Venir de, d', du, des + country / state / region = To come/be from

We know that countries, regions, states or counties have genders in French. See Continents, countries, regions & states are masculine, feminine or plural (gender).

Now look at these examples:

Je viens de France.
I come from France.

D'où venez-vous ?
- Nous venons du Texas.

Where do you come from?
- We come from Texas.

Elles viennent d'Andalousie.
They come from Andalusia.

Martin vient du Pays de Galles.
Martin comes from Wales.

Elle vient d'où?  
Elle vient des États-Unis.

Where does she come from?
She comes from the United States.

 

Note that when saying the country, region or state someone comes from in French, you use the verb venir followed by:

- de (or d' in front of a vowel or mute h) when the country/region/state is feminine 

- du (or d' in front of a vowel or mute h) when the country/region/state is masculine

- des when the country/region/state is plural


ATTENTION: note the cases of English provinces ending in -shire which are masculine

Elle vient du Lancashire.
She comes from Lancashire.

Je viens du Yorkshire.
I come from Yorkshire.

 

Note that Le Québec behaves like a country, even though it's a province:

Mon petit-ami vient du Québec.
My boyfriend comes from Quebec.

 

See also the related lessons: Je viens de + [city] = I'm from + [city] and En, dans = In, to with regions, states, counties (prepositions)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle vient d'où?  
Elle vient des États-Unis.

Where does she come from?
She comes from the United States.


Je viens d'Angleterre.
I come from England.


Martin vient du Pays de Galles.
Martin comes from Wales.


Je viens de France.
I come from France.


Mon petit-ami vient du Québec.
My boyfriend comes from Quebec.


Elles viennent d'Andalousie.
They come from Andalusia.


Je viens du Yorkshire.
I come from Yorkshire.


D'où venez-vous ?
- Nous venons du Texas.

Where do you come from?
- We come from Texas.


Elle vient du Lancashire.
She comes from Lancashire.


de


Je viens de France.
I come from France.


Q&A

Jamie

Kwiziq community member

15 June 2018

2 replies

Small typo near the top of the page: "Now look at theses examples:" has "theses" for "these"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

18 June 2018

18/06/18

Thank you Jamie, have contacted Aurélie ...

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

18 June 2018

18/06/18

Merci beaucoup Jamie !


The typo has now been fixed :)


Bonne journée !

Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

16 December 2017

5 replies

Definite articles with "de"

This is probably a hopeless question, but why do masculine countries require an article with "de" whereas feminine ones do not? Why not "Je viens de la France"?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

17 December 2017

17/12/17

Bonsoir Tom,
To start, I do not believe this is a hopeless question. In French there are certain verbs that require a certain structure depending on usage, i.e. venir de, venir à, etc. We might, in English, call these a fixed phrase. However, depending on what follows the verb, the sense changes. So «Je viens de France» means I come from France, so in this case venir de is followed by a complement indicating the origin of the movement. With «Je viens à lui» means I come to him/her. In this case, venir à is followed by a complement indicating the terminus of the movement. Personally speaking, I have not heard the phrase «venir à» in use so I would suspect this to be somewhat colloquial.
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisée par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

Ron (un locuteur non natif )

Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

17 December 2017

17/12/17

Thank you, but I was thinking more about the difference between “je viens de France » and « je viens du pays de Galles ». The latter is considered singular and masculine, as far as I understand. Why is the article “le” used with the masculine country (contained in the contraction “du”), while the feminine country doesn’t use an article?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

18 December 2017

18/12/17

Hi Tom, I believe there is no explanation to your question except that that's just the way it is. Learn it and use it. Don't think about it too much.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

18 December 2017

18/12/17

Thanks. Yeah, I had a feeling, thus the "hopeless question" comment. Would it be fair to say that "en" never takes an article? That's my impression up until now, at least.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 December 2017

19/12/17

Bonjour Tom !


Yes, unfortunately, I have to go with Chris on this one : I cannot think of an explanation other than the very frustrating "That's just the way it is".


Désolée :)

Ian

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

9 replies

So! with regard to English counties, Where does Mersyside come into it. Male or female?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

I would treat it as a feminine region (the "-shires" being exceptions to the rule):

Je viens de la Mersyside.
Je vais en Mersyside.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Ian

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

Thank you, Claus/Chris. On your advice, from now on I will treat it as feminine. :)

Ron

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

Bonjour Ian,
Chris, je m'excuse, mais voyez ces deux leçons-ci:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/my-languages/french/view/4713
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/my-languages/french/view/3118
English provinces ending in "-shire" are masculine

Ron

Ian

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

Hi Ron, Thanks for your help, but I'm still confused. Are we saying then that all English counties are masculine?

Ian

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

Hi Ron, Thanks for your help, but I'm still confused. Are we saying then that all English counties are masculine?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

The take-away from the lesson that I referenced would be that all of the «-shires» are masculine; if there are other counties that have endings other than -shire then they may be feminine or masculine. Aurélie clearly notes this in both of the lessons that I referenced.
You might wish to consider addressing this to Aurélie specifically. I understand that she lives in the UK so would have first-hand knowledge. My response to your question is based solely on the lesson.

