• French GrammarFrench Lessons

    French Prepositions

    By definition, prepositions are words which link nouns, pronouns or phrases to other parts of the sentence. There are many a time that we employ prepositions in life.

    , French Prepositions
    By Sami
    3 weeks ago
    , French Prepositions

    French Grammar French Lessons

    French Prepositions

They highlight the time and place and are usually followed by a noun, pronoun, or a word with suffix -ing.

He is sitting under the tree.

* Here ‘under’ is the preposition and links ‘tree’ the noun with the rest of the sentence.

Similarly, let’s look at a few examples of prepositions in French:

English PrepositionFrench PrepositionThings To RememberExample
At/In/On/ToàTake note of the Contractive particles and remember:

– à + le = au
– à + les = aux
à + de = from . . . to

Used for talking about materials that make something, distance, the way something is done, descriptions, medium of travel, describing someone’s outfit, common sayings, rates and phrases.

In the verb ‘avoir’, il/elle/on use ‘a’ and not ‘à’.

à bientôt
(see you soon)à la montagne
(to the mountain)de la terre à l’eau
(from land to water)

pense à manger
(think about eating)

Of/fromdeTo distinguish between who or what that is owned by something

When it’s placed before the vowel, h or sometimes with y de becomes d’

à + de = from . . . to

As with Partitive articles, remember:

de + le = du
de + les = des

Discuss what something is made of

For quantities, superlatives, to talk about the use of something

de London
(from London)une cuillère de miel
(a spoon of honey)d’eux
(from them)
Since/From/ForDepuisUsed for discussing an action that commenced in the past and is continuing in the presentelle se baigne depuis quinze minutes
(She has been bathing for fifteen minutes)
InEnFor feminine countries
Doesn’t have articles such as du, des, le follow after
Discuss years, months and seasons
Figurative expressions
en été
(in summer)je travaille en Angleterre
(I work in England)
Between/AmongEntreIn English, used as expression of between . . . andle problème est entre lui et elle
(The problem is between him and her)
TowardsEnvers/versUsed for talking about a physical motion where something is going ‘towards’ something

An action ‘towards’ a person

elle a marché vers lui
(She walked towards him)

Guide to Using Prepositions

  • They appear with adjectives sometimes such that the sentence can be pieced together.
  • They remain the same irrespective of plurals, genders or tenses.
  • They can have more than one word unlike in English
  • They may seem as ‘idiomatic’, implying their use being dependant on context
  • They can continue with an object but it’s not always the case
  • They are employed before a noun or pronoun
  • Informal French sentences do not end with prepositions unlike in English (which is also not always acceptable)

Let’s look at some other prepositions:

English PrepositionFrench PrepositionExample
AfterAprèsNous nous rencontrerons après le déjeuner
(We will meet after lunch)
BeforeAvantDebout devant elle
(Stand before her)
WithAvecJe prie avec lui
(I’m praying with him)
At/To (somebody)’s place
On/From an area of
From/At (somebody)’s
ChezNous allons chez elle
(We are going to her home)
In / In(side) / IntoDansLe sac est dans la voiture
(The bag is inside the car)
BehindDerrièreElle est debout derrière la porte
(She’s standing behind the door)
For / In order toPourLes roses sont pour vous
(The roses are for you)
OnSurMettre le sac sur la chaise
(Put the bag on the chair)
At the end of / Just afterAu bout deJuste au bout de ce pilier
(Just after this pillar)
BelowAu-dessous deAu-dessous du pont
(under the bridge)
AboveAu-dessus deAu-dessus de la table
(above the table)

No language can be grasped in the span of a day or four-five minutes that you take to read this article. The secret to learning is practicing whether it is through writing or listening. You can even make it fun by watching French shows or movies or picking up a book written in French for kids. Don’t wait around for the words to come to you. See you next chapter!

Related Articles

Please fill the required fields