Tag Archive | Intermediate French

The Subjunctive in Relative Clauses

The subjunctive is used in a relative clause if the antecedent in the main clause does not exist, is sought but not yet found, or is indefinite.

  • Il n’y a personne qui me comprenne. | There is no one who understands me.
  • Je ne vois pas d’endroit où nous puissions nous asseoir. | I don’t see any place where we can sit down.
  • L’entreprise a besoin de secrétaires qui sachent trois langues. | The firm needs secretaries who know three languages.
  • Je cherche une voiture qui fasse du 100 à l’heure. | I’m looking for a car that does 100mph.
  • Connaissez-vous quelqu’un qui puisse nous aider ? | Do you know someone who can help us?

If the antecedent in the main clause actually exists, the indicative is used in the relative clause.

  • J’ai besoin des secrétaires qui savent trois langues. | I need the secretaries who know three language.
  • J’ai acheté la voiture qui fait du 100 à l’heure. | I bought the car that does 100mph.
  • Voilà quelqu’un qui peut nous aider. | There’s someone who can help us.

Happy learning, and I’ll see you again next Thursday!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

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Practice Set : Prepositions Avec & Sans

Lessons: Prepositions Avec & Sans

Sans or Avec? Complete each phrase with either avec or sans.

  1. He’s an unimaginative man. C’est un homme ____ imagination.
  2. She answered bitterly. Elle a répondu ____ amertume.
  3. They write effortlessly. Ils écrivent ____ effort.
  4. Come eat with us! I really mean it! Viens manger avec nous ! ____ façons !
  5. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t have finished the job. ____ elle, nous n’aurions pas fini le travail.
  6. With the ice on the road, driving is difficult. ____ le verglas, il est difficile de conduire.
  7. You have to handle him carefully. Il faut le prendre ____ des gants.
  8. Don’t go out barefoot. Ne sors pas ____ chaussures.
  9. You have to speak sweetly to her. Il faut lui parler ____ douceur.
  10. He threw himself into the fray unflinchingly. Il s’est lancé au combat ____ broncher.

Give the French equivalent to each each expression using avec or sans in each case.

  1. doubtless
  2. otherwise
  3. heartless
  4. unemployed
  5. lovingly
  6. kindly
  7. anything else?
  8. unhesitatingly

The answers to this practice set will be posted as a comment in the next few days.

See you Thursday!

Courtney

Preposition : Sans

The preposition sans is the equivalent of the English word “without”.

  • Notre équipe a dû jouer sans notre meilleur joueur. | Our team had to play without our best player.
  • Sans argent on ne peut rien faire. | Without money you can’t do anything.
  • Je me suis couché sans avoir fini mon travail. | I went to bed without having finished my work.

Sans can mean if it weren’t for… or but for…

  • Sans ce plan, on se serait perdus. | If it weren’t for this street map, we would have gotten lost.

The preposition sans + noun is often the equivalent of an English adjective ending in -less or an adjective with a negative prefix such as un- or in-.

  • sans abrisans domicile fixehomeless
  • une situation sans remède – a hopeless person
  • un film sans intérêt – an uninteresting film
  • une femme sans préjugés – an unprejudiced/unbiased woman
  • sans doute – doubtless
  • sans effort – effortless

The use of sans with negative words eliminates the need for ne. The partitive article often becomes de after sans because of the implied negative meaning of the preposition.

  • sans parler à personne – without speaking to anyone
  • sans rien faire – without doing anything
  • sans jamais l’avoir vu – without ever having seen him
  • sortir sans faire de bruit – to go out without making any noise

Hello, followers! I will be posting my first practice set this week. I just don’t know what day would be best – I’m thinking either Friday or Saturday. What would you all prefer? This first set will cover this lesson and last weeks lesson.

A bientôt !

Courtney

Prepositions : Avec

The preposition avec expresses accompaniment, much like the English word “with”.

  • Attends, j’irais avec toi. | Wait, I’ll go with you.
  • Je suis d’accord avec vous. | I agree with you.

Avec labels the clause.

  • Avec l’inflation, tout le monde parle des prix. | With inflation, everyone is talking about prices.
  • J’ai peur de conduire avec toute cette neige. | I’m afraid to drive with all this snow.

Avec expresses in addition to.

  • Et avec cela (ça), madame ? | Anything else, ma’am? (In a store.)
  • Il n’a pas étudié et avec ça il a séché le cours. | He didn’t study, and on top of that he cut class.

Avec + noun is often the equivalent of an English adverb.

  • avec joie | joyfully
  • avec colère | angrily

I’m thinking of adding, in addition to these posts, having a practice set, or homework, with an answer key posted on another day. What do you guys think?

ALSO, my blog turned 5 years old last Thursday! I can’t believe I forgot to mention it!

Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !

