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"Dans" and "en"

I've been studying French for two years now and I'm still unclear on when to use "dans" and "en". For instance, when you say, "in France," you say "en France," but when you say "in the United States," you say, "dans les États-Unis." I thought at first that it may be an issue of pluralism, but to say "in the kitchen," you also use "dans", not "en". Can someone enlighten me?

September 26, 2017



Nous disons "aux Etats-Unis"

Nous disons "je voyage en train" mais "je monte dans le train" et le chef de gare dit "En voiture !"

Nous sommes des gens compliqués ☻



Merci, Pierre, mais je veux savoir pour quelle raison.


On n'emploie pas "en" devant les articles définis le, les ni devant les pronoms lequel, lesquels et lesquelles.


When I've studied French, my teachers have normally said that as a general rule, "dans" means in as in "inside" (e.g. dans mon sac), however I don't think this is true for everything and there will still be some exceptions. Hope this helped :)


I got this explanation from the author Mark M's helpful website 'My Tutor'. It's very thorough in explanation :)

En expresses the length of time an action takes. Note that this means the verb is usually in the present or past.

Il a lu le livre en une heure. -> He read the book in an hour.

En is used to express the month, season, or year in which an action takes place.

Nous voyageons en avril. -> We travel in April.

En can mean "in" or "to" when followed directly by a noun that doesn't need an article.

Il est en classe. -> He's in school.

Dans indicates the amount of time before which an action will occur. Note that this means the verb is usually in the present or future.

Nous partons dans dix minutes. -> We're leaving in 10 minutes.

Dans refers to something that occurs within or during a decade.

Dans les années soixantes... -> In the sixties...

Dans means "in" a location when followed by an article plus noun.

Il est dans la maison. -> He's in the house.

Dans also means "to" or "in" with some states and provinces.

J'habite dans le Maine. -> I live in Maine.

M, Mark 'My Tutor'.

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