In French, “près de” and “prêt à” are two expressions that sound similar but have quite distinct meanings. Understanding when to use each one appropriately can be tricky for French learners.
1. Près de
“Près de” translates to “near” or “close to” in English. It indicates physical proximity or distance. For example:
- Ils ont déménagé dans une banlieue près de Paris. (They moved to a suburb near Paris.)
- La boulangerie se situe près de l’église. (The bakery is located near the church.)
- Je suis près de toi. (I am near you.)
- La réunion est près de se finir. (The meeting is about to end.)
“Près de” is always followed by a noun or location. It expresses where something or someone is situated in relation to something else.
2. Prêt à
“Prêt à” means “ready to” or “prepared for” in English. It describes a state of readiness before an action. For example:
- Elle est prête à finir son travail. (She is ready to finish her work.)
- Elle est prête pour son rendez-vous. (She is prepared for her appointment.)
- Il est prêt à partir. (He is ready to leave.)
“Prêt à” can stand alone or be followed by an infinitive verb. It expresses anticipation or willingness to do something.
Another key difference is that “près de” is static, while “prêt à” is dynamic. “Près de” just describes where something is, whereas “prêt à” implies future action.
It’s important to pay attention to the context to know when to use “près de” vs “prêt à” correctly in French. Although they sound similar, “près de” refers to proximity and “prêt à” refers to readiness. Getting them mixed up is a common mistake among French learners.
The next time you want to describe closeness in French, “près de” is the right choice. But if you want to convey readiness, choose “prêt à” instead. Getting familiar with their distinct uses will help build your fluency.