French Prepositions for North American countries



The preposition will change based on the gender of the country. For instance:

  • Tu veux aller en Barbade?: Do you want to go to Barbados? – (En: Feminine)
  • Je ne veux pas aller au Canada: I don’t want to go to Canada. – (Au: Masculine)
  • Ils vont aux Bahamas: They are going to Bahamas. – (Aux: Plural)
  • Ils vont à Saint-Lucie: They are going to Saint Lucia. – (à: Without article)

Thus, it’s very important to know the gender of the country and their prepositions.

Let’s look at the different rules in this article :-).

Feminine countries

We’ll use en to say to:

  • Elle va en Dominique: She is going to Dominica.
  • Je vais en Barbade: I am going to Barbados.

We will also use en to say in:

  • Elle a toujours habité en Dominique: She has always lived in Dominica.
  • Non, j’habite en Jamaïque: No, I live in Jamaica.

We’ll use 2 different prepositions to say that we come from a country in the feminine form.

De is one of the prepositions:

  • Tu viens de Barbade?: Do you come from Barbados?
  • Je viens de Jamaïque: I come from Jamaica.

We’ll use the preposition d’ for countries that begin with a vowel:

  • Je viens d’Antigua-et-Barbuda: I come from Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Elle vient d’Antigua-et-Barbuda: She comes from Antigua and Barbuda.

The vowels in French are:

  • A
  • E
  • I
  • O
  • U
  • Y

So, if the country begins with one of these vowels, please remember to use d’ instead of de :-).

Masculine countries

How do we say to?

We will replace en with au:

  • Nous voulons aller au Salvador: We want to go to El-Salvador.
  • J’ai vraiment envie d’aller au Costa Rica: I really want to go to Costa Rica.

Another translation for au is in:

  • J’ai déjà vecu au Panamá: I have already lived in Panama.
  • Elle ne veut pas habiter au Canada: She does not want to live in Canada.

So, now we just need to figure out how we say that we come from a country in the masculine form.

The preposition that we used earlier will only change slightly:

  • Je pense qu’elles viennent du Panamá: I think they come from Panama.
  • Vous êtes sûr? Oui, je sais qu’elle vient du Salvador: Are you sure? Yes, I know that she comes from El-Savador.

There are also masculine countries that begin with a vowel. However, I can’t find an example in North America :-).

Thus, let’s pick an example from Africa:

  • Vous venez d’Ouganda: Do you come from Uganda?

Countries in the plural form

Countries in the plural form are pretty rare.

However, they have specific rules. The rules follow the same pattern as the ones we have already seen.

Let’s break down the rules:

We’ll use aux to say to:

  • Elle a envie d’aller aux États-Unis: She wants to go to the United States.
  • Tu veux aller aux Bahamas?: Do you want to go the Bahamas?

We’ll also use aux to say in:

  • Elle a des amis qui veulent vivre aux Bahamas: She has friends who wants to live in Bahamas.
  • J’ai des amis qui veulent vivre aux États-Unis. Moi, je veux vivre aux Bahamas: I have friends who wants to live in the United States. Me, I want to live in the Bahamas.

Last but not least, we’ll use des to say from a country in the plural form:

  • Tu viens des États-Unis?: Are you from the United States?
  • Je viens des Bahamas: I come from the Bahamas.

We’ll always use des, even if the country in the masculine form begins with a vowel.

Do you know why? 🙂

Des ends in a consonant.

De, like we saw earlier, ends in a vowel (e).

Countries without an article

There are some countries in North America, and other parts of the world, which does not have an article.

In this case, we’ll mainly treat them as cities. We’ll use à to say that we are going to a country that lacks an article. For instance:

  • Je vais à Haiti: I am going to Haiti.
  • Elle va à Sainte-Lucie: She is going to Saint Lucia.

Another translation for à is in:

  • Elle va toujours habiter à Haiti: She will always live in Haiti.
  • Il ne veut pas habiter à Saint-Lucie: He does not want to live in Saint Lucia.

Last but not least, we can use de or d’ to say from a country without an article:

  • On vient de Saint-Lucie: We come from Saint Lucia.
  • Je viens d’Haiti: I come from Haiti.

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