French Learning French: Prepositions

Explore this page to understand French prepositions, their uses, meanings and how they differ from English prepositions.

à l'intérieur de

The French equivalent for 'within' is 'à l'intérieur de'. It is often used to describe some sort of containment or existence within set boundaries or limits. In French, it can also imply a certain period in time. Like in English, 'à l'intérieur de' is used in both literal and metaphorical contexts.

Example sentences with  à l'intérieur de
à travers

The French term for 'through' is 'à travers'. It is used in the same context as in English. For instance, when indicating movement from one side to another, or expressing time or intensity. Like doing something 'à travers la journée' which means 'throughout the day'. It can also denote means of accomplishing something. However, It's important to note that prepositions can be tricky in French and sometimes 'through' can be translated differently based on the context.

Example sentences with  à travers

The French word 'après' is used in the same context as the English word 'after'. It can be used both in term of time, like in 'after lunch' which translates to 'après déjeuner', and order, like in 'after me' which translates to 'après moi'. It's a very common word in French and is used frequently in conversations and writings.

Example sentences with  après

The French word for 'beyond' is 'au-delà'. This term is often used to refer to something that is further than a particular point or outside a particular region, or to express that something is greater or more extreme than a certain limit. For instance, it is used in phrases like 'au-delà de mes rêves' which translates to 'beyond my dreams'. Just like in English, it can be used for physical, metaphorical, or figurative contexts.

Example sentences with  au-delà

The French word 'autour' is used in a similar way to the English 'around'. It can indicate location or positioning surrounding something. For instance, 'autour de la maison' means 'around the house'. In addition, 'autour' can also be used to express the concept of approximate quantity or time, similar to the English usage of 'around'.

Example sentences with  autour

The French word 'avant' is used similarly to the English word 'before'. This can reference time, for example 'Avant le dîner' means 'before dinner'. It can also be used to denote ranking or position, like 'Je suis avant toi dans la file' meaning 'I am before you in line'.

Example sentences with  avant

The French word 'avec' is used in the same way as the English preposition 'with'. It is used to indicate association, combination, and connection. You can use 'avec' to specify someone or something is involved in an action or expressing a state. For instance, 'Je vais au cinéma avec mon ami' means 'I'm going to the cinema with my friend'.

Example sentences with  avec

The French word 'comme' is used similarly to the English word 'like'. It can be used to make comparisons or express likeness between two things. It can also be used to describe how something is happening, similar to the English 'as'. Importantly, it does not carry the connotation of preference or fondness that 'like' does in English, for that the French use 'aimer'.

Example sentences with  comme

The French word 'concernant' can be used as a preposition, suggesting relevance or involvement. It is generally used in sentences to denote 'regarding' or 'about', similar to how 'concerning' is used in English. For example, 'Voici les documents concernant votre demande' translates to 'Here are the documents concerning your application'.

Example sentences with  concernant

The French word 'contre' translates to 'against' in English. It's commonly used in a similar context, such as in expressing opposition or resistance (e.g., 'Je suis contre cette idée' meaning 'I am against this idea'), or when indicating contact with a surface (e.g., 'Le livre est contre le mur' meaning 'The book is against the wall').

Example sentences with  contre

The French equivalent of 'into' is 'dans', and it is used to suggest a location, direction, or state. For instance, to say 'I am going into the house' you would say 'Je vais dans la maison'. It indicates the direction or motion towards something. It is also used to imply transformation or state, for example, 'She burst into tears' would be 'Elle a fondu en larmes' in French.

Example sentences with  dans

The French word 'de' is used very similarly to the English preposition 'from'. It is used to indicate a point of departure or origin in space or time. It is also combined with several verbs in French to express various concepts like ‘to come from’, ‘to be from’, etc. However, being an integral part of the French language, its usage can be wider and variate depending on context.

Example sentences with  de

The French word 'dehors' translates to 'outside' in English. It can be used in various contexts, such as asking someone to go outside ('Va dehors'), mentioning that someone is outside ('Il est dehors'), or referring to something that is outside ('C'est dehors'). Just like in English language, this word is versatile and can be applied to numerous situations where one would need to describe an outdoor setting.

Example sentences with  dehors

The French word 'depuis' is used in essentially the same way as 'since' is used in English. It can refer to the time that has passed since an event took place or it can represent the cause of an event. For example, ‘Je suis ici depuis mardi’ means 'I have been here since Tuesday.' However, unlike in English, 'depuis' can also be used to describe an action that has been happening continuously since a certain point, as in 'Je travaille depuis ce matin', meaning 'I have been working since this morning.'

