Hi Chris, I found the following sentences in other website (I 'm not sure whether we can discuss things from other sources):

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Kwiziq community member

6 April 2018

2 replies

Hi Chris, I found the following sentences in other website (I 'm not sure whether we can discuss things from other sources):

(1) J'aimerais aller dans le collège. (2) Je veux aller dans la jungle. (3) On va aller dans le bureau

"dans" in these 3 sentences mean "to". Can I conclude that 'dans' and "à" are interchangable when they mean "to"?

This question relates to:
French lesson "En vs dans with locations (prepositions)"


Kwiziq community member

6 April 2018


Hi Joan,

Ah, I see. As I am a German native speaker "dans" to me means "in" as I would translate "dans" as "in" in all the examples you gave there. Sorry, about the mixup.

I would really appreciate the backup and feedback of a true French native speaker on this, but I'll offer my understanding nonetheless.

To me, "aller dans le jungle" means to go in the jungle, i.e., hike in the jungle. To go to the jungle, e.g., to travel to the jungle in order to venture inside, I would use "aller à la jungle".

Similarly, I would prefer "aller au collège" to mean "to go to college". "Aller dans", to my understanding, means to go inside, whereas "aller à" stands for "to go to".

I hope Amélie is going to chime in on that.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

P.S.: I would not hesitate to pull in examples from other websites to be discussed here in the context of kwiziq lessons.


Kwiziq community member

30 September 2018


Aller is a verb of déplacement (rather than mouvement: nager, marcher, p.e.) and therefore must be followed by a destination. Therefore, je vais dans le jungle is perfectly clear: dans, which means in or into depending on the preceding verb, means into when following aller. Dans le jungle provides the destination

To say I am in the jungle requires a non-déplacement verb as with Je suis dans la jungle or Je me trouve dans la jungle. For a refresher on verbs of mouvement and déplacement, I recommend John Darbelnet's Pensée et Structure, Charles Scribner's & Sons, 1969, pp. 91 to 95. I have carried my seriously marked up copy with me since Spring 1971. I have no idea if it is still in print. It is a gem for a serious student of French.

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