When do you use 'en' in French?

I'm learning French and I need a bit more clarity on when and where to use 'en' in French. I'd also like to know if 'pleures' and 'larmes' (tears) have different nuances in meaning and if they can be used interchangeably or not.


3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    "En" is much more than a simple quantifier in French (some/some of) --- as you already have sufficint examples of that use in French, I'll show you the others.

    "Le gérondif" which is "en"+ the "-ant" form of the verb. I can be used with verbs for many things:

    When the action is brief:

    En ouvrant la porte, je me suis souvenue que --- as I opened the door, I remembered that.

    Je l'ai croisé en sortant --- I met him as I was leaving.

    When the action lasts:

    Prends un café en attendant --- have a cup of coffee while you're waiting.

    Elle travaille en chantant --- she sings while she works.

    L'antériorité (which means an action that happens just before another in the past)

    En arrivant chez moi, je leur ai téléphoné --- when I got back home/on getting back home, I telephoned them.

    En la voyant, il rougit --- when he saw ou on seeing her he blushed.

    The manner of doing something:

    L'enfant se réveilla en hurlant --- the child woke up screaming.

    Il marchait en bombant le torse --- he was walking with his chest stuck out.

    The method:

    Je m'en suis sorti en racontant un mensonge --- I got out of it by telling a lie.

    Ouvrez cette caisse en soulevant le couvercle --- open this box by lifting the lid.

    As an explanation:

    Elle a fait une erreur en acceptant ce poste --- she made a mistake in accepting the job.

    Il a gâché sa vie en l'épousant --- he ruined his life by marrying her.

    The condition:

    Tu aurais moins chaud en enlevant ta veste --- you'd be cooler ou less hot if you took your jacket off.

    En prenant des vitamines, tu serais plus en forme --- if you took vitamins you'd feel fitter.

    And finally "en" can also be a pronoun (of him/ of her/ of them / it):

    J'en suis fier (de mes enfants) --- I'm proud of them.

    Je m'en souviens --- I remember it.

    Deux ans après, on en parlait encore --- two years later, we were still talking about it.

    And then you've got expressions of quantity which have already been explained.

    Hope that helps.

    Oh and for your other question, "pleures" does not mean "tears", "pleurer" is to cry, and "larmes" means "tears". There are other words for "tears" and you can see them all here:


    Source(s): French speaker
  • Frasp
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago



    ''en'' can mean a lot of things in English (of it, of them, some, any, one...)

    ''en'' replaces the partitive article (du/de la/de l'/des) + noun

    ''en replaces de + indefinite article (un/une/des) + noun


    Do you have any bread? Yes, I have some.

    As-tu du pain ? Oui, j'en ai. (You see, it replaces 'du pain' [the partitive article + noun])

    He wants an apple. He wants one.

    Il a envie d'une pomme. Il en a envie. (You see here, it replaces 'de une pomme' [de + the indefinite article + noun])

    Okay now, in a sentence with a modifier (like an adverb of quantity [as in sentence 2], or a number) + NOUN, ''en'' replaces the NOUN....so, the modifier and the number, go to the end of the sentence <-- read that a few times, till you get it.

    This translates into ''of it/of them'' in English.


    There are a lot of rooms. There are a lot (of them).

    Il y a beaucoup de chambres. Il y en a beaucoup. (''en'' replaces the noun (chambres) and it puts the adverb of quantity (beaucoup de) at the end of the sentence)

    Wonder where to put the ''en''? I once asked that myself, and a native French girl told me to put it in front of the verb.

  • 1 decade ago

    A common use of en is when using a number or quantity.


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