1

The pronoun "en" can be used to replace a phrase "de ...", as in

Il y a (beaucoup de/peu de/quelques) restaurants.

Il y en a (beaucoup/peu/quelques-uns).

If the phrase is after the preposition, such as in

Je suis allé à (beaucoup de/peu de/quelques) restaurants.

can we use en at all? Or do we always have to drop it?

Il y a des centaines de restaurants dans la ville. J'en suis allé à (beaucoup/peu/quelques-uns), et ils sont assez bien, à mon avis.

or

Il y a des centaines de restaurants dans la ville. Je suis allé à (beaucoup/peu/quelques-uns), et ils sont assez bien, à mon avis.

1

Yes en can have as antecedent (beaucoup de/peu de/quelques) + something, but the issue is with the intransitive verb être with which en cannot be used that way.

You need to select a transitive verb, for example fréquenter, visiter, essayer then en will be possible, e.g.:

Il y a des centaines de restaurants dans la ville. J'en ai essayé quelques-uns, et ils sont assez bien, à mon avis.

  • Thanks. Can I still say "Je suis allé à (beaucoup/peu/quelques-uns)", without the en? – user11550 Dec 20 '16 at 1:32
  • You might say: Je suis allé dans beaucoup/peu d'entre-eux, je suis allé dans quelques-uns (d'entre-eux) – jlliagre Dec 20 '16 at 1:41
  • Thanks. Is there an explanation why we say "Je vais dans un restaurant", but "Je vais au restaurant"? – user11550 Dec 20 '16 at 1:50
  • Au = à le, see also french.stackexchange.com/questions/14734/… – jlliagre Dec 20 '16 at 2:07
2

First, I wouldn't say "je suis allé à un restaurant, mais

"je suis allé dans un restaurant."

ou

"je suis allé au restaurant."

Now, to answer the question, if I had to use a pronoun I would take y when you are not replacing something that follows de.

"j'y suis (beaucoup/peu/souvent) allé."

  • I think the meaning could be different. If I want to say "There are many restaurants in the city. I've been to some of them, and they are pretty good." I don't think the part "I've been to some of them" can be properly translated with your suggestions. – user11550 Dec 19 '16 at 20:27
  • you are right : my suggestion would rather be used for "There are many restaurant in the city. I went there many time. "If you want to say: "I've been to some of them", I would say "je suis allé dans certains de ceux-ci." – radouxju Dec 19 '16 at 20:38

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