'en arrivant dans la maison' versus 'en arrivant à la maison'

BonnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

'en arrivant dans la maison' versus 'en arrivant à la maison'

I recently read that someone (who is a native speaker and well-informed on grammar and usage) said that it is incorrect to say 'en arrivant à la maison' -- that is is 'en arrivant dans la maison'. While confirming that 'en arrivant au restaurant, ...au musée, ...au théâtre' etc. is correct, they claim that when saying 'arriving at home' the preposition 'dans' must be used. Can someone tell me if this is true, and if it is if it's just "because that's the way it is" or if there's some grammatical explanation? Thank you very much for your help!

Asked 1 week ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Bonnie,

Having checked with some trusted teachers in France both can be said ( which confirmed my belief) but they mean slightly different things.

En arrivant à la maison = Arriving home but not having entered the house

En arrivant dans la maison = Arriving home but having entered the house

For instance, 

En arrivant dans la maison j’ai senti une drôle d’odeur dans la cuisine = Entering the house I smelt a funny kind of smell in the kitchen

En arrivant à la maison j’ai rencontré mes voisins de gauche = Arriving home I met my left hand neighbours

Hope this helps!

BonnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Merci beaucoup, Cécile !

'en arrivant dans la maison' versus 'en arrivant à la maison'

I recently read that someone (who is a native speaker and well-informed on grammar and usage) said that it is incorrect to say 'en arrivant à la maison' -- that is is 'en arrivant dans la maison'. While confirming that 'en arrivant au restaurant, ...au musée, ...au théâtre' etc. is correct, they claim that when saying 'arriving at home' the preposition 'dans' must be used. Can someone tell me if this is true, and if it is if it's just "because that's the way it is" or if there's some grammatical explanation? Thank you very much for your help!

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