Tag Archive | Avoir

Omitting the Possessive Adjective

In an imperative or command:

In French, possessive adjectives are used to modify the noun they precede.

Voici ma mère. | This is my mother.


Regarde ma nouvelle voiture ! | Look at my new car!

A common construction is one where the possessive adjective is dropped in an imperative or command (and replaced with a definite article along with a personal pronoun) only if an action is being taken on a physical attribute (head, back, arm etc.). In the following examples, action is not being taken on the physical attribute, therefore the possessive adjective remains.

Regarde mon dos. | Look at my back.


Remarque mes cheveux. | Notice my hair.

In the following examples, an action is being taken on the physical attribute.

Masse-moi le dos. | Massage my back.


Coupe-moi les cheveux. | Cut my hair.


Tiens-moi la main. | Hold my hand.

Verb

Possessive Adjective

Noun

masse

mon

dos

coupe

mes

cheveux

↙↘

Verb

Personal Pronoun

Definite Article

Noun

masse

moi

le

dos

coupe

moi

les

cheveux


In a statement:

The possessive adjective may also be dropped in a statement only if an action is being taken on the physical attribute. In the following examples, an action is not being taken.

Je regarde son dos. | I’m looking at his/her back.


Elle remarque ses cheveux. | She’s noticing his/her hair.

In the following examples, an action is being taken on the physical attribute.

Je lui masse le dos. | I’m massaging his/her back.


Elle me coupe les cheveux. | She’s cutting my hair.

The possessive adjective takes the form of the appropriate personal pronoun and is placed before the verb, and a definite article is placed before the object. The same applies to pronominal verbs (when the action is being done to oneself).

  • I wash my hands. = Je me lave les mains.
  • She brushes her hair. = Elle se brosse les cheveux.

Subject

Verb

Possessive Adjective

Object

je

masse

son

dos

elle

coupe

mes

cheveux

↙↘

Subject

Personal Pronoun

Verb

Definite Article

Object

je

lui

masse

le

dos

elle

me

coupe

les

cheveux


In the past tense (passé composé):

In the past tense as well, the personal pronoun is placed after the subject (just as it is in the present tense).

Subject

Personal Pronoun

Verb

Definite Article

Object

je

lui

masse

le

dos

elle

me

coupe

les

cheveux

↙↘

Subject

Personal Pronoun

Avoir

Past Participle

Definite Article

Object

je

lui

ai

massé

le

dos

elle

m’

a

coupé

les

cheveux


In the past tense using pronominal verbs:

The construction for using pronominal verbs is much like using passé composé with the exception that, as with all reflexive verbs, the past participle is conjugated with être.

Subject

Personal Pronoun

Être

Past Participle

Definite Article

Object

je

me

suis

lavé

les

mains

elle

s’

est

cassé

la

jambe


I hope everyone is doing well and having a wonderful week!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

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

Lesson 12 – Passé Composé

Leçon 12 – Passé Composé

French has several ways to express a past event. The most important and most useful tense form of the past tense in French is le passé composé. It corresponds to the English simple past tense (I saw, I had, I began), as well as to the English present perfect (I have finished, I have purchased, I have been).

Forming the Passé Composé

The passé composé of most verbs is formed by using the present tense of the verb avoir (to have) and the past participle. The past participle ends in –é for verbs that end in –er (parler, parlé), in –i for verbs that end in –ir (finir, fini), and in –u for verbs that end in –re (vendre, vendu).
Verbs ending in –er

  • j’ai visité – I visited, I have visited
  • tu as visité – you visited, you have visited
  • il/elle/on visité – he/she/we visited, have visited
  • nous avons visité – we visited, have visited
  • vous avez visité – you visited, have visited
  • ils/elles visité – they visited, have visited

 

Verbs ending in –ir

  • j’ai choisi – I chose, have chosen
  • tu as choisi – you chose, have chosen
  • il/elle/on choisi – he/she/we chose, have chosen
  • nous avons choisi – we chose, have chosen
  • vous avez choisi – you chose, have chosen
  • ils/elles ont choisi – they chose, have chosen

 

Verbs ending in –re

  • j’ai perdu – I lost, have lost
  • tu as perdu – you lost, have lost
  • il/elle/on – perdu he/she/we lost, have lost
  • nous avons perdu – we lost, have lost
  • vous avez perdu – you lost, have lost
  • ils/elles ont perdu – they lost, have lost

Verbs With Irregular Past Participles

Infinitive Past Participle

s’asseoir (to be seated) – assis (seated)

avoir (to have) – eu (had)

boire (to drink) – bu (drunk)

conduire (to conduct) – conduit (conducted)

connaître (to know) – connu (known)

courir (to run) – couru (run/ran)

croire (to believe) – cru (believed)

devoir (to owe; must) – dû (ought)

dire (to say, tell) – dit (said, told)

