En vs Dans: In

En vs Dans: In

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1A. En expresses a duration:

I can Do my homework in 1 hour:  Je peux faire mes devoirs en 1 heure
You will spent one hour to do your homework.

I learnt how to speak french in 1 year: j’ai appris à parler français en 1 an
You spent 1 year to learn how to speak French.

1B. Dans expresses the end of a duration:

I will Do my homework in 1 hour: Je ferai mes devoirs dans 1 heure
At the end of a period of 1 hour.

The train leaves in 5 minutes: le train part dans 5 minutes
At the end of 5 minutes.

So now, you should understand the difference between: je finis en 5 minutes and je finis dans 5 minutes (see the video)

2A. En before a word with no definite article

He is in jail: Il est en prison
There is no definite article before “prison”

I am on holidays: je suis en vacances
Idiomatic expression

I live in France: Je vis en France 

He drives in a car: Il roule en voiture

2B. Dans before a word with a definite article

He is in the car: Il est dans la voiture

They are playing in the yard: ils jouent dans la cour

3. En with months and years

To translate: in Winter, In 1952, in May etc… we use EN in French
En hiver, en 1952, en mai.

Don’t mix this word En with the other En that means some: j’en veux: I want some.


Je vais en France .... 3 mois

J'arrive ... 5 minutes

J'ai lu ce livre ... 3 jours

Je lirai ce livre ... 3 jours

Il est né ... 1985

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