How to use the pronoun "en" in French? Tumu Learning

How to use the pronoun "en" in French?

 Pronoun en in French

"En" is certainly one of the most confusing concepts when learning French. In this article, I will explain the logic behind its uses through some examples and expressions.

3 Different uses of "en"

1) "En" = preposition (to, by, in) 

We usually use "en" as a preposition to say "to", "by" or "in". Let's look at these examples:

  • Nous allons en France. (We go to France.)
  • Je vais au travail en voiture. (I go to work by car.)
  • Nous sommes en février. (We are in February.)

2) "En" expresses the quantity

Another common use of "en" is to express quantity and avoid repetition. 

  • Tu as une voiture? (Do you have a car?)

Oui, j'en ai une. (Yes, I have one.)

*En" replaces "une voiture" (a car). So, if you translate into English, you could say: "I have one of them".

  • Combien de cours tu as? (How many courses do you have?)

J'en ai trois. (I have three)

*You can also say "j'ai trois". However, by saying "j'en ai trois", you emphasize what's previously mentioned. The second version is what French people actually could to respond to such a question.

In the negative forms, "en" comes between ne__pas. 

  • Tu as une voiture? (Do you have a car?)

Non, je n'en ai pas. (No, I don't have one.)

3) "En" replaces a thing

The third common version of the use of "en" is with a thing. This thing is usually to be introduced by the preposition "de" or a partitive article "du', "de la", de l' and 'des".

  • Tu joues du piano? (Do you play piano?)

Oui, j'en joue. (Yes, I play it.)

  • Elle est contente de son travail? (Is she happy with her job?)

Oui, elle en est contente. (Yes, she is.)

*Note that "En" always precedes the verb.

Let's practice!

Respond the following questions by using "en"

1) Tu prends des vacances cet été?

2) As-tu un stylo?

3) As-tu besoin de conseils?

4) Es-tu satisfait de ton nouvel appart

5) Manges-tu de la viande?

Check your answers

1) Oui, j'en prends.

2) Oui, j'en ai un.

3) Oui, j'en ai besoin.

4) Oui, j'en suis satisfait.

5) Oui, j'en mange.

5 Useful French Expressions With "En" 

There are a lot of French expressions with "en". Here, we will cover five of them. 

1) Je m'en vais.  (I'm leaving.)

2) Tu m'en veux ?  (Are you mad at me?)

3) J'en ai assez. (I've had enough.)

4) Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ? (What are you thinking of it?)

5) Ne t'en fais pas! (Don't worry!)

Do you know other French expressions with "en"? Let me know in the comments below.

About Umut

Umut French teacher
I have been teaching French to adults for more than 5 years in Canada. I'm a certified French teacher, and I'm currently PhD Candidate in French Studies at Western University. I love reading, travelling and learning new languages. 
I've created unique downloadable learning materials focusing primarily on improving speaking and understanding in French.
I'm also helping thousands of French learners on my Instagram page.
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