À côté de, en face de, à l'extérieur de, à l'intérieur de, près de, loin de, au coin de (prepositions)

Look at these sentences:

La boulangerie est près de l'hôtel.
The bakery is close to the hotel.

Je suis à côté de la piscine.
I'm next to the swimming pool.

Je suis à côté du cinéma.
I'm next to the cinema.

The following prepositions are used to indicate relative physical positions of one thing to another.  

Note that the indefinite article de must contract if followed by a masculine article le (du) and the plural les (des)

à côté de  next to
en face de opposite
à l'extérieur de
en dehors de
outside
à l'intérieur de inside
près de close to / near
loin de far from
au coin de by / at the corner of


Case of 
à l'extérieur de versus en dehors de:

- À l'extérieur de means outside in a geographical way, literally out of [something]

La statue est à l'extérieur du parc.
The statue is outside the park.

- En dehors de is more the abstract outside, in the sense of apart from, but can also be used with locations.

En dehors de cela, je pense que c'est une mauvaise idée.
Apart from that, I think it's a bad idea.


Tu vis en dehors de la ville.
You live outside the city.



Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

En dehors de cela, je pense que c'est une mauvaise idée.
Apart from that, I think it's a bad idea.


Je suis à côté de la piscine.
I'm next to the swimming pool.


La statue est à l'extérieur du parc.
The statue is outside the park.


Je t'attends au coin de la rue.
I'm waiting for you at the street corner. 


La boulangerie est près de l'hôtel.
The bakery is close to the hotel.


Nous sommes en face de la boulangerie.
We are opposite the bakery.


Tu es là, en face de moi.
You are there, opposite me.


Tu vis en dehors de la ville.
You live outside the city.


Elle est assise au coin de la cheminée.
She's sitting by the fireplace.


Je suis à côté du cinéma.
I'm next to the cinema.


Je suis à l'intérieur du magasin.
I am inside the shop.



La France est loin des Etats-Unis.
France is far from the United States.


Q&A Forum 13 questions, 32 answers

In the second-to-last example sentence, should the "E" instead be "É"?

Asked 3 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Ah, I got it now. The accent on capital letters is kind of optional.

The 2nd to last example sentence reads: Je suis à côté du cinéma. I don't see an é missing. Is that the sentence you are referring to?

Oops, nope - the one that includes “Etats-Unis”! I think the website sorts the examples in random order

In the second-to-last example sentence, should the "E" instead be "É"?

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"Du côté droite de la scène se trouve le salon de Scrooge." Can I replace 'Du côté' with 'Au côté'?

What is the difference between 'du côté de' and 'au côté de' ?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

'Du côté droit de la scène', means 'on the right hand side of the stage'.

'A côté de ', means 'next to' .

There is an expression 'au côté de' meaning,  alongside .

Three very different meanings which will be used depending on  context...

Hope this helps!

 

Thank you, it is clear to me now

"Du côté droite de la scène se trouve le salon de Scrooge." Can I replace 'Du côté' with 'Au côté'?

What is the difference between 'du côté de' and 'au côté de' ?

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face à versus en face de -- Quelle est la difference?

My french teacher only speaks in French.  She was trying to explain the difference between "face à" and "en face de"  but the nuance was lost on me.  Can someone explain in English?  Merci!

Asked 7 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Face à la fenêtre -- facing the window.

En face de la fenêtre -- in front of the window

face à versus en face de -- Quelle est la difference?

My french teacher only speaks in French.  She was trying to explain the difference between "face à" and "en face de"  but the nuance was lost on me.  Can someone explain in English?  Merci!

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RobinA2

Why is être used in this example she is sitting

In this example why is the verb to be present?  Elle est assise au coin de la cheminée.

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Robin,

In this case 'assis/e' is the adjective describing the action of having sat down and it means she is seated by the fireplace. The problem is that in English you can also use sitting which can convey the action as well as the result of the action.

The verb is simply to be in the present tense .

If she was standing by the chimney it would be similarly -

"Elle est debout au coin de la cheminée."

Not to be confused with "Elle s'asseoit au coin de la cheminée." which would be she is sitting herself down by the fireplace .

