Choosing Between the French Prepositions Vers and Envers

A car travels on a country road in France

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Do you know the difference between the prepositions vers and envers? They both mean "toward," but in different circumstances.

Meaning of Vers

Vers means "toward" literally, as in movement toward something or the direction something faces:

  • Nous allons vers Rouen. We're going toward Rouen.
  • Tournez vers la droite. Turn to(ward) the right.
  • La fenêtre regarde vers le nord. The window faces north.

Vers can indicate proximity (synonymous with près de):

  • J'étais vers Provence. I was around (near) Provence.
  • Habites-tu vers ici? Do you live around here?

Vers can also mean "around a certain time."

  • Nous y allons vers midi. We're going around noon.
  • J'arriverai vers 15h00. I'll arrive around 3 pm.

Meaning of Envers

Envers is used only figuratively, as in acting on or thinking about something.

  • Il est cruel envers les chiens. He is cruel toward dogs.
  • Son attitude envers les enfants. His attitude toward children.
  • Ses pensées envers l'argent. His thoughts on money.