Tag Archive | French Words

Irregular Verbs Resembling Regular Verbs

It is essential to know how to conjugate verbs in French, and more importantly how different verbs (-er, -ir, -re ending) are conjugated. There comes the dilemma when there are irregular verbs that resemble “regular” verbs, but they do not conjugate the same way.

A small number of -ir verbs have the ending of -er verbs in the present tense. The example below is ouvrir (to open).

j’ouvre nous ouvrons
tu ouvres vous ouvrez
il/elle ouvre ils/elles ouvrent

Verbs conjugated like ouvriraccueillir (to welcome), couvrir (to cover), cueillir (to gather, pick), découvrir (to discover), rouvrir (to reopen), souffrir (to suffer).

Another group of -ir verbs is conjugated like -re verbs. The example below is partir (to leave, to set out for [a destination]).

je pars nous partons
tu pars vous partez
il/elle part ils/elles partent

Verbs conjugated like partir: dormir (to sleep), mentir (to lie), repartir (to leave again), sentir (to feel), servir (to serve), sortir (to go out).

The verb mettre (to put) is conjugated like an -re verb, but it only has one t in the singular.

je mets nous mettons
tu mets vous mettez
il/elle met ils/elles mettent

Verbs conjugated like mettre: battre (to beat), combattre (to fight, combat), débattre (to debate), omettre (to omit), permettre (to permit), promettre (to promise).

The verbs convaincre (to convince) and vaincre (to conquer) have two stems. The singular stem ends in -c, and the plural stem ends in -qu.

je convaincs nous convainquons
tu convaincs vous convainquez
il/elle convainc ils/elles convainquent

Infinitives ending in -aindre-eindre, and -oindre have two stems. The singular stem ends in -n, and the plural stem ends in -gn. They follow the pattern of the verb craindre (to fear), in the following example.

je crains nous craignons
tu crains vous craignez
il/elle craint ils/elles craignent

Verbs conjugated like craindre: atteindre (to reach, attain), éteindre (to put out, extinguish), joindre (to join), peindre (to paint), plaindre (to pity), rejoindre (to rejoin).

Verbs like connaître (to know) have a singular stem ending in -ai. In the third person singular form, the -i changes to . The plural stem ends in -ss.

je connais nous connaissons
tu connais vous connaissez
il/elle connaît ils/elles connaissent

Verbs conjugated like connaître: apparaître (to appear), disparaître (to disappear), paraître (to seem, appear),  reconnaître (to recognise).

Verbs with infinitives ending in -uire like construire (to build) have two stems. The singular stem ends in -i and the plural stem ends in -s.

je construis nous construisons
tu construis vous construisez
il/elle construit ils/elles construisent

Verbs conjugated like construire: conduire (to drive), détruire (to destroy), introduire (to introduce), produire (to produce), traduire (to translate).

The verb recevoir (to receive) is conjugated similarly to devoir. Note the change of c to ç before o.

je reçois nous recevons
tu reçois vous recevez
il/elle reçoit ils/elles reçoivent

Verbs conjugated like recevoir: décevoir (to disappoint), apercevoir (to notice).

Until next week, dear readers. Have a wonderful week!

A bientôt !



Indefinite Words & Expressions

This is actually a part 2 from a post I did a few months ago.

When an indefinite or negative word or expression is followed by an adjective, the preposition de is placed between them. The adjective is always masculine singular.

  • quelqu’un/personne d’intelligent | someone/no one intelligent
  • quelque chose/rien de délicieux | something/nothing delicious
  • Quoi de neuf ? | What’s new?
  • un je ne sais quoi de fascinant | something fascinating

The phrase d’autre translates else with quelqu’unquelque chose personnerien, and quoiquelqu’un/quelque chose/rien d’autre (someone/something/nothing else), Quoi d’autre ? (What else?). Note also ailleurs (elsewhere) and nulle part ailleurs (nowhere else). De followed by a masculine singular adjective is also used after qu’est-ce qu’il y a and ce qu’il y a.

Qu’est-ce qu’il y a de plus amusant pour les enfants que le guignol ? | What is more fun for children than a puppet show?

The word chaque means each. The corresponding pronoun (each one) is chacunchacune.

Avez-vous apporté quelque chose pour chaque enfant ? | Have you bought something for each child?

Oui, j’ai un cadeau pour chacun. | Yes, I have a gift for each (one).

The word tout has several uses in French. As an adjective it has four forms: touttoutetoustoutes.

🔵 When it directly precedes a singular noun, it means every.

  • Tout enfant doit aller à l’école. | Every child must go to school.

This is similar in meaning to tous/toutes + definite article + plural noun.

