Translation:I come from there.
thanks sitesurf. so the translation is wrong in two respects. ? it is in past tense rather than present tense. and should read "came from" rather than "came back". I came back would be j'en reviens? also i understand the use of venir as in "just" but isn't it always paired with another verb? eg je viens d'en revenir. is it is correct to use the word "just" in the above translation?
From a French perspective, "I just got back from there" is past and should translate to a past tense, like "came back", ie "revenais" ("re-" meaning "back" or "again" and "venais" meaning "came").
Also, verb "get" is difficult to translate literally.
"just" is optional in the correct understanding of the sentence, it adds some emphasis on the fact that the action happened only a short time before.
If I wanted to translate that sentence literally, I would say: "je revenais juste de là-bas". That would be perfectly correct French.
Now, "j'en viens" or in past tense "j'en venais" uses "en" as a hint on the place I was before. With "venir", you need a hint on "where from", that can be " de là-bas", ie from there.
However, in the flow of a conversation, when a place is mentioned at some point, we can use "en" = de + place which not only avoids repeating the noun of the place but also shortens the construction vs "de + place" or "de + là-bas".
To sum it up:
-"j'en viens" can translate to "I have got back from there" (present perfect is correct to translate the French present here),
-"I just got back from there" can translate to "je (re)venais (juste) de là-bas" or "j'en (re)venais (juste)".
It's not a test though and it doesn't count for anything so it really doesn't matter. Everything is taught here through repetition, not through written explanations. This is as good a point in time to start learning this concept as any. Once you see it enough, you'll get it.
It would be far more logical for Duolingo to be teaching about en than using people's first names.
It took a while before I found this http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=614126 and understood how you meant it, because this is the first time I've seen -s-, rather than -t-, added for easier pronunciation (and of course all my dictionaires only show "va!"), but that's just as well, because now I'm sure I won't forget it easily, donc merci encore une fois!
"En" can actually mean "in"; example: "je suis en Angleterre" = "I am in England".
But this is not the case here because of the usual form of "venir de" meaning "coming from" In other words, "en" stands for "de là" and means "from the place I have mentioned before".
Same story with "j'y vais", where the verb is "aller à", so "y" stands for "à là" and means "to a place I have mentioned before".
If you want more: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pron_adverbial.htm
The drop-down menu is there to offer a sense of the word in other contexts.
Would be correct to say that both can be translated as "there", but "y = thither" and "en = thence"?
If I understand Shakespearean English right, it seems to match the wonderful explanation Sitesurf gave: "y = à là" and "en = de là".
To say I "just" got back from somewhere (or I just finished doing something) in French, you use venir. As in: Je viens d'arriver ... or je viens de faire ... I can't explain it, it's idiomatic. (Just like using "just" in English, which in fact makes no literal sense. :-) )
I put 'I come to there' but it was not accepted. I though to come back was 'reviens'? Is this sentence in the same context as 'Je viens de rentre' or 'Je viens de recu un e-mail' etc (I have just come in/I have just received an e-mail)? If so then I think I get it, if not then je suis predu and do not know if I am coming or going!
I got this question in "select the missing word" form. J'en _ , and was given choices between viennent, viens, vient and venez. I got the choice correct- viens. But at the bottom of the duo page, after "you are correct", next line was "Meaning: I just got back from there".
I happened to check this discussion page, and see the translation as "I come from there."
I'm not sure I'm reading Sitesurf's comment correctly, but using her "back-translation" principle, "I just got back from there" (from duo page) does not back-translate to "J'en viens".
I hope this makes sense, because I am now thoroughly confused.
p.s My confusion comes from Duo's response, not b/c of Sitesurf!
Actually, Duo is not wrong. "J'en viens" describes that you are back from some other place.
Again, literally, "j'en viens" = je viens de + some placed mentioned before.
In the present tense "viens" can be understood as "I have come/I am coming/I come".
Whether you interpret this as "I am back from there, I just got back from there, I am coming/arriving from there...", the end result is the same, I think.