Maybe some would clarify 'en' for me. The listed definition is 'in/into' but, when asked to translate 'J'en veux', the correct answer is 'I want it/I want some'. Could someone please explain what happens.

June 26, 2012


Depends on the context. "en" can indeed mean in/into like in the following sentences:

J'habite en France. / I live in France.

Je suis en voiture. / I'm in a car. (but meaning I'm driving it normally, or at least in a driving car.)

On the other hand, "en" substitutes for direct objects. Some examples:

Je veux des bonbons. J'en veux. / I want candy. I want some.

Je mange des frites. J'en mange. / I eat fries. I eat some.

Je reviens d'une soirée. J'en reviens. / I come back from an evening out. I come back from it.

Note that you only use "en" when the direct object is indeterminate, i.e; it uses "un/une/de/des" but not with "le/la/les".

June 26, 2012

Am I wrong, then, if I say its meaning is similar to the "ne" in Italian?

November 29, 2013

This "en" is an "adverbial pronoun". It's different from the preposition "en", which means "in / into".

The adverbial pronoun "en" is the combination of the preposition "de" and an implicit pronoun, and translates approximately to "of it / of them / from it / from them / from there". It is placed before the verb.


Here are some examples of the adverbial pronoun "en" :

J'ai acheté des fruits hier, et j'en ai mangé la moitié.

(I bought some fruits yesterday, and I've eaten half of them.)

Je vivais à Paris, mais j'en suis parti il y a un an.

(I used to live in Paris, but I left there (lit. from there) a year ago.)

Tu m'as sauvé hier. Je m'en souviens.

(You saved me yesterday. I remember it.)

Note in the last example that, in French, "to remember sth" is expressed by "se souvenir de qch". If the "sth" is a pronoun, it becomes "se souvenir de it", and "de it" contracts to "en" and is put before the verb.


In the sentence in your question, "en" is used to indicate an indefinite amount of something aforementioned.

J'en veux == I want some (of it).


There are also fixed phrases that contain the adverbial pronoun "en", in which it is hard to explain what "en" means. The most common one is "s'en aller", which means "to go away".

Je m'en vais. == I'm going away.

Il s'en est allé. == He went away.


Similarly, you'll come across the other adverbial pronoun "y", which is the contraction of "à" and an implicit pronoun, which means "to it / to them / to there".

June 29, 2012

My opinion is that to understand a different concept in a language that is not yours (like "en" in french for native english speakers) and that has absolutely no equivalent in your mother tongue, you should not think of translations because it will vary and it will make comprehension difficult.. you should instead look for the explanation in a french grammar and read as many examples as you can to build the new concept on your mind. By the way, in Italian you can find an equivalent of "en" and it is the pronoum "ne".

July 2, 2012

I agree with TUVegeto, I would just add that "en" can't replace a person, Example: Je me souviens de Sylvie - you CANNOT say Je m'en souviens. However, if the sentence is : Je me souviens de mon séjour a Paris, you can say : Je m'en souviens

June 26, 2012

Hey...I don't know where you are in your French, but "en" also serves a VERY important purpose in the language. The pronoun replaces a phrase with "de+noun". "En" always precedes the verb to which it is tied. So: "Tu as des pommes?" "Oui, J'en ai." (Do you have some apples? Yes, I have some.) NOTE: "En" is only for "de+noun", it cannot replaces a "de+verb" construction. "En" has a, what I call, sibling pronoun, called "y", but it serves a different purpose, and I don't want to give you more information than you are ready for...Happy learning! God Bless!

April 6, 2013

How about "J'en suis là" ? Is it correct to say the "en" replaces "de ici"? Or how should i understand this sentence?

January 20, 2018

"J'en suis là" sounds rather strange, because when returned to the full form, it's "Je suis là d'ici“. But I'm not sure if you can contract "Je suis d'ici" to "J'en suis".

January 20, 2018
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