40 important French prepositions of place, relation + time to learn

Prepositions are essential in many languages. Just like articles, if you speak French without prepositions, you’ll express yourself like Tarzan.

While this can be hilarious for your francophone friends, we can’t decently offer French lessons and allow you to parler français, jungle style.

Knowing French prepositions will allow you to:

  • Describe movement
  • Explain relations between objects
  • Mention the location of someone/something
  • And, last but not least, speak like a civilized person (no offense, Tarzan)

So, keep reading to learn everything — or almost — about the great, the superb, the amazing, French prepositions!

What are prepositions in grammar?

Prepositions are short words that link the elements of a sentence. In other words, they serve to indicate the relationships between the main words.

Some prépositions are short and simple, such as à, chez, etc. Others are a bit more complex, for example près de, d’après, etc. These are called prepositional phrases.

We’ll come back to them in detail below.

As for many aspects of learning a foreign language, literal translation from English does not work. If you don’t believe me, check out this hilarious video!

Jokes aside, the only way to learn French prepositions is… well… to learn them by heart, read a lot in French, watch a lot of French movies and TV shows — the perfect binging excuse — and the golden rule for anything: practice, practice, practice.

The complete French prepositions list

If you’ve been looking partout for the ultimate French prepositions list, search no more! We’ve split les prépositions by type to help you find the one you need. De rien !

The complete French prepositions list.

French prepositions of place or location

Les prépositions de lieu, or French prepositions of place, indicate the location of something or someone in relation to something or someone else.

In short, they’re like a language map!

I still remember how I learned English prepositions of place, and to this day, this song is stuck in my head: “Where is the cat, where is the cat, where where where, where is the cat? The cat is on the mat, the mat is in the kitchen, the kitchen is in the house, everything in its place.”

You got the idea!

PrepositionTranslationTypeExample sentenceTranslation
ÀAt, inPrepositionJ’habite à Marseille.I live in Marseille.
ChezAt the home/office/store ofPrepositionJe vais chez mon copain.I go to my friend's house.
DansInPrepositionIl y a du fromage dans le frigo.There is cheese in the fridge.
DerrièreIn back of, behindPrepositionIl se cache derrière la maison.He’s hiding behind the house.
DevantIn front ofPrepositionJe t’attends devant ta porte.I am waiting for you at your door.
EnInPrepositionJe vis en Espagne.I live in Spain.
EntreBetweenPrepositionLe marque-page est entre les pages du livre.The bookmark is between the pages of the book.
SousUnderPrepositionJ’ai mis la clé sous une pierre.I placed the key under a stone.
SurOnPrepositionLe pain est sur la table.The bread is on the table.
VersToward, nearPrepositionIl s’avance vers elle.He’s walking towards her.
À côté deNext to, besidePrepositional phraseIl habite à côté de chez moi.He lives next door to me.
À droite deTo the right ofPrepositional phraseLe panneau est à droite de la route.The sign is on the right side of the road.
À gauche deTo the left ofPrepositional phraseTourne à gauche.Turn left.
À l’extérieur deOutside (of)Prepositional phraseIl préfère être à l’extérieur de la maison.He prefers to be outside the house.
À l’intérieur deInside (of)Prepositional phraseJ’aime rester à l’intérieur quand il fait froid.I like to stay inside when it's cold.
Au coin deIn the corner ofPrepositional phraseLe magasin est au coin de la rue.The store is around the corner.
Au-dessous deBelow, underneathPrepositional phraseLa températeure est au-dessous de zéro.The temperature is below zero. (More weather vocab in French here).
Au-dessus deHigher than, abovePrepositional phraseAu-dessus des nuages, il fait toujours soleil.Above the clouds, it’s always sunny.
Autour deAroundPrepositional phraseIls se rassemblent autour du feu.They gather around the fire.
En arrière deBehindPrepositional phraseS’il marche trop lentement, il va rester en arrière des autres.If he walks too slowly, he will stay behind the others.
En bas deBelow, at the bottom ofPrepositional phraseJe t’attends en bas de chez toi.I'll wait for you downstairs.
En dehors deOutside ofPrepositional phraseIl a déménagé en dehors de la ville.He moved out of town.
En dessous deLower than, belowPrepositional phraseElle vit en dessous de chez moi.She lives downstairs from me.
En face deFacing, across fromPrepositional phraseElle vit en face de chez lui.She lives across the street from him.
En haut deAbove, at the top ofPrepositional phraseElle est en haut de l’échelle dans son entreprise.She's at the top of the ladder at her company.
Hors deOutside ofPrepositional phraseHors de la ville, c’est plus tranquille.Out of town is quieter.
Loin deFar fromPrepositional phraseJ’aime être loin de tout.I like being away from everything.
Près deNear (to)Prepositional phraseElle veut vivre près de sa famille.She wants to live near her family. (Learn French family vocab here)

French prepositions of relation

Prepositions of relation indicate… drumroll… relations between people or things. They often imply causality or intent.

PrepositionTranslationTypeExample sentenceTranslation
PourFor, toPrepositionElle vit pour voyager.She lives to travel.
ÀToPrepositionIl veut faire plaisir à ses amis.He wants to please his friends.
AvecWithPrepositionElle viendra avec sa mère.She will come with her mother.
EnsembleTogetherPrepositionIls sont ensemble depuis peu.They haven’t been together for long.
ParmiAmongPrepositionJe le distingue parmi la foule.I can see him in the crowd.
Grâce àThanks toPrepositional phraseC’est grâce à lui que j’ai réussi.It is thanks to him that I succeeded.

French prepositions of time

Time was invented by humans, it doesn’t exist. So why worry about it? Ok, I digress. If you want to live in society, you’ll unfortunately need to refer to time!

French prepositions of time will help you say for how long something has been happening, or when it happened.

PrepositionTranslationTypeExample sentenceTranslation
AprèsAfterPrepositionJe t’appellerai après les cours.I'll call you after school.
AvantBeforePrepositionJe t’écrirai avant de partir.I'll write you before I leave.
DepuisSince, forPrepositionJ’ai envie de parler français depuis longtemps.I've wanted to speak French for a long time.
Jusqu’àUp to, untilPrepositional phraseTu restes à Montréal jusqu’à quand ?How long are you staying in Montreal?
PendantFor, duringPrepositionJ’adore faire de la randonnée pendant les vacances.I love to go hiking during my vacation.
PourFor (future plans)PrepositionJe vais habiter à Genève pour six mois.I’ll be living in Geneva for six months.

The cutest way to learn French prepositions

Admittedly, French grammar is not always riveting. I fully understand if you don’t have a passion for pronouns, possessive adjectives or question words.

However, you probably like dogs, right? If not, don’t worry, you’re just a Chandler. If yes, I found the cutest way to learn French prepositions: Bruno!

And for animal lovers, don’t miss these furry, feathery, scaly animals in French.

With our help, and of course Bruno’s, you should be more familiar with prepositions in French by now.

If not, you can always book a French course online.

And if you’re already a pro at prepositions, you’ll find some cool vocab sur notre French blog.

À bientôt !

Call Us


Find out more

Fill in the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your learning options and answer any questions you may have.