French Prepositions for African countries

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Prepositions

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The French prepositions related to countries are very important.

Why?

  • Je vais en Tunisie: I am going to Tunisia – (En: feminine)
  • Tu vas au Sénégal?: Are you going to Senegal? – (Au: Masculine)
  • Elle va aux Seychelles: She is going to the Seychelles. (Aux: Plural)

The prepositions are different for these 3 examples. The articles will also be different (la Tunisie, le Sénégal and les Seychelles.)

Let’s look at examples for every category.

The feminine form

One common translation for en is to:

  • Il va en Égypte: He is going to Egypt.
  • On va en Mauritanie: We are going to Mauritania.

En can also mean in:

  • Elle habite en Égypte: She lives in Egypt.
  • Elle habite en Libye: She lives in Libya.

So, how do we say from a country in the feminine form?

There are 2 possibilities.

We will often use de:

  • Je viens de Namibie: I come from Namibia.
  • Il vient de Tanzanie: He comes from Tanzania.

It’s common that feminine countries begin with a vowel. In this case, we need to change de to d’.

  • Elles viennent d’Égypte: They come from Egypt.
  • On vient d’Éthiopie: We come from Ethiopia.

De and d’ will have the same translation in English – from.

It should be mentioned that a majority of countries (worldwide) are in the feminine form. However, in Africa there are many countries in the masculine form.

Thus, let’s move on and look at the rules for masculine countries.

The masculine form

One translation for the preposition au is to:

  • Je vais au Sénégal: I am going to Senegal.
  • On va au Mali: We are going to Mali.

Au can also mean in:

  • Ils habitent au Ghana: They live in Ghana.
  • Tu habites au Niger?: Do you live in Niger?
  • Vous habitez au Soudan: Do you live in Sudan?

So, we’ll use au for masculine countries and en for feminine countries.

The translation can be both to and in.

We also need to able to say from a country in the masculine form – du:

  • Il vient du Kenya: He comes from Kenya.
  • Elle vient du Maroc: She comes from Morocco.

And, if the country begins with a vowel, we’ll use d’:

  • Il vient d’Ouganda: He comes from Uganda.

It should be mentioned that there are not many masculine countries that begins with a vowel. However, you should know that it’s possible, just like we have seen with Ouganda.

The plural form

The plural form is quite rare. However, there are specific rules regarding the prepositions.

We’ll begin with auxto.

  • Vous allez aux Seychelles?: Are you going to the Seychelles?
  • Elles vont aux Comores: They are going to the Comores.

Another translation for aux is in:

  • Nous habitons aux Seychelles: We live in the Seychelles.
  • Tu veux habiter aux Comores?: Do you want to live in the Comores?

We also need to figure out how we say from a country in the plural form.

It’s a preposition that is very similar to the ones that we’ve already seen:

  • Elle vient des Seychelles: She comes from the Seychelles.
  • Il vient des Comores: He comes from the Comores.

So, what do we do if the country begins with a vowel?

It’s not a problem. Are you able to figure out why?

Des ends with a consonant – s. Thus, it does not matter if the following noun begins with a vowel :-).

Cities

It’s easier to refer to a city. We’ll always use à to say in and to.

We don’t have to worry about the gender of the city. However, there are some cities that have specific French names.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

  • On va aller à Moscou: We are going to go to Moscow.
  • Tu habites à Varsovie?: Do you live in Warsaw?
  • Cet hiver, elle va à Elle est déjà allé à Copenhague: This winter, she is going to London. She has already been to Copenhagen.

To say that you are from a city is also quite easy. We’ll use de and d’.

I think you know by now why we need to use d’ in some cases :-).

  • Je viens de Londres: I come from London.
  • Elle vient d’Édimbourg: She comes from Edinburgh.

Another map?

I’ve now created maps of 2 continents, including the gender of every country.

It’s been time consuming, but also quite rewarding. I thought I already knew the gender of almost every country. I was wrong.

You’ve probably experienced the same thing, even if you have studied French for many years.

My next project is South America. I’ve already painted a map of the continent. Now I just need to add the countries and double check their gender.

Asia will be my last project. It’s a very big continent and it will require a lot of effort, but I plan to be done by the end of July :-).

 

 

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