Possession in nouns

What belongs to who?

In English we tack 's onto the end of a name or a noun to say that something belongs to that person or object.

  • Barney's house.
  • Homer's hat.
  • Lisa's homework.

The equivalent in French is the little word de (of). For example:

Play audio La jupe de Catherine = Catherine's skirt

Note that this literally translates to "The skirt of Catherine."

As you'd probably expect, when you put de in front of a vowel, it contracts into d':

Play audio La chemise d'Antoine = Antoine's shirt

When the object belongs to a group of people, the de turns into a des. Notice that the s sound in des is silent:

Play audio La chambre des parents = The parents' bedroom

But it's not so silent when you put the des in front of a vowel. Here it turns into something like a Z sound to make pronunciation less awkward:

Play audio La chambre des enfants = The children's bedroom