De is among the a lot of frequently offered words in French, however it’s likewise among the trickiest. You’ll view it practically anywhere. It have the right to be both an indefinite post and a preplace. It deserve to recurrent a group of somepoint, or its absence. It can be provided in positive and negative statements. It can be component of a last name.

This renders it flexible, but also hard to nail dvery own. How canyou specify and also categorize de? What function (well, roles) does it play inthe French language?

From its many interpretations and also provides, to the verbs andexpressions it’s a critical part of, let’s discover out what the deal is through de.

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1 What part of speech is de in French?
2 What are de’s different forms?
3 What does de mean?
4 Verbs whose definitions readjust when they’re adhered to by à or de
5 How to find even even more definitions of de
6 Expressions via de
7 How to memorize the definitions and uses of the word de

What component of speech is de in French?

With some feasible exceptions (because in language, thereare constantly exceptions), de deserve to be either an indefinite or partitivearticle, or a preplace.

What are de’s various forms?

De have the right to be composed as-is, yet it have the right to readjust dependingon the amount or letter of the word that comes after it.

Tright here are 6 ways you’ll frequently see, hear, and also usage de:de, de la, du, de l’, d’, and des.


De is the the majority of widespread means you’ll view and usage de.It deserve to be used with statements of worth, after verb infinitives, in negativestatements, and also even more, as you’ll watch in the future in this article.

When it pertains to negative statements, a lot of of the moment anyother create of de will certainly revert to de or d’ (if there’s a vowelinstantly after it), regardmuch less of the amount, number, or sex of the nounthat adheres to it.

de la

Often, when de is followed by a feminine noun, it stays de, with la included on.

C’est la crème de la crème!


When de is complied with by a masculine noun, rather of making use of “de le” (which doesn’t exist in French), it alters to du.

Tu veux du fromage?

Want some cheese?

de l’

When you desire to say “of/from/some of the” and also the noun adhering to the post starts with a vowel, you change de la or du to de l’.

Mon frère m’a donné de l’argent.

My brother provided me some money.


When an write-up isn’tnecessary, and also a vowel complies with de, use d’.

Le duc d’Orléans est le frère du roi.

The Duke of Orleans is the King’s brvarious other.

Comme il avait soif, il a bu un verre d’eau.

Because he was thirsty, he drank a glass of water.


When de is offered with a plural noun, it generally becomes des.

Ce bruit vient des corbeaux. Il y en a beaucoup ici.

That noise is from the crows. Tbelow are many them below.

Keep in mind that bereason de has so many type of definitions andsupplies, these rules might not constantly host true.

For circumstances, if de is part of a phrase that refersto quantity, it will remain de, regardmuch less of what adheres to, through theexception of transforming to d’ if the word adhering to it starts through avowel.

Regarde! Il y a plein de fleurs par ici!

Beaucoup d’entre eux n’aiment pas le jazz.

Remember that if de is negative, it generally likewise remains de (or d’, if complied with by a vowel), also if the subject it’s editing is masculine, plural, etc.

Désolée, je n’ai pas de gâteaux pour vous.

Sorry, I don’t have actually any kind of cookies for you.

Il n’a pas d’animal de compagnie.

He doesn’t have actually a pet.

What does de mean?

As its ubiquity argues, de has a large variety ofmeanings in French. Within these, there are additional subtexts, conmessages, andcertain, one-off provides.

Let’s look at the the majority of widespread, standard definitions of de:

1. From


Referring to points prefer wbelow a perboy is from, relocating from one point to one more, somepoint (a gift, etc.) being from someone, and so on.)

Il vient de Dijon.

He’s from Dijon

Le train component de Dunkerque à 8h10.

The train leaves from Dunkerque at 8:10am.

C’est un cadeau de mon père.

It’s a gift from my father.

Since it’s provided to indicate wright here a perkid is from, de or among its variants deserve to be component of the name of a person/entity that’s established with, linked through, or tied to a place.

For example: Jeanne d’Arc, la Bête du Gévaudan.

2. Of (virtually prefer in English)

Sa fille s’habille si lentement le matin. Il est toujours en retard à cause d’elle!

His daughter gets dressed so slowly in the mornings. He’s constantly late bereason of her!)

Je te sers une tasse de thé?

Would you like a cup of tea?

Gagner, ce n’est pas le however du jeu!

Winning isn’t the goal of the game!

