Prepositions are words that link nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other parts of the sentence. They also show up in language constantly. So, take a few minutes with this French preposition guide to get confident in using them correctly.
Prepositions highlight time and place and are usually accompanied by a noun, pronoun, or a word with suffix -ing.
He is sitting under the tree.
Here, under is the preposition that links the noun tree with the rest of the sentence. Now let’s look at a few examples of prepositions in French.
Common French Prepositions + Examples
French Prepositions 1
|English Preposition||French Preposition||Things to Remember||Example|
|at/in/on/to||à||à + le = au|
à + les = aux
de . . . à = from . . . to
Used for talking about what something is made of, distance, the way something is done, descriptions, type of travel, describing someone’s outfit, common sayings, rates and phrases
Careful to note the difference between the il/elle/on form of avoir (a) and the preposition à.
|À bientôt ! (See you soon!)
aux montagnes (in the mountains)
de Luxembourg à Chicago (from Luxembourg to Chicago)
Pensez à manger. (Think about eating.)
|of/from||de||de + le = du|
de + les = des
de . . . à = from . . . to
Used to show possession, tell what something is made of or used for, talk about quantities
When de is before a vowel, h, or sometimes with y, it becomes d’.
Also used with superlative adverbs
|de Londres (from London)
une cuillère de miel (a spoonful of honey)
d’eux (from them)
la plus chère du magasin (the most expensive in the store)
|since/from/for||depuis||Used for discussing activities beginning in the past and continuing in the present||Elle se baigne depuis quinze minutes. (She has been bathing for fifteen minutes.)|
|in||en||Used for feminine countries; to discuss years, seasons, and months; in figurative expressions|
Is not followed by articles such as du, des, le
|en été (in summer)
Je travaille en Angleterre. (I work in England.)
|between/among||entre||Entre . . . et = between . . . and||Le problème est entre lui et elle. (The problem is between him and her.)|
|toward||envers/vers||Used for talking about a physical motion going in the direction of something else (vers) or an action directed at a person (envers)||Elle a marché vers lui. (She walked toward him.)|
Watch the quick video below to learn more absolutely essential French prepositions:
Quick Guide to Using French Prepositions Correctly
- They can follow some adjectives and piece the sentence together.
- They remain the same regardless of plurals, genders or tenses.
- They sometimes have more than one word, unlike in English.
- They can be idiomatic, with their meaning depending on context.
- They often have an object, but that’s not always the case.
- They are employed before a noun or pronoun.
- Informal French sentences can never end in a preposition (although this is common in informal English).
Finally, we’ll take a look at a few more prepositions:
French Prepositions 2
|English Preposition||French Preposition||Example|
|after||après||Nous nous rencontrerons après le déjeuner. (We will meet after lunch.)|
|before||avant||J’étais chez moi avant 14h. (I was home before 2 p.m.)|
|with||avec||Je prie avec lui. (I’m praying with him.)|
|at/to (someone’s) place|
|chez||Nous allons chez elle. (We are going to her house.)
Le vin est très important chez les Français. (Wine is very important for the French.)
|in/inside/into||dans||Le sac est dans la voiture. (The bag is in the car.)|
|behind||derrière||Elle est derrière la porte. (She’s behind the door.)|
|for/in order to||pour||Les roses sont pour vous. (The roses are for you.)|
|on||sur||Mettez le sac sur la chaise. (Put the bag on the chair.)|
|at the end of|
|au bout de||au bout de cette rue (at the end of this street)
au bout d’une semaine (after one week)
|below||au-dessous de||au-dessous du pont (under the bridge)|
|above||au-dessus de||au-dessus de la table (above the table)|
No language can be fully grasped in the span of a day (or the few minutes it took you to read this article). The secret to learning French grammar is writing and listening practice, and that’s especially true for mastering the many prepositions. Make it fun by watching French shows and movies, or picking up a French book for kids. Don’t wait around for the language to come to you! For any other help, feel free to connect with our French tutors. See you next lesson!