3 Visitor Messages

  1. Samiam22
    From what I understand of Romance languages in general, prepositions can be quite annoying and vague. Unless you're learning French formally, though, it shouldn't matter too much if you just pick a preposition, on the spot, based on what sounds right to you. When you get more experienced with the language and get used to communicating with it, you'll figure out passively how prepositions are used. Don't stress the specific usage of every one you come across, it's not really worth it. It's not like you'll suddenly become incomprehensible if you use the wrong one.
  2. Adelle Zhu
    thanks for that. No one ever explained it to me like that back in school.
  3. Samiam22
    "Sur" (from Latin, super, meaning "above") is a preposition used mostly for locations and can usually be translated as "on", "sur la table" being "on the table", for example, when you use "sur", you're talking about things as they are. "Pour" (from Latin, pro, meaning "for, about, concerning") is for purpose, for instance; "J'écrire pour améliorer", "I write to improve", as well as a lot of other catch-all things like comparisons, recipients of gifts/actions/etc, directions, points of view, that sort of thing. When you use "pour", you're talking more about things more abstractly. It's like the difference between the indicative mood and the subjunctive mood.

    Rule of thumb that works most of the time; "sur" is for locations and where things physically are, while "pour" is for purpose. In English, the distinction would be something like "turn to the left" (even though this is "tourner á gauche in French) and "I read to learn".