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FRENCH INDEX FRENCH - grammar - POSSESSIVE 03 GRAMMAR: INDEX


IT'S MINE! - see also Possessive 01 and Possessive 02

On Possessive 01 are the 'mon', 'ma', 'mes'-type words that are attached to nouns (objects, things) to indicate who they belong to. However some of these 'possessive' words aren't very 'specific' - eg 'son échelle' can mean 'his ladder' or, equally, 'her ladder'. So if you want to be a little more exact, you 'tack on' something to clarify exactly whose ladder it is. For this we use the little word 'à' ..... plus a word from set 7 of the pronouns you met on Pronouns 01.

So you might have 'son échelle à lui' ('his ladder') or 'son échelle à elle' (her ladder). A bit long-winded maybe, but that's how it's done.

Perhaps you might want to say 'the ladder is hers" - 'l'échelle est la sienne' - but that's equally ambiguous, so in common usage it's more usual to say 'l'échelle est à elle'. Or (to show a plural) 'the ladders are theirs' (where the people owning the ladders are all male) - 'les échelles sont à eux' - or (where the people owning the ladders are all female) - 'les échelles sont à elles'.

Simplest of all, of course, is where the ladder doesn't get mentioned by name at all, and we have:

It's mine. C'est à moi. It's yours. C'est à toi.
It's his. C'est à lui. It's hers. C'est à elle.
It's ours. C'est à nous. It's yours. C'est à vous.
It's theirs (m). C'est à eux. It's theirs (f). C'est à elles.

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