i think languages logo

French Preposition : au, à la, à l’, aux

preposition a in french grammar

Even though à is a relatively small word, it is an extremely significant French preposition and one of the most important.

There are many meanings and uses of à in French, but at its most basic level, it usually means ‘to,’ ‘at’ or ‘in.’

Today, we’ll help you discover all uses of this preposition.

What are Prepositions?

The prepositions appear before nouns and pronouns to indicate the relationship between the nouns and the rest of the sentence.

For instance, without a preposition, we couldn’t establish the relationship between the verb aller and the noun cinema. It would stay unclear whether someone is coming or going somewhere.

Elle va au cinéma.

She is going to the cinema.

The most common French prepositions are de and à.

Today, we’ll cover the preposition à.

French Preposition à

The preposition à is generally summarized as “to, at, or in,” but it has quite a few more meanings and uses than that.

Since a preposition precedes the noun, and articles (masculine or feminine) usually precede the noun, it looks as though it is an article and a preposition come as a pair.

They keep so close, that sometimes they even collide. These are known as contracted articles.

To express ‘to the’ or ‘at the’ in French, use: à + the correct article le/la/l’/les.

– Use à la before a feminine word (la maison):

Il est resté à la maison.

He stayed at home.

– Use à l’ before a singular word beginning with a vowel or silent -h, eg:

Tu as parlé à l’ami de Emilie ? 

Did you speak to Emilie’s friend?

Contracted Articles

When preceded by the prepositions à the definite articles le and les must contract with them. That’s how we get contracted articles.

à + le / au

– Use au before a masculine word (le supermarché):

Je vais au supermarché.

I’m going to the supermarket.

à + les / aux

Use aux before a word in the plural form, eg:

Vous allez aux États-Unis ? 

Are you going to the USA?

Contracted articles happen also with the preposition de.

de + le / du

de + les / des

To learn more about preposition de and its usage, read the article Partitive article de.

When to Use The Preposition à 

To talk about Locations or dDestination

The preposition à expresses English prepositions to/ina place.

  • To express destination

Je vais au cinéma. 

I’m going to the cinema.

  • To express location

Je suis à Paris pour le moment.

I am in Paris for now.

To learn more about Using à with locations.

Preposition de, is also used to express moving or coming from a place.

Je viens de Provence.

l come from Provence.

  • Distance in Time or sSpace

Remember that à is used in front of the distance.

Il habite à 10 mètres.

He lives 10 meters d’ici.

  • Possession

To express belonging, to emphasize possession.

Ce livre est à Lilla.

This is Lilla’s book.

un ami à moi

A friend of mine.

  • Purpose or use

To express the use of something.

une tasse à thé

A cup of tea.

  • Manner, style, or characteristic

To express the way something is made, the style or a characteristic.

Fait à la main..

Made by hand.

Il habite à la française.

He lives french styles.

  • Point in time

To express a precise moment in time.

Elle va arriver à midi.

She’ll arrive at noon.

  • Until

To express until some point in the future.

à demain

until tomorrow

If you wish to get more practice, visit this link.

A vs DE

The French prepositions à and de are a constant source of difficulty for French students. A is generally used to mean “to,” “at,” or “in,” while de is used to mean “from.” Both prepositions have many uses, and to understand them better, read this article.

Small Word, Big Meaning

The preposition à may be small but it is bursting with meanings and usages.

You will be able to cover a vast majority of sentences in French once you figure out its basic uses.

Related Posts

French: How to teach on Italki

Why a guide to teaching languages online I’m ready to reveal my small secrets as I transition from providing online instruction to managing my website.

German: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Languages: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo. These are unquestionably the two most well-known language learning programs out there. Let’s

Top 20 Spanish words used in sports

Discover the top 20 Spanish words commonly used in the world of sports. Enhance your sports vocabulary and understanding with our informative blog. Introduction The

French Phrases You Need in Workplace

Mastering French phrases in the workplace is essential for effective communication. This blog explores key phrases to navigate the professional world en français. I. Introduction

Sea in French: How to say Sea in Italian

Discover the Italian translation for “sea” with our guide. Learn how to pronounce and use this common word in the beautiful Italian language. The sea

Spanish adverbials: Mientras…

The word Mientras can be an adverb or conjunction depending on the sentence and its structure. You can use mientras to connect two actions in

Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos

7 Myths About Learning Spanish

Unveiling the truth behind learning Spanish! Discover and debunk the 7 common myths that may be holding you back from mastering this vibrant language. Are

Famous French Food You Must Try

Indulge in the flavors of France with our guide to famous French food. Discover must-try dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée. Bon

