What is a preposition?
A preposition (French: les prépositions) is a word such as at, for, with, into or from, which is usually followed by a noun, pronoun or, in English, a word ending in -ing. Prepositions show how people and things relate to the rest of the sentence.
The French grammar has many prepositions along them you can find
- temporal prepositions
- local prepositions
- prepositions of purpose
- prepositions of manner
- prepositions of cause
Using French prepositions
Prepositions can create many kinds of connections or relationships between different parts of a sentence. They can indicate place, time. cause, goal, means, manner, possession, and so on.
In general they are used:
- in front of nouns and pronouns
- before verb forms ending in -ing in English
- after certain adjectives and verbs
Please note that you can NEVER end a French sentence with a preposition.
- Il va au bureau. (He goes to the office.)
- Il habite ici depuis deux ans. (He has been living here for two years.)
- Elle a le livre de ma mère. (She has the book of my mother.)
- Il le fait avec hésitation. (He does it with hesitation.)
The temporal prepositions
The temporal prepositions (French: les prépositions temporels) are small words used to express a particular situation in time.
She answers the question "quand ?" (when ?), to express when an action occurred, an event and to express several temporal values.
|Je suis arrivée à 10 heures||(I arrived at 10)|
|Il viendra me voir en août||(He will come to see me in August)|
|Je serais à Paris jusqu'à dimanche||(I will stay in Paris until sunday)|
The local prepositions
The local prepositions (French: les prépositions de lieu) are small words used to express a particular situation in space. It answers the question "où ?" (where ?), to express where an object, a person or an animal is.
These prepositions are used to describe the direction to a place, to orient yourself in a place or to establish a precise itinerary.
|La table est à côté de l'armoire||(The table is near the wardrobe)|
|Il faut emprunter la direction vers le Sud||(You need to go towards the South)|
|Nous allons aux Bahamas||(We are going to the Bahamas)|
The prepositions of purpose
The prepositions of purpose (French: les prépositions de but) are small words that serves to express a particular goal, an intention. It answers the question "pourquoi ?" (why ?) an action is done.
The purpose can be expressed through the following structure:
- preposition of purpose + verb in the infinitive
- preposition of purpose + noun
|Il fait tout pour être aimé de son père||(He does his best to be loved by his father)|
|De peur d'une bagarre, il ne dit rien||(He says nothing to avoid a fight)|
|Il étudie pour faire plaisir à son père||(He studies for the pleasure of his father)|
The prepositions of manner
The prepositions of manner (French: les prépositions de manière) are small words that serves to express the way in which an action is performed. She answers the question "comment ?" (how ?).
|Il le donne de bon coeur||(He gives it with all his heart)|
|Il l'apaise par la tendresse||(He soothes him with tenderness)|
|Il a dit cela dans la colère||(He said it with anger)|
The prepositions of cause
The prepositions of cause (French: les prépositions de cause) are small words that serves to express a cause, a particular reason. She answers the question "pourquoi ?" (why ?)
|À cause de la chaleur j'ai soif||(Cause of the warmth now I am thirsty)|
|À force de manger j'ai pris du poids||(I took some weight by dint of eating)|
|Du fait de ton comportement, tu es puni||(Because of your behavior, you are punished)|
Take a look at our subpages for the most used prepositions and to learn in deep about them
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