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De and à are both used when talking about food. Which one to pick actually follows a rather simple logic.

– “De” is used to describe the way one main ingredient is prepared: un pâté, une confiture, un chutney, une terrine… all these are different ways of cooking one main ingredient. Note that the “de” here never becomes “du” nor “des”. It’s always “de” or “d'”: it means “of”.

ex:  Une confiture de fraises, take away the fraises, you’re left with… sugar. It’s not much.

– On the contrary, “à” (au, aux, à l’, à la) is used to describe a flavor or a garnish: take away this ingredient, and you will still have something. It might not taste like much… but you will have something… You can replace the article by “avec” (with) and it should still make sense.

ex: Une tarte aux fraises: take away the fraises, you still have the tart, the cream…

If you liked this post, don’t forget to press our social buttons (merci!) and I also suggest you read:
– a, an, one, some, any: the French indefinite and partitive articles.
– the: the French definite article.

You’ll find many expamples of articles used in context in my French audio books.


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Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 20 years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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