Expressing possession with être à

Look at these sentences expressing possession:

Cette ceinture est à eux.
This belt is theirs.  (a mixed group or male group)


C'est à qui? / À qui c'est?
Whose is it?


C'est à moi!
It's mine!


Ce sac est à lui.
This bag is his.


Ces chaussures sont à elle.
These shoes are hers.


Ces bonbons sont à elles.
These sweets are theirs (female group).

To express possession in French (It's mine, yours...), you can use the expression être à + moi/toi/lui/elle/nous/vous/eux/elles (literally it is to me/you/...)

Grammar note: in French you use the disjunctive/stress pronouns (moi/toi/lui/elle ...), whereas in English you use the possessive pronouns (mine/yours/his/hers ....)

 

See also Le mien, le tien, le sien, etc = Mine, yours, his/hers/its (possessive pronouns)
and Le nôtre, le vôtre, le leur, etc = Ours, yours, theirs (possessive pronouns)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

C'est à qui? / À qui c'est?
Whose is it?


Ce sac est à lui.
This bag is his.


Cette ceinture est à eux.
This belt is theirs.  (a mixed group or male group)


Ces bonbons sont à elles.
These sweets are theirs (female group).


C'est à moi!
It's mine!


Ces chaussures sont à elle.
These shoes are hers.


Q&A Forum 7 questions, 10 answers

"à moi" ou "de moi" ?

Bonjour tout le monde!

Je suis perdue par rapport à ce sujet.

Il y a quelques années une personne française m'a corrigé. On ne dit pas "à moi", on dit "de moi". Je sais que la manière la plus populaire est la première (et, normalement, c'est cela que j'utilise), mais je vais présenter un examen et je ne sais pas laquelle est correcte !

Voici un liens qui supporte cette déclaration:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/expressions-francaises/2017/10/24/37003-20171024ARTFIG00004-l-ami-a-pierre-ou-l-ami-de-pierre-ne-faites-plus-la-faute.php

MERCI BEAUCOUP ! 

Asked 4 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

This dress belongs to Marie. -- Cette robe est à Marie.This is the robe of Marie. -- C'est la robe de Marie.

It can be confusing, but maybe these two example sentence help clarify the matter. It would be wrong to say, "C'est la robe à Marie". One way to help you remember: à follows a verb and de follows a noun.

Oh! Thank you so much! That has been confusing me for a long time (as you could see), but now I get it. Thanks!

"à moi" ou "de moi" ?

Bonjour tout le monde!

Je suis perdue par rapport à ce sujet.

Il y a quelques années une personne française m'a corrigé. On ne dit pas "à moi", on dit "de moi". Je sais que la manière la plus populaire est la première (et, normalement, c'est cela que j'utilise), mais je vais présenter un examen et je ne sais pas laquelle est correcte !

Voici un liens qui supporte cette déclaration:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/langue-francaise/expressions-francaises/2017/10/24/37003-20171024ARTFIG00004-l-ami-a-pierre-ou-l-ami-de-pierre-ne-faites-plus-la-faute.php

MERCI BEAUCOUP ! 

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in this phrase: C'est à qui? Why is the liaison not used?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Susan,

This is a case of an optional  liaison after, ‘c’est’, il est..

 

in this phrase: C'est à qui? Why is the liaison not used?

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Salut a tous. "sont à elle" et "sont à elles"

In the example they sound exactly the same. I know you are going to say that context will let me know if it is "hers" or "theirs" but when you are not proficient it can be quite confusing, n'est-ce pas?

Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

I am afraid it is Claudia, but the last 's' of 'elles' is not pronounced ....

Salut a tous. "sont à elle" et "sont à elles"

In the example they sound exactly the same. I know you are going to say that context will let me know if it is "hers" or "theirs" but when you are not proficient it can be quite confusing, n'est-ce pas?

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RobC1

Pronunciation of "t" in "C'est à moi"

Why does the pronunciation accompanying this lesson not pronounce the "t" in "C'est à moi"? I have another French language program (and a French speaking daughter) which does pronounce it. Is this possibly a regional difference? Which is correct in formal Parisian French?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Rob,

I have listened to the audio and can't hear the 't' .

However, both would be correct, .The 't' should be sounded but you will hear both. Children are less likely to want to be formal.

Hope this helps!

Pronunciation of "t" in "C'est à moi"

Why does the pronunciation accompanying this lesson not pronounce the "t" in "C'est à moi"? I have another French language program (and a French speaking daughter) which does pronounce it. Is this possibly a regional difference? Which is correct in formal Parisian French?

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Liaisons

In the pronunciations for this lesson there don”t appear to be any liaisons between the est and the à. For example “c’est à moi” “sont à elles” we can”t hear the letter t. Is it wrong in these cases not to liaise?
Asked 1 year ago
LauraKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Paul,

The liaison in these examples is optional: using it would make the phrase very formal.

See optional liaisons, section 6.

Merci Laura. J'avais oublié que le français est une langue si espiègle! (Mais j'aime les règles optionnelles!)

Liaisons

In the pronunciations for this lesson there don”t appear to be any liaisons between the est and the à. For example “c’est à moi” “sont à elles” we can”t hear the letter t. Is it wrong in these cases not to liaise?

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Is it as correct to say, Ce stylo est le mien, as,

Ce stylo est à moi?

Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Susan, "Ce stylo est le mien" is a bit awkward - "le mien" isn't used with the noun in the same clause. It's more for something like "Voilà ton stylo, et voici le mien," or else just "C'est le mien."
Bonjour Laura, et merci.

Is it as correct to say, Ce stylo est le mien, as,

Ce stylo est à moi?

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Is there an 'appropriacy' issue with 'c'est à moi' over 'c'est le miens'?

Would one be be considered more formal than the other? (If so, which one!) Thanks.
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Stuart, No, there's no difference in formality, but c'est à moi is a bit more emphatic than c'est le mien.* C'est à moi is also a bit vaguer, more global, since le mien is focusing on / replacing the specific item, rather than stressing the owner. *Note that there's no s in the singular: le mien, les miens.

Is there an 'appropriacy' issue with 'c'est à moi' over 'c'est le miens'?

Would one be be considered more formal than the other? (If so, which one!) Thanks.

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