French III Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar
    


[ French III Zip file of mp3s - 26.83 MB ]

41. Imperfect Tense Listen to MP3

This past tense corresponds to "was, were or used to."  This tense is used for repeated, continuous, or ongoing actions; as well as for verbs that describe background and circumstances, such as weather, time, and physical, mental, and emotional states. (Use the passé composé for actions that happened once and are done.)  Verbs that express mental and emotional states that are descriptive in nature are generally used in the imperfect more than the passé composé.  These verbs are: aimer, avoir, croire, détester, espérer, être, penser, and préférer.

To form the stem, use the nous form of the present tense and drop the -ons.  Then add these endings:

-ais /ɛ/ -ions /jɔ̃/
-ais /ɛ/ -iez /je/
-ait /ɛ/ -aient /ɛ/

The only exception is être for which you must use the stem ét-, but still the same endings.  Verb stems that end in -c must use a cedilla (ç) under the c to make it soft. Verb stems ending in -g keep the e before all forms except nous and vous.

être
étais /etɛ/ étions /etjɔ̃/
étais /etɛ/ étiez /etje/
était /etɛ/ étaient /etɛ/

commencer manger
commençais /kɔmɑ̃sɛ/ commencions /kɔmɑ̃sjɔ̃/ mangeais /mɑ̃ʒɛ/ mangions /mɑ̃ʒjɔ̃/
commençais /kɔmɑ̃sɛ/ commenciez /kɔmɑ̃sje/ mangeais /mɑ̃ʒɛ/ mangiez /mɑ̃ʒje/
commençait /kɔmɑ̃sɛ/ commençaient /kɔmɑ̃sɛ/ mangeait /mɑ̃ʒɛ/ mangeaient /mɑ̃ʒɛ/


Avoir, Devoir, Pouvoir, Savoir, and Vouloir
These verbs change meanings, according to whether they are used in the imperfect or the passé composé.

Imperfect Passé Composé
avoir
j'avais I had j'ai eu I got, received
devoir
je devais I was supposed to j'ai dû I must have, I had to (and did)
pouvoir
je pouvais I was capable j'ai pu
je n'ai pas pu
I was able to (and did), succeeded
I couldn't, failed
savoir
je savais I knew j'ai su I found out, discovered
vouloir
je voulais I wanted to j'ai voulu
je n'ai pas voulu
I tried, decided, insisted
I refused

The imperfect tense is also used with these constructions:

être en train de + infinitive = to be in the middle of doing something
J'étais en train d'étudier quand vous êtes arrivés. I was (in the process of ) studying when you arrived.
être sur le point de + infinitive = to be just about to do something
J'étais sur le point de vous rappeler. I was just about to call you back.
aller + infinitive = going to do something
J'allais sortir quand le téléphone a sonné. I was going to leave when the phone rang.
venir de + infinitive = to have just done something
Je venais de manger, alors je n'avais plus faim. I had just eaten, so I wasn't hungry anymore.


42. Places / Les Endroits Listen to MP3

school l'école (f) /ekɔl/ university l'université (f) /ynivɛʀsite/
bathroom les toilettes (f) /twalɛt/ bank la banque /bɑ̃k/
locker le casier /kɑzje/ train station la gare /gaʀ/
drinking fountain la fontaine /fɔ̃tɛn/ airport l'aéroport (m) /aeʀɔpɔʀ/
store le magasin /magazɛ̃/ telephone le téléphone /telefɔn/
library la biblio(thèque) /biblijɔtɛk/ apartment l'appartement (m) /apaʀtəmɑ̃/
office le bureau /byʀo/ hotel l'hôtel (m) /otɛl/
stadium le stade /stad/ village le village /vilaʒ/
cafe le café /kafe/ factory l'usine (f) /yzin/
cafeteria la cafétéria /kafeteʀja/ garden le jardin /ʒaʀdɛ̃/
movie theater le cinéma /sinema/ castle le château /ʃato/
church l'église (f) /egliz/ cathedral la cathédrale /katedʀal/
museum le musée /myze/ zoo le zoo /zo/
pool la piscine /pisin/ bakery la boulangerie /bulɑ̃ʒʀi/
countryside la campagne /kɑ̃paɲ/ monument le monument /mɔnymɑ̃/
beach la plage /plaʒ/ pharmacy la pharmacie /faʀmasi/
theater le théâtre /teɑtʀ/ butcher shop la boucherie /buʃʀi/
park le parc /paʀk/ candy store  la confiserie /kɔ̃fizʀi/
restaurant le restaurant /ʀɛstɔʀɑ̃/ police station la gendarmerie /ʒɑ̃daʀm(ə)ʀi/
hospital l'hôpital (m) /ɔpital/ town hall la mairie /mɛʀi/
post office la poste /pɔst/ square la place /plas/
home la maison /mɛzɔ̃/ bookstore la librairie /libʀɛʀi/
city la ville /vil/ grocery store l'épicerie (f) /episʀi/
supermarket le supermarché /sypɛʀmaʀʃe/ pastry shop la pâtisserie /pɑtisʀi/
delicatessen la charcuterie /ʃaʀkytʀi/ fish market la poissonnerie /pwasɔnʀi/

