted in French. "John's book" translates literally as "the book of John."

As with the partitive article and other de constructions, de contracts with le and les to make du and des:

c'est la voiture du patron - it's the boss's car

les pages du livre - the book's pages

les pages des livres - the books' pages

De cannot be used to express possession with stressed pronouns; for those, you need à.

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