The French Preposition De
“De” is used to describe the way one main ingredient is prepared:
- un pâté,
- une confiture,
- un chutney,
- une terrine… etc…
- DE + main ingredient
All these are different ways of preparing one main ingredient. Take away this ingredient, and you’d be left with… spices, sugar… Nothing much at all.
This is why we say “une confiture de fraises”.
The French Preposition À
On the contrary, “à” (which contracts with le to become “au” and with “les” to become “aux”) 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… an unflavoured ice-cream or a dull cake…
You can replace the article by “avec” (with) and it should still make sense.
This is why we say “une tarte à la fraise”.
The best way to memorize these French subtleties is to learn them in the context of a story.
I highly recommend you check out my unique downloadable French audiobooks, featuring different speeds of recording and enunciation, and focussing on today’s modern glided pronunciation.
If you liked this post, don’t forget to share it with 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.