Using à, en, par with means of transport (prepositions)

Look at the following examples including means of transport:

Elle va au travail en métro.
She goes to work by tube/metro/underground.

Tu vas en ville à pied.
You go to town on foot/walking.

Elle arrive à cheval.
She is arriving on horseback.

Il voyage à moto.
He travels by motorbike.

Je vais à l'école à vélo.
Je vais à l'école en vélo.

I'm going to school by bike.

Ils viennent en bus.
They're coming by bus.

Nous allons en vacances en voiture.
We're going on holidays by car.

Léo vient en taxi.
Leo is coming by taxi /cab.

Ils traversent le lac en bateau.
They're crossing the lake by boat.

Nous venons en train.
Nous venons par le train.

We're coming by train.

Tu voyages en avion.
Tu voyages par avion.

You travel by plane.

 

When talking about travelling somewhere, you will use à for "individual" modes of transport (walking, bicycle, bike etc), and en for "group" modes of transport (bus, coach, car, subway, etc).

 

Note that you can also use par le with trains and par with planes, and that for bicycles, you can use either à vélo or en vélo.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tu voyages en avion.
Tu voyages par avion.

You travel by plane.


Il voyage à moto.
He travels by motorbike.


Nous allons en vacances en voiture.
We're going on holidays by car.


Tu vas en ville à pied.
You go to town on foot/walking.


Léo vient en taxi.
Leo is coming by taxi /cab.


Elle va au travail en métro.
She goes to work by tube/metro/underground.


Ils viennent en bus.
They're coming by bus.


Ils traversent le lac en bateau.
They're crossing the lake by boat.


Je vais à l'école à vélo.
Je vais à l'école en vélo.

I'm going to school by bike.


Nous venons en train.
Nous venons par le train.

We're coming by train.


Elle arrive à cheval.
She is arriving on horseback.


Q&A

Jim

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2017

1 reply

I have always understood that "en" is used only when the mode of transport is enclosed?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2017

1/10/17

Bonjour Jim,
I, too, learned the use of «en» with modes of transportation was generally associated with things one rode inside of, i.e. plane, train, bus, automobile, bateaux, etc.; however, I noticed this phrase in the examples: Je vais à l'école à vélo. Je vais à l'école en vélo. ---> I'm going to school by bike.
Given that the use of en in the example phrase, it appears to be an acceptable use with moto and with vélo.
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

Terry

Kwiziq community member

4 September 2017

3 replies

Is it acceptable to use en for moto also ?

... Nous allons au travail en moto ?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

5 September 2017

5/09/17

Bonjour Terry,

I learned the use of «en» with modes of transportation was generally associated with things one rode inside of, i.e. plane, train, bus, automobile, bateaux, etc.; however, I noticed this phrase in the examples: Je vais à l'école à vélo. Je vais à l'école en vélo. ---> I'm going to school by bike.

Given that the use of en in the example phrase, it appears to be an acceptable use with moto.

Bonne chance

Silas

Kwiziq community member

8 September 2017

8/09/17

Maybe you do you bro

Ron

Kwiziq community member

8 September 2017

8/09/17

How has your day been?