French Language Blog

French Compound Prepositions: Part 2 Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Grammar

Last week, we went over some common compound prepositions in French that situate people or objects in relation to one another (particularly in regard to place/location). This week, let’s focus on compound prepositions that create a different link between nouns.


As described last week, some prepositions directly situate one object compared to the location of another object. For example, ce magasin est au coin de la rue. (That store is on the corner of the street.) Some compound prepositions, however, link two nouns in more abstract ways. For example, ils ont perdu beaucoup d’argent à cause de ce jeu. (They lost a lot of money because of that game.) Notice how à cause de links the two nouns in the sentence (argent, or money, and jeu, or (the) game). This link is not based on relative location, but rather on consequence (If they had not played the game, they would not have lost money). (Note that a noun must always follow prepositions like this; this is how you would distinguish the use of à cause de, meaning “because of/due to,” with parce que, which means “because.”)

Here are some more compound prepositions, which situate objects in more abstract ways:

à force de    by force of

 à l’insu de     unbeknownst to

au moment de     at the moment of (temporal)

au sujet de      on the subject of; about

à propos de     on the subject of; about

en dépit de       in spite of

en faveur de    in favor of

grâce à     thanks to

quant à     as for

tandis que     even though


Let’s look at some examples now:

Nous avons raté la fête à cause du mauvais temps

We missed the party because of bad weather. (Notice how de turns to du in front of the masculine noun temps.)

C’est grâce à elle que j’ai appris le français.

It’s thanks to her that I learned French.

Quant à Joseph, il est heureux de rentrer chez lui.

As for Joseph, he is happy to return to his house.

As you can see above, pronouns and proper nouns do not change the prepositions that come before them.

Can you think of any more common compound prepositions and use them in a sentence? Leave your sentences in the comments below.

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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at A la prochaine!