  • Tous les enfants doivent aller à l’école. | All children must go to school.

🔵 Tout/Toute + definite article + singular noun means all the, the whole. Compare tout la ville (the whole city) with toute ville (every city).

🔵 Tout/Toutes les + number:

  • Il vient tous les trois mois. | He comes every three months (every third month).
  • Prenez. C’est pour tous les deux. | Take it. It’s for both of you.
  • Nous sommes sortis tous les quatre. | All four of us went out.

🔵 Tout as a pronoun means everything.

  • J’espère que tout va bien. | I hope everything is all right.
  • Tout est en règle. | Everything is in order.

🔵 Tous as a pronoun (final s is pronounced) means everyone. It is followed by a plural verb when it is the subject of the sentence.

  • Ils sont tous revenus. | They all came back.
  • Tous on demandé de vous voir. | Everyone has asked to see you.

🔵 Tout le monde + singular verb is the most common way to express everyone. To express the whole world, French uses le monde entier.

  • Tout le monde a demandé de te voir. | Everyone has asked to see you.

Have a great week, tout le monde !

A la prochaine…


Idiomatic Expressions

It’s good to learn the idiomatic expressions of a language you want to learn. Not everything is translated literally, and unless you learn these expressions, you’ll be left with scratching your head. So I’ve compiled a few of these helpful expressions for your reference. 🙂

Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles.

Literal translated: To have the ass surrounded by noodles.

Idiomatic expression: To be a lucky so-and-so.

Pédaler dans la semoule.

Literal translation: To pedal in semolina.

Idiomatic expression: To go around in circles.

L’habit ne fait pas le moine.

Literal translation: The habit doesn’t make the monk.

Idiomatic expression: The suit doesn’t make the man.

Chanter comme une casserole.

Literal translation: Sing like a saucepan.

Idiomatic expression: Someone who can’t sing/sings flat.

Avoir le cafard.

Literal translation: To have the cockroach.

Idiomatic expression: To feel blue/feel down.

Faut pas pousser mamie dans les orties!

Literal translation: Don’t push granny into the nettles!

Idiomatic expression: Don’t push your luck!

Être dans de beaux draps.

Literal translation: To be in beautiful sheets.

Idiomatic expression: To be in a right mess.

Noyer le poisson.

Literal translation: Drown the fish.

Idiomatic expression: Change the topic/confuse the issue.

Il pleut des cordes.

Literal translation: It’s raining ropes.

Idiomatic expression: It’s raining cats and dogs.

C’est la fin des haricots.

Literal translation: It’s the end of the beans.

Idiomatic expression: Nothing more can be done.

Il me court sur le haricot.

Literal translation: He’s running on my bean.

Idiomatic expression: He’s getting on my nerves.

Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard.

Literal translation: It doesn’t break three legs of a duck.

Idiomatic expression: Nothing to write home about.

Faire une queue de poisson.

Literal translation: Make a fish tail.

Idiomatic expression: Cut someone off.

Avoir le cul entre deux chaises.

Literal translation: To have one’s ass between two chairs.

Idiomatic expression: To sit on the fence.

Revenons à nos moutons.

Literal translation: Let’s come back to our sheep.

Idiomatic expression: Let’s get back to business/get back on track.

Manger les pissenlits par la racine.

Literal translation: Eat the dandelions by the root.

Idiomatic expression: Push up daisies.

Avaler des couleuvres.

Literal translation: To swallow snakes.

Idiomatic expression: To be gullible.

Être rond comme une queue de pelle.

Literal translation: To be round as a shovel handle.

Idiomatic expression: Drunk as a skunk.

I hope everyone is having a great week! Let me know if you like posts like this, and I can make more. Also, if anyone is having difficulty understanding the idiomatic expressions in English, let me know and I’ll be happy to explain it. I know a lot of my readers come from non-English speaking countries, and English isn’t their first language.

Merci à vous !


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.


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


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 !


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.


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


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…


Giving Explanations

Part 2 to last weeks post on offering and asking for explanations.

Constructions for giving explanations rely heavily on prepositions/prepositional phrases, conjunctions, or verbs of explanation.

Prepositions/Prepositional Phrases

Il n’a pa pris la voiture à cause du brouillard. | He didn’t take the cause because of the fog.

La bibliothèque sera fermée le mardi en raison des congés annuels. | The library will be closed on Tuesdays due to staff holidays.

Le stock est épuisé en vertu des demandes exceptionnelles. | Supplies have been exhausted due to exceptional demand.

Par suite d‘encombrements, nous ne pouvons pas répondre à votre appel. | Since all the lines are engaged, we cannot answer your call.

