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battre des mains = to clap
cligner des yeux = to wink
Il a pouss´ la porte de son pied = he kicked the door open
e
Il l™a cogn´ de sa tˆ te = he gave him a headbutt
e e
See 347.

de in passive voice
ˆ
Etre aim´ de tout le monde = to be loved by everyone
e
Ce ¬lm a et´ suivi d™un autre beaucoup moins original = the ¬lm was followed by
´e
a much less original one
See 114, 376.

343 de introducing the attribute of a noun or pronoun
un bras de cass´ = a broken arm
e
un seul ticket de valable = only one valid ticket
un livre d™emprunt = a borrowed book

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A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



un CD d™exception = an exceptional CD
quelque chose d™impressionnant = something impressive
J™ai encore une heure de libre = I™ve still got one hour free
Quelqu™un de dynamique a r´ ussi a la faire sortir de soi = some dynamic person
`
e
succeeded in bringing her out of herself
Personne d™int´ ressant n™´ tait la = no one interesting was there
`
e e
rien de nouveau = nothing new
Rien de si aimable qu™un homme s´ duisant, mais rien de plus odieux
e
qu™un s´ ducteur = there™s nothing more agreeable than a seductive man, but nothing more hateful
e
than a seducer
Ce parfum a quelque chose d™intemporel = there™s something timeless about this perfume
Ce qu™il y a d™attirant chez elle, c™est sa na¨vet´ = what™s attractive about her is her
±e
innocence
Vous faites comme si de rien n™´ tait = you™re acting as if nothing had happened
e
ce qu™il y a d™int´ ressant = the interesting thing is
e

344 de introducing an in¬nitive
Elle se dit ¬‚att´ e d™ˆ tre consid´ r´ e comme l™une des sportives les plus
e e ee
sexy. Et d™ajouter: « Ma maman me r´ p` te tellement que je suis la plus
ee
jolie, que je vais ¬nir par le croire » = she says she™s ¬‚attered to be considered one of the
most sexy sporting stars. Then she adds, ˜My mum tells me so often that I™m the prettiest that I™ll ¬nish
up believing it™
Pas de panique “ les d´ buts des p` res c´ libataires sont souvent dif¬ciles,
e e e
mais on prend vite le rythme, c™est le papa exp´ riment´ qui le dit. Et
e e
d™ajouter qu™on adore entrer dans la peau d™un papa poule = don™t panic “ it™s
often very dif¬cult for a single dad to get started, but you get into the rhythm, it™s an experienced dad
who™s telling you. I should also add that you can™t beat getting into the skin of a daddy hen
Tout est utile, assure le Dr Elisabeth Fresnel, directrice du Laboratoire de
e ˆ`
la voix. Et de poursuivre: Les Anglo-Saxons apprennent tr` s tot a parler en
public = everything has its uses, Dr Elisabeth Fresnel, director of the Voice Lab, assures us, and she
continues: Anglo-Saxons learn to speak in public early on

345 de forming expressions
Indicating age
un jeune homme de 20 ans = a 20-year-old young man
une ¬lle ag´ e de 13 ans = a 13-year-old girl
ˆe

Indicating a measurement
un mur haut de 2 m` tres = a wall two metres high
e
une rivi` re large d™un demi kilom` tre = a river half a kilometre wide
e e
Elle a les jambes longues de 80 cm = her legs are 80 cms long

256
348 depuis = since



Set expressions
d™un air triste = with a sad look
Vous riez l™air de rien = you™re laughing as if nothing had happened
De l™avis de mon professeur = in my teacher™s opinion
Remercie-la de ma part = thank her on my behalf
Je le connais de vue / de r´ putation = I know him by sight / by reputation
e
d™un cot´ / de l™autre (cot´ ) = on the one hand / on the other
ˆe ˆe
de tout mon coeur = with all my heart
en cas de r´ bellion = in case of a rebellion
e
Au risque d™encaisser un refus = at the risk of getting a refusal
jamais de ma vie = never in my life
ˆe
Tout au long de l™ann´ e les jeunes diplom´ s peuvent placer leur CV en
e
ligne = all year round newly quali¬ed young people can put their cv on line
Les r´ sultats seront publi´ s au fur et a mesure de leur arriv´ e = the results will
`
e e e
be published as and when they arrive

346 de crainte de / de peur de = for fear of
De crainte de / de peur de are only used with an in¬nitive “
De crainte de prendre des kilos, il a d´ cid´ de renoncer aux hamburgers et
ee
aux frites = for fear of putting on weight, he decided to give up hamburgers and chips
De peur d™effrayer votre partenaire peu exp´ riment´ e, vous devez dompter
e e
vos elans erotiques = for fear of frightening your inexperienced partner, you must control your
´ ´
erotic impulses

347 de fa¸ on a / de maniere a = so as to
c ` ` `
` e`
De facon a and de mani` re a are only used with an in¬nitive “
¸
`ˆ e`
Je dois me forcer a etre devant le public, de mani` re a apprendre le
courage, la patience = I have to force myself to appear before an audience, so as to learn
courage and patience
`
Une tunique kimono, tr` s souple en viscose noire et rouge de facon a jouer
e ¸
en toute simplicit´ la carte de l™´ l´ gance = a very soft kimono in black and red viscose
e ee
so as to play very simply the elegance card

348 depuis = since
With a date or point of time
depuis 1994 = since 1994
depuis le d´ but = since the beginning
e
ˆ
J™apprends le francais depuis l™age de onze ans = I™ve been learning French since I
¸
was eleven

257
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Je vivais avec elle depuis juillet dernier = I had been living with her since last July
Elle luttait pour reconqu´ rir ses droits depuis la ¬n de 2001 = she had been
e
¬ghting to reclaim her rights since the end of 2001
Je ne l™ai pas vue depuis 2004 “ I haven™t seen her since 2004

depuis = for with length of time
depuis toujours = for ever
Il travaille la depuis douze ans = he™s been working there for twelve years
`
Je vivais avec elle depuis longtemps = I had been living with her for a long time
Il est directeur artistique depuis cinq ans = he™s been artistic director for ¬ve years
Je n™ai pas eu de leurs nouvelles depuis cinq ans = I haven™t had any news about
them for ¬ve years
See 140, 142.

