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prepositions (?)


Patf

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I have problems with using words such as en, sur, dans, a (with an accent)etc. For example I'm never sure how to translate these words in sentences such as :We live in the Gers. The office is on Rue saint Jean. Toulouse is on the river Garonne. Paris is in France. He is at home. She is due on the 30th. Are there any general rules? Pat.
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>I have problems with using words
>such as en, sur, dans,
>a (with an accent)etc.

Oh, Pat, don't we all, I'm afraid it's simply a matter of learning the wretched things. Yes, there are rules but it's also a matter of practice, it'll come with time, honest. What reference books do you have? I'll hunt through my shelves later today to see if there's anything I have that explains this clearly. But, if it's any consolation, French speakers have the same problem (in reverse) when speaking English.

Bon courage, mon amie.

Margaret

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We live in the Gers. The office is on Rue saint Jean. Toulouse is on the river Garonne. Paris is in France. He is at home. She is due on the 30th.
________
I would use (and this is me who still gets corrected by her pupils at regular intervals )
Nous habitons DANS les bouches du Rhone, but EN Provence. Le bureau est (dans le) rue St Jean. Toulouse est SUR la Garonne. Paris est EN France. Il est A la maison. Elle est prvue la 30.

The main rule I remember from school is '' for towns and 'en' for counties. But it turns out that 'en' is allowed for towns beginning with an 'A'. So you can say "en Avignon" or " Avignon" (or "en Alexandrie" for Asterix fans )

The confusing one for French people is that you will use " la maison" or "en France" for going to and being at, whereas in English you change as to whether you are there or merely en route.
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I do agree with the person who said it is just a matter of learning them. They are very tricky things and although you will be understood if you use the wrong one I always feel it marks me as a foreigner when I realise I have inadvertently translated from the English and got it wrong. My brother-in-law is Danish and it is the one thing he often gets wrong when speaking English.

One rule I can remember from school is that masculine countries are 'au', j'habitais au Canada, and feminine countries and ones beginning with a vowel are 'en', j'habite en France, j'ai une maison en Espagne.

I was also surprised to find 'sur' for towns or villages which someone has mentioned. For instance if I am out for a walk and I am not sure whether we have crossed the boundary from one village to the next I would say 'on est sur Roscoff ici?'

Liz (29)
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