How do you analyze/translate a "complément circonstanciel d'accompagnement" or can you further specify the type of adjectival prepositional phrase introduced by with (or which has) this is? Here are some examples of what I'm talking about (from this source):

Un chapeau à fleurs [a hat with/which has flowers]
Une robe à carreaux [a dress with/which has "tiles" i.e. a check dress]
Une femme aux yeux de braise [a woman with/which has ember eyes]

Fleurs, carreaux, yeux de braise are what "comes with" the hat/flowers/woman so to speak hence the word "accompagnement" (accompaniment).

  • A hat with flowers - with flowers is a prepositional phrase. It acts adjectivally. It has no special designation. -- A hat which/that has flowers – which/that has flowers is a relative clause – this also acts adjectivally. It has no special designation.
    – Greybeard
    Feb 20, 2023 at 22:21
  • 1
    A description of a noun that uses with usually means that the noun has (in its possession sense) whatever the object of with is. So a hat with flowers is a hat that has flowers, a man with a troubled past has a troubled past, a woman with 3 kids has more than two children, and so forth. Feb 20, 2023 at 22:26
  • The question is slightly misguided as it relies a bit too much on the French grammar. The context is this. I have this type of complement and I'm trying to provide insight for the English speakers, which is why I'm trying to figure out if I can add something more to adjectival prepositional phrase. It is only about those contexts which use the preposition to add a feature to the noun. Introducing which has (the relative) was a mistake (À introduit un complément d'accompagnement.− À signifie « avec », « qui a »). It's better to just explain. Feb 20, 2023 at 22:31
  • 2
    Pronouns in both English and French have a wide variety of uses. There are many different uses of "with" (possession, opposition, association, agent, instrument, possession, support/agreement, object, place...) and just because some things are expressed with "à" in French doesn't mean they forms a single class in English. In particular "with blue eyes" indicates possession while "with a checked pattern" indicates composition.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 20, 2023 at 22:33
  • 2
    In English, the man with green eyes and the man in the iron mask aren't viewed as at all similar beyond the fact that they're prepositional phrases, even though, if I understand correctly, they are both compléments circonstanciels d'accompagnement in French grammar. Feb 20, 2023 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


Do adjectival prepositional phrases introduced by "with" have a specific name/type (translation of "complément circonstanciel d'accompagnement")?

I don't think there is a set or agreed-upon phrase / name / categorisation for prepositional phrases.

The problem is that, because of the etymology of "with", "with noun phrase" has (at least) three meanings.

I opened the door with my key - "with" has an instrumental meaning.

"I went to London with John" - "with" has a meaning of accompaniment.

"John lost his temper with David and fought with him." = with has the meaning of "against" -> oppositional

  • 1
    Isn't it still an NP containing a PP? To simplify NP Det N PP P NP ? [[A [hat [with flowers]]]] being one. Groupe nominal works almost the same way. All about the ambiguity with those prepositions in English but not so much in French.
    – livresque
    Jul 21, 2023 at 9:53

Have you tried the 'French Language'? Obviously we could speak of a 'flowered' or 'floral' hat. It is simply in the nature of language itself that they they can approach the same idea differently. These differences are among the most interesting things about foreign languages.

  • The context comes from the French language site from an answer of mine. In the end just explaining what this is about is more useful than finding an exact type for something which doesn't have the same scope in English etc. The question is more about how to provide a cue to a non native speaker and what's the thing that comes as close as possible to something they know, without overdoing it like I did in the Q. It's a difficult balancing act. It's further compounded by the fact I'm very unfamiliar with the grammar lexicon in English and even basic grammatical analysis. Thanks. Feb 20, 2023 at 23:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.