 

Nowadays, la médiathèque /medjatɛk/ is replacing bibliothèque because most libraries also have DVDs and CDs to lend, not just books. You may also hear la cantine /kɑ̃tin/ to refer to the cafeteria in a school.

Listen to the les magasins : à la boulangerie mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.


43. Transportation Listen to MP3

by bike en vélo (m) /ɑ̃ velo/
by bus en bus (m) /ɑ̃ bus/
by moped en scooter (m) /ɑ̃ skutœʀ/
by car en voiture (f) /ɑ̃ vwatyʀ/
by motorcycle en moto (f) /ɑ̃ moto/
by subway en métro (m) /ɑ̃ metʀo/
on foot à pied (m) /a pje/
by plane en avion (m) /ɑ̃ navjɔ̃/
by train en train (m) /ɑ̃ tʀɛ̃/
by boat en bateau (m) /ɑ̃ bato/

 

Instead of using a specific verb of movement (drive, fly, walk) before a location, French actually uses a more general verb + the location + the manner of movement.


I walk to school. = Je vais à l'école à pied. (I go to school on foot.)
I'm flying to New York. = Je vais à New York en avion. (I go to New York by plane.)

Common slang words for car/automobile are une bagnole /baɲɔl/ or une caisse /kɛs/. In Quebec, it's un char /ʃaʀ/.


44. To Want & To Be Able To Listen to MP3

vouloir /vulwaʀ/ -to want and pouvoir /puvwaʀ/ - to be able to, can

Present Imperfect Future
veux /vø/ voulons /vulɔ̃/ voulais /vulɛ/ voulions /vuljɔ̃/ voudrai /vudʀɛ/ voudrons /vudʀɔ̃/
veux /vø/ voulez /vule/ voulais /vulɛ/ vouliez /vulje/ voudras /vudʀa/ voudrez /vudʀe/
veut /vø/ veulent /vœl/ voulait /vulɛ/ voulaient /vulɛ/ voudra /vudʀa/ voudront /vudʀɔ̃/
                       
peux /pø/ pouvons /puvɔ̃/ pouvais /puvɛ/ pouvions /puvjɔ̃/ pourrai /puʀɛ/ pourrons /puʀɔ̃/
peux /pø/ pouvez /puve/ pouvais /puvɛ/ pouviez /puvje/ pourras /puʀa/ pourrez /puʀe/
peut /pø/ peuvent /pœv/ pouvait /puvɛ/ pouvaient /puvɛ/ pourra /puʀa/ pourront /puʀɔ̃/

 

Voulez-vous? can mean Do you want? or Will you? The past participles are voulu and pu and both are conjugated with avoir. The conditional forms of vouloir are used in the expression "would like" i.e. I'd like = je voudrais, you'd like = tu voudrais, he'd/she'd like = il/elle voudrait, we'd like = nous voudrions, you'd like = vous voudriez, they'd like = ils/elles voudraient.

► You do not need to use pouvoir after verbs that involve the senses, such as voir (to see) and entendre (to hear). Je ne vois pas / Je n'entends pas can mean I don't see or I can't see / I don't hear or I can't hear depending on the context.


