Tag Archive | French Nouns

Uses of the Subjunctive

Continuing on with the subjunctive subject, we’ll go over the uses of the subjunctive this week. The present subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses appearing after main clauses that imply that someone wants someone to do something or that someone wants something to happen that is not yet part of reality or that person’s experience.

Verbs of wanting or ordering someone to do something include vouloirdésirersouhaitervouloir bien (to be willing), commanderordonner (to order), and exiger (to demand).

The present subjunctive can follow a verb in any tense in the main clause.

Elle ne veut pas qu’il revienne. | She doesn’t want him to come back.


Nous souhaitons que vous trouviez un poste. | We hope that you will find a job.


Je veux bien que tu fasses sa connaissance. | I’d like for you to meet him.


J’ai ordonné que vous restiez. | I ordered you to remain.


Le prof a exigé que nous sachions tout. |The professor demanded that we know everything.

Verbs permitting, forbidding, and preventing include permettreautoriserdéfendreinterdire (to prohibit/forbid), éviter (to avoid), and empêcher (to avoid/prevent).

Je ne permettrai pas que vous me parliez comme ça. | I won’t allow you to speak to me like that.


Personne n’a autorisé que vous sortiez. | No one has authorised you to go out.


Je défends que tu me répondes sur ce ton. | I forbid you to answer me like that.


Il empêche que nous fassions notre travail. | He’s keeping us from doing our work.

Verbs of asking an suggesting include diredemandersuggérerproposer, and recommander.

Je dis qu’il vienne. | I’m telling him to come.


Il a demandé que tout le monde soit présent. | He asked that everyone be present.


Je suggère qu’ils y aillent. | I suggest that they go there.


Il propose que nous travaillions ensemble. | He suggests that we work together.


Vous recommandez que je prenne l’avion ? | Do you recommend that I take the plane?

Verbs that try to get someone to do something by expressing likes, preferences, or waiting include aimer (to want), aimer mieux (to prefer), préférer (to prefer), accepter (to agree), admettre (to allow), and attendre (to wait for).

J’aimerais que vous m’aidiez. | I’d like for you to help me.


J’aimerais mieux qu’elle s’en aille. | I’d prefer for her to go away.


Personne n’acceptera que tu partes. | No one will agree to your leaving.


Sa mère n’admettre pas qu’elle mette cette robe. | Her mother won’t allow her to wear that dress.


Nous attendons que vous soyez prêt. | We’re waiting for you to be ready.


This wraps up the subjunctive. Let me know if there’s something in particular you would like me to go over in a future post. Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !

Courtney

The Subjunctive in Noun Clauses

A noun clause is a subordinate clause that functions as a noun, that is, it can serve as either the subject or the object of a verb. Noun clauses are introduced in French by the conjunction que.

The following examples have dependent noun clauses in the indicative. They show events perceived as part of reality because they are the objects of verbs such as savoirpenserentendre (dire), and voir.

Jesais que Jérôme habite ce quartier. | I know that Jérôme lives in this neighbourhood.


Je pense que la réunion est en haut. | I think that the meeting is upstairs.


On a entendu dire que l’entreprise a des problèmes. | We have heard that the firm has problems.


Je vois que les résultats sont bons. | I see that the results are good.

Note that in the above examples, the subordinate clauses beginning with que are the direct objects of the verbs. They all answer the question “Qu’est-ce que?

  • Qu’est-ce que tu sais ? → Je sais que Jérôme habite ce quartier.
  • Qu’est-ce que tu penses ? → Je pense que la réunion est en haut.
  • Qu’est-ce que vous avez entendu dire ? → On a entendu dire que l’entreprise a des problèmes.
  • Qu’est-ce que tu vois ?  → Je vois que les résultats sont bons.

Next week I will go over the uses of the subjunctive, so stay tuned for that! Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !

Courtney

Lesson 30 – Comparison of Adjectives, Adverbs, Nouns, & Verbs

Leçon 30

An object or a person may be seen as having more, less, or the same amount of a characteristic as another object or person. To express this, French and English use comparative constructions.

To make comparisons of superiority, French uses the construction plus + adjective + que.

  • Le boulevard est plus large que notre rue.
  • The boulevard is wider than our street.

To make comparisons of inferiority, French uses the construction moins + adjective + que.

  • Mais le boulevard est moins large que l’autoroute.
  • But the boulevard is less wide than the highway.

To make comparisons of equality, French uses the construction aussi + adjective + que.

  • Le boulevard est aussi large que l’avenue de la République.
  • The boulevard is as wide as the Avenue of the Republic.

The adjectives bon and mauvais have irregular comparative forms:

bon(ne)(s) → meilleur(e)(s) mauvais(e)(s) → pire(s)
  • Ce restaurant est meilleur que l’autre.
  • This restaurant is better than the other one.
  • Le bruit est pire ici que dans mon quartier.
  • The noise is worse here than in my neighbourhood.

Adverbs are compared in the same way as adjectives.

  • Elle répond plus poliment que lui.
  • She answers more politely than he does.
  • Elle répond moins poliment que lui.
  • She answers less politely than he does.
  • Elle répond aussi poliment que lui.
  • She answers as politely than he does.

The adverbs bien and mal have irregular comparative forms: mieux (better) and pire (worse). Pire may be replaced by plus mal. The comparative of beaucoup is plus, and the comparative of peu is moins.

  • On dit que Mme Gautier enseigne mieux que M. Richard.
  • They say that Mrs. Gautier teaches better than Mr. Richard.
  • J’en doute. Ses étudiants écrivent pire (plus mal) que les étudiants de M. Richard.
  • I doubt it. Her students write worse than Mr. Richard’s students do.

When verbs are compared, autant replaces aussi in comparisons of equality.

