Archive | October 2016

Halloween

Happy Halloween à tous et toutes !!

In the spirit of the holiday I’m sharing this silly video with you all. If you’ve never heard of this show, Têtes à Claques, it was created by les québécois and they’re essentially making fun of their French Canadian French. It’s obviously very exaggerated, which makes it funny. I discovered this show during my last year at university in a class called Les Registres du Français, where a classmate did a presentation on this show and the French Canadian register. (My presentation was on an Albert Camus speech, which wasn’t as entertaining.)

Without further ado, here is the video. I hope you enjoy! It has French subtitles so you can get what is being said.

Do you celebrate Halloween where you’re from? If you do, what are your traditions?

Enjoy your evening and be safe!

A bientôt !!

Courtney

Pronouns ‘Y’ and ‘En’

We hear these pronouns used all the time in conversation, and here I will explain how they work. The pronoun y follows the same rules for position as direct and indirect object pronouns.

Pronoun y

This pronoun is a preposition of location (à, en, dans, sur, sous, devant, derrière, etc.) plus a noun referring to a place or thing can be replaced by y.

  • Vous allez tous à Paris ?  –  Are you all going to Paris?
  • Oui, nous y passons nos vacances.  –  Yes, we are spending our vacation there.
  • As-tu répondu à sa lettre ?  –  Have you answered his letter?
  • Oui, j’y ai déjà répondu.  –  Yes, I have already answered it.
  • Tu travailles dans ce bureau ?  –  Do you work in this office?
  • Non, je n’y travaille plus.  –  No, I don’t work there anymore.
  • Où est la monnaie ? Sur la table ?  –  Where’s the change? On the table?
  • Oui, j’y ai laissé l’argent.  –  Yes, I left money there.

Y may refer to an entire phrase, clause, or idea. Sometimes y has no direct English equivalent.

  • Il est difficile de traverser la rue parce qu’il y a tant de voitures.
  • It’s hard to cross the street because there are so many cars.
  • Tu as raison. Il faut y prendre garde. (yaux voitures)
  • You’re right. We have to be careful (of them). (prendre garde à quelque chose) 
  • Alice n’aime pas son travail.
  • Alice doesn’t like her job.
  • Elle doit y renoncer. (son travail)
  • She ought to quit. (renoncer à quelque chose)
  • Les idées de cet auteur sont difficiles.
  • This author’s ideas are difficult.
  • J’y réfléchis beaucoup. (yaux idées)
  • I think about them a lot. (réfléchir à quelque chose)

Pronoun en

An indefinite or partitive article plus a noun can be replaced by the pronoun enEn often means some or any in this context. The pronoun en follows the same rules for position as direct and indirect object pronouns. In compound tenses, the past participle does not agree with en.

  • Tu veux du jus ?  –  Do you want any juice?
  • Non, je n’en veux pas.  –  No, I don’t want any.
  • Connaissez-vous des professeurs ici ?  –  Do you know any professors here?
  • Oui, j’en connais.  –  Yes, I know some.

En may replace nouns used with expressions of quantity or numbers. In such cases, en may have no direct English equivalent.

  • As-tu beaucoup de travail ?
  • Do you have a lot of work?
  • J’en ai trop. (en de travail)
  • I have too much.
  • Robert a des frères ?
  • Does Robert have any brothers?
  • Oui, il en a trois.
  • Yes, he has three (brothers).
  • Tu n’as que trois cent euros ?
  • You only have three hundred Euros?
  • J’en ai perdu deux cents.
  • I lost two hundred (Euros).

En may replace the construction de + noun or infinitive.

  • Sandrine est-elle revenue de France ?
  • Has Sandrine come back from France?
  • Elle en revient jeudi.
  • She’s coming back (from there) Thursday.
  • Les étés passés en Bretagne était merveilleux, n’est-ce pas ?
  • Summers spent in Brittany were wonderful, weren’t they?
  • Oui, je m’en souviens. (en = des étés)
  • Yes, I remember them.
  • Ton fils a-t-il peur de jouer avec mon chien ?
  • Is your son afraid to play with my dog?
  • Oui, il en a peur.
  • Yes, he’s afraid (to do it).

I hope you have a great week, everyone! And to those celebrating Halloween on Monday, I hope you have a safe and fun evening!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Que vs. Qui

Another versus post! In this versus post I will be going over the relative pronouns/clauses que and qui.