Hope this helps!

 

RobinA2
Merci beaucoup!  That makes perfect sense.

Does it means that s'asseoir emphasis on the action while être assis emphasis on the result? What if I want to say 'After everyone is seated, the show began'? Can both ( s'asseoir and être assis)  be used in this sentence?

RobinA2

Merci.

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Joan,

It would be -

' Le spectacle commencera quand tout le monde sera assis'

Robin asked:View original

Why is être used in this example she is sitting

In this example why is the verb to be present?  Elle est assise au coin de la cheminée.

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JA1

what's the difference between à Côté de and près de?

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Près de moi ... close to me. 

À côté de moi ... by my side, next to me

For questions like these, a dictionary can be helpful. There are several available online: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english

what's the difference between à Côté de and près de?

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Can you explain when to use en dehors and just dehors?

Asked 1 year ago

Hi Kerry,

dehors means outside, as in: Les enfants jouent dehors. -- The kids play outside.

En dehors refers to the outside as a more tangible place and as such has a clear opposite: en dedans. It can also be used figuratively, though.

As I see it, there are three levels of concreteness in referring to the outside:

dehors -- C'est dehors la question. -- It is out of the question.
en dehors -- L'ennemi se trouve en dehors la cité. -- The enemy is outside the city.
à l'extérieur -- Il faut repeindre l'extérieur du mur. -- One must paint the outside of the wall.

The association with a concrete physical location becomes more tangible from one to the next. But a native speaker would need to confirm that hunch.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

correction: l'ennemi se trouve en dehors de la cité (forgot the "de") -- Chris.

dehors on its own is an adverb, so you use it to say they're playing outside, eating outside etc.

en dehors de is a preposition, so you use that to say outside of something.

"C'est dehors la question" seems wrong to me. I think it should be "hors de question".

Thank you to both of you.

I am getting the feeling for it now!

Thank you to both of you.

I am getting the feeling for it now!

Can you explain when to use en dehors and just dehors?

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Can you say À l'autre côté de instead of en face de?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour CrystalMaiden !

No, you cannot say à l'autre côté de, but you could use de l'autre côté de, meaning on the other side of, though just like in English, the meaning is different from en face de (opposite)

Bonne journée !

Can you say À l'autre côté de instead of en face de?

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À l'extérieur v. dehors

We were supposed to translate Daniel lives outside the city. I used "à l'extérieur de and it was marked wrong. The explanation was à l'extérieur is used in the geographical sense. To me, something being outside a city is pretty geographical. Also, I checked Linguee and this is what I got. Please note that most of the quotes in this list are from government websites. "https://www.linguee.com/english-french/search?source=auto&query=outside+the+city
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

I would argue that you can say both 'en dehors de la ville' and 'à l'extérieur de la ville' in this particular example ...

But just to correct the ealier " It's out of the question! " . It would be " C'est hors  de question!" 

Hope this helps

That's a good question and would benefit from the input of a true native speaker. Meanwhile, here is my understanding:

"À l'extérieur" refers to the exterior of something, while "dehors" is "outside of". There are cases where both would be OK but others, where you can't replace one by the other.

"L'extérieur de ta bouche est sale." -- You could not use "dehors" in this context to refer to the perimeter/outside of your mouth.
"C'est dehors la question!" -- It is out of the question! (Here you couldn't use à l'extérieur)

"L'extérieur" refers to a specific place, whereas "dehors" stands more for the outside in general or in a less literal way.

"Tu vis en dehors de la ville." -- You live out of town. (In a general sense)
"Tu vis à l'extérieur de la ville." -- You live on the "outside" of the town (in a more specific sense).

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Thanks for this, Chris.  If that is correct I think geographical was a poor choice of words to describe the meaning of à l'extérieur in the lesson.

Well.....yes and no. If you take geographical as meaning a well defined place as opposed to a more general notion of "not inside" then it is actually a pretty decent description. But it's hard to hang their difference on one word, geographical or not. :)

-- Chris. 

CécileKwiziq language super star

I would argue that you can say both 'en dehors de la ville' and 'à l'extérieur de la ville' in this particular example ...

