Wouldn't "He is in prison inside a cell" more elegant since it would avoid repeating "in"? Lost a heart over this as well.
English is far too ugly for your better translation. ;-p Sorry about the lost heart; you're totally right.
Is 'He's in a prison cell' something radically different from 'in prison in a cell'?
"He's in a prison cell" is exactly the same as "in prison in a cell". Personally, I believe that "He's in a prison cell" is more grammatically correct.
Can someone break this sentence down a bit?the structure really confuses me,especially the 'en' ,which I know means 'of it'
Here, "en" just means "in", i.e., it has the same meaning as "dans". However, you need to say "en prison" rather than "dans prison" because prison doesn't take an article (we're talking about jail in general, not any specific one!).
Do you mean in all cases you use "en" when it precedes a noun without an article and the meaning is " in" and you use " dans " when it precedes a noun with an article ?
I can see this sentence working only in this context:
"He is in prison."
"He works there?"
"He is in prison in a cell."
Better: he is an prison cell
Not true. Check other comments in the thread.