https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RazaNayaz

"Sur" vs "dans"

In french,when do I use "sur" and when do I use "dans" to describe "in"? sometimes they even use "a" to describe "in"... Merci Beaucoup.

May 13, 2019

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZarrouguiL

This is a veryyy large question. In fact, I have the same problem in english between "in" and "into" haha. To help you as I can, i would say that "dans" is literally "inside" so it is when you go inside a place (your bed, the jungle...), "sur" is "onto" (onto the table, put over the head...) and "à" is a destination (the grocery store, China...). "Je vais au lit" = I'm going to bed, "Je suis dans mon lit" = I am in my bed, "Je suis sur mon lit" = I am on my bed.

Hoping that helped.

Cheers.

May 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zig_Zag_Wanderer

I thought that comparing dans and en, but you can be dans la rue. I guess that may be sort of 'inside'.

I don't think I'd confuse dans (in) and sur (on) very often, though.

May 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZarrouguiL

Yeah about streets, it's an absolute mess with no logic : we say dans la rue but sur la place, dans l'allée, sur l'avenue, dans l'impasse, sur le boulevard, dans le quartier, sur les quais... There is really no way to know which one to use except the practice and getting used to it.

May 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkHaydos

This can be confusing at times, especially when duo gives you the sentence "Il y a un petit hôtel dans cette rue". Which translates to "There is a small hotel on this road". But this is just how the French would say it. They say "In" this street, not "on".

In general, @ZarrouguiL is correct. I would only add that "sur" also translates to "on". "Ma robe est sur le lit" (my dress is on the bed).

May 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chiu1551

I used "DANS l'aire de jeu" for this translation "they broke their legs on the playground", but was corrected with "SUR l'aire de jeu". Is "dans" a grammatical mistake or a word used only inappropriately?

August 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZarrouguiL

A playground is something flat, with no roof or walls. In cases like this we'd generally rather use "sur". "Dans" is definitely wrong. E.g : Sur le terrain de football, sur le cour de tennis. I guess it's the same logic in English (on the playground, on the tennis course, on the football field...)

August 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chiu1551

Thanks for the explanation, especially the part on using "sur" for somewhere without a roof. What about "ils se sont cassés les jambes à l'aire de jeu", is this grammatically correct?

August 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZarrouguiL

It is

August 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chiu1551

Merci mille fois. Tout est clair.

August 3, 2019
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