De or among its variants is additionally a component of many type of noble titles and also names. For instance: le Duc d’Anjou (the Duke of Anjou), la Marquise de Brinvilliers (the Marchionesse of Brinvilliers).

3. Of (to suggest ownership, a component of something)

Remember that in French, tbelow is no “ ‘s “ that you ssuggest include to a perchild or thing to show they own something. Instead, you have to usage “de”.

C’est le cahier de mon fils.

That’s my son’s notebook.

Tout le monde aime la quiche de Bernard.

Everyone likes Bernard’s quiche.

C’est le chien d’Hélène et Marine.

That’s Hélène and Marine’s dog.

Il a tourné la poignée de porte.

He turned the doorknob

Le patient s’est blessé deux doigts de la major gauche.

The patient injured 2 fingers of his left hand.

4. Of (as soon as describing measurements, size, age, and so on.)


C’est une pièce de 20m2.

It’s a 20-square-meter room.

Nous cherchons un baby-sitter pour notre fils de 3 ans.

We’re in search of a babysitter for our three-year-old child.

Il y a une attente de 30 minutes.

There’s a 30-minute wait.

Pourquoi tu fais autant de bruit? Il est 1h du matin!

Why are you making so a lot noise? It’s 1 o’clock in the morning!

5. Of/for in particular expressions

These include incredibly common expressions you could alreadybe familiar through, like:

6. some

This indefinite article can be provided in many type of means, as in English.

Céline veut du vin.

Celine desires some wine.

Delphine a des soucis avec la police.

Delphine has some difficulties through the police.

Je ne veux pas sortir cet après-midi – il y a des documentaires intéressants à la télé.

I don’t want to go out this afternoon -tright here are some exciting documentaries on TV.

7. “not…any” (when used with ne…pas)

This might seem confusing, given that de deserve to expect “some”, however if you think around it, it renders sense; you’re simply making “some” negative. Keep in mind that when using de in an unfavorable sense, you just use the de and also d’ creates. It’s never plural or provided through a definite short article.

Tu as volé mon portefeuille? Bien fait pour toi! Je n’ai pas d’argent!

You stole my wallet? Serves you right! I don’t have any money!

J’ai beau chercher mais il n’y a pas de cornichons.

I searched great and also tough but there aren’t any kind of pickles.

De‘s meaning transforms slightly once used with various other negative pairs choose ne…plus, for example – in that instance it would intend “no” or “any”.

Il n’y a plus de chocolat.

There’s no more/Tright here isn’t anymore cocoa.

Usually, you’ll be able to understand what de suggests in one of these sentence structures if you remember that, essentially, it’s the negative of “some”.

8. with (as soon as describing physical actions)

Il marchait d’un pas incertain.

He walked with an uncertain gait.

Elle écrit de la major gauche, mais kid père était ambidextre.

She writes via her left hand also, but her father was ambidextrous.

9. By (authorship)


Tu as lu le dernier livre de Christelle Dabos? J’adore sa série La Passe-miroir.

Have you check out the latest book by Christelle Dabos? I just love her Mirror Visitor series.

«Parasite» de Bong Joon-ho est le premier film sous-titré à gagner l’Osautomobile du Meilleur Film.

‘Parasite’ by Bong Joon-Ho is the first subtitled film to win the Best Picture Osvehicle. OR

Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ is the first subtitled film to win the Best Picture Oscar.)

10. An “invisible” or filler article.

In the majority of situations in French, you can’t usage a noun without an post. But what if you don’t desire to make that write-up solid or noticeable? In that situation, you deserve to use de in the sense of “some”, as a filler.

Je n’aime pas ces raisins. Ils ont des pépins.

I don’t choose these grapes. They have actually seeds.

As you have the right to watch, there’s no need to incorporate the indefinite post “some” here. It’s simply filler.

La dame portait des lunettes.

The woman was wearing glasses.

Je vois des choses intéressantes par ici.

I view some interesting points over here.

11. An informal means to expush “so”/”you don’t also know”/”unbelievable”

Ce film est d’une bêtise!

This film is so extremely stupid!

J’ai un de ces mal de tête!

I have actually the worst headache!

12. “Of” in “made of”…occasionally.

Unfortunately, this is most likely the many tough use ofde to grasp, at least as much as this list goes. The complication lies in thereality that there’s a selection to make. You need to say somepoint is either faiten or fait de. When especially talking around food, you have tochoose between de or à.

