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I have heard the following sentence in the TV series Marseille:

  • C'est de leur faute à tous!

The English subtitle says "It's all their fault". Is the preposition "de" necessary here? Where is the "all" in the French sentence? Literally, I translated the French sentence to "It's their fault to everyone", which does not make any sense. Is "C'est tout leur faute" also correct/usual?

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The preposition de is not mandatory but idiomatic here.

À tous is there to make clear who leur refers to, i.e. to make clear everyone belonging to the group referred to is at fault, not a subset.

In theory, the preposition de is used after la faute (e.g. c'est (de) la faute de Pierre) but in colloquial French à is often used instead, and this is not new:

Je suis tombé par terre,
C'est la faute à Voltaire,
Le nez dans le ruisseau,
C'est la faute à Rousseau.

Les Misérables, Victor Hugo.

In fact c'est de leur faute de tous would be not idiomatic at all because the de in "de leur faute" is colloquial while the de is "de tous" is formal. The literary/formal variant is "c'est la faute de tous."

The suggested form c'est tout leur faute is colloquial and has a different meaning: "Everything is their fault".

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  • Thanks for the answer! As you have put the preposition "de" after "c'est" between parentheses, I assume it is optional? It does not make any sense to me, so I'm considering it idiomatic. Also, could you please answer my last question: is "C'est tout leur faute" also correct/usual? – Alan Evangelista Apr 22 at 23:58
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    1. Yes, it's optional and avoided in formal French. 2. I already did. – jlliagre Apr 23 at 0:08
  • Thanks! I was confused because the series' English subtitles translated "C'est de leur faute à tous" as "It's all their fault" (= Everything is their fault), as I mentioned in my question. Now I see that the real meaning of that French sentence is "It's the fault of all of them". Probably the translators chose the former translation because it is more usual in English. – Alan Evangelista Apr 23 at 0:20
  • Even: It's their fault, of all of them – jlliagre Apr 23 at 7:21
  • C'est tout leur faute is grammaticaly correct and understandable, but not very idiomatic IMHO (or a bit a childish turn of phrase maybe). A better phrasing would be tout est leur faute, or in spoken French, tout ça, c'est (de) leur faute. – Greg Apr 23 at 19:38

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