Courtney

Cognates

Many word in English and French are exactly the same in both languages. Many others have only minor changes in spelling and are easily recognised. The following will help increase your vocabulary.

Adjectives 

The suffixes -able, -ible, -al, -ant, -ent are usually the same in both languages.

admirable

horrible

commercial

confortable

possible

municipal

considérable

terrible

royal

brilliant

évident

ignorant

excellent

important

innocent

French suffixes and their usual English equivalents: -eux (-euse) = -ous; -eur = -or; -el = -al; -ique = -ic.

dangereux/euse

extérieur

habituel

fanatique

fameux/euse

intérieur

mortel

fantastique

furieux/euse

supérieur

naturel

stratégique

Nouns

The following suffixes are generally the same in French and English: -ion, -tion, -age, -ice, -ent, -ence.

attention

distraction

courage

fonction

million

passage

opinion

question

village

caprice

accident

différence

justice

instrument

patience

service

moment

silence

French suffixes and their usual English equivalents: -eur = -or, -er; -té = -ty; -ie = -y; -ique = -ic; -re = -er.

inspecteur

curiosité

compagnie

porteur

difficulté

énergie

visiteur

qualité

industrie

logique

lettre

musique

membre

république

théȃtre

Verbs

The great majority of all French verbs belong in the 1st conjugation (-er). Notice how we may derive the meaning of many of these verbs by observing the following changes in the ending:

  • The -er ending drops in English.

aider

consulter

insister

passer

profiter

  • The French -er becomes -e.

arriver

décider

désirer

préparer

refuser

  • The French -er becomes -ate.

communiquer

hésiter

indiquer

séparer


Thank you everyone for being so understanding that I needed to take the last couple of weeks off from the blog. I’m still recovering, but I’m well enough to return here.

Have an amazing week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Special Cases with “de”

Many verbs and verbal expressions require de before an infinitive complement. Among them are verbs signifying an interruption of the action expressed by the infinitive.

Special Cases with “de”

S’indiquer de is usually translated as “it makes (someone) indignant that”.

  • Le prof s’indigne de voir que nous ne travaillons pas.
  • It makes the professor indignant to see that we are not studying.

Se souvenir de is most often followed by the infinitive of the auxiliary + the past participle (the perfect infinitive).

  • Je ne me souviens pas de l’avoir vu.
  • I don’t remember having seen him.
  • Elle ne se souvient pas d’être sortie avec lui.
  • She doesn’t remember going out with him.

In French, n’oubliez pas de is used to tell someone to remember to do something.

  • N’oubliez pas de rédiger le rapport.
  • Remember to write up the report.

Bien faire de means “to be right in (doing something), to do the wise thing by (doing something)”.

  • Tu as bien faire de nous prévenir.
  • You were wise to let us know.

Venir de means “to have just (done something)”.

  • Il n’est plus là. Il vient de quitter le bureau.
  • He’s not here anymore. He has just left the office.

See you all next week, everyone. Have a good one!

A bientôt !

Courtney

The Infinitive

The French infinitive parallels many of the uses of the English present participle, which ends in -ing.

In French, the infinitive can be a verbal noun that functions as the subject of a sentence.

  • Trouver un bon travail n’est pas facile. | Finding a good job is not easy.
  • Mon but, c’est de travailler à Paris. | Working in paris is my goal.
  • Voir, c’est croire. | Seeing is believing.

The infinitive in French is used after prepositions.

  • avant de sortir | before going out

The French infinitive is often used for impersonal instructions.

  • Ralentir | Slow (on road signs)
  • Agiter avant emploi | Shake before using

The impersonal expressions il faut (one must, you have to), and il vaut mieux (it’s better to) are followed directly by an infinitive. These expressions are not conjugated for person, because impersonal il is the only possible subject. However, they are conjugated for tense.

Imparfait il fallait, il valait mieux
Passé Composé il a fallu, il a mieux valu
Futur il faudra, il vaudra mieux
Conditionnelle il faudrait, il vaudrait mieux
  • Quand est-ce que tu veux partir en vacances ? | When do you want to go on vacation?
  • J’aime prendre mes vacances en hiver. Toi ? | I like to take my vacation in the winter. How about you?
  • Moi, je préfère les prendre au printemps. | I like to take it in the spring.
  • Je déteste voyager quand il fait froid. | I hate to travel when it’s cold.
  • Tu comptes avertir Paul ? | Do you intend to alert Paul?
  • Oui, mais j’ai beau l’appeler. Il ne fait pas attention. | Yes, but it’s no use calling him. He pays no attention.
  • Il affirme pouvoir nous aider. | He affirms that he can help.
  • Nous devons accepter son offre. | We must accept his offer.
  • Il faut lui téléphoner, alors. | Then we must phone him.
  • Il vaut mieux lui envoyer un courriel. | It’s better to send him an email.

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney