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En Espagne et au Portugal, il y a des nuages.

I know "en" is used because it means in Espagne, but why is au used for Portugal? Should it also use en?

Also with "En Suede et au Danemark, il neige."

  • French -

    Another question,
    for example, la Chine, le Japon,
    we use en (preposition) for feminine countries = en Chine
    masculin = au Japon
    I was also told that for l' such as l'Allemagne, we use "en".
    But what about l'Iran, since it is l' but Iran is also masculine. Do i use en or au?

  • French -

    Salut et bonne question! Geographical expressions can indeed cause difficulty!

    The definite article is used with names of countries, continents, provinces, rivers and mountains, BUT NOT with names of cities: (generally)

    Il a visité la France et l'Italie.
    Nous partons pour l'Europe.
    La Normandie est une belle province.
    Bruxelles est la capitale de la Belgique.
    Avez-vous vu les Alpes?
    Paris est sur la Seine.

    To express "to" or "in" with place names:

    en + feminine countries, continents, provinces = en France, en Europe, en

    au, auz + masculine countries = au Canada, aux Etats-Unis

    à + cities = à Londres

    Je désire aller en France = I want to go to France.

    Elle demeure au Canada = She lives in Canada.

    Resterez-vous à Londres? = Will you stay in London?


    To express "from" with place names:

    de + fewminine, countries, continents, provinces = de France, d'Europe, de Bretagne

    du, des + masculine countries = du Canada, des Etats-Unis

    de + cities = de Londres

    Ces enfants viennent de France et du Canada. = These children come from France and Canada.

    Ils sont arrivés de Londres. = They arrived from London.

    NOTE: 1. With masculine countries, the definitre article is always used.

    2. With modified continents, the prepositions are as follows:

    l'Amériqe du Nord (North America)
    to, in: dans l'Amérrique du Nord
    from: de l'Amérique du Nord

    l'Amérique du Sud (South America)
    to, in: dans l'Amérique du Sud
    from: de l'Amérique du Sud

    3. A few cities always have a definite article in French, since the article is part of the name:

    le Havre, Havre
    to, in: au Havre
    from: du Havre

    la Nouvelle-Orléans
    to, in: à la Nouvelle-Orléans
    from: de la Nouvelle-Orléans


    l'Allemagne = German
    l'Angleterre = England
    la Belgique = Belgium
    la Chine = China
    l'Espagne = Spain
    la France = Francew
    l'Italie = Italy
    la Russie = Russia
    la Suisse = Switzerland

    l'Afrique = Africa
    l'Amérique = America
    l'Asie = Asia
    l'Europe = Europe

    l'Alsace = Alsace
    la Bourgogne = Burgundy
    la Bretagne = Brittany
    la Champagne = Champagne
    la Lorraine = Lorraine
    la Normandie = Normandy
    la Provence = Province


    le Canada = Canada
    le Danemark = Denmark
    les Etats-Unis = the United States
    le Japon = Japan
    le Mexique = Mexico
    le Portugal = Portugal


    la Garonne = the
    Gar4onne River
    la Loire = the Loire
    le Rhin = the Rhine
    le Rhône = the Rhone
    la Seine = the Seine

    les Alpes (f.) = the Alps
    le Jura = the Jura Mountains
    les Pyrénées (f.) = the Pryrenees
    les Vosges = the Voges Mountains
    le mont Blanc = Mount Blanc


  • French -

    P.S. I nearly missed your 2nd question.
    l'Allemagne = feminine = en Allemagne
    l'Iran = masculine, beginning with a vowel = en Iran

    Some things to add to the previous explanation:

    en + feminine countries, continents, provinces
    *** en + masculine singular countries beginning with a vowel = en Iran, en Israël, en Iraq

    NOTE: 1. With Danemark and Portugal, either "au" or "en" may be used. = au Danemark OR en Danemark / au Portugal OR en Portugal
    2. In current French, the use of "dans" with modified feminine place names is gradually decreasing. "En" is retained when the modifier is an integral part of the place name, and usually when a modifying adjective follows the name = en Amérique du Sud / en Suisse italienne / en Asie Mineure / en Europe occidentale

    In other cases, dans + definite article are used = dans la douce France / dans l'Italie de la Renaissance

    3. With names of cities, "dans" may be used instead of "à" to stress the idea of "inside" or "within" the city = dans Lyon, dans Bruxelles

    de + feminine countries, continents, provinces
    ***de + masculine singular countries beginning with a vowel = d'Iran, d'Israël, d'Iraq

    NOTE: 1. The definite article with modified feminine place names is becoming less frequent after "de." It is generally dropped when the modifier is an integral part of the place name or when a modifing adjective follows the name = d'Afrique du Nord / de Russie centrale


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