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How To Use “En Train De” In Conversational French

How To Use “En Train De” In Conversational French

What does “en train de” mean in French?

The French use the expression “en train de” (pronounced ɑ̃ tʀɛ̃ də) to express being in the middle of “doing” something. This equates to the present present continuous tense in English, or -ing. The grammatical structure is: être (to be) en train de + infinitive. This post will explain precisely how to use this is expression in conversational French with audio examples.

être en train de

to be in the middle of doing something

En train de (French lesson) - to be in the middle of doing something

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

Je suis en train de travailler.

I am working.

Example of how to use en train de.

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.

Je n’ai pas le temps. Je suis en train de finir mon projet.

I don’t have the time. I’m finishing my project.

En train de example.

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 enfants sont en train de jouer.

The kids are playing.

Elle est en train d’étudier.

She is studying.

En train de example
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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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