349 derriere = behind
`
Le meilleur endroit pour le parfum, c™est derri` re vos oreilles = the best spot
e
for perfume is behind your ears
Serrez vos bras derri` re votre dos tout en inspirant = squeeze your arms behind
e
your back while breathing in
Quelquefois nous r´ v´ lons ce que nous pr´ f´ rerions cacher derri` re notre
ee ee e
sourire = sometimes we reveal what we would prefer to hide behind our smile
Derri` re cette histoire il y a des v´ rit´ s qu™on ne peut pas eviter = behind this
´
e ee
story there are some truths you can™t avoid

350 des = from
`
d` s le d´ but = from the beginning / the outset
e e
d` s maintenant = from now on
e
D` s le premier mouvement du foetus = from the ¬rst movement of the foetus
e
D` s les premi` res ann´ es de la vie = from the earliest years of life
e e e
`
D` s le moment ou il l™a vue = from the moment he saw her
e

351 devant = in front of, before, faced with
mettre un pied devant l™autre = to put one foot in front of the other
Quand il n™est pas devant la t´ l´ , il se bat avec sa soeur = when he™s not in front of
ee
the telly, he™s ¬ghting his sister
Je l™ai trouv´ assis devant son ordinateur = I found him sitting in front of his
e
computer
Je l™ai vue devant le bar a parler a mon rival = I saw her at the bar talking to my
` `
rival

258
355 en



Tous les hommes sont egaux devant la loi = all men are equal before the law
´
ˆ ´
Le role des pleurs “ manifester l™af¬‚iction eprouv´ e devant quelque
e
situation p´ nible = the role of tears “ to demonstrate the distress experienced in the face of some
e
painful situation
Devant une personne qui se plaint d™ˆ tre fatigu´ e le diagnostic de
e e
d´ pression est souvent evoqu´ = faced with someone who complains about being tired, a
´
e e
diagnosis of depression is often mentioned
Le b´ b´ fait des grimaces devant les saveurs sal´ es = babies make faces when
ee e
confronted with salty ¬‚avours
Elle ne recule devant rien pour ¬ler avec le mec = she doesn™t ¬‚inch one bit about
making off with the guy
Elle avait mis son pull devant derri` re = she had put her jumper on back to front
e

352 du cote de = as for
ˆ´
ˆe ´
Du cot´ des pellicules, pour les eradiquer, faites deux shampooings
successifs = as for dandruff, in order to eradicate it, shampoo your hair twice in succession
ˆe
Du cot´ des repas, il est important de retrouver le rythme des trois repas
par jour = as far as meals are concerned, it™s important to get back to eating three meals a day
ˆe
The expression is sometimes shortened to just cot´ “
Cot´ gastronomie. . . . cot´ hygi` ne . . . = from a gastronomic point of view . . . from a
ˆe ˆe e
hygienic point of view . . .

353 du haut de = from the top of
Il a calcul´ la possibilit´ d™un saut a l™´ lastique du haut de la falaise = he
`e
e e
calculated the possibility of a bungee jump from the top of the cliff
Elle a r´ cit´ le po` me du haut du balcon = she recited the poem from the balcony
ee e

354 durant = for, during
Durant is virtually restricted to written French.
Durant des heures = for hours
Durant cette p´ riode de notre histoire = during that period of our history
e
`
En prendre deux le matin et a midi durant dix jours = take two, morning and
midday, for ten days
Il m™a calomni´ e durant toute ma scolarit´ = he bad-mouthed me throughout my time
e e
at school

355 en
En is being used more and more frequently in contemporary French “ in situations
where in the past dans would have occurred. When its use contrasts with that of dans,
it tends at times to have a more general, less speci¬c value “ this is because dans is

259
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



usually accompanied by an article, whereas it is unusual for en so to be. As soon as some
quali¬cation of the noun occurs, en is replaced by dans + de¬nite or inde¬nite article.
En le never occurs, en la very rarely, but en l™, as in the ¬rst example in the next
section, is quite common. En is widely used in many ¬xed expressions.

356 en expressing position
en l™air = in the air
en r´ gion parisienne = in the Paris area
e
en m´ tropole = in the capital
e
en banlieue = in the suburbs
en province = in the provinces
en montagne = in the mountains
en car = in a coach, by coach
en voiture = in a car, by car
en train = in a train, by train
en avion = in a plane, by plane
en bateau = in a boat, by boat
en ambulance = in an ambulance, by ambulance
en ville = in town
aller en ville = to go to town
en mer = at sea
en prison = in prison
en centre sportif = in the sports centre
en ligue des champions = in the champions™ league
aller en classe = to go to school
etre en sixi` me = to be in year 5
ˆ e
etre en terminale = to be in year 11
ˆ
etre en facult´ / en fac = to be at university
ˆ e
en librairie / en pharmacie = in a bookshop, in bookshops / in a chemist™s, in chemists™

357 en expressing time
en hiver = in winter
en et´ = in summer
´e
en automne— = in autumn
en janvier = in January

260
358 en with clothing, materials, containers



en juin = in June
en novembre = in November
en 2003 = in 2003
en l™an 2004 = in the year 2004, in 2004
mardi en quinze = a fortnight on Tuesday
demain en huit = a week tomorrow
en d´ but de s´ ance = at the beginning of the session
e e
Je voudrais vivre autre chose en ce d´ but du troisi` me mill´ naire = I should
e e e
like to live differently at the beginning of this third millennium
en ¬n de journ´ e = at the end of the day
e
en mˆ me temps = at the same time
e
en premi` re / deuxi` me mi-temps = in the ¬rst / second half (of a match)
e e
en retard = late
Il est en troisi` me ann´ e de th` se sur la liposuccion = he™s in the third year of his
e e e
thesis on liposuction
partir en weekend = to go away for the weekend
lanc´ en d´ cembre dernier = launched last December
e e
Dis adieu a la fatigue en deux temps trois mouvements = say goodbye to tiredness
`
in double quick time
En trente ans nous avons grandi = in 30 years we™ve got bigger
En une semaine ce programme va vous r´ invigorer—— = this programme will
e
reinvigorate you in a week
Je l™ai fait en trente minutes = I did it in half an hour
Il l™avait lu en une heure = he™d read it in an hour
En ce moment je la vois beaucoup = I see her a lot at the moment

but au printemps = in the spring
——
For the difference between dans and en in this context, see 390.


