FR: to spend/take/go/be (on) vacation

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by k145, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. k145 Junior Member

    English - California
    Having learned a couple of languages in the past, I know that teachers may sometimes withhold certain grammatical information in lower levels because of the complexity but with french and articles, I've become seriously confused: I was told that articles must always be used with nouns unless it follows the preposition "de" (une carafe d'eau) and of course "je suis professeur"

    But can someone explain these?

    Je passe les vacances.
    Je pars en vacances.
    Je suis en vacances.
    Je prende des vacances.

    I understand the difference in meaning (spend, go, am, take) but the articles...:(

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2013
  2. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    En is not an article but a preposition that doesn't take any article. You do the same in English by the way. ;)

    Je pars/suis en vacances. = I go/am on vacation.

    Regarding the other two examples, note that the first is a bit awkward as is. It would however be more natural if you specify or imply the type of vacation.

    Je passe les meilleures vacances de ma vie. = I'm spending the best vacation of my life.
    Je passe les vacances en Floride. = I'm spending the (current) vacation in Florida.
    Je prends des vacances. = I take a vacation.
  3. k145 Junior Member

    English - California
    But what happened to the articles in the 2nd and 3rd example?
  4. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    We simply rarely ever use any article after the preposition en in (modern) French, just like you don't use any in English when saying on vacation. There is nothing to understand; that's just something you need to learn.

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