Geographical Prepositions

French geographical prepositions
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Prépositions avec lieux géographiques

French prepositions can be tricky, and never more so than when talking about geography. Talking about going to a country or coming from a city requires more than just translating the preposition; you also have to consider the gender, number, and even the type of place you’re talking about. Here’s everything you need to know.

Type of place

The first thing to consider is the type of place: is it a continent, country, region, state, province, county, island, or city? Depending on the answer, there are essentially three different sets of rules for prepositions:

  1. Prepositions with continents and countries
  2. Prepositions with regions, departments, provinces, states, and counties
  3. Prepositions with islands and cities

Gender and number

Geographical names have gender and number, and these have an effect on the choice of preposition within the above categories.

Location / Movement

Finally, you have to consider the purpose of the preposition: are you going to the place, currently in the place, or coming from the place? In French, these three options are combined into just two:

  1. To and in are equivalent to the same French preposition
       or
  2. From

Once you have all this information, you can finally figure out which preposition you need. Use the "type of place" links above for detailed explanations with all of this information put together.

Geographical Prepositions Quiz

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on the French geographical prepositions with this fill-in-the-blank exercise: Un été international

Note: You must be logged into your Progress with Lawless French account to take this test. If you don’t have one, sign up – it’s free!

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French prepositions with geography
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