Sans parapluie
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French preposition

The preposition sans is used similarly to its English equivalent “without,” but not without a few differences.

1) Absence

Je suis sorti sans parapluie.   I went out without an umbrella.
Nous avons mangé sans lui.   We ate without him.

2) Lack of action

Faites-le sans attendre.   Do it right away (without waiting).
Il est entré sans faire du bruit.   He entered without making a sound.

3) Hypothetical lack

Sans toi, je serais perdu.   I would be lost without you.
Je ne peux pas travailler sans musique.   I can’t study without music.

4) Negation

Many English words and phrases with negating affixes like -less, non-, un-, etc. are equivalent to sans plus the corresponding French noun.

sans abri   homeless
sans arrêt   non-stop
sans blague   no kidding
sans domicile fixe (SDF)   homeless
sans doute   doubtless
sans égal   unequaled, peerless
sans préjugés   unbiased
sans repos   relentless, without stopping

5) Expressions with sans

 Sans is usually followed directly by a noun, with no article in between. Learn more: Prepositions with nouns.

 Sans is occasionally found in English. The phrase everyone knows is sans serif, meaning a font that has no "serifs" (a non-French word meaning small lines attached to the ends of each letter).

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French preposition sans

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