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I have only studied French for a few weeks and I have started to compile short sentences. I have consulted the dictionary and grammatical book but I am curious if it is grammatically correct and correct from the spoken perspective to use "immeuble" as I do.

Elle est la propriétaire de l'immeuble dans le centre-ville.

She is the owner of the building in the city center.

I'd like to clarify that it is not the only building in the town.

  • 3
    that sounds good – Random Sep 21 '16 at 13:36
  • If this is the only building in the city center (as it is suggested in the english sentence), yes it is good. – T.Nel Sep 21 '16 at 15:03
  • You have (probably accidentally) created multiple accounts. You can regain access to your question by merging them; follow the steps in the help center. If you “register” your account then you won't lose access every time your browser loses the cookie for this site. – Gilles Sep 21 '16 at 20:26
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The French sentence is a faithful translation of the English sentence. Both sentences make sense if the context makes it clear which building in the town center is being referred to.

If there are multiple candidate buildings and you don't want to refer to a particular one, only mention the existence of such a building, then in English you would say “she is the owner of a building” and in French “elle est propriétaire d'un immeuble”.

Here one would usually omit the article in front of propriétaire. When the verb être is followed by a noun that indicates a quality, it's common to express this quality without an article, and sometimes even compulsory (but not here, here the article is just optional).

Elle est médecin.   (She's a doctor.)
Elle est propriétaire.   (She's a homeowner.)
Elle est propriétaire de cet immeuble.   (She owns this building. The emphasis is on the ownership.)
C'est la propriétaire de cet immeuble.   (She's the owner of this building. The emphasis is on the fact that she, rather than someone else, is the owner.)
Elle est la propriétaire de cet immeuble.   (She's the owner of this building. The emphasis is on the fact that she's the owner, rather than some other fact about her.)

  • To emphasize the location of the [only] building she owns, one way in English would be …“The building that she owns is [located] downtown….” For this in French, could you use the shorter …“L’immeuble qu’elle possède [est/se trouve au/dans le centre-ville]”, or would it be better/even required to use the slightly longer (and perhaps slightly more stilted) “L’immeuble dont elle est [la] proprietaire [est/se trouve au/dans le centre-ville.]”? … Or is there an even better way to say the whole phrase [including the second clause in brackets] to emphasize the building’s location? Thanks. – Papa Poule Sep 21 '16 at 22:32
  • @PapaPoule Both of your proposals sound good to me. – Gilles Sep 21 '16 at 22:35

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