en venir à, en être

en venir à, en être

I have recently started to notice verb structures using en, where the en turns out not to be a pronoun, but seems to be part of an expression. I am having trouble translating

en venir à

en être

S'en vouloir would seem to fall into the same category. I don't know if there are other verbs like this. Is there a general way to interpret the en in these cases?


Asked 4 years ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Oh, sorry, forgot those. 

Tu en es? -- Are you up for it?

en venir aux mains  -- to come to blows  

en venir au fait  -- to get to the point

en venir à faire -- to come to do

You see, all of these are more or less idiomatic. But very useful nonetheless.

-- Chris  


Hi Paula,

the little wlrd "en" is a veritable cameleon in the jungle of the French language. It is used frequently and in many idiomatic expressions, not just as a substitute for something introduced by "de". In such cases it isn't very useful to try to get one's head around a meaningful translation. Just accept the entire phrase as what it is: an idiom. Here are a few example:

Je m'en vais. -- I am leaving.
Je m'en fiche. -- I don't care (about that). It's all the same to me.
Ne m'en veux pas, s'il te plaît. -- Dont' hold it against me, please. Dont be angry with me.

I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

P.S.: Here is a link with more examples and a brief exercise: https://www.tolearnfrench.com/cgi2/myexam/voir2r.php?id=7396

Thanks Chris.  That was really helpful, and thanks for the link.  Just to return to my original query what do 'en venir à' and 'en être' translate as?

regards Paula

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