  • Je travaille plus/moins que toi.
  • I work more/less than you.
  • Je travaille autant que toi.
  • I work as much as you.

The comparison of nouns resembles the comparison of verbs. De is used before the noun.

  • Il a plus/moins de soucis que nous.
  • He has more/fewer worries as we do.
  • Il a autant de soucis que nous.
  • He has as many worries as we do.

In comparisons, que may be followed by a noun, a stressed pronoun, a demonstrative or possessive pronoun, a prepositional phrase, or an adjective. For adjectives, the adjective functions as a noun.

  • La robe rouge est plus chic que le vert.
  • The red dress is more stylish than the green one.
  • Les petits enfants étudient autant que les grands.
  • The little kids study as much as the big kids.
  • Ce roman est moins intéressant que ceux de l’autre auteur.
  • This novel is not as interesting as the ones by the other author.

I hope you guys found this post to be helpful. Any and all feedback is welcome.

Have a great week!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Parts of a Sentence

Parts of a Sentence

In this grammar lesson, I will breakdown the basic elements of what makes up a sentence in French. In French grammar, words are classified into eight parts: the noun, the determiner, the adjective, the pronoun, the verb, the adverb, the preposition and the conjunction.


Noun

Le nom, en français, identifies a person, place, animal, thing, or an idea. Nouns can be proper (names of people, names of countries and cities, company names, etc.), or common nouns (things such as a book, a car, food, etc.). All French nouns have a gender, either masculine or feminine, and learning the gender for each noun is important in speaking French as all nouns have to have agreement with articles and adjectives.


Determiner

The determiner is an important noun modifier which introduces and provides context to a noun, often in terms of quantity and possession. In English, the determiner would be “the”, “a”, or “an”; in French, the determiner are articles – le, la, les, un, une, de, de la, du, and des.


Adjective

L’adjectif, en français, modifies a noun by describing it in size, color, and shape. In French, most adjectives follow the noun they modify. However, adjectives that describe beauty, age, number, goodness, and size all precede the noun. (C’est une belle journée, for example.)


Pronoun

Pronouns, or proper nouns, take the place of a noun. French pronouns are je, tu, il, elle, nous, vous, ils, elles, me, te, le, la, les, lui, leur.

I go into further detail on pronouns in Lesson 9.


Verb

In French, verbs are variable. They are affected by:

  • The person (the speaker, the addressee, or others: je, tu, il, nous
  • The number (singular or plural)
  • The gender
  • The tense (the present, past and future, etc.).
  • The aspect (how the time in which an event occurs is viewed: as complete, ongoing, consequential, planned, etc.
  • The mood (finite forms: indicative, imperative, subjunctive, and conditional
  • The voice (a verb in the active or passive voice

Adverb

Adverbs provide information about the words they modify, such as when, where, how, how often, or to what degree something is done.

When a French adverb modifies a verb, it is placed after the conjugated verb.

Example: Je regarde souvent la télé le soir. – I often watch television in the evening.

 

When a French adverb modifies an adjective, it is placed in front of the word it is modifying.

Example: Nous avons très bien mangé. – We ate very well.


Prepositions

A preposition is a word that links nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence.

Here is a great list of French prepositions.


Conjunctions

Conjunctions are invariable words that are used to join words or clauses that have equal value: mais, ou, et, donc, or, ni, car

 

BONUS!

As a general rule, if you have a noun in French, there is virtually always an article in front of it. I have two older posts on articles here (part 1), and here (part 2).

 

I hope this was helpful to everyone! As always, I welcome comments of any kind. Have a great week!

À bientôt !

Courtney

Lesson 7 – Nouns

Leçon 7 – Nouns

Talking About a Person or a Thing

  1. A noun is a name of a person, place, or thing. In French, every noun has a gender, either masculine or feminine. Except for people, you cannot tell what the gender of the noun is just by looking at it. You need other clues.
  2. Many words that accompany nouns can indicate gender. They are called “gender markers.” Une and un are gender markers; they are indefinite articles and correspond to a/an in English. Une accompanies a feminine noun, and un accompanies a masculine noun.

Indefinite Articles

  • Feminine – une amie; une soeur; une école
  • Masculine – un ami; un frère; un college

Definite Articles

Lela, and l’ are definite articles and often correspond to the in English.

  • Feminine – la fille; la soeur; l’amie
  • Masculine – le garçon; le frère; l’ami

Attention!

Note that the definite articles le and la are shortened to l’ when they accompany a noun that begins with a vowel. When pronounced, the vowel sound is dropped. This is called “elision.”

la amie → l’amie

le ami → l’ami

The of the indefinite article un is pronounced when it accompanies a noun beginning with a vowel. This is called “liaison.”

un ami ; un élève

Describing a Person or a Thing

  • An adjective is a word that describes a noun. The bolded words in the following sentences are adjectives.

La fille est blonde. Le garçon est blond aussi.

Jeann est française. Vincent aussi est français.

  • In French, an adjective must agree with the noun it describes or modifies. Adjectives that end in a consonant such as blond and français have two forms in the singular.

Feminine

La fille est blonde.

La fille est française.

La fille est brune.

La fille est intelligente.

L’ecole est grande.

Masculine

Le garçon est blond.

Le garçon est français.

Le garçon est brun.

Le garçon est intelligent.

Le college est grand.

  • Adjectives that end in e, such as énergique and sympathique, are both masculine and feminine.

Feminine

Charlotte est très énergique.

Elle est sympathique.

Masculine

Nicolas est très énergique.

Il est sympahique.

Attention

When the final consonant is followed by an e, you pronounce the consonant. When a word ends in a consonant, you don’t pronounce it.

petite    petit

française    français

intéressante    intéressant