Why is "the lion is in back of the elephant" incorrect, when 'in back of' is one of the definitions?
Usually when in back of is used in English it is in reference to a fixed location which has a permanent back and front area.
EG: it is recommended that utility meters not be placed in back of residences as that requires meter readers to access the back yard of houses. The area closest to the street is generally accepted as the front of the property and the area on the opposite side of the structure is regarded as the back of the property. In back of the house never changes while behind the house depends on the layout of its architecture. It is not common but possible to be in the rear of the house while on the side of the property. But the literal back of the house is always the farthest from the street.
Elephants always move so you refer to yourself as being behind the animal.
Does the preposition derrière require the article or can you omit le and just say elephant, ie. Le lion est derrière elephant?
The rule is that French nouns always come with an article (or other possessive/demonstrative adjective).
Of course, there are exceptions, but this sentence follows the rule.
Generally, after a preposition an article is required.
Hey! Is derriere always feminine? Or can I use it in masculine form? If there is a masculine form, that is.
In this sentence, "derrière" is a preposition meaning "behind/at the back of". Therefore it has no gender.
"un derrière" = backside/bottom (body part)
To my ear, "les" sounds like someone pronouncing the whole word "lay," while "le" sounds like someone making the sounds of the letter L. Similarly, "des" sounds like "day;" "de," like D. Took me a while before I could make the distinction. Good luck!
I know this advice isn't that helpful, but you're going to have to listen harder and keep trying. There is a clear difference, and this is pretty vital to learning French.
Behind the elephant without "of " Behind and of are both prepositions. You use one preposition and the noun or pronoun that comes after it.
Can I use derrière in case of a lion chasing the elephant, for example? The translation is valid in portuguese, sobI would like to know.