45. The House and Yard / La maison et le jardin Listen to MP3

House la maison /mɛzɔ̃/ Yard le jardin /ʒaʀdɛ̃/
Apartment l'appartement (m) /apaʀtəmɑ̃/ Shrub l'arbuste (m) /aʀbyst/
Bedroom la chambre /ʃɑ̃bʀ/ Lawn/grass le gazon / la pelouse /gazɔ̃/ /p(ə)luz/
Hallway le couloir /kulwaʀ/ Bush le buisson /bɥisɔ̃/
Kitchen la cuisine /kɥizin/ Tree l'arbre (m) /aʀbʀ/
Storeroom le débarras /debaʀa/ Lawn mower la tondeuse à gazon /tɔ̃dœzagazɔ̃/
Stairs l'escalier (m) /ɛskalje/ Hose le tuyau d'arrosage /tɥijodaʀozaʒ/
Floor l'étage (m) /etaʒ/ Watering can l'arrosoir (m) /aʀozaʒ/
Living Room le living / le salon /liviŋ/ /salɔ̃/ Rake le râteau /ʀɑto/
Closet la penderie /pɑ̃dʀi/ Hoe la bêche /bɛʃ/
Room la pièce /pjɛs/ Clippers le cisaille /sizɑj/
Ground Floor le rez-de-chaussée /ʀɛdʃose/ Shovel la pelle /pɛl/
Dining Room la salle à manger /salamɑ̃ʒe/ Sprinkler l'arroseur (m) /aʀozœʀ/
Bathroom la salle de bains /saldəbɛ̃/ Lock (door) la serrure /seʀyʀ/
Terrace, patio la terrasse /tɛʀas/ Lock (bolt) le verrou /vɛʀu/
Attic le grenier /gʀənje/ Padlock le cadenas /kadna/
Chimney la cheminée /ʃ(ə)mine/ Hinges la charnière /ʃaʀnjɛʀ/
Roof le toit /twɑ/ Key la clé /kle/
Garage le garage /gaʀaʒ/ Keychain le porte-clé /pɔʀtkle/
Driveway l'allée (f) /ale/ Keyhole le trou de la serrure seʀyʀ/
Sidewalk le trottoir /tʀɔtwaʀ/ Doorknob la poignée de porte /pwaɲedəpɔʀt/
Porch le porche /pɔʀʃ/ Tile roofing les tuiles (f) /tɥil/
Basement le sous-sol /susɔl/ Clapboard/Shingle les bardeaux (m) /baʀdo/
Cellar la cave /kav/ Slate roofing l'ardoise (f) /aʀdwaz/

 

You may also see the words la loggia /lɔdʒja/ (small room off a large room - sometimes like a pantry) and la veranda /veʀɑ̃da/ (enclosed porch/balcony), as well as les toilettes /twalɛt/ (a separate room just for the toilet), for parts of a house or apartment.

Listen to the le logement : décrire son appartement mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.


