French Compound Prepositions: Part 2 Posted by Elizabeth Schmermund 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.