French Learning Video Blog, June 10, on Prepositions of Time

French Learning Video Blog, June 10, on Prepositions of Time

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Added by June 10, 2015


Learn “pendant”, “pour”, “depuis”


The other day we laughed a lot, today let’s get down to business and be serious for a minute or 2. No more than 2, don’t worry. We’re gonna look at prepositions of time in French, since they seem to be pretty tricky for foreigners. I’ll focus on correcting one very common mistake you guys tend to make. Some heavy lifting today, yes guys! ON Y VA!

The big red flag is:

The English preposition FOR does not systematically translate into the French preposition POUR.

Yes, we do say, C’EST POUR MOI – It’s for me. But POUR is not used to refer to a duration or a time here.

French Preposition of time POUR

When referring to a duration we’re only going to use POUR to talk about a projection. Let me give you an example:


Watch out, we’ll still say IL EST PARTI EN FRANCE POUR DEUX SEMAINES. The verb is in the past here, but we’re still talking about him being gone for two weeks to come. Clear?

French Preposition of time: PENDANT

If whoever’s gone to France has come back, then you gotta say

IL EST PARTI PENDANT DEUX SEMAINES. – He was gone for two weeks.

PENDANT refers to a specific block of time, with a beginning and an end, I mean. It can also be used when referring to a future action.


French preposition of time: DEPUIS

If you’re referring to an action that started in the past but is still ongoing, “I’ve been waiting for hours” for example, you’ll say:


And notice that we use the present tense in French, and the present perfect in English for this kind of actions.

Same thing going on when you want to say

I’ve been waiting since 2 p.m.” J’ATTENDS DEPUIS 14H.

And in the past

I’d been waiting since 2 p.m… J’ATTENDAIS DEPUIS 14H…

Voilà, roughly what’s going on with those prepositions of time… That should help you correct a couple of mistakes.


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