46. Furniture and Appliances / Les meubles et l'Electromenager Listen to MP3

Furniture les meubles /mœbl/ Appliances l'électroménager /elɛktʀomenaʒe/
Shelf l'étagère (f) /etaʒɛʀ/ Thermostat le thermostat /tɛʀmɔsta/
Desk le bureau /byʀo/ Air Conditioner le climatiseur /klimatizœʀ/
Chair la chaise /ʃɛz/ Fan le ventilateur /vɑ̃tilatœʀ/
Dresser la commode /kɔmɔd/ Rocking chair le fauteuil à bascule /fotœjabaskyl/
Curtain le rideau /ʀido/ Stool le tabouret /tabuʀɛ/
Curtain rod la tringle /tʀɛ̃gl/ Cushion le coussin /kusɛ̃/
Shutters les volets (m) /vɔlɛ/ Carpet la moquette /mɔkɛt/
Blinds les stores (m) /stɔʀ/ Mixer / Beater le batteur électrique /batœʀelɛktʀik/
Window la fenêtre /fənɛtʀ/ Blender le mixeur /miksœʀ/
Bed le lit / le plumard /li/ /plymaʀ/ Can opener l'ouvre-boîtes (m) /uvʀəbwat/
Door la porte /pɔʀt/ Toaster le grille-pain /gʀijpɛ̃/
Closet le placard /plakaʀ/ Coffee maker la cafétière /kaftjɛʀ/
Rug le tapis /tapi/ Coffee press le moulin à café /mulɛ̃ na kafe/
Lamp la lampe /lɑ̃p/ Kettle la bouilloire /bujwaʀ/
Nightstand la table de nuit /tabldənɥi/ Sheet le drap /dʀa/
Answering machine le répondeur /ʀepɔ̃dœʀ/ Blanket la couverture /kuvɛʀtyʀ/
Stereo la chaîne hi fi /ʃɛn i fi/ Mattress le matelas /matla/
Television la télé(vision) /televizjɔ̃/ Bunkbeds les lits superposés (m) /lisypɛʀpoze/
VCR le magnétoscope /maɲetɔskɔp/ Lightswitch l'interrupteur (m) /ɛ̃teʀyptœʀ/
Remote Control la télécommande /telekɔmɑ̃d/ Lampshade l'abat-jour (m) /abaʒuʀ/
Computer l'ordinateur (m) /ɔʀdinatœʀ/ Faucet le robinet /ʀɔbinɛ/
Radio la radio /ʀadjo/ Drain/Piping la canalisation /kanalizasjɔ̃/
Fridge le frigo /fʀigo/ Towel bar le porte-serviettes /pɔʀtsɛʀvjɛt/
Refrigerator le réfrigérateur /ʀefʀiʒeʀatœʀ/ Laundry room la buanderie /bɥɑ̃dʀi/
Freezer le congélateur /kɔ̃ʒelatœʀ/ Bleach la javel /ʒavɛl/
(Coffee) Table la table (basse) /tabl bas/ Laundry basket le panier à linge /panje a lɛ̃ʒ/
Sink l'évier (m) /evje/ Clothespin la pince à linge /pɛ̃s a lɛ̃ʒ/
Bathtub la baignoire /bɛɲwaʀ/ Washing Machine la machine à laver / le lave-linge /maʃinalave/ /lavlɛ̃ʒ/
Stove la cuisinière /kɥizinjɛʀ/ Clothes Dryer le sèche-linge /sɛʃlɛ̃ʒ/
Oven le four /fuʀ/ Iron le fer à repasser /fɛʀaʀəpase/
Dishwasher le lave-vaisselle /lavvɛsɛl/ Ironing board la planche à repasser /plɑ̃ʃaʀəpase/
Microwave le four à micro-ondes /fuʀamikʀoɔ̃d/ Hanger le cintre /sɛ̃tʀ/
Shower la douche /duʃ/ Vacuum l'aspirateur (m) /aspiʀatœʀ/
Pillow l'oreiller /ɔʀɛje/ Broom le balai /balɛ/
Mirror le miroir /miʀwaʀ/ Dustpan la pelle /pɛl/
Ceiling le plafond /plafɔ̃/ Mop la serpillière /sɛʀpijɛʀ/
Floor le plancher /plɑ̃ʃe/ Garbage les ordures (f) /ɔʀdyʀ/
Armchair le fauteuil /fotœj/ Garbage bag le sac poubelle /sakpubɛl/
Clock la pendule /pɑ̃dyl/ Garbage can la poubelle /pubɛl/
Bedspread le couvre-lit /kuvʀəli/ Flyswatter la tapette à mouche /tapɛtamuʃ/
Vase le vase /vɑz/ Clothes Dryer le séchoir /seʃwaʀ/
Bathroom sink le lavabo /lavabo/ Hair Dryer le sèche-cheveux /seʃaʃəvø/
Futon couch le clic-clac /klik klak/ Couch/Sofa le canapé / le sofa /kanape/ /sɔfa/
      DVD Player le lecteur de DVD /lɛktœʀdədevede/

Monte le son. / Baisse le son. Turn up the volume. / Turn down the volume.
Allume la lumière. / Eteinds la télé. Turn on the light. / Turn off the television.


47. Comparatives & Superlatives Listen to MP3

Comparatives
aussi (adj or adv) que as (adj or adv) as
moins (adj or adv) que less (adj or adv) than
plus (adj or adv) que more (adj or adv) than
plus de (noun) que more (noun) than
autant de (noun) que as many (noun) as
moins de (noun) que less (noun) than

Sample Sentences
She is taller than Colette. Elle est plus grande que Colette.
I am smarter than you. Je suis plus intelligente que toi.
Peter runs less quickly than me. Pierre court moins rapidement que moi.
The kitchen is as big as the living room. La cuisine est aussi grande que le salon.
I have more books than she. J'ai plus de livres qu'elle.
We have as many cars as he. Nous avons autant de voitures que lui.

 

Verbs can also be compared with plus/aussi/moins (+ que):

Il travaille moins qu'elle.  He works less than she.
Ils dorment plus.  They sleep more.

Superlatives
Simply add le, la or les before the comparative if you are using an adjective.  With adverbs, always use le.  After a superlative, de is used to mean in.  If the adjective follows the noun, the superlative follows the noun also, surrounding the adjective.

Sample Sentences
It's the biggest city in the world. C'est la plus grande ville du monde.
She is the most beautiful woman in this room. Elle est la plus belle femme de cette salle.
This neighborhood is the least expensive in Paris. Ce quartier est le moins cher de Paris.
It's the most dreaded punishment in the world. C'est la punition la plus redoutable du monde.
She works the most courageously of everyone. Elle travaille le plus courageusement de tous.

