How To Use The Expression “En Train De” In French

The French use expression “en train de” (pronounced ɑ̃ tʀɛ̃ də) to express being in the middle of “doing” an action. The grammatical structure of “en train de” is: être (to be) en train de + infinitive.

How to use "en train de" in French

Here’s an example of how to use “en train de” in a sentence:

  • Je suis en train de travailler. I am working.

The English translation of the example sentence, “am working” is the present progressive (-ing) tense.

Both sentence “Je travaille” and “Je suis en train de travailler” both means “I am working”. However, the French use “en train de” to emphasize the action of being in the middle of “doing” or carrying out the activity.

Thus, the French would use “en train de” in the following contexts.

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  • Je ne peux pas venir aujourd’hui parce que je suis en train de travailler. I can’t come today because I’m working.
  • Je n’ai pas de temps cet après-midi parce que je suis en train de finir mon projet. I don’t have time this afternoon because I’m finishing my project.
  • Elle ne peut pas réponder au téléphone parce qu’elle est en train de faire un gâteau. She can’t answer the phone because she’s making a cake.
en train de example

In conclusion, the most important aspect to using “en train de” in French is to put emphasis on the fact that the subject of the sentence is busy or “in the action” of carrying out the action of the verb.

Here are some more example sentences.

  • Les chats sont en train de dormir. The cats are sleeping.
  • Je suis en train de manger. I am eating.
  • Elle est en train d’étudier. She is studying.
  • Les garçons sont en train de courir. The boys are running.
  • Les enfants sont en train de jouer. The children are playing.
  • Nous sommes en train de parler. We are talking.
  • Tu es en train d’apprendre ces mots. You are learning these words.
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