358 en with clothing, materials, containers
With clothing
en maillot de bain / en bikini = in a bathing costume / in a bikini
en tenue de soir´ e = in evening dress
e
en uniforme = in uniform
en jean = in jeans
une robe en coton = a cotton dress

261
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



une veste en cuir = a leather jacket
L™avocat plaide en robe noire = a lawyer appears in court in a black robe
Rien ne vaut un costume en lin = nothing equals a linen suit

en with materials and containers
une barri` re en fer = an iron gate
e
un bol en bois = a wooden bowl
une statue en bronze = a bronze statue
un bracelet en or = a gold bracelet
des boucles d™oreille en argent = silver earrings
Il se pr´ sente en plaquette de vingt-huit jours = it comes in a 28-day packet
e
Un m´ decin conseillera un antiviral en cr` me ou en comprim´ s = a doctor
e e e
will prescribe an anti-viral cream or tablets
Votre alimentation est trop riche en graisse et en sucre = your diet is over-rich in
fat and sugar

359 en with names of languages and countries
en with languages
en francais = in French
¸
en espagnol = in Spanish
Traduis ca en roumain = translate that into Romanian
¸
en with names of countries
See 393.

360 en in ¬xed expressions
etre en voyage = to be on a trip
ˆ
en vacances = on holiday
en route = en route
en vente = for sale
en moyenne = on average
Nous avons gagn´ en moyenne 300 euros chacune = each of us earned on average
e
300 euros
en feu = on ¬re
rester en silence = to stay quiet
Votre p` re est remarquable “ il souffre en silence d™un probl` me de
e e
prostate = your father™s incredible “ he suffers in silence with a prostate problem
ˆ
etre en deuil = to be in mourning

262
360 en in ¬xed expressions



dormir en paix = to sleep in peace
ˆ
etre en danger = to be in danger
ˆ
etre en dif¬cult´ = to be in dif¬culty
e
mettre en valeur = to highlight
se mettre en marche = to set out
en mati` re de = as far as . . . is concerned
e
Elle conseille sur leurs droits en mati` re de contrats immobiliers = she™s an
e
adviser on people™s rights in the area of property contracts
en l™occurrence = in this case, in this instance
en l™honneur de = in honour of
en pr´ sence de = in the presence of
e
en direct = live (broadcast)
Eurofoot 2004 “ en direct de Lisbonne = Euro 2004, live from Lisbon
en jeu = at stake
en son nom = in her name, in his name
en revanche = on the other hand
en effet = in fact (supporting previous statement)
Rien ne sert de se retenir d™´ ternuer. En effet ce m´ canisme de d´ fense
e e e
´
naturelle permet d™expulser hors du nez un corps etranger irritant = there™s
no point holding back your sneezes. In fact this natural defence mechanism enables us to expel irritating
foreign bodies from our nose
en fait = in fact (contradicting previous statement)
en tant que = as
En tant qu™´ l` ve-fonctionnaire vous gagnerez 6 000 euros par mois = as a
ee
trainee civil servant you™ll earn 6,000 euros a month
en promotion / en promo = on special offer
en solde = in a sale
Les articles achet´ s en solde doivent b´ n´ ¬cier des mˆ mes droits que les
e ee e
autres = goods bought in a sale bene¬t from the same rights as any others
gagner en myst` re = to grow in mystery
e
avoir le vent en poupe = to have the wind in your sails
en cas de = in case of
en l™esp` ce = in this instance
e
Se d´ guiser en policier, c™est marrant = disguising yourself as a policeman is a laugh
e

263
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



agir en sp´ cialiste = to act as a specialist
e
en plus = in addition
En plus des dix d´ ja existants = in addition to the ten you™ve already got
e`
se mettre en col` re = to get angry
e
en etat de guerre = in a state of war
´
partir en tourn´ e = to go on tour (eg of pop group)
e
en version originale / en VO = in the original (eg of ¬lm)
ˆ ˆ
etre en chomage = to be out of work
etre en gr` ve = to be on strike
ˆ e
en partie = in part
Votre succ` s d´ pend en partie du statut de votre directeur de th` se = your
ee e
success depends in part upon your thesis supervisor™s status
en r´ alit´ = in reality, really
e e
En r´ alit´ , le choix d´ pend du r´ sultat voulu = in reality, what you choose depends
e e e e
upon the result you want
un ¬lm en noir et blanc = a black-and-white ¬lm
parler en connaissance de cause = to speak with full knowledge of the facts
avec des teintes brillantes en contraste = with brilliant contrasting tints
des silhouettes en 3D = silhouettes in 3D

361 en-dehors de = outside, apart from
Je voulais la rencontrer en-dehors de la ville = I wanted to meet her outside the town
Je ne vois personne en-dehors de deux potes = I don™t see anyone apart from a couple
of mates

362 en depit de = in spite of
´
En d´ pit de ce que je lui dis, ma femme r´ serve toujours une place dans
e e
notre lit pour son chien = in spite of what I say to her, my wife still reserves a place in our bed
for her dog
En d´ pit de sa r´ ticence, elle s™y habituera en douceur = in spite of her reluctance,
e e
she™ll gradually get used to it

363 entre = between, among, through
entre nous = between ourselves
entre parenth` ses / entre guillemets = in brackets / in inverted commas
e
entre le 25 et le 30 mai = between the 25th and 30th May
La route se fau¬le entre les petits villages = the road winds its way through the tiny
villages
264
368 grace a = thanks to
ˆ `



