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.

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French preposition dans

Questions about French?

 Visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.

Leave a Reply