Example sentences with  depuis

The French translation for 'behind' is 'derrière'. It is used in the same contexts as in English, indicating something located at the back of, or to the rear of something else. It can be used literally or figuratively. For example, 'Je suis derrière toi' means 'I am behind you'.

Example sentences with  derrière

The French word 'entre' is used similarly to the English word 'between'. It signifies the position in the middle of two or more items, concepts or places. For example, if we are talking about being in the middle of two cities, you could say 'Je suis entre Paris et Lyon'. Which is 'I am between Paris and Lyon' in English.

Example sentences with  entre

The French word 'environ' is commonly used to translate English term 'about'. It is generally used to give approximate figures and estimations. For example, if someone asks you how old you are and you don't want to give an exact age you could say 'J'ai environ trente ans' when translated it means 'I'm about thirty years old'.

Example sentences with  environ

The French word 'incluant' is used similarly to the English word 'including'. It is commonly used in the context of wanting to express the action of considering, counting or containing someone or something as a part of a whole or group. The usage of 'incluant' is generally similar across all French-speaking regions.

Example sentences with  incluant

The French word 'jusqu'à' translates as 'until' in English. It can be used in sentences to specify the extent or the timing of an event. It can be used in both temporal and spatial context. For example, temporally, 'Je reste jusqu'à lundi' means 'I am staying until Monday'. Spatially, 'Je marche jusqu'à la boutique' means 'I walk until the shop'.

Example sentences with  jusqu'à
le long de

The French word 'le long de' is used similarly to how we use 'along' in English. It denotes a position that extends over a certain line or area. For example, 'I walked along the river' translates into 'J'ai marché le long de la rivière'. It's used both spatially and temporally.

Example sentences with  le long de

The French word 'mais' is used similarly to the English word 'but', acting as a conjunction to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting with what has already been mentioned. An example usage in a sentence: 'Je veux aller, mais je suis trop fatigué', which translates to 'I want to go, but I'm too tired'.

Example sentences with  mais

The French word 'malgré' is the equivalent of 'despite' in English. Just like 'despite', 'malgré' is used as a preposition expressing the contradiction between two situations. It means that something is happening or is true, even though something else might make you not expect it to happen or be true. For example, 'Malgré la pluie, nous avons joué au football' would translate to 'Despite the rain, we played football'.

Example sentences with  malgré

The French word 'parmi' translates to 'among' in English. It is typically used to indicate being included or involved in a larger group. The preposition 'parmi' can be used in different contexts to mean among or between when referring to a collective or group of people, things, or ideas.

Example sentences with  parmi

The French word 'partout' translates to 'throughout' in English. It is mostly used to indicate the fact of being present or happening during the entire span of a defined space or period of time. For instance, 'Il y a des fleurs partout dans le jardin' means 'There are flowers throughout the garden'.

Example sentences with  partout

The French word 'passé' is used to denote past time or something that happened before now. It's similar to how we use past in English to denote any time before the current moment. It can be used in various contexts, either to refer to a past event, a past tense, or to a period in history.

Example sentences with  passé

The French word for 'while' is 'pendant'. It is used in a similar way to the English 'while', indicating something that is happening at the same time as another action. It can also mean 'during' or 'for' when referring to a span of time. Examples include 'Je lis pendant que tu dors' which translates to 'I read while you sleep' and 'J'ai travaillé pendant trois heures' which means 'I worked for three hours'.

Example sentences with  pendant

The French word 'pour' is used in similar ways as 'for' is in English. It can be used to indicate the purpose or reason for something (I'm studying for the exam = J'étudie pour l'examen), and it can be used to indicate who something is intended for (This gift is for you = Ce cadeau est pour toi).

Example sentences with  pour

The French translation for 'without' is 'sans'. This word is commonly used in French to indicate a lack of something or someone. Just like in English, it can be used in numerous contexts. For instance, you could say 'Je suis sans mon portable' to mean 'I am without my phone'.

Example sentences with  sans

The French word 'sauf' is used similarly to the English word 'except'. It is typically used as a preposition or conjunction in sentences to indicate an exception to the statement being made. For example, 'Tout le monde est venu, sauf Jean' means 'Everyone came, except John'.

Example sentences with  sauf

In French, 'sauvegarder' is how you say 'save'. It is typically used in the context of storing or preserving something for future use - just like 'save' in English. For instance, you might use 'sauvegarder' to talk about saving a document or file on a computer, or preserving memories for later. It's fairly simple to use, as it typically fits into sentences in the same way as its English equivalent.

Example sentences with  sauvegarder
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