Un d´ calage entre les probl` mes percus par les parents et leurs enfants = a
e e ¸
gap between the problems perceived by parents and their children
ˆ
43% d™entre eux souhaitent etre mieux inform´ s sur le suicide = 43% of them
e
want to be better informed on suicide
´
L™enfance, une epoque b´ nie entre toutes = childhood, a time blessed amongst all
e
others


364 envers = towards
Je ne sens que de la reconnaissance envers elle = I feel nothing but gratitude towards
her
Son attitude envers son travail est d´ cevante = her attitude towards her work is
e
disappointing
Si vous ressentez une attirance envers une de vos amies, c™est le moment
de choisir votre camp = if you feel yourself attracted towards one of your friends the same sex
as you, that™s the moment when you have to decide which side you™re on


365 environ = about
Un petit bijou de technologie qui coute environ 150 000 euros = a little peach of
ˆ
technology which costs about 150,000 euros
`
A environ dix m` tres, je ne vois plus rien sans mes lunettes = at about ten
e
metres I can™t see a thing without my glasses


366 excepte = except for, apart from
´
J™aime toutes les couleurs, except´ le bleu = I like all the colours, except for blue
e
Tout le monde sera la, except´ mon cousin = everyone will be there apart from my
` e
cousin
See 198.

367 face a = opposite, facing
`
` ˆ
face a l™hopital = opposite the hospital
face aux cam´ ras = facing the cameras
e
`
Face a l™augmentation des ventes de m´ dicaments contre le cholest´ rol =
e e
faced with the increasing sales of anti-cholesterol remedies
Ils se disent d´ sempar´ s face aux r´ ponses recues = they say they™re confused when
e e e ¸
confronted by the answers received


368 grace a = thanks to
ˆ `
ˆ`
Grace a l™action de la vitamine C = thanks to the action of vitamin C
ˆ`
J™ai d´ croch´ mon bac grace a mes lectures = I got my A-levels thanks to all the
e e
reading I™d done

265
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



369 hors de = out of
hors d™haleine = out of breath
J™´ tais hors de moi qu™il ait pu pens´ ainsi = I was beside myself that he could have
e e
such thoughts
Tu seras hors de danger dans les toilettes = you™ll be out of danger in the loos

370 jusqu™a = as far as, until
`
`
aller jusqu™a Biarritz = to go as far as Biarritz
`e
jusqu™a pr´ sent = up to the present moment
jusqu™au 14 f´ vrier = until 14th February
e
Restez vigilante jusqu™en septembre = stay on your guard till September
ˆ `´
Vous ne percez jamais vos boutons, vous les laisser murir jusqu™a eclosion
spontan´ e = never squeeze spots “ let them ripen until they form a head spontaneously
e
` ´
J™irais jusqu™a dire qu™il ne faut pas r´ primer vos eternuements sous peine
e
de provoquer une nouvelle crise = I™d go so far as to say that you shouldn™t repress your
sneezes “ you might induce another attack
Nous n™allons pas jusqu™a accepter cette d´ cision ridicule = we™re not going so
` e
far as to accept that ridiculous decision

371 le long de = along
Il traˆnait le long des couloirs avant d™entrer = he wandered along the corridors before
±
going in
`e
Promenade a v´ lo le long des quais de la Seine = a bike ride along the banks of the
Seine


372 lors de = during, at the time of
Lors des derni` res rencontres parlementaires = at the time of / during the recent
e
meetings of Parliament
Lors d™un r´ cent congr` s = at the time of / during a recent conference
e e

373 malgre = in spite of
´
Malgr´ les demandes croissantes des parents = in spite of increasing demands from
e
parents
Malgr´ tout, il vaut mieux continuer = in spite of everything, it™s better to carry on
e

374 par = through, by, per, on, in
par expressing position
voyager par chemin de fer / par le train = to travel by rail / by train
voyager par avion / par bateau = to travel by plane / by boat


266
375 par-dessous = underneath



`
par ici / par la = this way / that way
`
par-ci par-la = hither and thither
Vous regardez par la fenˆ tre les souris qui s™amusent = through the window you
e
watch the birds enjoying themselves
Il dormait sur un matelas sans draps par terre = he slept on a mattress without
sheets on the ¬‚oor

par expressing time
par un temps pluvieux = in rainy weather
par le temps qui court = as it [the weather] is
par une journ´ e d™hiver = on a winter™s day
e
+ 20% par an = + 20% per year / + 20% a year
`
En p´ riode d™extrˆ me chaleur il faut boire 2,5 a 3 litres d™eau par jour = in
e e
times of extreme heat, you should drink between 2.5 and 3 litres of water a day

par expressing an agent, animate or inanimate “ see 414 de and 390
Une ef¬cacit´ prouv´ e par des dermatologues = an effectiveness proved by
e e
dermatologists
´
Commencez par un echauffement suf¬sant = begin with suf¬cient warm-up exercises
´e
Un entraˆneur a et´ mordu par un chien errant = a trainer was bitten by a dog off
±
the lead
Il s™exprime par gestes = he expresses himself through gestures
On remplace le sucre par le fructose = sugar may be replaced by fructose

par in ¬xed expressions
par courrier = by mail
´
par ecrit = in writing
par ordre alphab´ tique = in alphabetical order
e
par milliers = in thousands, in their thousands
par honte / par reconnaissance = out of shame / out of gratitude
par ignorance / par amour = out of ignorance / out of love
par exemple = for example
par contre = on the other hand

375 par-dessous = underneath
Pour y arriver il fallait passer par-dessous la haie = to get there we had to climb
under the hedge


267
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



376 par-dessus = over
´
Il se plante derri` re vous et regarde par-dessus votre epaule = he plonks himself
e
behind you and looks over your shoulder
par-dessus le march´ = into the bargain
e

377 parmi = among
Le village se trouve parmi les plus belles montagnes du monde = the village is
set amongst the most beautiful mountains in the world
C™est une plainte exprim´ e surtout parmi les femmes = it™s a complaint
e
commonly expressed among women
Parmi les hommes l™id´ e de « mieux habill´ » a chang´ = among / for men the
e e e
idea of ˜best dressed™ has changed

378 par suite de = as a result of
`
Par suite de l™anxi´ t´ , vous tremblez comme une feuille a chaque fois que
ee
vous prononcez un discours devant une assembl´ e = as a result of anxiety, you
e
tremble like a leaf every time you give a speech at a meeting
Par suite de sa d´ licatesse et g´ n´ rosit´ , vous jouissez de moments
e ee e
inoubliables ensemble = because of her sensitivity and generosity you enjoy unforgettable
moments together

379 pendant = for, during
pendant la journ´ e = during the day
e
Je l™ai attendue pendant une heure = I waited for her for an hour
On ne vous dit plus rien pendant des mois = no one says anything else to you for months
Pendant les ann´ es 70 je portais un pull col V en mohair rouge = during the
e
70s I used to wear a V-neck pullover in red mohair
See 390.

