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À - French Preposition

Learn how to use the French preposition à

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À is a very important French preposition, despite its tiny size. Its many different meanings and uses in French include all of the following:

I. Location or destination (learn more)

J'habite à Paris - I live in Paris

Je vais à Rome - I'm going to Rome

Je suis à la banque - I'm at the bank


II. Distance in time or space

J'habite à 10 mètres de lui - I live 10 meters from him

Il est à 5 minutes de moi - He is 5 minutes from me


III. Point in time

Nous arrivons à 5h00 - We arrive at 5:00

Il est mort à 92 ans - He died at the age of 92


IV. Manner, style, or characteristic

Il habite à la française - He lives in the French style

un enfant aux yeux bleus - blue-eyed child / child with blue eyes

fait à la main - made by hand

aller à pied - to go on / by foot


V. Possession (learn more)

un ami à moi - a friend of mine

Ce livre est à Jean - This is Jean's book


VI. Measurement

acheter au kilo - to buy by the kilogram

payer à la semaine - to pay by the week


VII. Purpose or use

une tasse à thé - teacup / cup for tea

un sac à dos - backpack / pack for the back


VIII. In the passive infinitive

À louer - for rent

Je n'ai rien à lire - I have nothing to read


Note: When followed by the definite articles le and les, à contracts with them
into a single word:
For example
à + le=auau magasin
à + les=auxaux maisons
 
But à does not contract with la or l'
à + la=à laà la banque
à + l'=à l'à l'hôpital
 
In addition, à does not contract with le and les when they are direct objects.
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French Dialogues: Travel, Hotels, and Accommodations
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