Dans vs en with locations

Dans vs en with locations

My understanding is that you use dans when referring to a specific place (which is preceded by an article) while en is used to refer to a more general, abstract or symbolic place (no article). 

Je suis dans la classe. vs Il est en classe.

I’m in the classroom. vs He is in class.

But then the following example is given that confuses me:

Je vais en ville - I’m going TO town. Why is it not written using “à?”

Thank you for any help!

Asked 1 week ago

Je vais à la ville. -- I am going to the town.
Je vais en ville. -- I am going to town.

I guess in English you'd render the difference in meaning by omitting the article in the second case.

Dans vs en with locations

My understanding is that you use dans when referring to a specific place (which is preceded by an article) while en is used to refer to a more general, abstract or symbolic place (no article). 

Je suis dans la classe. vs Il est en classe.

I’m in the classroom. vs He is in class.

But then the following example is given that confuses me:

Je vais en ville - I’m going TO town. Why is it not written using “à?”

Thank you for any help!

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level >>
Ask a question
Clever stuff underway!