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Why is Tomato Soup called "soupe à la tomate" and not "soupe de la tomate" ?

Shouldn't it be "de la" if you want to say "soup of the tomato" ?

June 18, 2020



According to an explanation from a “tips” section:

“You can use à to say what the flavor of something is, or what it’s made out of:

Je préfère la glace à la vanille.

J’adore les pains au chocolat.”.


Yes, as I've seen it explained, de means it is substantially the thing that is the object of de. Une cuillère de cuivre = a copper spoon.

Using à means that it is flavored with the thing. Tomato soup is made mostly of either broth or milk, with a healthy dose of tomatoes added. Therefore, it takes the à.

Timor mortis conturbat me.


Une soupe de légumes, une soupe de poireau, une purée de pommes de terre, une soupe de tomate(s) or une soupe à la tomate.


à of tomato but when we say "de la" we actually somehow mean to ignore the of the tomato part

example fenetre de la voiture = car windows

fenetre a la voiture = windows of the car


Eventually, you could say "soupe de tomates". But it seems more natural to say "soupe à la tomate" :-)


Pour moi, soupe à la tomate veut dire qu'il y a de la tomate et d'autres ingrédients. Dans soupe de tomates, il n'y a que des tomates dans la soupe.


In both cases, the conversationnal implicature entails that tomatoes are the main ingredient of the soup, but I think that you can still add some other (e.g. in both you would put some salt at least, right?). So there might be a little nuance, but I am not very sensitive to it honestly... But thanks for the remark, I had not thought about it!


Attention, "eventually" = "finalement, à la fin", "potentially, possibly" = "éventuellement"


Oups, my bad! I always forget this one, thanks :-)


I mean, "soup of the tomato" sounds like you're trying to say it's a soup owned by a tomato... In french, it's exactly the same here. Thought "soupe de tomate" is also right, as Jeanne_et_Pharon pointed out.


I get what you mean. But does't à la mean "soup to the tomato" ?


Well, yes, when you translate it literally. But when you’re learning a language, translating literally into your own language often makes no sense. So in this case, you just have to accept that it means “tomato soup”. French usually doesn’t translate literally into English very well. And rightfully so!

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