How can I distinguish these sentences in French?

1/ I got money from my brother. – means I received money from him and now it’s mine.

2/ I got money of my brother. – means I got his money which belong to him.

I can only translate it like this but which meaning of this sentence is right?

J'ai de l'argent de mon frère.

Another problem, how would you translate this sentence – “This bone is of my dog.” so that it doesn’t sound like the bone is torn out of that poor dog. (E.g. someone may ask me “Whose is this bone?” and I reply simply “This bone is of my dog.”)

Thank you for your answers.

  • 3
    Some of your examples in English don't sound right at all.
    – grandtout
    Apr 10, 2020 at 6:16

1 Answer 1


Your sentence is interesting, because as you suppose, "de" can have both the English meanings you gave as an example, though your example "1" would rather be used with "reçu":

"J'ai reçu de l'argent de mon frère": Here, "de mon frère" is not a complément de nom to "argent": in fact, this bold "de" goes with "reçu" and not with "argent": It would be as correct to write this sentence like this: "J'ai reçu de mon frère de l'argent", or to replace "de" by "par": "J'ai reçu de l'argent par mon frère".

In your example "2", "J'ai de l'argent de mon frère", the bold "de" links "argent" to "mon frère" as a complément de nom.

To summarize, the difficulty you show comes from the fact that the preposition "de" can have two different meanings: "de mon frère" car either mean "from my brother" or "of my brother", as you rightly supposed, but in your example 1, a French speaker would not say your sentence without adding "reçu", as quoted above.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.