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Donner (To Give) Meaning, Usage, Example Sentences

Donner (To Give) Meaning, Usage, Example Sentences

If you’re new to studying French one of the most important verbs you’ll want to master is donner, which mean to give. On this page we’ll examine some key meanings of the verb and several example sentences.

Donner qqch à qqn

This the most common usage of donner – to give something to somebody.

par example:

  • Je donne le livre à mon ami. I give the book to my friend.
  • Elle donne la voiture à son mari. She gives the car to her husband.
  • Vous nous donnez un beau cadeau. You give us a nice gift.
  • Il m’a donné la lettre. He gave me the letter.

Use donne-moi (familiar) and donnez-moi (formal) in the imperative to mean “give me”.

  • Donne-moi les clés, s’il te plait. Give me the keys, please.
  • Donnez-moi cinq minutes, s’il vous plaît. Give me five minutes, please.

To say, “She gives him the book”, for example, you use the indirect object pronoun lui to mean him.

par example:

  • Elle lui donne le livre.

Here you can find a complete lesson on indirect object pronouns.

donner sur

Donner sur means to look onto or to overlook.

par example:

  • La maison donne sur le lac. The house looks onto the lake.
  • Cette chambre donne sur la mer. This room looks onto the sea.

donner – to yield, bear fruit

Donner also mean to yield or bear fruit.

  • Le potager donne beaucoup de tomates cette année.
    The garden yielding a lot of tomatoes this year.

donner – to produce, result in

Donner also translates loosely to to produce or result in.

par example:

  • Tu travailles énormément. Qu’est-ce que ça donne?
    You’re working a lot. What’s the result?

se donner

In the pronominal form, se donner means to be dedicated to.

par example:

  • L’enseignant se donne pour les élèves. The teacher gives a lot of herself for her students.

se donner à qqn

Se donner à qqn is to give yourself to somebody.

  • L’homme se donne à sa femme. The man gives himself to his wife.
Related lessons for donner:
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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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