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Visual Tu vs. Vous

Here is an informative, yet funny visual for determining when to use tu or vous. Enjoy!

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A demain,

Courtney

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Voir vs. Regarder

New round of versus! This round we will be comparing two verbs that essentially both mean to see or to look, but with some obvious differences.

So what exactly is the difference between the two? It’s simple actually, voir is passive (to see), while regarder (to look at) is active.


Voir – to see, view, witness, understand

Voir quelque chose/quelqu’un + infinitive – to see, understand something/someone, to see something/someone +infinitive

  • Tu vois ce mec là-bas ? C’est notre nouveau collègue.
  • Do you see that guy over there? He’s our new colleague.
  • Nous espérons la voir quand elle viendra en France.
  • We hope to see her when she comes to France.
  • Vous devriez aller voir un médecin.
  • You should go see a doctor.
  • Christelle et moi, nous ne voyons pas les choses de la même façon.
  • Christelle and I do not see eye to eye.

Voir à ce que + subj./à + infinitive – to make sure, to see to it that

  • Il faudrait voir à respecter la limite de vitesse.
  • You should obey the speed limit.
  • Voyez à ne pas arriver en retard.
  • See to it that you are not late.

Regarder – to look at, to watch, to gaze, to observe

Regarder quelque chose/quelqu’un – to look at something/someone, look up something

  • Regardez où vous mettez les pieds.
  • Watch where you are walking.
  • Est-ce que tu as regardé le film hier soir ?
  • Did you see the movie last night?
  • Regarde son numéro dans le mobile.
  • Look up his number in your phone.
  • Cela ne nous regarde pas.
  • It is none of our business.

Regarder + infinitive – to watch + infinitive

  • Il a passé une heure à regarder tomber la neige.
  • He spent an hour watching snow fall.

Regarder à quelque chose/à + infinitive – to hesitate to + infinitive

  • Mes parents ne regardent pas à la dépense.
  • My parents spend freely.
  • Ils ne regardent pas à dépenser mille euros en une soirée.
  • They do not hesitate to spend a thousand Euros in an evening.

Regarder quelque chose/quelqu’um comme – to consider something/someone as

  • Ses collègues le regardaient comme un génie.
  • His colleagues considered him a genius.
  • On regarde généralement sa politique comme un échec.
  • His politics are generally considered to have failed.

Two similar verbs that can have very different meanings when the context has changed. I hope this clears up any confusion between these two verbs!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Devoir vs. Falloir

It’s a brand new round of versus! This week we’ll be discussing the differences between verbs devoir and falloir. Both verbs share “obligation” in their meaning, but they are each different in their own right.

Devoir expresses obligation when followed by an infinitive:

  • Je dois travailler si je veux avoir de bonnes notes.
  • I have to work hard if I want good grades.
  • Je dois chercher ma fille à l’école.
  • I have to collect my daughter from school.
  • Nous devons gagner plus cette année.
  • We should earn more this year.

Falloir means “to need”, “to be necessary”. Since falloir is an impersonal verb, it only has one conjugation for each tense and mood – third person singular, and may be followed by an infinitive, the subjunctive, or a noun. It is more formal than devoir.

  • Il faut que tu arrives avant 18h00.
  • You have to arrive before 6:00PM.
  • Il faut se dire au revoir; le train va partir.
  • We have to say goodbye; the train is about to leave.

Preceding a noun, falloir means “to need”.

  • Qu’est-ce qu’il te faut ?
  • What do you need?
  • Il me faut un stylo.
  • I need a pen.

If you’d like a little practice, here is a short exercise on Devoir. I will try to find more related exercises for each weekly post from now on. 🙂

Have a great week!

A bientôt !

Courtney

Bon vs. Bien

A new versus! This one even stumps advanced French students. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion you may have.

Bon

With a noun:

  • J’ai mangé dans un bon restaurant. – I ate at a good restaurant.
  • J’ai regardé une bonne émission. – I watched a good episode/programme.

With ‘être’:

  • To say something is delicious:
    • Cette pomme est bonne. – This apple is good.
  • To say something is ready or ok:
    • C’est bon ? On y va ? – Are you ready? Shall we go?
  • To say something is correct or is of good quality:
    • Ta dissertation est bonne. – Your essay is good.

Bien

With a verb:

  • Elle chante bien. – She sings well.
  • Je patine bien. – I skate well.

With ‘être’:

  • To say something is cool, nice, or interesting:
    • Ce film est bon. – This movie is good.
    • Cette peinture est bien. – This painting is cool.
    • Ton appartement est bien. – Your apartment is nice.

Hopefully this short but sweet versus post was at least helpful for everyone. Whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, I wish you a happy one! Happy solstice as well!

A la prochaine !

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

Rencontrer vs. Retrouver

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a versus post here! I personally like them, they’re interesting to read and fun to learn, n’est-ce pas? Et vous, vous les préférez?

Today I’ll go over Rencontrer vs. Retrouver. Both mean “to meet”, but they are not interchangeable.


Rencontrer: to meet for the first time; to meet by chance – to run into; to encounter.

These meetings are not planned meetings. Imagine running into someone you know in a professional setting, and seeing them out in public away from that professional environment.

  • J’ai rencontré mon professeur au cinéma.
  • I ran into my professor at the movies.

Another scenario is meeting someone for the first time.

  • J’ai rencontré mon copain à l’école.
  • I met my boyfriend (for the first time) at school.

Retrouver: to meet up with someone; find again – find something that was once lost; find; relocate; to see someone again after a long time.

Unlike rencontrer, retrouver is used when talking about a planned meet up with someone.

  • J’ai retrouvé ma meilleur à la plage.
  • I met up with my best friend at the beach.

This verb also means to find, as in to find an item.

  • Ma mère a retrouvé mon portable.
  • My mother found my cell phone.

 

If you have any suggestions for another versus post, please leave a comment below!

Have a great week, everyone!

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.