French Grammar: Adverbs of Place

French Grammar: Adverbs of Place

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French Grammar: Adverbs of Place
la grammaire française: les adverbes de lieu

Just as an adjective modifies (describes) a noun, an ADVERB modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb.  Adverbs generally answer the question How? How well? How much? How often? or When? They help us provide more details when we’re describing actions.

Not surprisingly, adverbs of place indicate where an action occurs. Adverbs of place answer the question Où?


Many words that are used as prepositions can also be used as adverbs. Often, when a word is used as a preposition, it is followed by DE + (definite article) + noun. For example:

J’habite près de l’université.
I live near the university.

When that same word is used as an adverb of place, nothing usually follows that word; it normally comes after a direct object and is the last word of the phrase in which it is used. For example:

Il vont à un café près.
They are going to a nearby café.

Some words used as prepositions take a different form when used as an adverb of place.


Attends-moi dans la maison.
Wait for me in the house.

Attends-moi dedans.
Wait for me inside.


La voiture est à l’éxtérieur du garage.
The car is outside of the garage.

La voiture est dehors.
The car is outside.

Here is a list of commonly used adverbs of place:

à droite : on the right

à gauche : on the right

à l’intérieur : inside; indoors

à l’extérieur : outside; outdoors

ailleurs : elsewhere

au-dessous : below

au-dessus : above

au fond : at the bottom

(tout) autour : (all) around

d’ailleurs : besides

dedans : inside; indoors

dehors : outside; outdoors

derrière : behind

dessous : below

dessus : above

devant : in front

en bas : down; downstairs

en haut : up; upstairs

ici : here (also: up here; down here)

: there

là-bas : over there; down there

là-haut : up there

loin : far away

n’importe où : anywhere

nulle part : nowhere

par ici : over here; this way

par là : nearby; in the vicinity

partout : everywhere

près : nearby

quelque part : somwhere


Je ne le vois nulle part.

I don’t see him anywhere.
(Literally: I see him nowhere.)

Suivez-moi par ici.

Follow me this way.

Leur chambre est en haut.

Their bedroom is upstairs.

Je ne trouve pas mes lunettes. J’aurais dû les laisser ailleurs.

I can’t find my glasses. I must have left them elsewhere.

Allons au restaurant là-bas.
Let’s go to the restaurant over there.

La mère marche devant et son enfant marche derrière.
The mother walks in front and her child walks behind.