380 pour = for
pour expressing time
Elle n™´ tait la que pour quelques jours = she was only there for a few days
`
e
pour la troisi` me ann´ e cons´ cutive = for the third consecutive year
e e e
´e ´
Pour cet et´ l™association recherche des etudiants en m´ decine = for this
e
summer the association is seeking medical students
Pour l™avenir imm´ diat elle n™a aucun projet professionnel = for the immediate
e
future she hasn™t got any professional plans
See 390.

pour in other contexts
`
C™est le minimum a faire pour ceux qu™on appelle les nouveaux pauvres =
it™s the least that can be done for those we call the new poor

268
383 sans = without



Petits soins pour zones sensibles = delicate care for delicate areas
Une bonne nouvelle pour tous les parents concern´ s = good news for all concerned
e
parents
Avec symptome de d´ sint´ rˆ t pour son travail et sa vie = with the symptom of
ˆ e ee
lack of interest in his work and life
Pour son nouveau ¬lm il veut une jeune ¬lle susceptible d™incarner un
id´ al de puret´ = for his latest ¬lm he wants a girl who is capable of embodying an ideal of purity
e e
Bouger pour une saine fatigue = keep moving for good, healthy tiredness
Eau de toilette pour homme = eau de toilette for men
Elle se prend / se passe pour une star = she considers herself / passes herself off as a star
Pour vous faciliter la vie, voici notre s´ lection d™articles sympas = in order to
e
simplify your life, here™s our selection of great items
Les ados peuvent utiliser le service « Fil sant´ jeunes » pour poser les
e
questions qui les tracassent = youngsters can use the Help Line to ask the questions that
worry them

381 pres de = close to, near
`
`
L™essentiel de mon travail consistait a me tenir pr` s de lui = the essential part of
e
my work involved me staying close to him
J™aime garder mes choses pr` s de moi = I like keeping my things close to me
e
Pr` s du magasin il y a toujours des mecs qui chahutent = near the shop there are
e
always some guys messing about

382 quant a = as for
`
`
quant a moi = as for me
Quant aux p` res, mˆ me si on n™en a pas, on a une image de p` re = as for
e e e
fathers, even if you haven™t got one, you™ve got an image of them

383 sans = without
Je suis sans regrets = I™m without regret, I have no regrets
Je traˆne de salle en salle sans but pr´ cis = I mope from room to room without any
± e
precise aim
Une moto sans silencieux = a motorbike without a silencer
De l™´ nergie sans les kilos = energy without putting on weight
e
sans ¬n = endless, ad in¬nitum
les sans domicile ¬xe = the homeless
les sans-papiers = illegal immigrants
Ils peuvent poser des questions personnelles sans r´ v´ ler leur identit´ =
ee e
they can ask personal questions without revealing their identity

269
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Vous pouvez faire votre shopping sans quitter la maison = you can do your
shopping without leaving the house

384 sauf = except for, apart from
Tous les premiers jeudis du mois a partir de 21 h sauf janvier = all the ¬rst
`
Thursdays of the month from 9pm except for January
Si un mec vous plaˆt, dites-lui tout “ sauf la v´ rit´ = if a guy appeals to you, tell him
± ee
everything “ apart from the truth

385 selon = according to
Selon un sondage r´ alis´ par ce magazine = according to a poll undertaken by this
e e
magazine
´ ˆ `e
Selon cette etude, un baton de rouge a l` vres exerce un pouvoir de
s´ duction incroyable sur les hommes = according to this study, a lipstick exerts an
e
unbelievable power of seduction on men

386 sous = underneath, beneath
Sous ma chemise j™aime porter un bustier en jean = underneath my blouse I like
wearing a denim bustier
Sous cette plainte courante = beneath this frequent complaint
Le couteau sous la gorge = with a knife under / at his throat
Voir la vie sous un angle convenable = to see life from an appropriate angle
J™ai sous la main tout ce dont j™ai besoin pendant la journ´ e = I™ve got
e
everything I need during the day to hand
Son homosexualit´ , est-ce que on peut continuer de la passer sous
e
silence? = can we keep on keeping quiet about his homosexuality?
sous la pluie = in the rain
sous la pr´ sidence de = under the presidency of
e
sous peu = shortly
sous un jour favorable = in a favourable light
sous tous les rapports = in all respects

387 suivant = following
Suivant la discussion, j™ai dit que j™´ tais gay = following the discussion I said I was
e
gay
Suivant une enquˆ te sur la nutrition des teenagers = following an investigation into
e
the eating habits of teenagers

388 sur = on, over, about
Passez le jet sur tout le corps = direct the jet all over your body
Le pistolet sur la tempe = with a pistol to his temple