 

In French, sometimes you don't use any articles, as compared to English:

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


48. Irregular Forms Listen to MP3

Adjective Comparative Superlative
bon good meilleur/e better le/la meilleur/e best
mauvais bad pire worse le/la pire worst
petit small moindre less le/la moindre least
Adverb Comparative Superlative
bien well mieux better le mieux best
beaucoup much plus more le plus most
mal badly pis worse le pis worst
peu little moins less le moins least

 

Only use the irregular forms of mauvais in the abstract sense.  If the idea is concrete, you may use plus/moins mauvais and le/la mauvais.


49. Clothing / Les vetements Listen to MP3

pajamas le pyjama boxer shorts le caleçon
jewelry le bijou briefs le slip
necklace le collier panties la culotte
jeans le jean tuxedo le smoking
pants le pantalon bowtie le nœud papillon
sweater le pull vest/cardigan le gilet
turtleneck le col roulé flip flops les tongs
raincoat l'imperméable (m) sleeve la manche
blouse le chemisier pocket la poche
bra le soutien-gorge decorative scarf la foulard
slip le jupon man's suit le costume
coat le manteau woman's suit le tailleur
tennis shoes des tennis (m) slippers des pantoufles (f)
swimsuit le maillot de bain jacket le blouson
shorts le short underwear les sous-vêtements
bracelet le bracelet gloves les gants (m)
charm le porte-bonheur mittens les moufles (f)
t-shirt le tee-shirt belt la ceinture
hat le chapeau cap la casquette
ring la bague skirt la jupe
chain la chaînette dress la robe
earrings les boucles d'oreilles (f) sandal la sandale
pin l'épingle (f) boots des bottes (f)
sock la chaussette blazer/coat la veste
shoe la chaussure scarf l'écharpe (f)
man's shirt la chemise tie la cravate
hooded jacket l'anorak slipper shoes des chaussons
sneakers des baskets high heels des escarpins
track suit le jogging long shorts le bermuda
size (clothes) la taille size (shoes) la pointure

Les bas (stockings) and les collants (tights) are popular in France. Chaussures à talons hauts are high-heeled shoes, while chaussures à talons plats are flat shoes. Chaussures de ville are dress shoes. A slang word for clothes is les fringues.


50. To Wear Listen to MP3

Mettre /mɛtʀ/ - to put, to put on, wear
Present
Imperfect
Future
mets /mɛ/ mettons /mɛtɔ̃/ mettais /mɛtɛ/ mettions /mɛtjɔ̃/ mettrai /mɛtʀɛ/ mettrons /mɛtʀɔ̃/
mets /mɛ/ mettez /mɛte/ mettais /mɛtɛ/ mettiez /mɛtje/ mettras /mɛtʀa/ mettrez /mɛtʀe/
met /mɛ/ mettent /mɛt/ mettait /mɛtɛ/ mettaient /mɛtɛ/ mettra /mɛtʀa/ mettront /mɛtʀɔ̃/

 

Other verbs that are conjugated like mettre:  promettre - to promise and permettre - to permit. The past participle of mettre is mis and it is conjugated with avoir.

Porter is actually the verb to wear, but the French use mettre also.

Il / Elle te va bien. It looks good on you. (informal)
Il / Elle vous va bien. It looks good on you. (formal)
Ils / Elles te vont bien. They look good on you. (informal)
Ils / Elles vous vont bien. They look good on you. (formal)


51. Future Tenses: Simple and Anterior Listen to MP3

The futur simple expresses an action that will take place [will + infinitive]. The futur antérieur expresses an action that will have taken place before another future action [will have + past participle].  The future tense is used just like it is in English, however, in French, the future is always used after quand or lorsque (when), dès que or aussitôt que (as soon as) and tant que (as long as.)

To form the future tense, use the infinitive and add these endings that resemble those of avoir.  However, you drop the -e from -re verbs.

