Être en train de : French Expression that Means to be in Process

grammatical french expression, être en train de

Grammatical french expressions are very important terms that are used on a day-to-day basis in French. Today, we’ll talk about the phrase, être en train de this is an expression that allows us to say that you’re in the middle of doing something if you translate it into English.

H0w to use this grammatical expression

This is a grammatical expression that if you were using it in English you would employ the present progressive. But when you want to say that an action is happening in the present and has a continuous nature, you would use this expression with an infinitive conveying the action.

So, if you want to say that you are doing something, or even that you’re in the middle of doing an action, you would need to use être en train de + the infinitive of the next verb that’s narrating the action.

Je suis en train de manger.

I’m eating. (I’m eating right now.)

You can also use this phrase in the past, you just need to conjugate être in the imperfect tense.

Les biscuits étaient en train de cuire.

The cookies were baking (at that precise moment).

But you need to be careful while using this expression because while it is helpful when you’re telling a story, the present tense should be enough to get your point across with ease. Être en train de should be used only to stress a current and ongoing situation.

Here are a few examples for you

  • Present tense:

Elle est en train d’étudier.

She’s studying.

Nous sommes en train de parler.

We are talking.

Les chats sont en train de dormir.

The cats are sleeping.

  • Past tense: 

Parce que tu étais en train de penser à moi.

Because you were thinking about me.

Reprenez ce que vous étiez en train de faire.

Go back to what you were doing.

J’étais en train de nettoyer l’ordinateur de mon père.

I was cleaning up my father’s computer.

All ready to use this grammatical expression without a hitch

Now you’re ready to use this expression with friends and family to tell them that you’re in the middle of doing something. But you need to keep in mind that you can’t use this expression too many times in the same conversation. Remember that this is only one of the expressions you could use and that there’s much more to learn.

Learn more about 10 Familiar Expressions in French

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