But just to correct the ealier " It's out of the question! " . It would be " C'est hors de question!" 

Hope this helps

À l'extérieur v. dehors

We were supposed to translate Daniel lives outside the city. I used "à l'extérieur de and it was marked wrong. The explanation was à l'extérieur is used in the geographical sense. To me, something being outside a city is pretty geographical. Also, I checked Linguee and this is what I got. Please note that most of the quotes in this list are from government websites. "https://www.linguee.com/english-french/search?source=auto&query=outside+the+city

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Pourquoi pas "devant moi"?

Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Bonjour Jose, Let's see if I can explain this one correctly: The following prepositions are used to indicate relative physical positions of one thing to another. dans in/inside sur on/on top of devant in front of derrière behind entre between sous underneath Warning: Although the prepositions above are straightforward, in general, the choice of which preposition to use in different contexts varies. You can't translate literally to/from English but you will learn through experience! The use of «en face de» denotes «opposite» while «devant» denotes «in front of»,. While in some contexts, they do seem to be synonymous, in the case «Tu es là, en face de moi. --> You are there, opposite me.» I get the sense that the person is possibly sitting across a desk from the speaker. I imagine that if my response is incorrect that someone from the Kwiziq team will provide a further explanation. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet
To complement Ron's answer: avant = before in a temporal sense, i.e., earlier. devant = before in a spatial sense, i.e., in front of. Il est arrivé avant moi = He arrived before me. Il s'est assis devant moi = He sat in front of me. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Pourquoi pas "devant moi"?

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RonC1

au coin de by / near

Bonjour Aurélie ou Gruff, Alors, j'ai appris qu' «au coin de» traduit comme «at the corner of», mais dans cette leçon-ci la traduction est «by/near». Je ne peux pas trouver cette traduction dans le Collins-Robert. Pourriez-vous me donner l'explication? Merci, Ron
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ron ! "Au coin de" means "by/near" in the expression "au coin du feu" = by the fire. However, I agree that most of the time, it does mean "at the corner of", as in "au coin de la rue". I'll now add this missing translation to the lesson. Merci beaucoup et à bientôt !
RonC1
Merci, Aurélie et bonne journée.

au coin de by / near

Bonjour Aurélie ou Gruff, Alors, j'ai appris qu' «au coin de» traduit comme «at the corner of», mais dans cette leçon-ci la traduction est «by/near». Je ne peux pas trouver cette traduction dans le Collins-Robert. Pourriez-vous me donner l'explication? Merci, Ron

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How to say "across [the street] from"?

Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq language super star
Hi Arash, It depends what you want to say. The expression "de l'autre côté [de la rue]" is probably the closest French expression, but if you want to say e.g. X is on the other side of the road from/of Y, then you would use "X est en face de Y". Hope that helps!

How to say "across [the street] from"?

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JimC1

outside? en dehors de versus à l'extérieur de please explain.

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Jim ! Thank you very much for this question, which highlighted some confusion in the original lesson. Indeed, "à l'extérieur de" is the way to express "outside *location*". Thanks to you, I've updated the lesson to make it much clearer, and address the distinction with "en dehors de". Please have a look: À côté de, en face de, à l'extérieur de, à l'intérieur de, près de, loin de, au coin de (prepositions) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
JimC1
Salut Aurélie, Many thanks for the clarification I needed to understand the nuance and you have helped with that point. Best wishes, Alan (Jim)
Jim asked:View original

outside? en dehors de versus à l'extérieur de please explain.

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à vs au

Why is it "*à* côté de" but "*au* coin de" ?
Asked 2 years ago
Because the definite article "le" is used in the latter and not the former case. And now, of course, you ask, "why"? I am not sure there is a clear answer apart from that's just how it is.... But I await Aurélie's reply. -- Chris.
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour à tous les deux !

Chris is onto something there: "au coin de" means literally "at the corner of", hence contracted article.
As for "à côté de"... all I can say is that it is a fixed expression to say "next to", not to be confused with "aux côtés de" meaning "by *someone's* side" (note the plural in French).

I hope that helps!
Bonne journée à vous !

à vs au

Why is it "*à* côté de" but "*au* coin de" ?

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Getting that for you now.