Famous French Singers You Must Know

Discover the iconic voices that have made French music famous worldwide. Our list of famous French singers features timeless classics and modern hits. French singers

Famous Spanish Food You Must Try

Embark on a delectable journey through Spain’s culinary wonders! Discover the must-try famous Spanish dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Spanish Food Spain is

Famous German Singers You Must Know

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German music as we showcase the extraordinary talents of renowned singers from Germany. From timeless

Famous Spanish Singers You Must Know

Let the music captivate your senses and ignite your passion for Spanish culture by knowing the famous Spanish singers that ever existed. Importance of Spanish

German Phrases You Need in the Workplace

Discover essential German phrases for the workplace. From greetings to professional conversations, equip yourself with the necessary language skills. German Phrases in the Workplace Learning

Spanish Phrases You Need in Workplace

Master the essential Spanish phrases for the workplace and enhance your communication skills. From greetings to professional requests, we’ve got you covered! Spanish Words in

Top Spanish Speaking Countries

Explore the vibrant cultures and diverse landscapes of the top Spanish-speaking countries in this blog. Discover their history, traditions, and more! Explanation of the importance

Top 20 German Words Used in Sports

Discover the top 20 German words commonly used in sports, from ‘Tor’ to ‘Abseits’. Enhance your sports vocabulary and impress your German-speaking friends! Introduction Explanation

Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in

How to Say “Food” in Spanish

“Learn the different ways to say ‘food’ in Spanish and expand your vocabulary with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your language skills today!” One of the

How to Say “Food” in French

Learn the various ways to say “food” in French with this comprehensive guide. Expand your vocabulary and impress your francophone friends! “Food” in French: La

How to Say “Food” in German

Learn how to say ‘food’ in German and impress your friends with your language skills! Check out our easy guide and enhance your vocabulary today.

Top 7 Reasons for learning French

Parlez-vous Français? Explore the top 7 reasons for learning French and unlock a world of opportunities. Start your language journey with confidence today! 7 reasons

Top 7 Reasons for Learning German

Discover the power of learning German! Unlock opportunities and expand your horizons with compelling reasons to study German. Start your linguistic journey today! Reasons for

Top 9 Reasons for learning Spanish

Is learning Spanish worth it? What are the top reasons for learning the Spanish language? Start your Spanish journey now! Reasons why learning Spanish is worth

How to learn Spanish through Podcasts

Do you want to learn Spanish through podcasts? Immerse yourself in the richness of the Spanish language with our podcast-based learning guide. Learn Spanish through

How to learn Languages through Podcasts

Unlock the power of language learning with podcasts! Explore the ultimate guide to mastering a new language through engaging podcasts. Start your linguistic journey now!

How to Maximize Your Time in Learning German

Learn German efficiently with expert tips! Discover effective techniques on how to maximize your time in learning German. Tips and strategies for efficiently learning German

How to learn French through Podcasts

Unlock the beauty of the French language with our podcast-based learning approach. Master French effortlessly with engaging lessons and practical tips! The Power of Podcasts

How to Learn German through Podcasts

Master German with ease! Explore the ultimate guide to learning German through podcasts. Gain language skills, cultural insights, and fluency. Start your German journey now!

How hard is it to learn German?

How hard is it to learn German?  Our comprehensive guide provides insights into the challenges and strategies to master the language. How hard is it

How hard is it to learn French?

Discover how difficult it is to learn French in our latest blog post, “Parlez-Vous Français?”. Gain insights and tips to improve your French skills. Parlez-vous

How to say in German

Looking to learn how to say common phrases in German? Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to speak the language like

How to Pronounce Luxury Brands in French?

Are you a fashion enthusiast struggling to correctly pronounce luxury brand names in French? Look no further! In this French pronunciation guide for luxury brands,

Silent French H: Mute and Aspirated

The silent letter h is often causing trouble to French learners. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the “h” mute and

Faire la Bise: All about French Kiss

If you’re wondering how to greet in French, either through handshakes or kisses, you are at the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to navigate

Speaking practice: talk to yourself

Improve your speaking skills with these simple tips on how to practice speaking by talking to yourself. Start speaking confidently today! Read more here. Speaking

Spaced repetition for the German language

Master German faster with spaced repetition! Our blog explains how this powerful technique works and offers tips to incorporate it into your learning routine. What

What does TE AMO mean in Spanish?

Discover the romantic meaning behind Te Amo, the Spanish phrase for ‘I love you’. Explore its cultural significance and usage in everyday life. Te Amo