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

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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