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Similar to my other question, but I have a very specific example.

I am in France

vs

I am in the country (or I am in that country).

Would these translations be correct?

Je suis en France

and

Je suis dans le pays (Je suis dans ce pays)

In other words, do you use

en (or au/aux if masc)

For a proper noun of a country (France)

and do you use

dans

for just the general noun "country?"

What is the correct preposition for saying "in the country"?

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What is the question? –  M42 Dec 13 '11 at 18:39
    
@m42 Is my translation correct? Do you use en for France and dans for le pays? –  Bryan Denny Dec 13 '11 at 19:11
    
@m42 updated question to clarify better –  Bryan Denny Dec 13 '11 at 19:13
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your assertion is correct, one must say:

Je suis dans le (ce) pays.

For a particuliar country:

Je suis en France, en Angleterre, en Allemagne.

Je suis au Vénézuela, au Japon, aux Seychelles.

But there're some exceptions (as usual in french):

Je suis à Madagascar, à la Réunion.

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1  
It's always en for a country that is singular and either is feminine or begins with a vowel, and au or aux for a plural. However, when a country is also an island or a town, we refer to the island or town instead of the country. Towns take à, islands take either à or en/au or sur le/la/les (with partly size-based and partly ad hoc rules). –  Gilles Dec 14 '11 at 10:02
    
Je ne comprends pas la réponse. Quand utilise-t-on en et quand à/au/aux? –  rds Dec 14 '11 at 15:43
    
@M42 à toi. Et je ne comprends pas non plus pourquoi "à la Réunion" fait exception "au Japon"... –  rds Dec 14 '11 at 16:11
    
@rds: à la Réunion fait exception parce que c'est féminin (et de plus c'est une île) alors que ce devrait être en Réunion. Exception de l'exception, on dit en Martinique bien que ce soit féminin en plus d'être une île. Quant au Japon, bien que masculin, c'est une île... –  M42 Dec 14 '11 at 16:44
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