A relative clause describes someone or something mentioned in the main clause. A relative clause begins with a relative pronoun such as whowhomwhich, or that. The noun that the relative pronoun refers to is called the antecedent.

Here are some examples in English:

The woman who studies a lot Who is the relative pronoun, woman is the antecedent
The students whom we helped Whom is the relative pronoun, students is the antecedent
The computer that I use That is the relative pronoun, computer is the antecedent

The French relative pronouns que and qui are used for both people and things. Qui is used when the relative pronouns is the subject of its clause. Que is used when the relative pronoun is the direct object of the verb in its clause. In relative clauses introduced by qui, the verb agrees with qui, which has the same person and number of the antecedent.

La femme qui étudie beaucoup Qui is the relative pronoun, subject of the verb étudier
Un ordinateur qui est facile à utiliser Qui is the relative pronoun, subject of the verb ȇtre
Les étudiants que nous avons aidés Que is the relative pronoun, direct object of the verb aider
L’ordinateur que j’ai utilisé Que is the relative pronoun, direct object of the verb utiliser

Relative pronouns can never be omitted in French the way they often are omitted in English:

  • L’homme que je connais
  • The man (whom) I know
  • Les articles que je lis
  • The articles (that) I read

When the verb of the relative clause is in a compound tense conjugated with avoir, the past participle agrees with the relative pronoun que, which is a preceding direct object. The gender and number of que is determined by its antecedent. Note that the relative pronoun que becomes qu’ before a vowel or a mute h.

  • Les filles qu’il a invitées
  • The girls whom he invited
  • La robe que tu a mise
  • The dress (that) you put on

When the verb of the relative clause is in a compound tense conjugated with être, the past participle agrees with the relative pronoun qui because qui is the subject of the verb in the relative clause. The antecedent determines the gender and number of qui.

  • Les étudiants qui sont arrivées
  • The students who arrived
  • L’assiette qui est tombée
  • The plate that fell

I hope this was helpful! Do you like these versus posts? If you do, let me know! And also if you like them, please leave suggestions for future versus posts as I do love writing them. Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !

Courtney

Demonstrative Adjectives

Leçon 34 – Demonstrative Adjectives

A demonstrative adjective stands before a noun, in place of an article, and has the meaning “this/that/these/those”. The French demonstrative adjective agrees in gender and number with the noun it qualifies. The plural form is the same for both genders.

  • Masculine singular noun beginning with a consonant or an aspirated “h” :
    • ce – this/that
      • ce chien – this/that dog
      • ce héros – this/that hero
  • Masculine singular noun beginning with a vowel or muted “h” :
    • cet – this/that
      • cet enfant – this/that child
      • cet hiver – this/that winter
  • Feminine singular (all forms)
    • cette – this/that
      • cette fleur – this/that flower
      • cette onde – this/that wave
  • Plural (both genders)
    • ces – these/those
      • ces rideaux – these/those curtains
      • ces cartes – these/those cards

Note that contrary to English, in French, the appropriate form of the demonstrative adjective must be repeated before every noun when there are two or more items:

  • Ces chaises, ces fauteuils, et cette table iront dans la salle de séjour.
  • These chairs, armchairs, and table will go in the living room.

The French demonstrative adjective does not convey the distinction between “this” and “that”. Where the distinction is important, -ci (this/these), or -là (that/those) must be added to the end of the noun being qualified:

  • Est-ce que vous préférez ce manteau-ci ou ce blouson-là ?
  • Do you prefer this coat or that jacket?
  • Ces oranges-ci sont trop mûres, mais ces bananes-là sont bonnes.
  • These oranges are over ripe, but those bananas are good.

Have a great week, friends!

A la prochaine !

Courtney

Lesson 33 – The Anterior Future Tense

Leçon 33 – Le futur antérieur

The anterior future describes an action that hasn’t happened yet, but will be completed before a particular time or action in the future. In English, it is equivalent to the future perfect tense.

The two auxiliary verbs used:

être – to use if the main verb is a motion verb or a reflexive verb

avoir – to use in all other cases

Avoir

Etre

je

aurai

serai

tu

auras

seras

il/elle/on

aura

sera

nous

aurons

serons

vous

aurez

serez

ils/elles

auront

seront

  • I will have done my homework before I eat dinner.
  • J’aurai fait les devoirs avant que mange le dîner.
  • She will have left for school before I wake up.
  • Elle sera partie pour l’école avant que je me réveille.

I hope you found this short lesson to be useful! Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine !

Courtney