"This book belongs to me."
When the direct or indirect object is represented by a pronoun, it is placed in front of the verb.
Beginning to think I need to ditch the french and re learn English and believe me I would if I could as I seem to be going backwards!
I don't understand the alternative 'Ce livre est à moi.' that has been given. Why is that à moi then?
It is a "stressed" construction, meaning "this book is mine".
Therefore, depending on the emphasis you want to give to the fact the book is yours (more or less factual, more or less emphatic), you can translate "this book belongs to me" (and English variants) by:
- c'est mon livre
- ce livre m'appartient
- ce livre est à moi
- ce livre est le mien
Thank you again, Sitesurf. I still don't truly understand but will just have to accept and learn though practice. French pronouns will be the death of me I fear!
In English, you express possession in two forms with verb BE:
- "this book is Peter's " = possessive case ('s) with a noun/name
- "this book is mine", with verb Be + possessive pronoun (yours)
The nearest translation in French with verb "ÊTRE" is: être + à + owner:
- ce livre est à Pierre (possessive case does not exist in French)
When the owner is represented by a personal pronoun, you have to use "stressed" pronouns: moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux;
- ce livre est à moi / toi...