À propos de

Essential French Expression

À propos de
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Meaning regarding, on the subject of
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Pronunciation French sound files [ah proh poh deu]
IPA   [a pʁo po də]

Usage notes: The French noun un propos has a few meanings:

  1. words, remarks
  2. subject
  3. intention, aim (formal)

À propos de

The prepositional phrase à propos de is related to #2 – it means "regarding, on the subject of" when bringing up something that was mentioned earlier, or distinguishing between multiple topics currently under discussion.

Par exemple…

À propos de cette peinture …   Regarding this painting …
Je vous écris à propos du nouveau projet.   I’m writing to you on the subject of the new project.


À propos de

À propos (without de) has several uses and meanings:

1) adverbial phrase

a) timely, opportune

Elles sont arrivées à propos.   They arrived at just the right time.
Voilà qui tombe à propos !   It couldn’t have come at a better time!
Antonym: mal à propos    

b) pertinent, apt, correct

Elle a toujours une remarque à propos.   She always has a pertinent remark.
Je le trouve à propos de vous en parler.   I though it correct to talk to you about it.

2) interjection meaning "by the way, incidentally"

À propos, que pensez-vous de … ?   By the way, what do you think about … ?
À propos, j’ai décidé de ….   Incidentally, I’ve decided to ….

 En anglais

English has a modified version, “apropos,” that can be used for most of the above meanings.

I’m writing to you apropos (of) your article.   Je vous écris à propos de votre article.
They arrived apropos.   Elles sont arrivées à propos.
Apropos, what do you think about … ?   À propos, que pensez-vous de … ?

English’s "apropos" also has one additional meaning: an adjective meaning "appropriate, on point":

I think that’s an apropos solution.   Je pense que c’est une solution opportune.
Yes, we have enough but that’s not apropos.   Oui, on en a assez mais là n’est pas la question.

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A propos de

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