When to translate with the possessive as opposed to the article

LauraB2Kwiziq community member

When to translate with the possessive as opposed to the article

Why in the case of 'he admires his cat', we use the possessive to translate - il admire son chat, when often in French we translate with the article - le, la, les.

I know this is a simple question but what is the rule when do we translate with the possessive and when do we translate with the article?

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Laura,

'Il admire son chat ', can mean -

He is admiring his (own) cat 

or 

He is admiring his/her (someone else's) cat 

which is a bit confusing.

You could say -

Il admire le chat de Marine/ le chat de Bernard 

to avoid such confusion.

As Chris says you use the definite articles for body parts and clothing and here is the Kwiziq lesson dealing with this topic -

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/using-le-la-les-with-body-parts-and-clothing-definite-articles

Hope this helps!

or 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Generally, you use the possessive if you want to stress ownership of something. There are differences to English, for example when it concerns body parts, where in French you don't default to the possessive.

Do you have an example in mind which looks confusing to you?

When to translate with the possessive as opposed to the article

Why in the case of 'he admires his cat', we use the possessive to translate - il admire son chat, when often in French we translate with the article - le, la, les.

I know this is a simple question but what is the rule when do we translate with the possessive and when do we translate with the article?

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