It consists of just two letters, yet the French word en has three distinct areas of meaning/usage and four different pronunciations. Here’s everything you need to know abouten.
En fits into three different grammatical categories – click the links for detailed lessons.
As a preposition, en has many meanings related to space, time and more.
|Je suis en Europe.
|I’m in Europe.
|Il fait les petits gâteaux en 20 minutes.
|He makes cupcakes in 20 minutes. (It takes him 20 minutes)
I suppose en could be considered a preposition here as well, but it’s a pretty distinct usage: en + present participle = gerund.
|Je suis tombé en grimpant l’arbre.
|I fell while climbing the tree.
|Il les mange en marchant.
|He eats them while walking.
Perhaps the trickiest usage of en is as an adverbial pronoun, when it replaces a quantity, place, or object of the preposition de.
|J’en suis revenu hier.
|I came back from there yesterday.
|Il en fait une douzaine.
|He makes a dozen of them.