270
389 vers = to, towards, about



Le point sur ces interventions = the latest on these speeches
On vous dit tout sur la meilleure facon de marcher = we tell you everything about
¸
the best way to walk
Un test clinique sur 28 femmes = a clinical test on 28 women
Un Francais sur quatre souffrira d™h´ morro¨des, un sur dix s™en plaint
¸ e ±
r´ guli` rement = one French person out of four will suffer from piles, one out of ten will complain
e e
about it regularly
´
Pourquoi cette sensation de « chape de plomb » sur nos epaules? = why do we
have this sensation of a ˜leaden cloak™ on our shoulders?
ˆ
Un programme bati sur mesure = a programme made to measure
Sur des milliers de gens je n™ai eu que quelques tr` s grosses mauvaises
e
surprises = out of thousands of people I™ve only had a few unpleasant surprises
sur le parking = in the (open-air) car park
sur la mer = at sea
sur le stade = in the stadium
sur le ring = in the boxing ring
marcher sur la route / le trottoir = to walk on the road / the pavement
donner sur la rue = to look onto the street (of a building)
sur sc` ne / sur la sc` ne = on stage
e e
la clef est sur la porte = the key is in the door
grimper sur le toit = to climb onto the roof
ˆ
etre sur un v´ lo = to be on a bike
e
revenir sur ses pas = to retrace your steps
un livre sur la mode = a book on fashion
naviguer sur Internet = to surf the net
sur Internet = on the Internet
sur un ton satisfait / content = in a satis¬ed / content tone of voice

389 vers = to, towards, about
Poussez les bras et les jambes vers l™arri` re = push your arms and legs towards the
e
back
Il s™est tourn´ vers les autres = he turned to the others
e
Nos discussions se sont orient´ es vers le sexe = our discussion turned towards sex
e
vers 15 heures = about three o™clock
vers le d´ but du mois = towards the beginning of the month
e

271
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



390 Slight shifts in meaning brought out by varying
the prepositions
Accurate handling of prepositions is a very delicate and complicated matter and one
that puts the seal on competent use of the language. There are one or two patterns of
alternation between prepositions that allow shades of meaning to be conveyed in a subtle
way. There are also occasions, often ¬xed expressions, where a particular noun attracts
one preposition rather than another

`
a / dans
a cet endroit = in this place
`
dans ce lieu = in this place

`
a / dans / en
When translating English in, a distinction may be drawn between the physical and
the abstract values of the preposition: dans implies the former, ie a more speci¬c,
`
more concrete or physical value and a the latter, ie a more vague, less well-de¬ned
value “
Les parents sont entr´ s dans l™´ cole pour voir le prof de leur ¬ls = the parents
e e
went into the school to see their son™s teacher
Il est entr´ a l™´ cole en 1998 = he began his school career in 1998
e` e
Dans mon jardin il y a une grande vari´ t´ de plantes = in my garden there™s a wide
ee
variety of plants
J™aime travailler au jardin pour pro¬ter de l™air frais = I like working in the
garden to bene¬t from the fresh air
The same applies to the following examples “
etre a Paris / etre dans Paris = to be in Paris
ˆ ` ˆ
J™ai toujours aim´ etre a Paris = I™ve always liked being in Paris
eˆ `
Trouver une station d™essence dans Paris est de plus en plus dif¬cile =
¬nding a petrol station in Paris is getting more and more dif¬cult
etre a la campagne / dans la campagne = to be in the country
ˆ `
etre aux champs / dans les champs = to be in the ¬elds
ˆ
etre au salon / dans le salon = to be in the drawing room
ˆ
etre a la cuisine / dans la cuisine = to be in the kitchen
ˆ `
etre a l™ombre / dans l™ombre = to be in the shade
ˆ `
tomber a l™eau / dans l™eau = to fall in the water
`
However, a la ferme = on the farm, whereas dans la ferme = in the farmhouse.
`
In in relation to names of countries, departments, etc, is dealt with in 393.
In / on in relation to streets is often represented by a zero preposition in French “
Visitez son studio rue Gu´ n´ gaud = visit her studio in the rue Gu´n´gaud
ee
ee

272
390 Meaning with different prepositions



´
Son nouveau restaurant se trouve place de l™Eglise = his new restaurant is situated
´
on the Place de l™Eglise
In / by with modes of transport may be translated by dans, en or par, with occasional
slight differences of interpretation “
voyager dans / par le bus, dans / par le train = to travel by bus, train
voyager en ambulance, en auto, en avion, en bateau, en h´ licopt` re, en
e e
v´ lo, en moto, en voiture = to travel by ambulance, car, plane, boat, helicopter, bike,
e
motorbike, car
voyager par bateau = to travel by boat
voyager dans un taxi, dans une ambulance = to travel in a taxi, an ambulance
`
As with the a / dans contrast above, the use of dans underlines the physical position
of the traveller.
dans l™avion = in the plane (stressing the position of who or what is doing the
travelling)
en avion = by air (stressing the method of transport)
par avion = by airmail
When it is desired to qualify the noun, dans or par, not en, must be used “
Je suis arriv´ dans la voiture de mon mec = I arrived in my boyfriend™s car
e
Je suis arriv´ par le train de quinze heures = I arrived by the three o™clock train
e

`
a / de
`
With verbs denoting moving/snatching, a is used to refer to people, de to things “
Elle l™a arrach´ a son amie = she snatched it from her friend
e`
Il l™a enlev´ / ot´ de la table = he took it from / off the table
e ˆe
`
When linking two nouns, a denotes that the nouns form a single unit and stresses the
function of the object, whereas de denotes a looser connection, stressing what is contained
in the object.
un pot a moutarde = a mustard pot
`
un verre a vin = a wine glass
`
un pot de moutarde = a pot of mustard
un verre de vin = a glass of wine
The ¬rst two items could be empty, whereas the second two must contain some mustard
or wine.
a sa mani` re = in his / her way
` e
d™une certaine mani` re = in a certain way
e
au moins = at least (of numbers)

273
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Il y a au moins dix coffrets de portables parmi lesquels choisir = there are at
least ten mobile holders to choose from
du moins = at least, the bottom line
` `
Les chanteuses a grosse voix prennent dix rides a chaque concert “ du
moins c™est ce qu™on pr´ tend = female singers with big voices develop ten wrinkles per
e
concert “ at least that™s what™s claimed
`
(jouer +) a / de
`
With jouer, a is used with names of sports and de with musical instruments
jouer au tennis, au foot, au golf = to play tennis, football, golf
jouer d™un instrument de musique, du piano, de la guitare, de la batterie =
to play a musical instrument, the piano, the guitar, the drums
See 301.