-ai /ɛ/ -ons ɔ̃/
-as /a/ -ez /e/
-a /a/ -ont /ɔ̃/

parler
choisir
perdre
parlerai parlerons choisirai choisirons perdrai perdrons
parleras parlerez choisiras choisirez perdras perdrez
parlera parleront choisira choisiront perdra perdront

 

And of course, there are exceptions.  Here are the irregular stems for the future tense (these will also be used in the conditional tense):

Irregular Stems
aller ir- pleuvoir pleuvr-
avoir aur- pouvoir pourr-
courir courr- recevoir recevr-
devoir devr- savoir saur-
envoyer enverr- tenir tiendr-
être ser- valoir vaudr-
faire fer- venir viendr-
falloir faudr- voir verr-
mourir mourr- vouloir voudr-

être
aller
serai serons j'irai irons
seras serez iras irez
sera seront ira iront

 

Other exceptions:  For appeler and jeter, double the consonant.  For nettoyer and payer, change the y to i.  For acheter, add an accent grave.  For préférer, the accents all remain the same.

jeter
payer
acheter

préférer

jetterai jetterons paierai paierons achèterai achèterons préférerai préférerons
jetteras jetterez paieras paierez achèteras achèterez préféreras préférerez
jettera jetteront paiera paieront achètera achèteront préférera préféreront

 

To form the futur antérieur (will have + past participle), use the future of either avoir or être (whichever the main verb takes) and the past participle of the main verb.

Quand ils reviendront, ils auront changé.  When they come back, they will have changed.
Dès qu'ils seront revenus, ils voudront repartir.  As soon as they have returned, they will want to leave again.


52. Preceding & Plural Adjectives Listen to MP3

Masculine Feminine
Adjective Singular Plural   Singular Plural  
beautiful beau (bel) beaux   belle belles  
good bon bons   bonne bonnes  
dear cher chers   chère chères  
crazy fou (fol) foux   folle folles  
nice gentil gentils   gentille gentilles  
big grand grands   grande grandes  
large gros gros   grosse grosses  
young jeune jeunes   jeune jeunes  
pretty joli jolis   jolie jolies  
long long longs   longue longues  
bad mauvais mauvais   mauvaise mauvaises  
better, best   meilleur meilleurs   meilleure meilleures  
soft mou (mol) moux   molle molles  
new nouveau (nouvel) nouveaux   nouvelle nouvelles  
little petit petits   petite petites  
old vieux (vieil) vieux   vieille vieilles  

 

The masculine singular and plural are pronounced the same, as are the feminine singular and plural.  These are the most common adjectives that go before the noun.  An acronym to remember which ones go before the noun is BRAGS:  Beauty, Resemblance (même and autre), Age/Order (premier and dernier), Goodness, and Size.  All other adjectives, except numbers, go after the noun.  The five words in parentheses (bel, fol, mol, nouvel, and vieil) are used before masculine singular words beginning with a vowel or a silent h.

A few adjectives can be used before or after the noun, and the meaning changes accordingly.  When used before the noun, they take a figurative meaning; and when used after, they take a literal meaning.

Before plural adjectives preceding plural nouns, you use de instead of des to mean some.  Ex:  Some old monuments.  De vieux monuments.


53. Adjectives: Formation of Feminine Listen to MP3


Almost all adjectives must agree in number and gender with the noun they modify. Most adjectives are given in the masculine form, so to change to the feminine forms, follow these rules:

Masculine Feminine Adjective
Add -e brun   brune   brown
fatigué   fatiguée   tired
If it already ends in -e, add nothing jeune   jeune   young
-x changes to -se généreux   généreuse   generous

Exceptions:

faux   fausse   false
roux   rousse   red (hair)
doux   douce   sweet, soft
-il, -el, and -eil change to
-ille, -elle
, and -eille
naturel   naturelle   natural
-et changes to -ète inquiet   inquiète   worried

Exceptions:

muet   muette   silent
coquet   coquette   stylish
-en and -on change to
-enne
and -onne
Italien   Italienne   Italian
-er changes to -ère cher   chère   dear, expensive
-f changes to -ve actif   active   active
-c changes to -che blanc   blanche   white

Exceptions:

public   publique   public
grec   grecque   Greek
-g changes to -gue long   longue   long
-eur changes to -euse if adjective
is derived from verb
menteur   menteuse   liar
-eur changes to -rice if adjective
is not same as verb
créateur   créatrice   creator
-eur changes to -eure with
adjectives of comparison
inférieur   inférieure   inferior
And a few completely irregular ones: épais   épaisse   thick
favori   favorite   favorite
frais   fraîche   fresh, cool


54. Forming Plurals:  Adjectives Listen to MP3


To form the feminine plural, just add an -s, unless it already ends in an s, then add nothing.  To form the masculine plural, just add an -s, except in these cases:  -al becomes -aux (exceptions: banal - banals; final - finals); and if it ends in an x or s already, add nothing.

