French preposition

The preposition dans usually means "in," but as always there are exceptions. Dans can’t be followed directly by a noun – it’s always followed by some kind of determiner, such as an article or possessive adjective.

1a) Location – "in"

     Mets les livres dans le carton. Put the books in the box.
 Je le garde dans le tiroir. I keep it in the drawer.
 Il l’a trouvé dans la rue. He found it in the street.

1b) Location – "on"

     dans l’avion on the plane
     dans l’escalier on the stairs
     dans le train on the train

2) Destination – "into, for"

     pénétrer dans la forêt to enter the forest
     partir dans les montages to leave for the mountains
     jeter les restes dans la poubelle to throw the leftovers into the garbage

3) Figurative Location – "in, under"

 dans cette situation in this situation
 dans ces conditions under these conditions
 être dans les affaires / l’assurance to be in business / insurance

4) Provenance – "from, out of"

 boire dans un verre to drink out of a glass
 copier une phrase dans un livre to copy a sentence from a book
 prendre une allumette dans la boîte to take a match from the box

5) Period of Time – "in, during"

 dans ma jeunesse in my youth
 dans la semaine à venir during the next week
 dans le cours de l’année during the course of the year

6) Amount of Time – "in"

 Je vais arriver dans une heure. I’ll be there in an hour.
 Nous partons dans une semaine. We’re leaving in a week.
 Il sera prêt dans quelques minutes. He’ll be ready in a few minutes.

7) After Verbs

 Many verbs must be followed by dans in front of a noun.

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French preposition dans

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