`
a / en
etre au village = to be in the village
ˆ
etre en ville = to be in town
ˆ
a la mi-temps = at half-time
`
en premi` re / deuxi` me mi-temps = during the ¬rst / second half
e e

`
a / par
`
When translating English to (in to the ground), use of a implies from a height, and use of
par from a standing position “
Il etait dans l™arbre et est tomb´ a terre apr` s s™ˆ tre pench´ trop en avant =
´ e` e e e
he was up the tree and fell to the ground because he™d leant out too far
Il faut se jeter par terre pour eviter la fusillade de l™ennemi = you have to throw
´
yourself to the ground to avoid the shots coming from the enemy

`
a / sur
With reference to radio and TV, the former is used generally, the second more speci¬cally
(ie to a speci¬c station or channel) “
Il y a tr` s peu d™´ missions int´ ressantes a la t´ l´ = there aren™t many interesting
`
e e e ee
programmes on the telly
Sur Canal Plus il y a un grand nombre de ¬lms am´ ricains = on Canal Plus
e
there are lots of American ¬lms

dans / en
When used with reference to time, dans is used to indicate that the action will be
accomplished after the period of time speci¬ed by dans has elapsed; en indicates the
period of time during which the action will be accomplished “
Je lui ai dit que je le ferais dans dix minutes = I told him I™d do it in ten minutes
(begin to do it in ten minutes)

274
390 Meaning with different prepositions



Je lui ai dit que je le ferais en dix minutes “ I told him I™d do it in ten minutes
[it would take ten minutes to complete it]

dans / sur
The difference between (stationner) dans le parking and sur le parking is that the
¬rst refers to a multi-storey carpark and the latter to an open-air one; in the case of (ˆ tre)
e
dans le stade and (ˆ tre) sur le stade, the former refers to the spectators, the latter to
e
the competitors/players.
dans le square = in the square (a small public square with a garden)
sur la place = in the square (a large public square)
dans l™a´ roport = at the airport (in the airport buildings)
e
sur l™a´ roport = at the airport (on the runway)
e
etre assis dans un fauteuil = to be sitting in an armchair
ˆ
etre assis sur une chaise, un banc, un si` ge = to be sitting on a chair, a bench, a seat
ˆ e
dans l™all´ e, dans l™avenue, dans la rue = on the path, in the avenue, in the street
e
sur le boulevard, sur la chauss´ e, sur le chemin, sur la route, sur le
e
trottoir = on the boulevard, on the road (not the pavement), on the track, on the road, on the
pavement

de / en
When used with materials, de implies a vaguer connection than en, which emphasises
the material from which the object is made “
un pantalon en coton “ un pantalon de coton = cotton trousers

de / par
When introducing the agent in the passive voice or in a similar construction (ie I was
chased by a mugger), de is used when the agent is relatively passive or a state is described,
par when the agent is more dynamic.
ˆ
Pour avoir un buste branch´ , la gorge doit etre enduite d™un produit
e
luisant = to have a really trendy bust, your neck needs to be covered with something shiny
Servez aussitot accompagn´ d™une salade de pousses d™´ pinard = serve it
ˆ e e
straightaway accompanied by a salad of spinach sprouts
Un avertissement “ il est attir´ par les jeunes, il te jettera rapidement pour
e
une cadette = a word of warning “ he™s attracted by young women, he™ll soon throw you over for a
younger version
`
Pour vous aider a mincir sans vous priver trop, votre boisson habituelle
doit etre remplac´ e par un th´ infusion = to help you slim without depriving yourself too
ˆ e e
much, your usual drink must be replaced by an infusion
However, at times these two prepositions seem to have exactly the same value and are
used in identical contexts.

275
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



pendant / pour
When these prepositions are used to express a certain period of time, pendant normally
refers to time that is past and pour to time to come, as the examples given under each
preposition above show. However, pendant may also be used with reference to time to
come when the event is being stressed, for example in the case of medical directions “
Une ampoule chaque matin pendant une semaine = one capsule each morning for a
week

plus de, moins de / plus que, moins que
Plus de, moins de are used to express quantity, and normally precede a numeral,
whereas plus que, moins que are used to express a comparison and are not necessarily
followed by a numeral “
` ˆ
Le sac a dos ne doit pas etre plus large que le dos de l™enfant et ne doit pas
peser plus de 500 g pour les plus jeunes et pas plus d™un kg pour les
adolescents = the rucksack must not be wider than the child™s back and must not weigh more than
500 grammes for the youngest and not more than one kg for teenagers
ˆ
Bonne nouvelle, les adultes qui goutent sont proportionnellement plus
minces que ceux qui ne goutent pas! = good news “ adults who indulge are
ˆ
proportionately slimmer than those who don™t!
Pour plus d™informations, contactez notre site internet = for more information,
contact our website

391 Prepositional alternation
In other cases, it is possible to use different prepositions before a noun without altering
the sense.
remplir avec / remplir de = to ¬ll with
a l™ / d™ / par avance = in advance
`
au d´ but de l™apr` s-midi / en d´ but de l™apr` s-midi = early in the afternoon
e e e e
a la ¬n de la r´ union / en ¬n de la r´ union = at the end of the meeting
` e e
a l™automne / en automne = in autumn
`
dans la / en r´ gion parisienne = in the Paris area
e
dans le secret / en secret = in secret
dans / en l™air (note the use of an article with en here) = in the air
aux / sous les Tropiques, l™´ quateur = in the Tropics, at the Equator
e
a la / en facult´ = at university
` e
dans / sous une tente = in a tent
tomber dans / entre les mains de quelqu™un = to fall into the hands of someone
dans la semaine / en semaine = during the week
d™un ton s´ rieux / sur un ton s´ rieux = in a serious tone
e e

276
392 French/English prepositions



de toutes facons / en tout cas = at any rate
¸
en mer / sur la mer = at sea
echanger une chemise pour / contre une autre = to exchange one shirt for another
´
etre a / en chomage = to be out of work
ˆ ` ˆ
aller dans / sur la lune = to go to the moon


