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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I'll answer your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is-- When and how do you use en?
En is a pronoun that you use to replace a noun. This is to make your sentences shorter and easier to say. It's used in three ways.
First, en can be used as a pronoun in place of uncountable nouns or indefinite plural nouns.
Let's dive into some examples so you can learn how to use en correctly.
Let’s look at this short conversation--
One person says-- Tu achètes des pommes? meaning “Are you buying apples?”
The other responds-- Oui, j'en achète un kilo. meaning “Yes, I'm buying one kilogram of them.”
Here, en refers to des pommes or “apples.” It's simpler than saying, Oui, j'achète un kilo de pommes. “Yes, I am buying one kilogram of apples.”
We also use en for uncountable nouns, like “water,” de l'eau or “milk”, du lait. For example, if someone asks you, Tu veux de l'eau? meaning "Do you want some water?" you can reply, Oui, j'en veux bien, merci. meaning "Yes, I would like some, thank you."
The second use of en is as a pronoun for verbs that use the preposition de. For example, avoir envie de, meaning "to feel like," conseiller de, "to advise," and se servir de, "to make use of."
So, if a friend asks you, Tu veux aller voir un film? "Do you want to go see a film?" but you’re not really in the mood, you can respond, Je n'en ai pas envie. "I don't feel like it."
The third way you can use en is as a preposition to describe something. For example, une veste en cuir is "a leather jacket." Literally, this is une veste, “a jacket,” en cuir, “in leather.” Here, en is used to describe what the noun, in this case “jacket,” is made of.
Another example would be if you ask a shop clerk at a clothing store the question Est-ce que vous avez cette veste en bleu? which means, “Do you have this jacket in blue?” In this example, en is used to describe the color of the jacket.
Not too hard, right?
That's it for now. If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments!
A bientôt, see you soon!