How do I know when to use 'à' vs. 'de'? French preposition help!

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There are various rules in French which can help you to choose the right preposition. Below are the rules for the preposition à.

à

used to refer to a place.

à la maison; au (à + le) bureau.

- for names of cities: à Londres; à Milan.

- for names of countries of masculine gender and beginning with a consonant/countries in the plural: au (à + le) Portugal; aux (à + les) Etats-Unis.

- for names of islands that have no article: à Madagascar; à Jersey.

 

used to introduce the objects of verbs which express:

- something being removed: enlever à; voler à; prendre qqch (quelque chose) à qqn (quelqu'un). 

- something being achieved: arriver à; réussir à qqch.

- a movement (real or metaphorical): tourner à; penser à qqch/qqn.

 

used after an adjective expressing:

- a comparison: supérieur à; comparable à qqch/qqn.

- a behaviour of tendency (to in English): opposé à qqch/qqn; prêt à (faire qqch).

 

part of phrases expressing:

- a manner: à la main; à voix basse.

- gradation: petit à petit; un à un.

- some forms of transport: à pied; à vélo.

 

used where English uses compound nouns.

- composition: une tarte aux (à + les) fraises; une soupe aux (à + les) pommes de terre.

- what something is used for: une tasse à thé; une brosse à dents.

 

My next explanation will follow shortly, with detailed information about where to use ‘de’.

I hope this has been helpful!

See you soon.

Imogen :)

Imogen C. A Level English Language tutor, A Level French tutor, GCSE ...

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