French Grammar Explained /

Modes of transportation

How do you come to our private lessons?
I don't. I'm studying from my bed, remember?
Ah yes, right. Well, how do you go to work then?
It depends on the weather, sometimes by tram, by foot, by bike...
Great! Let's learn how to say this in French.
Je vais au travail en tram(way).
I go to work by tram.
Je vais au travail à pied.
I go to work by foot.
Oh dear! What's happening here? You've used 2 different prepositions in French when there is only one in English!
That's correct! There are only two prepositions in French to talk about common transportation.
But... but... there's only one in English!
Yes, but you'll love the reason why we have two in French. Can you guess what those transport have in common?
le tram(way)
le métro l'avion (plane) la voiture (car) le train (train) le bateau (boat) la fusée (rocket) les patins (à roulettes)* (skates)
They are ways to get far away from French? :D
There are all "closed" transport. If you can get "inside" them (like with the skates*), you will use the preposition en. How about those ones?
le vélo (bike) la moto (motorcycle) le cheval (horse) le(s) pied(s) (foot/feet)
I'm guessing it isn't "closed" transportation...?
Très bien ! In this case, you can use the preposition à. But it is also correct to use the preposition en with le vélo and la moto.
What? Why didn't you say so earlier?
Because I wanted you to know all about the grammar! And because with les pieds and le cheval, you must use à! So it's easier to remember the two forms.
Well, you're clearly not the one who has to remember all this... But let's practice now!
When going somewhere by foot, you must always write à pied without an S at "pied", even if you use both to go there!