How come 'à' is used to mean 'with' in the sentence 'surmontées par une grande église romane à clocher carré'

JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

How come 'à' is used to mean 'with' in the sentence 'surmontées par une grande église romane à clocher carré'

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

You can't simply translate French prepositions to English in a 1-to-1 fashion. The use of à in this sentence is similar to these examples:

une glace à la vanille -- ice cream made with vanilla (vanilla ice cream)
une soup aux broccolis -- a soup made with broccoli (broccoli soup)

JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

still don't understand as its not "made with a square clock tower"? and it's also not a food? (to which I understand the use of 'à' with foods)...I just don't get how to know when to use "à" as opposed to simply "avec" with these examples?

TomC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I notice that in French the James Bond story The Man with the Golden Gun is 'L'homme au pistolet d'or'. It's the same difference - English people tend to think in terms of 'with' while French people think more in terms of 'for / to'. It's just a different way of conceptualising this kind of associative relationship.

How come 'à' is used to mean 'with' in the sentence 'surmontées par une grande église romane à clocher carré'

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