For example: I want to say that Freiburg (in Germany) is located east of France.

My sentence was this: 弗莱堡在法国的东边。

This is also how we did it in class. But I'm starting to worry this sounds like it's IN THE east of France, since a Chinese friend of mine was very confused by it. What woule be correct here?

  • 3
    弗莱堡在法国的东边 may be ambiguous. 弗莱堡在法国以东 is not ambiguous. 里昂在法国的东部 is not ambiguous.
    – xenophōn
    Jul 11, 2019 at 2:15
  • @賈可Jacky I could say 我家在法国的东部, but I meant within France.
    – dan
    Jul 11, 2019 at 10:32
  • @dan It's right. 法国的东部 the east parts of France (inside France), 法国以东 the east side of France (outside France).
    – xenophōn
    Jul 12, 2019 at 2:59

3 Answers 3


A在B的东边 has two meanings,one meaning is that A is inside of B, another could be outside of B.

The first one can be stated more clearly as: A在B的东部,and the second one as A在B的东边上(也可用:A在B的东面)。

However, if you say A在B的东边,most Chinese will judge which mean by the context or by further questions. So you do not need worry too much


I want to say that Freiburg (in Germany) is located east of France.

弗莱堡在法国东边 could mean "Freiburg is in the Eastern part of France" or "Freiburg is located somewhere East of France's border"

To avoid ambiguity you can write:

弗莱堡在法国以东 (Freiburg is located somewhere East of France's border)

弗莱堡在法国东边的德国境内 (Freiburg is at the East side of France, in Germany)


To avoid the ambiguity, I would say 弗莱堡在法国以东. This clearly expresses that it's out of France. It's a bit formal phrasing though.

Other alternatives including yours can be interpreted either way (out of/within France). However, people could figure out what you intend to mean if you provide more context or explanation. For example, 弗莱堡在法国东边, 不在法国境内,在法国境外。

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