Archive | March 2016

Lesson 20 – Stressed Pronouns

Leçon 20 – Stressed Pronouns

1. Stressed pronouns are used to emphasize a noun or pronoun used as a subject or object, or to replace a noun used as a subject or object.

Singular

  • First person : moi
  • Second person : toi
  • Third person : lui/elle

Plural

  • First person : nous
  • Second person : vous
  • Third person : eux/elles

Moi, je fais du latin, mais lui, il fait du grec.

I’m taking Latin, but he’s taking Greek.

 

Nous, on travaille aujourd’hui. Et toi?

Je vais à la plage, moi.

We’re working today. What about you?

I’m going to the beach.

 

2. A stressed pronoun may stand alone in answer to a question,

Qui fait le ménage aujourd’hui? Toi?

Pas moi. Eux.

Who is doing housework today? You?

Not me. They are.

 

3. The stressed pronouns are used after c’est and ce sont to identify people.

C’est moi, C’est toi, C’est lui, C’est elle, C’est nous, C’est vous, Ce sont eux, Ce sont elles.

Colloquially: C’est eux/ C’est elles (Negative: Ce n’est/C’est pas eux/elles)

 

4. The stressed pronouns are used after prepositions.

Tu pars sans elle?

Pas du tout. Elle vient chez moi et nous partons ensembles.

Are you leaving without her?

Not at all. She’s coming to my house and we’re leaving together.

 

5. The stressed pronouns are also used after ne…que.

Je ne connais que toi à Paris.

You’re the only one I know in Paris.

 

Il n’aime qu’eux.

He likes only them.

 

Thank you all for reading! Please comment with any questions or requests you may have, and I will be happy to accommodate.

 

Merci à vous !

Courtney

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Lesson 19 – The Pluperfect Tense

Leçon 19 – Plus-que-parfait

The pluperfect tense is formed by using the imperfect of the auxiliary verb (avoir or être) + the past participle.

The pluperfect corresponds in meaning to the English pluperfect: “I had done/I had been doing”; it refers to an action which happened at a point in the past earlier than that referred to by the previous verb in the past. French always uses the pluperfect to denote the appropriate time sequence.

Here are some examples:

Prendre (use with avoir)

  • J’avais pris – I had taken
  • Tu avais pris – You had taken
  • Il/Elle avait pris – He/She had taken
  • Nous avions pris – We had taken
  • Vous aviez pris – You had taken
  • Ils/Elles avaient pris – They had taken

Tomber (use with être)

  • J’étais tombé(e) – I had fallen
  • Tu étais tombé(e) – You had fallen
  • Il/Elle était tombé/e – He/She had fallen
  • Nous étions tombés/es – We had fallen
  • Vous étiez tombé/e/s/es – You had fallen
  • Ils/Elles étaient tombés/es – They had fallen

 

Here are some sentence samples using the pluperfect:

  • Je n’avais jamais été en Europe.
  • I had never been to Europe.
  • Elle était partie avant leur arrivée.
  • She had left before their arrival.

 

Have a great week!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

The Omission of “e”

The Omission of “e”

This is possibly my first post on any type of colloquialism. In spoken French, in certain cases, the letter “e” is commonly dropped from a word in order to make it easier to pronounce. (Please note, the omission is only in spoken French; in written French you will still have to include the “e”.)

This omission only takes place when the “e” (this is actually called a caduc, if you want to know the technical term for it) is preceded and followed by one pronounced consonant.

A few examples:

Samedi = sam’di

Mademoiselle = mad’moiselle

Je te vois = J’te vois

It’s important to note that in some cases the “e” caduc must not be omitted. If the word has three consonants, then the omission would be making a phonetic faux pas. For example, the word vendredi, would never be spoken as vendr’di. It would be difficult to pronounce, and it is also unpleasant to the ear.

Here are some common contractions:

Je = j’

Je veux aller à la plage. → J’veux aller à la plage.

(Note: When j’ is followed by a word beginning with c, f, p, q, s, or t, it is commonly pronounced as sh.)

Ce = c’

Tu comprends ce qu’il dit? → Tu comprends c’qu’il dit?

Me = m’

Tu me fais rire. → Tu m’fais rire.

De = d’

Elle a décidé de partir. → Elle a décidé d’partir.

Te = t’

Tu vas te coucher maintenant? → Tu vas t’coucher maintenant?

Le = l’

Elles vont le faire plus tard. → Elles vont l’faire plus tard.

Se = s’

Il se met en colère facilement. → Il s’met en colère facilement.

Que = qu’

Il faut que tu partes. → Il faut qu’tu partes.

Remember, this is colloquial and you need not follow this if you don’t want to. Although, the more you learn French and speak it, this will actually come naturally when speaking, and you will find that utilising it makes it a lot easier to pronounce certain words.

 

I may come back again this week with another post that follows this same pattern.

Again, thank you for the feedback!

 

Merci à vous !

