Tag Archive | Etre

Idiomatic Verbs – Etre

The verb être (to be) can also be used idiomatically in the following important idiomatic expressions:

être de retour (to be back)

  • Je serai de retour à neuf heures.
  • I shall be back at 9 o’clock.

être en retard (to be late)

  • J’espère que le train ne sera pas en retard.
  • I hope the train won’t be late.

être sur le point de (to be about to)

  • Nous étions sur le point de sortir.
  • We were about to leave.

être en train de (to be in the middle of)

  • Nous sommes en train de le décider.
  • We are (in the middle of) deciding it.

être enrhumé (to have a cold)

  • Maman est enrhumée et ne pourra pas nous accompagner.
  • Mom has a cold and will not be able to accompany us.

Note as well:

  • Ce n’est pas la peine.
  • It is not worth the effort.

Have a fantastic week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

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The Conditional Perfect

The conditional perfect tense in French consists of the conditional of the auxiliary verbs avoir or être + the past participle. The past participle follows the same agreement rules as in the passé composé.

avoir

j‘aurais parlé, fini, vendu nous aurions parlé, fini, vendu
tu aurais parlé, fini, vendu vous auriez parlé, fini, vendu
il/elle/on aurait parlé, fini, vendu ils/elles auraient parlé, fini, vendu

être

je serais parti(e), rentré(e), allé(e) nous serions parti(e)s, rentré(e)s, allé(e)s
tu serais parti(e), rentré(e), allé(e) vous seriez parti(e)(s), rentré(e)(s), allé(e)(s)
il serait parti, rentré, allé ils seraient partis, rentrés, allés
elle serait partie, rentrée, allée elles seraient parties, rentrées, allées
on serait parti(s/es), rentré(s/es), allé(s/es)

The conditional perfect expresses the idea would have spoken, would have finished, would have sold. In other words, it labels actions that did not take place, but that would have or could have taken place if certain conditions had been met.

Moi, je n’aurais pas fait ça. | I wouldn’t havedone that.


Personne ne l’aurait compris. | Nobody would have understood him.


Tu lui aurais dit la vérité, toi ? | Would you have told her the truth?

In journalistic language, the conditional perfect may be used to express an assertion that the writer sees as alleged but not yet verified, one deriving from sources rather than investigation. The English equivalent is usually the present perfect tense.

L’enterprise aurait demandé un prêt considérable. | The company had asked (implication – it is rumoured) for a large loan.


Selon des sources en générale bien informées, des officiels de l’ONU auraient été à la solde de régimes brutaux du Moyen-Orient. | According to usually knowledgeable sources, UN officials have been on the payroll of brutal Middle Eastern regimes.


See you all next week, everyone!

A bientôt !

Courtney

The Future Perfect

The future perfect tense in French consists of the future of the auxiliary verb avoir or  être + the past participle. The past participle follows the same agreement rules as in the passé composé.

avoir

j‘aurai parlé, fini, vendu nous allons parlé, fini, vendu
tu auras parlé, fini, vendu vous aurez parlé, fini, vendu
il/elle/on aura parlé, fini, vendu ils/elles auront parlé, fini, vendu

être

je serai parti(e), rentré(e), allé(e) nous serons parti(e)s, rentré(e)s, allé(e)s
tu seras parti(e), rentré(e), allé(e) vous serez parti(e)(s), rentré(e)(s), allé(e)(s)
il sera parti, rentré, allé ils seront partis, rentrés, allés
elle sera partie, rentrée, allée elles seront parties, rentrées, allées
on sera parti(s/es), rentré(s/es), allé(s/es)

The future perfect expresses the idea will have spoken, will have finished, will have sold. In both French and English, the future perfect tense indicates an event that will be completed in the future before another event occurs, or an event that will be completed before some point of time in the future. The simple future tense does not necessarily express the completion of the action – just that it takes place in the future.

The future perfect may appear in main clauses to indicate a future action that will be completed by a certain time.

Ils seront tous partis avant la tombée de la nuit. | They all will have left before nightfall.

The future perfect may appear in subordinate clauses when they are introduced by a conjunction of time indicating that the action of a subordinate clause will be completed before the action of a main clause in the future tense. English uses the present perfect, not the future perfect, in these cases.

On passera le voir quand il se sera levé. | We’ll go by to see him when he has gotten up.


Je te dirai ce qui se passe dès que j’aurai appris quelque chose. | I will tell you what’s going on as soon as I have learned something.


Have an amazing week, everyone!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

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

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

Verbs Conjugated With Etre

As we all know, there are verbs in French that are conjugated with avoir and être. Most verbs are conjugated with avoir, but there are a select few verbs that get conjugated with être, and for some it’s difficult to remember which ones get conjugated with être. These verbs are motion verbs, with the exception of the verbs “marcher” (to walk), and “quitter” (to leave/abandon).

If anyone reading this has ever taken a formal French class, you may have heard your professor speak of the acronym to help you remember which verbs get conjugated with être; this acronym is DR MRS VANDERTRAMP. If you’ve never heard of this, then here it is!

Devenir – to become

Revenir – to return/come back


Monter – to climb/go up/ascend

Rentrer – to return/re-enter/go home/go back

Sortir – to go out/go/leave/exit


Venir – to come/come along

Arriver – to arrive/turn up/show up

Naître – to be born/arise

Descendre – to descend/go down/move down/dismount

Entrer – to enter/go in/come in

Retourner – to return/go back/come back

Tomber – to fall/tumble/topple

Rester – to stay/remain

Aller – to go

Mourir – to die/pass away/perish

Partir – to leave/depart/head out/take off


Last post of the year! I wish you all the best as we all wrap up 2016. I will see you all in the new year with new weekly posts!

A la prochaine !

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