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The Passive Voice

What is the passive voice? It is the manner of constructing a sentence in such a way that the receiver of the action becomes the subject, instead of the one doing the action. The passive in French is usually formed with the auxiliary verb être + past participle. This construction occurs most frequently in the passé composé (use passé composé of être + past participle) and future (use future of être + past participle).

Ces lettres ont été écrites* par mon frère.

These letters were written by my brother.


Un grand édifice sera construit ici par le gouvernement.

A tall building will be constructed here by the government.

*The past participle of verbs conjugated with the auxiliary verb être agrees in gender and number with the subject of the sentence.


The English passive voice sometimes expresses an indefinite idea, such as “it is said”, meaning “people say”; “one says” meaning, “they say”. In such cases, French does not use the passive construction, but rather the pronoun on (one) and the active form of the verb.

On dit qu’il est riche.

One says that he is rich. / It is said that he is rich.


On parle anglais ici.

One speaks English here. / English is spoken here.

Occasionally the English passive is translated by a reflexive in French:

Cela ne se fais pas.

That does not do itself. / That is not  done.


As you guy can see, I’m trying something different with the posts. I’ve eliminated the bullet points and opted for something else. Let me know which you prefer. Also, would anyone be interested in me adding pages to the menu at the top of the blog? If so, what would you like to see there?

I hope everyone is having a good week!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

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

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.

Positive

  • 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.

Negative

  • 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 !

Courtney

Joyeux Noël !

Joyeux Noël et Joyeuse Fêtes, à tout le monde ! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! Hoping everyone is enjoying a wonderful day with their family and friends. 🙂

I couldn’t let Christmas come without sharing a French carol!

A bientôt !

Courtney

Why Speak French?

Pourquoi parler français ?

Here are some great reasons to speak French.

  • French is a major international language. It is spoken by over 100 million people around the world, and is the first or second language in about 50 countries.
  • French is a diplomatic language. French is one of the five languages of the United Nations, and one of the two main languages of the European Union.
  • France is a technologically advanced country. French inventors have contributed significantly to the advancement of science. Today, France is a leader in areas such as aero-space technology, high speed transportation, automotive design, and medical research.
  • France is a leader in the world of art and literature. Paris has been  an important cultural center over the past 400 years, which attracts artists and writers from around the world. France has won more Nobel Prizes in literature than any other country.
  • France is a major tourist destination. Millions of people visit France every year, and speaking French makes it much more meaningful and enjoyable experience.
  • Knowing French will enrich your English. Over one third of all English words are derived from French. As you study French, your English vocabulary will increase.
  • Knowing French will help with university studies. University admissions officers look for candidates who have foreign language skills. The longer students study a foreign language, the higher their mathematics and verbal SAT scores.
  • Knowing French will be useful for your career. Many jobs require the knowledge of another language. France and Canada are major trading partners of the United States. About 1,000 French companies have subsidiaries in the US.

Bonjour, le monde !

Bienvenue à tous et toutes ! Welcome, all, to my learn French blog!

This blog is strictly dedicated to learning the fabulous French language. Whether you’re a beginner, or a native speaker, I encourage you to stay awhile and see what I have to offer.

I will post daily lessons, along with grammar, dialogue, word of the day, slang, quizzes, and anything else that pops into my head. 🙂

So stick around!

 

Courtney