Learn How to Use the French Preposition En

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The French preposition en is nearly always used directly in front of a noun with no article, or after certain verbs. Practice proper usage of en versus dans.

Uses of en Before a Noun

En can mean any of the following.


  • il est en prison - he is in jail
  • j'habite en banlieue - I live in the suburbs

Time (en vs dans)

  • en août - in August
  • en trois jours - in three days
  • en semaine - during the week

To do something like or as

  • Je te parle en ami - I'm speaking to you as a friend
  • Il agit en enfant - He's acting like a kid


  • voyager en train - to travel by train
  • rentrer en taxi - to return by taxi

Condition or appearance

  • être en bonne santé - to be in good health
  • être en guerre - to be at war
  • être en pyjama - to be in pajamas


  • traduire en français - to translate into French
  • se déguiser en... - to disguise oneself as...
  • transformer une salle en bureau - to change a room into an office


  • un pull en laine - wool sweater
  • une maison en brique - brick house

Verbs With en

The French preposition en is required after certain verbs when they are followed by a noun.

  • agir en   to act like / as
  • avoir confiance en   to trust
  • casser en (morceaux, trois)   to break in(to) (pieces, two)
  • se changer en   to change into
  • convertir (quelque chose) en   to convert (something) into
  • couper en (deux, cinq)   to cut in (two, five pieces)
  • croire en   to believe in
  • se déguiser en   to disguise oneself as
  • écrire en (français, ligne)   to write (in French, on line)
  • mesurer en (mètres)   to measure in (meters)
  • se mettre en colère   to get mad
  • se mettre en route   to set out
  • partir en (guerre)   to leave for (war)
  • partir en (voiture)   to leave by/in (car)
  • traduire en (français)   to translate into (French)
  • transformer qqch en (qqch)   to change s.t. into (s.t.)
  • se vendre en (bouteilles)   to be sold in (bottles)
  • voyager en (train, taxi)   to travel by (train, taxi)
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn How to Use the French Preposition En." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/en-french-preposition-1368916. Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). Learn How to Use the French Preposition En. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/en-french-preposition-1368916 Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn How to Use the French Preposition En." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/en-french-preposition-1368916 (accessed May 28, 2023).