  Masculine Singular Masculine Plural
national national nationaux
general général généraux
  Feminine Singular Feminine Plural
national nationale nationales
general générale générales

 

And of course there are more exceptions... some adjectives are invariable and do not have feminine or plural forms.  Compound adjectives, such as bleu clair (light blue) and vert foncé (dark green), adjectives that are also nouns, such as or (gold), argent (silver), marron (chestnut), and the words chic (stylish), bon marché or meilleur marché (inexpensive) never change.


55. More Adjectives Listen to MP3

short (length) court/e different différent/e boring ennuyeux/euse
loud, noisy bruyant/e situated situé/e crazy fou/folle
elegant élégant/e big gros/se interesting intéressant/e
tight, narrow étroit/e curious curieux/euse sensitive sensible
several plusieurs nervous nerveux/euse athletic sportif/sportive
pointed pointu/e only seul/e stubborn têtu/e
bright vif/vive amusing amusant/e shy timide
cute mignon/ne touching émouvant/e hard-working travailleur/euse
perfect parfait/e funny drôle, marrant/e optimistic optimiste
ready prêt/e heavy lourd/e pessimistic pessimiste
sad triste careful prudent/e tolerant tolérant/e
clever malin/maligne dirty sale pretentious prétentieux/euse
lazy paresseux/euse tired fatigué/e ambitious ambitieux/se
generous généreux/euse angry fâché/e pleasant agréable
famous célèbre annoyed irrité/e enthusiastic enthousiaste
decorated décoré/e old âgé/e honest honnête

 

Remember the first word is the masculine and the second is the feminine.  The addition of an e for the feminine form allows the last consonant to be voiced.  These adjectives go after the noun.

Normally, the verb rendre means to give something that you owe to someone, such as On rend ses devoirs au professeur.  It can also be used in the sense of to represent.  But rendre + adjective means to make someone or something + adjective.

Tu me rends si heureuse !  You make me so happy!
Le fait qu'il ne possède pas de voiture le rend triste.  The fact that he doesn't have a car makes him sad.

 

Some common slang adjectives that are used constantly in everyday speech:

chouette great, good minable mediocre
con / conne stupid, dumb moche ugly, unpleasant
débile idiotic sensass sensational
dégueu(lasse) disgusting, bad super marvellous
extra extraordinary sympa nice, pleasant
génial very interesting tarte inane
impec perfect tocard ridiculous, deplorable

 

The intensifiers vachement and drôlement are also used often, meaning very or really.


Il est vachement sympa. = He is really nice.
Elle est drôlement triste. = She is very sad.

Listen to the le caractère : une jeune fille très heureuse mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.


56. Problem Verbs Listen to MP3

Some verbs in French present problems because they have several translations in English. Other verbs can have several translations in French, but fewer meanings in English.

visiter - to visit places
rendre visite à - to visit people

apporter - to bring things to some place
emporter - to take things from some place
amener - to bring someone to some place
emmener - to take someone from some place

apprendre quelque chose - to learn something
apprendre quelque chose à quelqu'un - to teach someone something

rencontrer - to meet
faire la connaissance de
- to meet someone for the first time
retrouver - to meet (for an appointment)

partir - to leave (from or for a place)
quitter - to leave (a person or place)
sortir - to go out
s'en aller - to go away
laisser - to leave something behind

retourner - to go back (to where speaker is not)
revenir - to come back (to where speaker currently is)
rentrer - to come or go home
rendre - to return or give something back

faire - to make
fabriquer - to produce
obliger - to make someone do something
rendre - to make someone + adjective

► After some verbs, the word ne is required, but this does not imply negation: craindre, redoûter, empêcher
Je crains qu'il ne fasse trop froid. I'm afraid that it's too cold.

► And a few verbs only require ne and not pas in the negative, but this is elevated or literary language: cesser, oser, pouvoir, savoir
Je ne peux vivre sans toi.
I cannot live without you.


57. C'est / Il est + Adjective + A / de + Infinitive Listen to MP3

C'est + adjective + à + infinitive is used when the idea has already been mentioned; while il est + adjective + de + infinitive is used when the idea has not yet been mentioned. Also, the c'est construction is used when you do not use a direct object after the infinitive of the transitive verb, and the il est construction is used when you do.

Est-ce qu'on peut apprendre le chinois en un an ? Can you learn Chinese in one year?
Non, c'est impossible à apprendre en un an !
No, it's impossible to learn in one year! (The idea, Chinese, has already been mentioned, and there is no direct object.)
OR:
Non, il est impossible d'apprendre le chinois en un an ! (This sentence contains the direct object after the infinitive.)

