Learn How to Use the French Preposition "Par"

Young Parisian woman in font of her apartment
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The French preposition par means "through," "by," or "per" in English. It is used to indicate the manner in which something is done, the reason behind an event, the direction something moves, or the amount of something per some unit of measurement. In everyday conversation, you might use par when giving directions to someone or to describe how an event occurred.

Examples of Par

Je suis sortie par la porte.
I left through/by the door.
J'ai appris la verité par hasard.
I learned the truth by accident.
Il l'a obtenu par la force.
He obtained it by force.
Je l'ai envoyé par la poste.
I sent it through the mail.
Il a jeté les déchets par la fenêtre.
He threw the garbage though/out the window.
Il gagne 500 euros par semaine.
He earns 500 euros per week.
Par is often used to introduce the agent in the passive voice:
Ce livre, écrit par Voltaire...
This book, written by Voltaire...
La tasse a été cassée par un chien.
The cup was broken by a dog.

Verbs With Par

As with prepositions in English, there are some instances when a verb will also require using par in sentence construction. Some of the most common French verbs are:

  • arriver par   to succeed through/by
  • commencer par + infinitive   to begin by ___-ing
  • faire par (la pitié, l'amour)   to do out of (pity, love)
  • finir par + infinitive   to end up ___-ing / to finally do something
  • habiter par ici   to live around here
  • jurer par   to swear by
  • obtenir quelque chose par   to obtain something by
  • prendre quelqu'un par (la main)   to take someone by (the hand)
  • ressembler par   to resemble due to
  • sortir par (la fenêtre)   to leave by (the window)
  • venir par (la côte)   to come along/by (the coast)
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn How to Use the French Preposition "Par"." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, thoughtco.com/par-french-preposition-1368918. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Learn How to Use the French Preposition "Par". Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/par-french-preposition-1368918 Team, ThoughtCo. "Learn How to Use the French Preposition "Par"." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/par-french-preposition-1368918 (accessed June 5, 2023).