Simple prepositions consist of a single word (à, dans, par, etc.), as opposed to compound prepositions, which consist of preposition + noun + preposition (à côté de, en dehors de, etc.).
Prepositions Governing Two or More Nouns
When one preposition governs (stands before) two or more nouns, it should be repeated before each noun in the case of the prepositions à, de, & en. Note that this rule is observed in formal written French, but not always in informal speech.
- J’ai montré les photos à ma mère et à ma sœur.
- I showed the photos to my mother and sister.
In the case of other prepositions governing two or more nouns, there is no need to repeat the prepositions if the nouns are similar in meaning.
- Il est parti avec une valise et un sac à dos.
- He went off with a suitcase and a backpack.
However, if the preposition should be repeated before each noun if the nouns have distinct or opposing meanings.
- On se marie pour le pire et pour le meilleur.
- Marriage is for better or worse.
As a general rule, it is more common, and usually good manners to repeat prepositions in formal written French.
Hello, everyone! This topic will be broken up into 5 or 6 parts as I’ll be going into the literal and idiomatic uses of these prepositions, and there are a lot. Just a head’s up. Have a great week!
A la prochaine…