While learning a new language like French, each word and each letter count. One wrong word can change the sense of a sentence completely. It may hamper the way you formulate a sentence or speak your mind. For this reason, it is really important to learn the most common french prepositions and the way to use them.
Prepositions are unchangeable words used to link nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words within the same sentence. They act to connect the people, objects, time and locations of a sentence. They are usually short words, and they are normally placed directly in front of nouns. There are simple prepositions and prepositional phrases. Is that too much information? Let’s take a look at the different French Prepositions you can use and everything will make sense.
Les prépositions de lieu: (Prepositions of place)
As their name suggests, these prepositions are used to indicate the position or the place of something or someone in relation to another. Among these prepositions we can mention:
Sur – on: Le livre est sur la table (the book is on the table)
Sous – under: Le chat est sous la chaise (the cat is under the chair)
Entre – between: La France se trouve entre l’Allemagne et l’Espagne (France is situated between Germany and Spain)
Devant – in front:On se retrouve devant l’école (we will meet in front of the school)
Derrière – behind:Je cherche mon chien alors qu’il est juste derrière moi (I am looking for my dog while he is right behind me)
Dans – in: Le chocolat est dans la boîte (the chocolate is in the box)
Chez – at: Je suis chez mes parents (I am at my parents’)
À droite – to or on the right: Vous trouverez la bibliothèque à droite (you will find the library on the right)
À gauche – to or on the left: Et vous trouverez le café à gauche (and you will find the coffee shop on the left)
Now that you know all of these prepositions, you will no longer be stuck when describing or informing about the position/place of a specific thing.
Les prépositions de temps: (Prepositions of time)
We can use the prepositions of time to place an action or event in time. Among these prepositions we can mention:
Avant – before: Veuillez vérifier vos bagages avant de quitter l’avion (please check your luggage before leaving the plane)
Après – after: Après avoir mangé le déjeuner, elle a envie de faire une sieste (After having lunch, she wants to have a nap)
Vers – (in this context) around: Il vous appellera vers 15h (he will call you around 3:00 pm)
Depuis – since: Nous n’avons pas visité notre pays natale depuis 1998 (we haven’t visited our native country since 1998)
Pendant – during: J’aime bien me reposer pendant les vacances (I really like to rest during holidays)
Dans/en – in: Vous finirez vos études dans deux ans (you will finish your studies in two years)
Dès – as soon as: Dès que l’enfant a vu sa mère, il s’est jeté dans ses bras (as soon as the child saw his mother, he jumped into her arms)
Il y a – ago: Ils se sont mariés il y a 13 ans (they got married 13 years ago)
In addition to the french prepositions of place and time, there are many others. Making the learning process boring or overwhelming is not our agenda. Thus, above were a few prepositions that will help you.
Trust us, when there is a lot of information, it will be. So here are 4 extra prepositions for you as a bonus. And once you learn and fully understand each preposition mentioned in the article, we will make sure to publish a second article covering other french prepositions. Promise!
Autres prépositions utiles: (other useful prepositions)
Avec – with: Ma voisine va au marché avec sa fille. (My neighbour goes to the marketplace with her daughter.)
Par – by: Je vais aller au cinéma par bus (I am going to the cinema by bus)
Selon – according to: Vous avez le choix entre le vélo bleu et le vélo rouge. Chacun choisit selon ses goûts (you have the choice between the blue bike and the red one. Each chooses according to their taste)
Note : We can use à in different contexts.
Let’s see a few examples
Time: Je me réveille à 6h tous les jours (I wake up at 6 o’clock every day)
Place: Je vais à l’université le matin (I go to the university in the morning)
People: Je donne un cadeau à ma mère pour son anniversaire (I give my mother a gift for her birthday)
Substance: Je mets une cuillère à café de sucre dans mon thé (I put one teaspoon of sugar in my tea cup).
Price: Cette chemise qui vous plaît beaucoup est à 30 euros (This shirt/jacket that you like a lot is for 30 euros)
Congratulations ! Now you have everything you need to know about prepositions and their usage. Do not hesitate to use them, but most importantly, do not hesitate to use them properly! Do have a look at other french articles on our blog.