45 Days of French – Day 28

I read Hour 13 of Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF) today. You can pretty much sum it up with the word “prepositions”. That’s what the chapter is about, in gory detail. Oh, there is some vocabulary, as in country, region and city names. And a whole bunch of verbs. But it’s all in order to illustrate prepositions. Srsly.

There are three basic uses of pronouns, or rather two, and then the generic grab-bag when those don’t suit. That is, prepositions are used to work with place, and with time, and then used for some other random stuff, like connecting indirect objects with verbs. And I say “uses”, rather than “classes” or “categories”, because many prepositions have range of meaning spanning these categories (à, de, dans, and après being prime examples). Which makes sense, as even in English, prepositions often relate to a spatial metaphor, which can be used of both time and place.

Prepositions of Time

Preposition Notes
à English Equivalents: “to”, “at” or “in”
  • faire deux choses à la fois “to do two things at a time”
  • à sept heuresat seven o’clock”
  • à l’heureon time”
  • à temps pourin time for”
  • Il a payé à l’heure. “He’s paid by the hour.”
  • de 4 heures à 8 heures “from 4:00 until 8:00″
après English Equivalents: “after”
avant English Equivalents: “before”
dans English Equivalents: “in”

The idea here is “at the end of the time period”:

  • Il arrive dans 10 minutes. “He’ll arrive in (at the end of) 10 minutes.”
de English Equivalents: “from”, “of” or “about”
  • de 4 heures à 8 heuresfrom 4:00 until 8:00″
  • de temps en tempsfrom time to time”
  • un quart d’heure “a quarter of an hour”
  • du matin, de l’après-midi, du soirin the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening”
depuis English Equivalents: “since” or “for”
This is used with the preposition, while English usually would use a past progressive:

  • Vous habitez Paris depuis cinq ans. “You have lived in in Paris for five years.”
  • depuis le matin jusqu’au soirfrom morning until night”
  • depuis hiersince yesterday”
durant English Equivalents: “during” or “while”
en English Equivalents: “in”, “on” or “to”
En is used of time duration:

  • de temps en temps “from time to time”
  • Il a doublé en dix ans. “It has doubled in (the period of) ten years.”

It is also used to mean “during” seasons and months:

  • en hiverin winter”

And is also used in some fixed expressions:

  • en avancein advance”
  • en retard “late”
  • en même tempsat the same time”
  • chaque chose en son temps “all in good time”
entre English Equivalents: “between”
environ English Equivalents: “approximately”
pendant English Equivalents: “during”, “while” or “for”
  • pendant l’automneduring autumn”
  • pendant quelques minutesfor a few minutes”
pour English Equivalents:“for”

Is usually combined with the future tense.

  • J’irai…pour huit jours. “I will go…for 8 days.”
  • pour toujoursforever”
  • pour le momentfor the moment”
près de English Equivalents:“near”
vers English Equivalents:“toward”
prêt de English Equivalents: “on the verge of”

I had intended on finishing this in this post, but my daughter threw up, which changes things. Who knows how the night will fare! So I will close off here, and continue, Lord willing, tomorrow…


About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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3 Responses to 45 Days of French – Day 28

  1. Jason says:

    I’ve just now happened upon your blog (via your comment at Marc Cortez’s giveaway of Osborn’s commentary on Matthew) and I’ll be checking in periodically. I studied French (as my minor) in college, but I finished in 01 and haven’t kept up with it as much as I should have. I can still read and write it pretty well, and can have simple converstaions, but your posts will be a good refresher. I’ll be taking theological German this summer–have you done any studies there? I took conversational German a few years ago, but I can’t remember much in the way of grammar. Anyway, I look forward to your posts au sujet de français!

    • George says:


      I’ve done some basic German on my own time, but not much. I remember very little of it. I’d love to get back to it.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find the posts helpful. Maybe you can even correct some of my misunderstanding… of which I am sure there is plenty!

  2. Pingback: 45 Days of French | σφόδρα – exceedingly

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