être (to be) – été (been, was)

écrire (to write) – écrit (wrote, written)

faire (to do, make) – fait (done, made)

lire (to read) – lu (read)

mettre (to put) – mis (put)

mourir (to die) – mort (died)

naître (to be born) – né (born)

offrir (to offer) – offert (offered)

ouvrir (to open) – ouvert (opened)

partir (to leave) – parti (left)

pouvoir (to be able to) – pu (been able to)

prendre (to take) – pris (taken, took)

recevoir (to receive) – reçu (received)

rire (to laugh) – ri (laughed)

savoir (to know) – su (known)

venir (to come) – venu (came)

voir (to see) – vu (seen, saw)

vouloir (to want) – voulu (wanted)

 

Verbs Which Use être as the Auxiliary Verb

The following verbs use être instead of avoir as the auxiliary verb to form the passé composé.

aller (to go)

arriver (to arrive)

descendre (to descend)

devenir (to become)

entrer (to enter)

monter (to go up)

mourir (to die)

naître (to be born)

partir (to leave)

rentrer (to return)

rester (to remain, to stay)

retourner (to return)

revenir (to come back)

sortir (to go out)

tomber (to fall)

venir (to come)

 

The past participle of verbs conjugated with être as the auxiliary verb change endings to agree in gender and number with the subject of the verb. If the subject is feminine singular, an –e is added to the past participle. If the subject is masculine plural, an –s is added, and if feminine plural, an –es is added. These changes do not affect pronunciation (except in the case of the verb mourir past participle- mort, morts, morte, mortes. The addition of the –e in the feminine singular and plural form causes the –t to be sounded).

 

Some examples:

  • je suis sorti (masculine) – I left, have left
  • je suis sortie (feminine) – I left, have left
  • tu es né (masculine) – you were born
  • tu es née (feminine) – you were born
  • ils sont descendus – (masculine plural) they descended, have descended
  • elles sont descendues – (feminine plural) they descended, have descended

 

Ils sont arrivés hier et sont allés tout de suite au consulat américain.

They arrived yesterday and went immediately to the American consulate.

Nous sommes restés longtemps.

We stayed a long time.

Word of the Day 04

Today’s French word of the day:

Avoir la dalle

Meaning to be hungry/starving.

Register: Colloquial 

Type: Phrase, Colloquialism 


Another colloquial phrase for you!


Other ways to say that you’re hungry:

Avoir les crocs. (To be starving.)

Crever de faim. (To starve.)

Avoir les dents du fond qui baignent. (When you have eaten too much.)


Again, a big thank you to my dear friend Philippe for helping with this post!

Word of the Day 03

Today’s French word of the day:

En avoir ras la casquette 

Meaning to be fed up.

Register: Colloquial 

Type: Phrase, Colloquialism 

More of a phrase than a word, but learning colloquialisms is so important for those who plan on becoming fluent, since these phrases don’t translate literally.

Other ways to say that you’re fed up:

J’en ai ras la casquette.

J’en ai marre.

J’en ai ras le bol.

J’en ai ras le cul. (Vulgaire)

J’en ai plein le cul. (Vulgaire)


Many thanks to my dear friend Philippe for helping with this post!

Lesson 10 – Asking Someone’s Age

Leçon 10 – Asking Someone’s Age

In French, asking someone’s age, or even telling someone your age is quite different from the way English speakers do.

In English, you would say, “I am twenty years old.” In French, you would say, “J’ai vingt ans.” This literally translates to, “I have twenty years.” Although years old may be left out in English, the word ans must be used in French when talking about someone’s age.

Of course with French there is a formal way and an informal way to ask someone’s age, and the verb avoir must agree with the subject (je, tu, il/elle/on, nous, vous, ils/elles). Refer to the previous post on how to conjugate this avoir.

Formal:
Quel âge avez-vous ?

Informal:
Quel âge as-tu ?

First person singular response (je) :

  • J’ai vingt cinq ans. – I am twenty five years old.

Asking how old third person singular subject (il/elle/on) :

  • Quel âge a Stéphanie ? – How old is Stephanie?
  • Quel âge a Philippe ? – How old is Philippe ?

Asking how old we are (nous) :

  • Quel âge avons-nous ? – How old are we?

Asking how old they are (ils/elles) :

  • Quel âge ont-ils/elles ? – How old are they (boys/girls/mixed group – meaning is the same)
  • Quel âge ont les hommes ? – How old are the men?
  • Quel âge ont les femmes ? – How old are the women?
  • Quel âge ont Elisabeth et Marie ? – How old are Elizabeth and Marie?
  • Quel âge ont Jean et Michael ? – How old are Jean and Michael?
  • Quel âge ont Caroline et Robert ? – How old are Caroline and Robert?