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Different Ways of Saying “To” in French

In this article, you are going to learn different ways of translating “To” in French. I know that these little words (also called prepositions) can be a real pain for learners of French.

  1. “To” with places, direction
  • “À” for cities

Ex: Je vais à Paris

I’m going to Paris

 Ex: J’habite à Marseille

I live in Marseille

  • “En” for feminine countries & countries starting with a vowel or h

Ex: Je vais en France/en Italie

I’m going to France/to Italy 

Ex: Je vais en ville

I’m going to town

  • “Au” for masculine countries

Ex: Je vais au Mexique

I go to Mexico

  • “Au” for masculine places (shops, specific places etc…)

Ex: Je suis au stade de France

I’m at the “Stade de France”

  • “À la” for feminine places (shops , specific places )

Ex: Je vais à la boulangerie/à la plage

I go to the bakery/to the beach

  • “A l’ ” for places starting with H or a vowel (shops , specific places )

Ex: Je suis à l’hôtel / Je vais à l’Ambassade

I am at the hotel / I’m going to the Embassy

  • “Chez” for the purpose of visiting someone

Ex: Je vais chez mes parents

I go to my parents

Note: “chez” is often used for going to specific shops. If we go to the butcher’s or the baker’s even though we don’t go to their house, but to their shop, we often say “Je vais chez le boucher, chez le boulanger”…(I go to the butcher’s or the baker’s)

  1. “To” between 2 verbs
  • The second verb is in the infinitive form

Ex: Je veux/voudrais aller à Paris

I want /would like to go to Paris

Note: “aller” (to go) is in the infinitive form

  1. “To” expressing purpose
  • Pour

Ex: Je suis en Angleterre pour apprendre l’anglais

I’m in England to learn English

 

  1. “To” following impersonal structures such as

It is possible to …It is difficult to …

  • De

Ex: Est-ce que c’est possible de prendre une douche?

Is it possible to have a shower

 

Ex: C’est difficile de parler espagnol

It is difficult to speak Spanish

 

  1. “To” in toasts and dedications
  • À

Ex: À mon frère (to my brother)

 

  1. “To” (Up to…)
  • Jusqu’à

Ex: Jusqu’à la fin (up to the end)

 

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