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English Translation of “de”

de verb

negative: nne

  1. to be (named); ‘to be’ verb form for naming
    • mede Yaw I I am (named) Yaw
    • me din de Yaw I my name is Yaw
    • me yere de Afia I my wife is (named) Afia
    • ɔde Asabere I he is (named) Asabere
    • ɔnne Asabere I he is not (named) Asabere
    • me maame din de Akua I my mother’s name is Akua

de verb

negative: nne

  1. to own, possess, or be responsible for something or someone
    • mede me ho I I own myself (I’m independent/responsible for myself)
    • Onyankopɔn de wiase ne mu nneɛma nyinaa I God owns the world and everything in it
    • menne me ho I I don’t own myself (I’m not independent/responsible for myself)

de verb

negative: nne

  1. to own, possess, seize, or take hold of something or someone
    • ɛkɔm de me I hunger owns (has taken hold of) me (I’m hungry)
    • ɔhyew de me I hot temperature owns (has taken hold of) me (I feel hot)
    • tiafi de me I toilet (I’m not independent/responsible for myself)
    • dwonsɔ de me I urine possesses me (I want to pee)
    • awɔ de me I cold weather possesses me (I feel cold)

de verb

negative: nne

  1. to owe
    • mede ka I I owe a debt
    • Amakye de me ka I Amakye owes me a debt
    • menne wo ka I I don’t owe you a debt

de verb

  1. to keep on; to keep at it; to continually do…
    • ɔde saa ara na apolisifoɔ akye no I he/she will keep at it like that and get arrested by the police
    • Kwame de gyimie saa ara ayɛ yie I Kwame has made it by continually fooling

de verb

  1. to use; to take … do


This “de” functions more as an auxiliary verb that is used to introduce an object by which the action of the main verb is performed. This “de” can literally be seen as “to take/to use”, but this mostly gets lost in translation. 

For example:

  • de ba” means “to bring”, but literally, this is actually “to take come”
  • de to” means “to put”, but literally, this is “to take put”
  • “Ama de ne nsa bɔɔ Kwame” means “Ama hit Kwame with her hand”, literally being “Ama used her hand to hit Kwame”
  • “akwadaa no de su gyee tɔfe no” means “the child took the toffee with (amidst) cries”, as in “the child used crying to take the toffee”

Points worth noting:

  1. This “de” does not inflect for tense. The tense tense is carried by the main verb. So: 
  • “de ba” is “to bring”; “de baa” is “brought”
  • “de to” is “to put”; “de too” is “put (past tense)”. Past tense of “put” is still “put”
  1. In the negative and imperative forms, “de” gets replaced with “fa”. So we say:


  • “wode da” – “you sleep with it” BUT “fa da” – “sleep with it”
  • “wode abaa no bɛbɔ Yaa” – “you will hit Yaa with the stick” BUT “fa abaa no bɔ Yaa” – “hit Yaa with the stick”


  • “wɔde su kɔdaeɛ” – “they went to sleep with cries” – “wɔamfa su ankɔda” – “they didn’t go to sleep with cries”.

de verb

negative: nne

  1. to refer to; to mean
    • ɔkwasea na ɔse wɔde me yɔnko na wɔnne me I it’s only a fool who says they mean my friend and they don’t mean me (a proverb: only a full thinks it’s his/her friend who’s in trouble and not them)
    • ɔde wo I he/she is referring to you

de pronoun

  1. own
    • ɛyɛ me de I it is my own (it is mine)
    • magye me de, wo nso kɔgye wo de I I’ve taken/collected my own, you too go for your own
    • wo de nie I your own is this (this is yours)


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