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Question: How do you say 'at' in French? 


Answer: Here is a brief and simple explanation for using 'at' or 'to' in French:

In approximately 90% of cases, you'd use the word 'à'. The accent is vital to distinguish it from the word 'a' which means 'has'.

If you wish to say, for example, 'I go to Birmingham often', then 'à' on its own and the proper noun for the town will suffice. E.g. je vais à Birmingham souvent.

If you wish to say you are going to a place within a town, such as a bank, a hotel or a nightclub, and need to say 'to the', things get rather more complicated. You need to find out whether the noun for the place or thing you are going to is masculine, feminine or plural. Your word for 'to' will be different in each case.
Masculine: e.g. le café. je vais au café
le stade. je vais au stade
Feminine: e.g. la piscine. je vais à la piscine
la banque. je vais à la banque
Plural(more than one thing): e.g. les magasins.
je vais aux magasins

You can use this as a general rule for all nouns when you need to use 'to the' as all French common nouns are masculine or feminine.
Fortunately, if you use 'à' with un/une or mon/ma/mes it stays exactly as it is!

If you want to say 'to' and the name of a country, you will be using a different word entirely. Find out (again!) whether that country is masculine or feminine and use au for the masculine and en for the feminine. Most countries are actually feminine. One notable exception is the USA which is of course a plural (United States) so 'I am going to the USA' becomes je vais aux Etats-Unis. 




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