Sans parapluie
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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 -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

Il n’y a pas d’effet sans cause.   Cause and effect
Il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu.   There’s no smoke without a fire.
Il n’y a pas de roses sans épines.   Every rose has its thorn.
On ne fait pas d’omelettes sans casser des œufs.   You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
Que celui qui est sans péché lui jette la première pierre.   Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

 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

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French preposition sans

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