Il est facile d'apprendre l'italien.  It is easy to learn Italian. (The idea has not already been mentioned, and the direct object is used.)

► Adjectives that express a certain emotion require de before the infinitive: content, désolé, furieux, heureux, triste
Je suis contente de vous voir.
I am happy to see you.

► Other adjectives require à before the infinitive: agréable, pénible, terrible, amusant, intéressant, ennuyeux, léger, lourd, lent, rapide, premier, dernier, prêt, seul
Il est prêt à partir.
He is ready to leave.

A longer list of adjectives that require à or de before an infinitive can be found at 91. on French V.

► In addition, when quelque chose is followed by an adjective, de is inserted between the two.
quelque chose d'intéressant
= something interesting


58. Sports & Instruments Listen to MP3

Soccer le football Softball le softball
Hockey le hockey Golf le golf
Football le football américain Bicycling le vélo
Basketball le basket Surfing le surf
Baseball le base-ball Dirt/Motor biking le bicross
Horse-back riding l'équitation; du cheval French horn le cor d'harmonie
Tennis le tennis violin le violon
Skiing le ski guitar la guitare
Volleyball le volley drum le tambour
Wrestling la lutte / le catch tuba le tuba
Jogging le jogging flute la flûte
Ice-skating le patin à glace trombone le trombone
Swimming la natation clarinet la clarinette
Track and Field l'athlétisme cello le violoncelle
Bowling le bowling harp la harpe

La lutte is regular wrestling (the real Greco-Roman sport), while le catch is professional/fake wrestling.

Faire de + a sport means to play.  Jouer à + a sport also means to play, as does jouer de + an instrument.

Tu fais du foot.  You play soccer.
J'aime jouer au tennis.  I like to play tennis.
Je peux jouer de la guitare.  I can play the guitar.
Nous jouons de la clarinette.  We play the clarinet.
Il veut jouer du tuba.  He wants to play the tuba.

Listen to the les sports: la pétanque mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.


59. Nature Listen to MP3

air l'air (m) frost la gelée rose la rose
archipelago l'archipel (m) grass l'herbe (f) sand le sable
bank la rive gulf le golfe sea la mer
bay la baie hail la grêle shadow l'ombre (f)
barn la grange hay le foin sky le ciel
beach la plage high tide la marée haute snow la neige
branch la branche hill la colline soil la terre
bridge le pont ice la glace south le sud
bud le bouton island I'île (f) spring (water) la source
bush le buisson isthmus l'isthme star l'étoile (f)
cape le cap jungle la jungle stem la tige
cave la caverne lake le lac storm l'orage (m) / la tempête
city la ville leaf la feuille strait le détroit
climate le climat light la lumière stream le ruisseau
cloud le nuage lightning l'éclair (m) street la rue
coast la côte lily le lis sun le soleil
comet la comète low tide la marée basse sunflower le tournesol
constellation la constellation meadow le pré thaw la fonte
country le pays moon la lune thunder le tonnerre
country(side) la campagne mountain la montagne tornado la tornade
current le courant mountain range la chaîne de montagnes tree l'arbre (m)
daffodil la jonquille mouth (river) l'embouchure (f) trunk le tronc
daisy la marguerite mud la vase tulip la tulipe
darkness l'obscurité (f) nature la nature valley la vallée
desert le désert north le nord view la vue
dew la rosée peninsula la péninsule water l'eau (f)
dust la poussière plain la plaine fresh water l'eau douce
earth la terre planet la planète salt water l'eau salée
east l'est (m) plant la plante watering can l'arrosoir (m)
farm la ferme pond l'étang (m) waterfall la cascade
field le champ pot (for plants) le pot de fleurs wave la vague / l'onde (f)
flower la fleur rain la pluie weather le temps
foam l'écume (f) rainbow l'arc-en-ciel (m) west l'ouest (m)
fog le brouillard river le fleuve wind le vent
foliage le feuillage rock le rocher world le monde
forest la forêt root la racine    

60. To Live Listen to MP3

vivre - to live, be alive (vee-vruh)

Present
Imperfect
Future
vis   vivons   vivais   vivions   vivrai   vivrons  
vis   vivez   vivais   viviez   vivras   vivrez  
vit   vivent   vivait   vivaient   vivra   vivront  

 

The past participle of vivre is vécu and it is conjugated with avoir.  Habiter is another verb that means to live, but it means to live in a place.  Vivre is used to mean the state of being alive.  A subjunctive form of vivre, vive, is often used in exclamations.

Vive la France !  Long live France!


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