Luckily, tright here is a concrete way to identify whether touse de or à once talking about what food or a particular dish ismade of. This short article has actually the finest, many concise explanationI’ve ever before come across.

Essentially, the writer explains, you use de totalk around an ingredient that actually renders up somepoint. For example, la farinede blé(wwarmth flour).

On the various other hand also, you usage à for an ingredient thatdeserve to be removed and still permit the food item to exist. Take, for example, unesoupe aux choux: The soup would still exist if you took away the cabbage.

Anvarious other goodexample is un croissant au beurre. Although butter is a vital component ofthe dough of a croissant, you deserve to have actually un croissant ordinaire, wbelow thebutter has actually been reput with margarine.

Things obtain a lot harder as soon as it concerns talking about what non-food items are made of. In this instance, you would certainly use either de or en. It’s primarily shelp that de is more literary or old-fashioned. But as this comment threview points out, that’s not necessarily true. Tright here are even some expressions, like un blouchild de cuir or un blouchild en cuir, where de or en could be supplied interchangeably.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a straightforward ascendancy likethe one for food, and also I’ve never before been able to discover any type of guidelines inparticular. Personally, I simply try to go for it. If I really want to insistthat somepoint is made of a details product, I typically opt for en,which tends to be thought about the finest means to emphasize that. Otherwise I use de.The great news is that if I use the wrong preplace, a French person willstill understand also me.

13. To (in particular imindividual expressions)


We speak to expressions choose “It’s good to…” “impersonalexpressions”, since they don’t describe a particular subject, however a generalprinciple. In French, some of these expressions usage de as the “to” component,while others use à.

When the expression starts via C’est, use à. When the expression starts through Il est, use de

Il est bon de pratiquer le français chaque jour.

It’s great to practice French every day.)

Il est difficile de choisir un parfum de glace quand also on est pressé!

It’s tough to pick an ice cream flavor once you’re in a hurry!

14. a filler preposition for “expressions of quality”

French grammar doesn’t let you say somepoint choose “quelqu’un beau”. You have to put something tbelow, and often de does the trick.

Instances include prevalent phrases like: quelqu’un de beau, rien de neuf, quelque made a decision de beau. You deserve to see more examples in this translation of the well-known wedding legacy “Something old, somepoint new, somepoint obtained, and also somepoint blue.”

You can wonder why the adjective in these expressionsdoesn’t always seem to agree through the topic. It takes a small abstractthinking – basically, the concept is that this person or thing belongs to theconcept of “beau” or “neuf”, etc.; it’s different from simplysaying they are those things (in which instance you would agree theadjective). You deserve to review even more about that below.

If you don’t feel comfortable utilizing this structure, don’tissue – although you should be familiar via it, considering that it’s offered sensibly often,you have the right to discover workarounds. For example, rather of saying C’est quelqu’un debeau, you might sindicate say, Il est beau. Although tbelow could besome slight connotative distinctions, the basic interpretation is the same.

15. _ and _ / __ by __/from__ to___

De kicks off expressions like:

de mieux en mieux – much better and also better Ex: Elle va de mieux en mieux. (She’s doing better and also better.)de moins en moins – less and also much less. Ex: Avec le temps il se sentait de moins en moins en colère. (With time, he felt less and also less angry.)de jour en jour/de mois en mois – day by day/month by month.

16. To (as soon as paired via particular verbs)

Some French verbs are complied with by àonce you want to say “to”. But this “to” duty is filled by de for otherverbs.

There’s no hard and also quick dominion for why some verbs arepaired via à and also others are paired with de, so unfortunately, it meansyou simply have to memorize them.

Here is a list of the the majority of widespread verbs that are paired with de:

interdire de

You can discover longer lists hereand below.

“Okay,” you may be thinking, “I’ll just memorize these and all will be well.”

Well…not precisely. Some verbs, consisting of a few you’ll findon these lists, have the right to be followed by either à or de. Thisdoesn’t suppose you deserve to pick whichever before preposition you desire, though. In theseinstances, the verb’s interpretation transforms slightly depending upon which one you usage.

That may sound confmaking use of, yet it’s most likely that you’vecurrently run into a couple of verbs choose this. For circumstances, parler à means“to talk to someone”, while parler de indicates to talk about somepoint. Example: Je parlais à ma mère chaquejour au téléphone. vs. Jeparlais de ma mère chaque jour. The initially sentence means ‘I spoke to mymommy every day on the phone.” And the second implies “I spoke about my motherevery day.”

