Dans, sur with streets and transportation (prepositions)

In the following cases, you cannot use sur (on) in French, but you will instead use dans (in).

Street

Ils marchent dans la rue.
They're walking on the street.

In the case of the street, we see the whole environment as 'the street' and you're situated in it.


Transportation

Nous sommes dans le bus.
We are on the bus.

Elle est dans le métro en ce moment.
She is on the subway at the moment.

Il est dans le train.
He is on the train.

Je suis dans l'avion.
I'm on the plane.

In French, we consider that you are inside the transportation.


Farm

Mes grand-parents vivent dans une ferme.
My grand-parents live on a farm.

Here in French we consider the farm as a house or a building you live in

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il est dans le train.
He is on the train.


Mes grand-parents vivent dans une ferme.
My grand-parents live on a farm.


Je suis dans l'avion.
I'm on the plane.


Elle est dans le métro en ce moment.
She is on the subway at the moment.


Ils marchent dans la rue.
They're walking on the street.


Nous sommes dans le bus.
We are on the bus.


Q&A

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

6 June 2018

3 replies

Use of EN and not DANS in the 'Transport' section above.

In he lessson: 'Monter can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé... and changes meaning', the following example is given that uses EN not DANS.

Nous sommes tous montés EN voiture.

Could you please explain why DANS is not used as the 'Transport' section above states that DANS should be used.

Thank you.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

6 June 2018

6/06/18

There is a no real difference in meaning between using en voiture and dans la voiture. They are synonymous.

But not so using aller. 

Nous sommes allés en voiture. -- We went by car.

Nous sommes allés dans la voiture. -- We went in the car. 

-- Chris (not a native speaker)..

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

6 June 2018

6/06/18

Thanks Chris, I now understand.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 June 2018

8/06/18

Hi Stewart, 

If I may just add...

"Nous sommes tous montés en voiture." would translate, "We all climbed into the car.".

The expression here is 'monter en voiture'.

When you use 'dans' , it often means inside in English .

J'ai laissé mon sac dans la voiture. (I left my bag in the car.)

Les enfants sont dans la voiture. ( The children are in the car.)

'En' is most used for modes of transportation 

Nous y sommes allés en voiture. (We went there by car.)

Hope his helps!

Vernon

Kwiziq community member

23 December 2017

2 replies

Would it be correct to say, "Je suis dans mon vélo."

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 December 2017

23/12/17

No, unless you have a roomy bike ;)

You could, however, be "sur ton vélo".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 December 2017

29/12/17

Bonjour Vernon !

As Chris wrote, je suis dans mon vélo would mean you're actually inside your bike, which is impossible :)
However, you could be inside your car, a train, a plane, so you will use dans with these:
Je suis dans ma voiture, un train, un avion...

Bonne journée !

William

Kwiziq community member

8 January 2017

1 reply

Need clarification between "sur" and "dans"

In Larousse "Je suis sur l'avion" is acceptable.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 January 2017

9/01/17

Bonjour William ! "Je suis sur l'avion." would mean "I'm on top of the plane." in French, but would never be used to say "I'm on the plane" in the sense of being inside it. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
I'll be right with you...