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Countries and continents

  • 1 Countries and continents

    Most countries and all continents are used with the definite article in French:
    France is a beautiful country
    = la France est un beau pays
    I like Canada
    = j’aime le Canada
    to visit the United States
    = visiter les États-Unis
    to know Iran
    = connaître l’Iran
    A very few countries do not:
    to visit Israel
    = visiter Israël
    When in doubt, check in the dictionary.
    All the continent names are feminine in French. Most names of countries are feminine e.g. la France, but some are masculine e.g. le Canada.
    Most names of countries are singular in French, but some are plural (usually, but not always, those that are plural in English) e.g. les États-Unis mpl (the United States), and les Philippines fpl (the Philippines). Note, however, the plural verb sont:
    the Philippines is a lovely country
    = les Philippines sont un beau pays
    In, to and from somewhere
    With continent names, feminine singular names of countries and masculine singular names of countries beginning with a vowel, for in and to, use en, and for from, use de:
    to live in Europe
    = vivre en Europe
    to go to Europe
    = aller en Europe
    to come from Europe
    = venir d’Europe
    to live in France
    = vivre en France
    to go to France
    = aller en France
    to come from France
    = venir de France
    to live in Afghanistan
    = vivre en Afghanistan
    to go to Afghanistan
    = aller en Afghanistan
    to come from Afghanistan
    = venir d’Afghanistan
    Note that names of countries and continents that include North, South, East, or West work in the same way:
    to live in North Korea
    = vivre en Corée du Nord
    to go to North Korea
    = aller en Corée du Nord
    to come from North Korea
    = venir de Corée du Nord
    With masculine countries beginning with a consonant, and with plurals, use au or aux for in and to, and du or des for from:
    to live in Canada
    = vivre au Canada
    to go to Canada
    = aller au Canada
    to come from Canada
    = venir du Canada
    to live in the United States
    = vivre aux États-Unis
    to go to the United States
    = aller aux États-Unis
    to come from the United States
    = venir des États-Unis
    to live in the Philippines
    = vivre aux Philippines
    to go to the Philippines
    = aller aux Philippines
    to come from the Philippines
    = venir des Philippines
    Adjective uses: français or de France or de la France?
    For French, the translation français is usually safe ; here are some typical examples:
    the French army
    = l’armée française
    the French coast
    = la côte française
    French cooking
    = la cuisine française
    French currency
    = la monnaie française
    the French Customs
    = la douane française
    the French government
    = le gouvernement français
    the French language
    = la langue française
    French literature
    = la littérature française
    French money
    = l’argent français
    the French nation
    = le peuple français
    French politics
    = la politique française
    a French town
    = une ville française
    French traditions
    = les traditions françaises
    Some nouns, however, occur more commonly with de France (usually, but not always, their English equivalents can have of France as well as French):
    the Ambassador of France or the French Ambassador
    = l’ambassadeur de France
    the French Embassy
    = l’ambassade de France
    the history of France or French history
    = l’histoire de France
    the King of France or the French king
    = le roi de France
    the rivers of France
    = les fleuves et rivières de France
    the French team
    = l’équipe de France
    but note:
    the capital of France or the French capital
    = la capitale de la France
    Note that many geopolitical adjectives like French can also refer to nationality, e.g. a French tourist ⇒ Nationalities, or to the language, e.g. a French word ⇒ Languages.

    Big English-French dictionary > Countries and continents

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