Languages › French Prepositions: Small and Mighty Words That Drive French Sentences Share Flipboard Email Print Max Von Luttichau / EyeEm / Getty Images French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By Staff Author Updated February 25, 2020 Prepositions are words that link two related parts of a sentence. In French, they are usually placed in front of nouns or pronouns to indicate a relationship between that noun/pronoun and a verb, adjective, or noun that precedes it, as in: I'm talking to Jean. > Je parle à Jean. She is from Paris. > Elle est de Paris. The book is for you. > Le livre est pour toi. These small but mighty words not only show relationships between words, but they also refine the meanings of places and time as with pendant and durant, which both translate as "during" in English. Basic Rules Propositions can follow adjectives and link them to the remainder of a sentence, but they can never end a sentence (as they can in English). Prepositions in Fench can be difficult to translate into English and idiomatic, and they can exist as a prepositional phrase such as au-dessus de (above), au-dessous de (below), and au milieu de (in the middle of). Some prepositions are also used after certain verbs in French to complete their meaning such as croire en (to believe in), parler à (to talk to), and parler de (to talk about). Also, prepositional phrases can be replaced by the adverbial pronouns y and en. Many French verbs require particular prepositions in order for their meaning to be complete. Some of the verbs are followed by prepositions à or de and others by no preposition at all. There is no apparent grammatical rule as to which verbs require a preposition and which do not, so it is a good idea to memorize the ones that do have a preposition attached. To further complicate matters, for most geographical names, the gender affects which prepositions to use, though for islands (whether states, provinces, countries or cities) the gender does not affect which preposition you must use. Prepositions in French Following is a comprehensive list of the most common French prepositions and their English equivalents, with links to detailed explanations and examples. à to, at, in à côté de next to, beside après after au sujet de about, on the subject of avant before avec with chez at the home/office of, among contre against dans in d'après according to de from, of, about depuis since, for derrière in back of, behind devant in front of durant during, while en in, on, to en dehors de outside of en face de facing, across from entre between envers toward environ approximately hors de outside of jusque until, up to, even loin de far from malgré despite par by, through parmi among pendant during pour for près de near quant à as for, regarding sans without selon according to sous under suivant according to sur on vers toward Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Author, Staff. "Prepositions: Small and Mighty Words That Drive French Sentences." ThoughtCo, May. 12, 2021, thoughtco.com/french-prepositions-you-should-know-4060428. Author, Staff. (2021, May 12). Prepositions: Small and Mighty Words That Drive French Sentences. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-prepositions-you-should-know-4060428 Author, Staff. "Prepositions: Small and Mighty Words That Drive French Sentences." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-prepositions-you-should-know-4060428 (accessed July 27, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: Fun French phrases, Sayings and Idioms Using the French Prepositions 'En' and 'Dans' When to Use 'À' vs. 'De' in French Top 10 Advanced French Mistakes How to Use French Verbs with Prepositions French Prepositions with Cities and Islands 'Lequel,' a Difficult French Pronoun, Explained French Object Pronouns Personal Pronouns: French Grammar and Pronunciation Glossary French Possession How to Translate "What?" Into French Understanding Object Pronoun Verb Order in French How and When to Use French Possessive Pronouns Y: An Adverbial Pronoun That Replaces Prepositional Phrases French Verbs With Their Correct Prepositions French Indirect Objects and Indirect Object Pronouns How to Use the French Preposition 'à'