Savoir and connaître are used in different contexts and can describe different aspects of knowing.
As a French teacher, I hear my students making the same common mistake when expressing I know… Of course, it is quite confusing, as the French language has two verbs that can be translated into English by to know! Therefore, you have to choose between savoir or connaître; and you have...Read More
Study the following explanations about the difference between the three types of French pronouns and then practice them through the following role play exercises.
Replacing nouns with pronouns makes our use of the language much more fluid and economical. In both English and French, the choice of which pronoun to use is determined by its role in the sentence, i.e. subject, direct...Read More
The Passé composé versus the imparfait! When studying French, everyone needs to spend some time going over the tricky relationship between these two main past tenses. Instead of trying the figure out how they translate exactly into English grammar terminology (it doesn’t work in many cases), it is better to understand how and when they are used in French. First, we should understand...Read More
You might be a beginner or have been learning French for a while and you’re still unsure about the correct French interrogative expression for ‘what’ or ‘which’. Que, quoi, quel(s), quelle(s) or qu’est-ce que (qui) ? Which one should you use?
Let’s try to clarify…
When ‘what’ precedes a noun, you need to use the interrogative adjective quel or quelle (f) in front of the noun. Quel(le)...Read More
How long have you been studying French? I’ve been taking lessons for 5 years and I went to a French language school every week for 1 year! How do you translate this simple question and reply without getting into a muddle? As you learn French, you will discover the “temporal prepositions” (pour, pendant, il y a, ça fait, etc…) and you will notice that they are used quite differently in...Read More
Learning the formation and the placement of the French adjectives is quite a mental sport. French adjectives change to agree in gender and number with the nouns that they modify, which means there can be up to four forms of each adjective whether the noun is feminine, masculine, feminine plural or masculine plural. There are also different categories of adjectives with different...Read More
The most commonly used French verbs of motion
If I’m going back to Paris, I’m visiting a friend and I’ll return on Monday! The translation of these French verbs is not always straightforward.
You’re visiting a friend? Instinctively, a native English speaker will say je visite. In French, we visit a city or a touristy place but not a person; therefore we cannot use the verb visiter in...Read More
The construction of the negative forms in French works differently than in English because it is composed of two elements and because of its placement: the first element, ne (n’), comes in front of the conjugated verb; the second or main negation (pas, jamais, rien, etc..) has to be placed after the conjugated verb. For example, if you wanted to make the following sentence negative,...Read More
Il faut ! If you live or have traveled in France, you’ve probably heard these two short words over and over again. When do we use it exactly and how does the sentence construction work? We use il faut to express directions, orders and very strong suggestions. Il faut can be expressed in an impersonal or personal way. Instinctively, foreigners are likely to say “c’est nécessaire de”,...Read More
One of the first expressions everyone learns when settling in France is “Je voudrais” (I would like), which works very well for simple everyday life transactions in stores, at the markets, or for obtaining general information. But, when you wish to ask for a favour or some additional information, “Je voudrais” might seem too demanding! It would be more...Read More