Bonne journée,

Ian

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

Hi Ron, Thanks for taking the time to help me.I will take your advice and ask Aurélie.

Merci encore et passez une bonne journée.
Ian.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2017

8/12/17

Yes, of course the -shires are masculine. If you reread my original post that's what I said: they are the exception to the rule that all regions ending on e are feminine. I apologize if I haven't been clear on that.

-- Chris.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

11 December 2017

11/12/17

Bonjour Ian !

Mmmmmhhh, I checked to make sure that my first instinct was correct, and indeed, Merseyside is masculine in French:


J'habite dans le Merseyside.

See https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merseyside


This got me wondering whether all English counties are actually considered as masculine in French (regardless of their ending), so I went around to check.


It turns out that Merseyside seems to be the only -e county (except for the -shire ones), and all are masculine, with two notable exceptions:


- Cornwall, which in French is translated as la or les Cornouailles.
- Isle of Wight, which is a special case due to the term "île" : l'île de Wight.


J'habite en Cornouailles.
J'habite (sur) l'île de Wight.

Thanks to you, I learned something today :)


I hope that's helpful to you too!
Bonne journée !

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

1 December 2017

9 replies

Why is the 'i' in Lancashire and Yorkshire pronounced with an 'ur' sound and not an 'ee' sound?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

1 December 2017

1/12/17

Because it is a French speaker saying it.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

1 December 2017

1/12/17

'i' is normally pronounced 'ee' by french speakers (as is the case with 'viens' in the Lancashire sentence) but this is not the case with the 'i' in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

1 December 2017

1/12/17

Well, there are several ways "i" could be pronounced. Take, e.g., "impossible". It's just the way it is. Take English: the "gh" in "rough" is different from the "gh" in "ghost" and the ine in "through".

-- Chris.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

2 December 2017

2/12/17

Bonjour Stewart,
It seems to me that there are two things in the word that causes a bit different pronunciation:
1) the «i» is followed by an «r», which is not the case for viens
2) the second is that -shire ends in a silent «e», this does change the pronunciation some, i.e. consider the pronunciation difference between «lire» and «lis» or «lit».

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 December 2017

4/12/17

Hi Ron, I must confess that I can't discern any difference in pronounciation of the "i" among "lire", "lis" and "lit". But I do between "lire" and "imparfait".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

6 March 2018

6/03/18

Hi Stewart,  


A French person living in Britain would try to pronounce the words Lancashire and Yorkshire like a native ( but with a French accent ) . A French person never having heard of these would pronounce the "i" as an "ee" " sound.


In the word "impossible " the sound "im " is a nasal sound and pronounced the same as "un" , "in", "ain" .


Hopes this helps! 

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

8 March 2018

8/03/18

Hi Stewart - as Cécile has explained, a French native with a good grasp of English would pronounce an English place name as close to the correct English pronunciation as possible. We use state-of-the-art synthethic voices which are trained to speak using very large databases of experienced French natives narrating texts, and since "-shire" is not a sequence of letters that appears in any French words the synthetic voice learns to pronounce English place names in the same manner as the experienced narrator.
It's quite likely though that in France you might hear other pronunciation attempts from people who had less familiarity with how we pronounce our place names.
Hope that helps!

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

8 March 2018

8/03/18

Thanks, that makes sense to me.

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

8 March 2018

8/03/18

Hi Gruff ... Yes that looks to be the answer.


Thanks


Debbi

Kwiziq community member

26 October 2017

3 replies

So you use des if the country is plural like Etas-unis, but Pays du Gaules is du?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

26 October 2017

26/10/17

Bonjour Debbi,
I think that you may be looking at this with an English perspective. The word «Pays» is a masculine, singular or plural noun meaning:
1) country
2) region
3) village
all in the singular. The only time it becomes plural is when «des», a partitive article or «les» a definite article, precedes it, i.e. les pays, des pays.
Le Pays du Gaules or du Pays du Gaules is the correct form. As for the U.S. we have:
Les Etats-Unis, des Etats-Unis and aux Etats-Unis. I will admit that I have never seen «des Etats-Unis» used, perhaps I haven't read the correct articles but I don't see how that could be partitive.
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

Ron (un locuteur non natif )

Debbi

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2017

27/10/17

Merci Ron!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

27 October 2017

27/10/17

C'était avec plaisir.
Bonne journée.

Leo

Kwiziq community member

22 July 2016

1 reply

Can one use this in the passe compose; Je suis venu; I came from?

Or the imperfect Je venais; I used to or was coming from?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

22 July 2016

22/07/16

Bonjour Leo,

If you're talking about where you're from in the sense of where you grew up, no. Using a past tense would be suggesting that you you came from (passé composé) or used to come from (imperfect), say, New York, but now you come from somewhere else, which doesn't make any sense unless you're reincarnated. :-)

Andy

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2016

1 reply

American states

Do American states and regions for other countries, follow the same gender rules as countries themselves do?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 June 2016

13/06/16

Bonjour Andy !


Regions, states and counties mostly follow the same rule as countries regarding gender, but for more details, please consult our newly added lesson: 
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/prepositions-with-regions-states-counties 


I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

How has your day been?