Archive | May 2016

Expressions of Time

Les Expressions de Temps

Here’s a table showing time – before, now, and after, and the vocabulary expressing each.

Avant Maintenant Après
Hier Aujourd’hui Demain
Hier matin Ce matin Demain matin
Hier après-midi Cet après-midi Demain après-midi
Hier soir Ce soir Demain soir
Lundi dernier Lundi Lundi prochain
Le week-end dernier Ce weekend Le week-end prochain
La semaine dernière Cette semaine La semaine prochaine
L’été dernier Cet été L’été prochain
Le mois dernier Ce mois-ci Le mois prochain
L’année dernière Cette année L’année prochaine
Le passé composé Le présent Le futur proche

I found a way to make tables! This will make future posts a whole lot easier! Anyhow, I hope you found this short and simple post to be helpful.

Merci à vous !


Parts of a Sentence

Parts of a Sentence

In this grammar lesson, I will breakdown the basic elements of what makes up a sentence in French. In French grammar, words are classified into eight parts: the noun, the determiner, the adjective, the pronoun, the verb, the adverb, the preposition and the conjunction.


Le nom, en français, identifies a person, place, animal, thing, or an idea. Nouns can be proper (names of people, names of countries and cities, company names, etc.), or common nouns (things such as a book, a car, food, etc.). All French nouns have a gender, either masculine or feminine, and learning the gender for each noun is important in speaking French as all nouns have to have agreement with articles and adjectives.


The determiner is an important noun modifier which introduces and provides context to a noun, often in terms of quantity and possession. In English, the determiner would be “the”, “a”, or “an”; in French, the determiner are articles – le, la, les, un, une, de, de la, du, and des.


L’adjectif, en français, modifies a noun by describing it in size, color, and shape. In French, most adjectives follow the noun they modify. However, adjectives that describe beauty, age, number, goodness, and size all precede the noun. (C’est une belle journée, for example.)


Pronouns, or proper nouns, take the place of a noun. French pronouns are je, tu, il, elle, nous, vous, ils, elles, me, te, le, la, les, lui, leur.

I go into further detail on pronouns in Lesson 9.


In French, verbs are variable. They are affected by:

  • The person (the speaker, the addressee, or others: je, tu, il, nous
  • The number (singular or plural)
  • The gender
  • The tense (the present, past and future, etc.).
  • The aspect (how the time in which an event occurs is viewed: as complete, ongoing, consequential, planned, etc.
  • The mood (finite forms: indicative, imperative, subjunctive, and conditional
  • The voice (a verb in the active or passive voice


Adverbs provide information about the words they modify, such as when, where, how, how often, or to what degree something is done.

When a French adverb modifies a verb, it is placed after the conjugated verb.

Example: Je regarde souvent la télé le soir. – I often watch television in the evening.


When a French adverb modifies an adjective, it is placed in front of the word it is modifying.

Example: Nous avons très bien mangé. – We ate very well.


A preposition is a word that links nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence.

Here is a great list of French prepositions.


Conjunctions are invariable words that are used to join words or clauses that have equal value: mais, ou, et, donc, or, ni, car



As a general rule, if you have a noun in French, there is virtually always an article in front of it. I have two older posts on articles here (part 1), and here (part 2).


I hope this was helpful to everyone! As always, I welcome comments of any kind. Have a great week!

À bientôt !


French Idioms Lesson 4

Here is your quatrième lesson in French idioms!

Oh la vache !

Idiomatic meaning: “Holy cow!” or even “Oh my God!”

Literal meaning: “Oh the cow!”

Here’s how you can use it:

Oh la vache! Il fait vraiment mauvais dehors!

Oh my God! It’s really ugly outside!

Oh la vache! Ce travail est vraiment difficile!


Les Opposés

Here are some sentences where we compare opposites using various words.

  • J’aime le poisson et les frites / Je n’aime ni le poisson ni les frites — I like fish and fries / I don’t like neither fish nor fries
  • J’aime quelqu’un / Je n’aime personne — I like someone / I don’t like anybody 
  • Je vois quelque chose / Je ne vois rien — I see something / I see nothing
  • Je travaille encore / Je ne travaille plus — I am still working / I am not working anymore
  • Je vais quelque part / Je ne vais nulle part — I am going somewhere / I am not going anywhere
  • Il est arrivé quelque choseRien n’est arrivé — Something is happening / Nothing is happening
  • Il est déjà parti / Il n’est pas encore parti — He already left / He still has not left
  • Tout le monde a parlé / Personne n‘a parlé — Everyone said / No one said
  • Moi aussi / Moi non plus — Me too / Me neither


Thank you for reading, and sorry this is such a short post this week. I have been having an off week with illness and injury, but I am working on a requested post for next week.

Have a great week, and see you all later!

Merci à vous !


French Idioms Lesson 3

Here is your troisième lesson in idioms!

Avoir une peur bleue

Idiomatic meaning: To be terrified

Literal meaning: To have a blue fear.

A blue fear is an intense fear. You may actually even call it more of a terror than a fear.


Here’s how you can use it:

Il a une peur bleue des araignées.

He is extremely scared of spiders.


Tu m’as fait une peur bleue.

You scared the crap/hell out of me.


The Partitive Construction

The Partitive Construction

In English, words like “some” or “any” are understood in sentences like: “Do you want coffee?” or “We have have apples and bananas.” English eliminates the need to use “some” or “any”. French, however, requires the partitive construction, which means that the words “some” or “any” must be expressed.

“Some” or “any” are represented in French by the preposition de plus the form of the definite article that agrees in gender and number of the noun it follows. Before a masculine singular noun, the expression du is used; before a feminine singular noun, de la is used; de l’ is used before a masculine or feminine singular noun which begins with a vowel or a silent h; and before a masculine or feminine plural noun, des is used.

  • Voulez-vous du cafe? – Do you want (some, any) coffee?
  • Nous avons des bananes et des pommes. – We have (some) bananas and (some) apples.

The negative requires de alone, without the article.


  • Nous avons du fromage. – We have (some) cheese.
  • Il y a des poires. – There are (some) pears.
  • Elle a des amis ici. – She has (some) friends here.


  • Nous n’avons pas de fromage. – We don’t have any cheese.
  • Il n’y a pas de poires. – There aren’t any pears.
  • Elle n’a pas d’amis ici. – She does’t have any friends here.


Have a great week, readers! Please let me know if I can help you with anything. I am happy to help.

Until next time. À bientôt !