In this video, I explain which preposition to use before the names of cities, countries or continents. It can sometimes be complicated to know if you should say "I'm going to Algeria" or "I'm going to Algeria" for example. I explain you how to find your way and improve your French 🙂
Transcript of the video
Hello to all of you. I hope that you are well and that your learning of French is going well. Today, we are going to see together a point of grammar which is a problem for many students of French. We are going to see together which preposition to put before the names of cities, countries, regions or continents.
The video will be divided into two parts. In the first part, we will see together the explanation of this grammar point. In the second part, I'll give you a practical exercise. This is the first time I'm doing a video in this format. I hope you'll enjoy it. Before you start, remember to activate the French subtitles.
As I tell you every time, it will help you a lot to understand the video and to remember what we will see together. If you're new to the channel, consider subscribing to receive all the videos. First of all, for those of you who don't know what prepositions are in French, prepositions are small invariable words that will never change and are used to introduce a complement. A complement can be a place, a person, a time.
For example, I can say I'm going to Isabelle's or I'm going to the hairdresser's. Chez is a preposition that introduces a person. I can also say I'm going to the supermarket "at" is a preposition that introduces a place, or I can say: In France, the curfew starts at 6pm.
We use "to" to introduce a time.
Let's look at the rules for using the right preposition. Let's start with "au". The preposition "au" should be used to introduce masculine country names. Country names that are preceded by the determiner "the" like Brazil, Portugal, Chile. "The" will turn into "au". For example, I can say, I live in Chile, I go to Portugal or I work in Brazil.
Now let's move on to the preposition "aux".
It's very simple, we use this preposition before the names of countries or the names of islands in the plural. We will see "the" as a determiner in front of these names of countries or islands. They will also end with an "s" to show that they are plural. For example the United States, the Seychelles, the Netherlands or the Antilles. We will say I am going to the United States, I dream of going to the Seychelles, I live in the Antilles or I am going on vacation to the Netherlands.
Let's move on to the preposition "en", it is used in 3 cases. Let's start with the first case. We use "en" in front of feminine country names. Feminine country names are preceded by the determiner "la". There is a trick to know if a country name is feminine or masculine. It will help you a lot to know which preposition to use. All country names ending with the letter "e" are feminine, like Italy, France, Norway, Spain.
All these country names are feminine and you have to use "en" as a preposition. For example, I'm going on vacation to Italy, I live in France, I work in Norway. I would like to go to Algeria. Of course, there are exceptions, there are six, six countries that end with an "e", but are masculine. So you have to use the preposition "au".
There is no secret except to learn the names of these countries by heart. Learning by heart that they are male. There is Mexico. Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Belize and Suriname. Let's move on to the second case where you have to use "en" as a preposition, we use "en" in front of all the names of countries that start with a vowel. In French, the vowels are a e i o u y. Countries that begin with a vowel have an apostrophe "l" as their determinant.
For example, we'll say I'm going to Iran. I am going to Arizona, to the United States, I am going to live in Angola. The third case in which we use "en" is in front of all the names of continents in French. Anyway, in French, it's easy because all the continent names start with a vowel and end with the letter "e". So, no choice. We use the preposition en to introduce them. I'm going to Europe, I live in Oceania.
I would love to go to America. I am going to live in Africa. Finally, the last preposition is "to" with an accent. We use "to" to introduce all the names of cities. I live in London, I'm going to Paris. I would like to go to Algiers. Of course, this is French, so there are a few exceptions, but rest assured, they are very easy to spot. We put "à" in front of city names except for those with a masculine determiner "le", for example, Cairo or Cape Town.
Since these are cities with a masculine determiner, we will change the "the" into "to". For example, I am visiting my sister in Cairo or I would like to go to Cape Town. The preposition "to" is used in a second case. It is used to introduce all the names of countries that do not have an article. There is no "the", "the" or "the" apostrophe before the name of the country. There is a little trick to recognize them.
Generally, these are countries that are actually large islands. Which are surrounded by water, but which are quite large islands. For example, we don't say Cyprus or Cyprus. We just say Cyprus. So we say I'm going to Cyprus or we say I'm going to Madagascar or I'm going to Cuba. Obviously, we are in French, so there are always some exceptions. There are some large islands that have determinants. For example, Japan, which has a masculine determiner. So we'll say I'm going to Japan. There is also Corsica which has a feminine determiner, Sicily which also has a feminine determiner or Australia or Guadeloupe, which are islands, but which have a determiner. So we'll say I'm going to Guadeloupe, I live in Australia, I'm going to Sicily or I'm going on vacation to Corsica.
But remember this rule. In general, if they are large islands, we will use the preposition "to".
Let's move on to the practical exercise. I'm going to read you a text with many prepositions, but also many mistakes. I'll also write it down for you so that it's easier for you. It's up to you to find these mistakes and correct them in the comments of the video. I will come and correct you in the comments. I will also put the solution of this exercise in the description of the video.
Of course, don't cheat! Here we go.
I live in France and work in Paris. I would like to go to another country for the vacations. I hesitate between going to Tulum in Mexico, to a big city in the United States or to Japan. I also dream of going to Malta, this island looks really beautiful. Rome in Italy also sounds very interesting. I've also heard a lot about Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Do you have a city or a country to recommend? My sister suggested that I go to Brazil. What do you think about it? I think I would prefer to stay in Europe, on islands like the Canary Islands, for example.
It's up to you. I'm waiting for your answers in the comments. That's it for today. I hope you enjoyed this video, that you were able to learn some new things.
See you soon.