FR: nourrir à / avec / de - préposition

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Senior Member
English (Britain)

nourrir à / avec

I have found examples of the two alternative expressions [above] and I'm trying to understand if there's a difference between the two please.

So, for example there's an example of a man who fed his children with coca-cola, which uses 'nourrit ses enfants au coca-cola', and the dictionary has 'nourrit les poules avec tout un tas de restes'.

So to feed someone with a particular food, do you use au/à la, etc. or avec please? Many thanks
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  • Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Preposition à is typically possible when used with a definite article. In particular, it is not possible in your second example. By the way, note that preposition de is also possible in both examples.

    Elle nourrit ses poules à tout un tas de restes. :thumbsdown:
    Elle nourrit ses poules avec tout un tas de restes. :thumbsup:
    Elle nourrit ses poules de tout un tas de restes. :thumbsup:

    There may be the following nuance:

    nourrir X à Y = to feed X on Y, to be in the habit of feeding Y to X, to make X grow by feeding Y to them
    nourrir X avec Y = to feed Y to X (standard register)
    nourrir X de Y = to feed Y to X (more formal register)

    Note that preposition à may be also used to indicate what you're feeding them with.

    Elle nourrit son fils au sein / au biberon / à la cuillère.


    Senior Member
    English (Britain)
    Thank you. That's really helpful. So, if I was talking about what we would feed to a particular animal perhaps using à could be better here, e.g. 'On nourrit les souris au fromage'.
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