Courtney

C’est vs. Il Est

This week in versus, I give you C’est vs. Il Est.*

The distinction between c’est and il est (it is/it’s) has been known to cause problems more often since there is a discrepancy between what is seen as proper style writing and informal. Colloquially, French ops more toward using c’est rather than il est, whereas in written French maintains the distinction.

Il/Elle is used if “it” is the subject of the verb other than ȇtre, and refers to a noun previously mentioned.

  • Voici notre jardin. Il n’est pas très grand.
  • This is our garden. It’s not very big.
  • Voici la photo. Elle n’est pas très bonne.
  • Here’s the photo. It’s not very good.

 

C’est is used if “it” is the subject of ȇtre and is indefinite – meaning, it does not refer to a specific noun or pronoun previously mentioned.

“It is” + noun (preceded by article/numeral/possessive, demonstrative, indefinite, or interrogative adjective) = ce + être

  • Ce sont les nouveaux livres.
  • These are/They’re the new books.
  • C’est mon premier boulot.
  • It’s my first job.

 

“It is” + pronoun = ce + être

  • C’est toi !
  • It’s you!

 

“It is” + adverb (of time/place) = ce + être

  • C’est maintenant qu’il faut l’acheter.
  • It’s now that you need to buy it.

 

“It is” + preposition = ce + être

  • C’est avec regret que je vous écris.
  • It is with regret that I write you.

 

“It is” + conjunction = ce + être

  • C’est parce que vous travaillez à l’Hôtel de Ville que je vous demande service.
  • It’s because you work at City Hall that I’m asking you for a favour.

 

“It is” + adjective = ce + être if the adjective is the last word in the sentence, or is followed by à + infinitive (example: “it” refers back to an earlier item).

  • Il fait froid, c’est vrai.
  • It’s cold, it’s true.
  • Je ne sais pas ce qu’il décidera. C’est difficile à prévoir.
  • I don’t know what he will decide. It’s hard to predict.

 

ALTHOUGH, “it is” + adjective = il + être if the adjective is followed by a subordinate clause / de + infinitive (example: “it” refers forward to an item to follow.)

  • Il est vrai que je n’ai pas terminé tout le travail.
  • It’s true I haven’t finished all the work.
  • Il est difficile d’oublier ses mots.
  • It is difficult to forget his/her words.

 

Have a great week, my dear readers! As always, your feedback is appreciated, so thank you!

 

Merci à vous !

Courtney

 

*This is a requested lesson. All requested lessons are given priority no matter where I am in the teaching process.

Lesson 18 – Prepositions and Infinitives

Leçon 18 – Prepositions and Infinitives

Some French verbs require the preposition à or de before a following infinitive, while others are followed by the infinitive directly without an intervening preposition.

Which verbs require à before the infinitive?

  • apprendre (to learn)
  • aider (to help)
  • enseigner (to teach)
  • commencer (to begin)
  • inviter (to invite)

Nous apprenons à lire et à écrire.

We are learning to read and write.

 

Il m’enseigne à nager.

He is teaching me to swim.

 

Il nous a invités à dîner chez lui.

He invited us to dine at his house.

 

Nous commençons à comprendre.

We are beginning to understand.

 

Je vous aiderai à le faire.

will help you do it.

 

Which verbs require de before the infinitive?

  • cesser (to stop)
  • décider (to decide)
  • défendre (to forbid)
  • demander (to ask)
  • dire (to tell)
  • empêcher (to prevent)
  • essayer (to try)
  • tâcher (to try)
  • se garder (to be careful not to do)
  • manquer (to miss/lack)
  • oublier (to forget)
  • promettre (to promise)
  • refuser (to refuse)
  • se souvenir (to remember)

Es-ce qu’il a cessé de pleuvoir?

Has it stopped raining?

 

Il est défendu de faire cela.

It is forbidden to do that.

 

Je me garderai de le lui dire.

I will be careful not to tell it to him.

 

Il a promis qu’il tâcherait de venir.

He promised that he would try to come.

 

Verbs Followed Directly by the Infinitive

Many verbs in French are followed by the infinitive form of the verb and do not use either à or de.

  • vouloir (to want)
  • désirer (to desire, want)
  • aimer (to like)
  • aimer mieux (to prefer)
  • préférer (to prefer)
  • aller (to go)
  • devoir (must, ought)
  • savoir (to know how to)
  • pouvoir (to be able to, can)
  • il faut (it is necessary)
  • compter (to intend)
  • oser (to dare)
  • laisser (to let, allow)
  • envoyer (to send)

Je compte revenir ici l’année prochaine.

intend to come back here next year.

 

Nous ne voulons pas le faire.

We do not want to do it.

 

Laissez-moi parler.

Let me speak.

 

Envoyez chercher le médecin.

Send for the doctor.

 

As alway, feel free to leave comments or suggestions! I have not forgotten about the requested items from last week. I will get to those soon!

 

Merci à vous !

Courtney