How to Say In in French: Dans versus En [+6 Examples]

how to say in in french

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In this grammar lesson you will learn how to say in in French.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • how to say in in French
  • how dans and en differ from each other
  • how the differences may not always be that clear
  • how dans and en are used in French sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on how to say in in French
  • how to download Anki files for how to say in in French

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about this fits in French A1.

By the end of the lesson, you will know all about how to say in in French!

Table of Contents

How to Say In in French

In French there are two ways to say “in”.

  • dans + [article] + [noun]

You use this form when you are referring to a real physical place.

  • en + noun

You use this form when you are referring to an abstract/general place.

You may read this and be a bit confused.

What is the difference between a real and an abstract place?

Don’t worry, it is perfectly fine to be feeling this.

In the following chapter I will explain the difference between the two.

Dans versus En

In this chapter I am going to explain the difference between dans and en.

You will keep seeing two examples, each with dans and en.

Afterwards, I will compare and contrast the two, so it will be easier for you to understand the differences.

Je suis dans le hall de l’hôtel.

I am in the lobby of the hotel.

Je suis en danger.

I am in danger.

In the first example you can see that the lobby of the hotel is a real physical place.

In the second example you can see that danger is not a real physical place. It is more an abstract concept.

Je suis dans le bureau.

I am in the office.

Je suis en réunion.

I am in a meeting.

In the first example, the office is a room, and a person is in that room. That room is a real physical location.

In the second example someone is in a meeting. However, a meeting is not a real physical location, it is something abstract.

Je suis dans la classe

I am in the classroom.

Je suis en classe 

I am in class.

In the first example you are in a classroom. Here you stress the physical location.

In the second example you are having a class/lesson. Here you stress that someone is teaching you something. You are IN the midst of learning. This is not a real physical location, but something more abstract.

You may be thinking, well a class has to be in a real physical location?

That’s not true, it can also be done through at non physical locations such as Zoom, Skype, or Teams.

It is a small nuance, but a nuance that matters.

At this point, I hope that it has become a bit easier for you to understand the difference between a real physical location and an abstract one.

Just keep on practicing and it will become more clear over time!

Sentences Overview of How to Say In in French

The final section of this lesson on how to say in in French is about seeing the dans and en in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding on how to say in in French through examples.

Here you can find all of the sentences used, neatly organised in one place.

Je suis dans le hall de l’hôtel.

I am in the lobby of the hotel.

Je suis en danger.

I am in danger.

Je suis dans le bureau.

I am in the office.

Je suis en réunion.

I am in a meeting.

Je suis dans la classe.

I am in the classroom.

Je suis en classe 

I am in class.

Quiz Yourself on How to Say In in French

It’s not enough just to read the article on this lesson.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want.

Anki File for How to Say In in French

It is important to do the Anki exercises for this lesson so that you can better remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1, you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas. This is recommended as you will have every lesson that you need. You shouldn’t miss out on the complete learning experience!

You can also choose to just get the Anki File for French A1 Prepositions and Conjunctions. This only has the prepositions and conjunctions for French A1.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or if you don’t know what Anki is, then please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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