Verbs whose meanings change when they’re followed by à or de

Je viens de Paris.arriver à /arriver de – to arrive somewhere/to succeed in doing somepoint demander à /demander de – to ask someone/to ask permission to execute somethingparler à /parler de – to stop to/to soptimal aboutvenir à /venir de – to come to/to come from (or to just having finished doing something)profiter à /profiter de – to make a profit for someone/to benefit from somethingmanquer à /manquer de – to miss (someone)/to fail/ignore to carry out somethingjouer à /jouer de – to play a sport or game/to play an instrument

Tbelow are at leastern two verbs that execute make things easy, though.

You have the right to usage either à or de with these verbs and their meaning doesn’t change:continuer à/de (continue to…)commencer à /de (start to…).

So, which one to pick in these cases? As this commentthreview mirrors,it basically comes dvery own to what sounds much better.

Instead of simply à or de, some verbs take on the expression à quelqu’un de. One of these that you’re probably familiar via is demanderdemander à quelqu’un de faire quelque chose is “to ask someone to carry out something.”

Thomas a demandé à sa mère de lui acheter un vélo pour child anniversaire.

Thomas asked his mother to buy him a bike for his birthday.

You have the right to learn even more around the prepositions and also phrasesthat are paired with French verbs from the web links I’ve already included here, aswell as thiswebsite.

How to uncover also even more interpretations of de

Keep in mind that while our list of de’s meaningsis long, it’s not complete. Tright here are a number of other subtle, rare, or outdatedsupplies of de.

You have the right to uncover substantial examples of the various ways deis provided here.But the ideal method to uncover EVERY usage of de is to look it up in anunalinked French or French-English dictionary.

My trusty print Harper Collins Robert 5th Editionunabridged French-English/English-French Dictionary aided me a lot withresearch study for this post, but an unaconnected dictionary appcould likewise be advantageous.

Expressions with de

Auras-tu de la chance?

De is among the most-used words in French. Thisindicates that you’ll uncover it in plenty of French phrases, expressions, and also idioms.To gain a sense of how many kind of, examine out the WordReference enattempt for de,which consists of a seemingly endmuch less list of expressions that have actually de inthem.

In many kind of of these expressions, de takes a earlier seat;it’s simply a tiny part of what’s being said. Here’s a tiny list of phraseswhere de plays a influential role.

De rien – You’re welcome/It’s nothingcouvert (e) de – covered in avoir de la chance – to be lucky.

How to memorize the definitions and also provides of the word de

If you’ve review the rest of this write-up, you more than likely knowthe answer to that question already. De is such a common, important,multi-faceted French word that you’ll find it in all sorts of places, supplied inall sorts of methods. The best method – really the only method – to learn exactly how to use itis to save reading, watching, writing and speaking French. You can find methods tocarry out all of these things, for complimentary, here.

De is an integral part of the French language that you will certainly frequently come upon situations wright here you check out, hear, and also need to usage it.

The good point is, if you make a mistake as soon as making use of it inspoken French, the majority of French civilization will certainly still understand what you supposed. They’llmost likely correct you, which have the right to feel insulting, however that’s simply a part ofFrench society. Many kind of French civilization, specifically of older generations, feel likethey’re doing you a favor by correcting your mistakes, even really little ones.

In the situation of de, it can be one of the finest methods tolearn to obtain it right. I still have actually specific verbs that I’ve learned are pairedwith de sindicate bereason of just how often I was corrected once I provided themthrough àinstead. So, don’t be afrassist to put yourself out tright here. It’s rare that you’llmake a really severe, entirely incomprehensible “de”-associated mistake.

If you’re a studious sort of perboy, you could also go throughour list of de’s interpretations and choose to emphasis on each one for a certainperiod of time (a day, week, month, etc.). You deserve to look up digital guides,webpperiods, and also probably also lesson plans pertained to different ones. Forinstance, you can perform an virtual search for “French verbs that use de” or“de as from in French”.

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But in its entirety, I deserve to say from endure that via a littlelittle bit of examining and also the majority of analysis, composing, speaking, and listening, using dewill come to be incredibly natural for you. Isn’t that de-lightful news?

Do you have actually a favorite expression via de? Is tbelow ausage of de that you discover particularly confutilizing or challenging? Feel complimentary to share in the comments.

Merci à Norm B. pour sa question sur l’consumption du mot «de» en français, qui a inspiré cet article!