392 The interlocking of French and English prepositions
The following chart lists English prepositions and prepositional expressions and shows
the French equivalents “

about aupr` s de, environ, vers
e
above au-dessus de
according to d™apr` s, selon
e
after apr` s
e
against contre
along le long de
among chez, entre, parmi
`
apart from au-dela de, en-dehors de, except´ , sauf
e
around aupr` s de
e
as a result of par suite de
`
as far as jusqu™a
ˆe `
as for du cot´ de, quant a
`
at a, en, sous, sur
at the end of au bout de
at the home of chez
at the time of lors de
`
because of a cause de
before avant, devant
behind derri` re
e
below au-dessous de
beneath sous
beside hors de
between entre
`
beyond au-dela de, au-dessus de
`
by a, de, en, par
`
by virtue of a force de
close to pr` s de
e
during au cours de, dans, durant, lors de, pendant
except for except´ , sauf
e
faced with devant
`
facing face a
following suivant
`
for a, chez, depuis, durant, en, par, pendant, pour
for fear of de crainte de, de peur de
``
from a, a partir de, d™apr` s, dans, de, d` s, sous
e e
from the top of du haut de
`
in a, chez, dans, de, en, entre, par, sous, sur
(cont.)

277
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



including (y) compris
` ˆe
in comparison with a cot´ de
in front of devant
in order to a¬n de
instead of au lieu de
in spite of en d´ pit de, malgr´
e e
in the course of au cours de
into dans
near pr` s de
e
` ˆe
next to a cot´ de
of de, entre
`
on a, de, en, par, sur
`
opposite face a
out of dans, hors de, par, sur
outside en-dehors de
over au-dessus de, par-dessus de, sur
per par
round aupr` s de
e
since depuis
` e`
so as to de facon a, de mani` re a
¸
`
subject to a condition de
than de
ˆ`
thanks to grace a
`
through a travers, entre, par
`
till jusqu™a
`
to a, en, vers
towards envers, vers
under au-dessous de, sous
underneath au-dessous de, par-dessous de, sous
`
unless a moins de
`
until jusqu™a
`
up to a
`
with a, avec, de
without sans
`
zero a, de, en, par, sans




393 Prepositions with place names
in
1 With names of countries
With masculine names of countries beginning with a consonant “ au
in Europe
au Danemark = in Denmark, au Luxembourg = in Luxemburg, aux Pays Bas = in
the Netherlands, au Pays de Galles = in Wales, au Portugal = in Portugal, au
Royaume-Uni = in the United Kingdom
in Africa
au B´ nin = in Benin, au Botswana = in Botswana, au Burkina Faso = in Burkina
e
Faso, au Burundi = in Burundi, au Cameroun = in Cameroon, au Gabon = in Gabon,

278
393 Prepositions with place names



au Ghana = in Ghana, au Kenya = in Kenya, au Lib´ ria = in Liberia, au Malawi =
e
in Malawi, au Mali = in Mali, au Maroc = in Morocco, au Mozambique = in
Mozambique, au Niger = in Niger, au Nig´ ria = in Nigeria, au Ruanda = in Rwanda,
e
au S´ n´ gal = in Senegal, au Soudan = in Sudan, au Tchad = in Chad, au Togo = in
ee
Togo, au Zimbabwe = in Zimbabwe
in Asia
au Bangladesh = in Bangladesh, au Cambodge = in Cambodia, au Japon = in Japan,
au Laos = in Laos, au N´ pal = in Nepal, au Pakistan = in Pakistan, au Tibet = in
e
Tibet, au Vietnam = in Vietnam
in the Middle East
au Liban = in Lebanon, au Y´ men = in Yemen
e
in the Americas
au Br´ sil = in Brazil, au Canada = in Canada, au Chili = in Chile, au Costa Rica
e
´
= in Costa Rica, aux Etats-Unis = in the United States, au Guat´ mala = in Guatemala,
e
au Honduras = in Honduras, au Mexique = in Mexico, au Panama = in Panama, au
Paraguay = in Paraguay, au Salvador = in San Salvador, au V´ n´ zu´ la = in Venezuela
ee e
With masculine names beginning with a vowel “ en
´
en Equateur = in Ecuador, en Irak = in Iraq, en Iran = in Iran, en Isra¨ l = in Israel
e
With feminine names “ en
in Europe
en Albanie = in Albania, en Allemagne = in Germany, en Angleterre = in England,
en Autriche = in Austria, en Belgique = in Belgium, en Bi´ lorusse = in Belorus, en
e
´
Bosnie = in Bosnia, en Bulgarie = in Bulgaria, en Croatie = in Croatia, en Ecosse =
in Scotland, en Espagne = in Spain, en Estonie = in Estonia, en Finlande = in Finland,
en France = in France, en Grande Bretagne = in Great Britain, en Gr` ce = in Greece,
e
en Hollande = in Holland, en Irlande du Nord / du Sud = in Northern / Southern
Ireland, en Italie = in Italy, en Lettonie = in Latvia, en Lithuanie = in Lithuania, en
Norv` ge = in Norway, en Pologne = in Poland, en R´ publique tch` que = in the
e e e
Czech Republic, en Roumanie = in Romania, en Russie = in Russia, en Serbie = in
Serbia, en Slovaquie = in Slovakia, en Slov´ nie = in Slovenia, en Su` de = in Sweden,
e e
en Suisse = in Switzerland, en Turquie = in Turkey, en Ukraine = in Ukraine
in Africa
en Afrique du Sud = in South Africa, en Alg´ rie = in Algeria, en Angola = in Angola,
e
´
en Ethiopie = in Ethiopia, en Guin´ e = in Guinea, en Libye = in Libya, en
e
Mauritanie = in Mauritania, en Namibie = in Namibia, en Ouganda = in Uganda,
en R´ publique centrafricaine = in the Central African Republic, en Sierra L´ one =
e e
in Sierra Leone, en Somalie = in Somalia, en Tanzanie = in Tanzania, en Tunisie = in
Tunisia, en Zambie = in Zambia
in Asia and Australasia
en Afghanistan = in Afghanistan, en Australie = in Australia, en Birmanie = in
Burma, en Chine = in China, en Cor´ e du Nord / du Sud = in North / South Korea, en
e

279

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