"Marie était en retard de deux heures." What grammatical structure is "de" acting as?

YulyvrdcapbilvsyyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"Marie était en retard de deux heures." What grammatical structure is "de" acting as?

And, if a "best-efforts translation" to English were possible, would "de" represent "late OF two hours", "late BY two hours", or "late SOME two hours"?


Cheers, Alec

Asked 2 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

If you really wanted to stay as close to the French as possible, you could say: Marie was in delay of two hours.

CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour,

To supplement Chris's answer: de is a preposition

See link below to learn all about prepositions: 

preposition

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

YulyvrdcapbilvsyyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you both! Understanding what grammatical purpose "de" serves has been tricky, so to backwards engineer French sentences to understand the English equivalent allows me to study the grammatical function in my native language before returning to the French version.

Again, thanks for your clarifications!

AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Understanding what grammatical purpose "de" serves has been tricky


I think "de" merits a lesson all of its own, the numerous different functions can be confusing for English learners.

CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour Anne,

Thank you for your suggestion! It has now been added to our to-do list. 

Merci de votre contribution !

Bonne journée !

"Marie était en retard de deux heures." What grammatical structure is "de" acting as?

And, if a "best-efforts translation" to English were possible, would "de" represent "late OF two hours", "late BY two hours", or "late SOME two hours"?


Cheers, Alec

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