Grâce à sa générosité, nous pourrons réparer l’église. | Thanks to his generosity, we will be able to repair the church.

Les fouilles ont été achevées à l’aide d‘une prestation municipale. | The excavations were completed with the help of a grant from the local council.

Ils augmenteront leur chiffre d’affaires au moyen d‘un investissement considérable. | They’ll increase their turnover thanks to large scale investment.

Devant les accusations, il a dû retirer sa candidature. | In view of the accusations, he had to withdraw from the election.

Malgré la pluie, on est sortis. | We went out despite the rain.

Le concert a eu lieu en dépit des protestations des résidents. | The concert took place despite protests from residents.

Faute de personnel, nous sommes obligés de fermer à midi. | Due to staff shortages, we have to shut down at noon.

Conjunctions Which Indicate an Explanation

Je ne peux pas venir parce que j’ai un dîner ce soir. | I can’t come because I’ve got a dinner tonight.

Il faudra augmenter les contrôles de sécurité puisqu‘il y a un risque d’attentat. | Security risks will have to be increased since there is a risk of an attack.

Elle a reçu sa formation au Mexique, ce qui fait qu‘elle parle bien espagnol. | She did her training in Mexico, which means she speaks Spanish well.

Nous avons perdu deux employés, si bien que le courrier a pris du retard. | We’ve lost two members of staff, so we’re behind with this mail.

On a besoin d’un étudiant en sciences naturelles. Voilà pourquoi j’ai pensé à toi. | We need someone studying biology. That’s why I thought of you.

Cet auteur est très apprécié, car il traite un sujet d’actualité. | This author is highly thought of because he writes about a topical subject.

Je me chargerai des invitations, à condition que vous m’envoyiez la liste des adresses. | I’ll take care of the invitations, provided that you send me the address list.

Nous sommes rentrés hier, bien qu‘ils / quoiqu‘ils aient voulu nous garder un jour de plus. | We came back yesterday, although they wanted us to stay a day longer.

Je n’ai pas sonné de peur quede crainte que vous ne soyez déjà couché. | I didn’t ring the bell in case you were already in bed.

Verbal Constructions Used to Give an Explanation

L’érosion résulte surtout des intempéries. | The erosion is mainly caused by adverse weather.

La querelle provenait d‘un conflit de tempéraments. | The quarrel stemmed from a clash of temperaments.

Ce sujet de doléance remontait aux conditions de vie à l’époque. | This grievance could be traced to living conditions at the time.

On peut attribuer son succès à son enthousiasme. | His/Her success can be attributed to his/her enthusiasm.

La crise s’explique par le manque d’investissement. | The crisis can be explained by the lack of investment.

Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…


Asking for and Offering Explanations

Something to note before going into this lesson, the verb expliquer is used to translate “to explain”, but the reflexive form s’expliquer often translates to “to quarrel”, or “to have a fight”, and une explication can suggest an acrimonious change of views.

Ils se sont expliqués hier. | They fought yesterday.

Asking Someone for an Explanation

This may be a neutral request for information, or a demand that the person addressed should justify him/herself.

Est-ce que vous pourriez m’expliquer les modes d’emploi ? | Could you explain the instructions to me?

Tu peux m’expliquer ce qui se passe ? | Can you explain to me what’s happening?

Je vous demanderais de m’expliquer votre décision. | May I ask you to explain your decision?

J’espère du moins que vous pourrez expliquer votre absence. | I trust you can account for your absence.

Comment voulez-vous justifier ce retard ? | How do you intend to justify this delay?

Offering an Explanation

Here are some examples of how to give your explanation to someone.

Vous aimeriez que je vous explique la structure de notre société ? | Would you like me to explain to you our company’s structure?

Si tu veux, je peux te montrer comment l’appareil fonctionne. | If you’ like, I’ll show you how the machine works.

Permettez que je vous explique notre raisonnement. | Allow me to explain our reasoning to you.

Si vous permettez, j’essayerai d’éclairer la raison de ce malentendu ? | May I try to explain the reason for this misunderstanding?

Il voulait me fair comprendre les obstacles. | He wanted to explain the obstacles to me.

Mon collègue pourra vous rendre compte de nos progrès. | My colleague will be able to tell you about our progress.

Je dois m’excuser de ma conduite hier. | I must apologise for my conduct yesterday.

Je ne veux pas y aller. Je vais prétexter un rendez-vous. | I don’t want to go. I’ll make the excuse that I’ve got a meeting.

There will be a part 2 to this post, so be sure to come back next Thursday for that post! I hope everyone is having a great week!

A bientôt !