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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

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.


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


Ce sac est à lui.
This bag is his.


Micro kwiz: Expressing possession with être à
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Q&A

Paul

Kwiziq community member

16 November 2017

2 replies

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?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

16 November 2017

16/11/17

Bonjour Paul,


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


See optional liaisons, section 6.

Paul

Kwiziq community member

17 November 2017

17/11/17

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

Susan

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2016

2 replies

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

Ce stylo est à moi?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

1 October 2016

1/10/16

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."

Susan

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2016

1/10/16

Bonjour Laura, et merci.

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

7 August 2016

1 reply

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.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

23 August 2016

23/08/16

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.
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