French Study Card

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This section provides easy to understand explanations to help you get the most out of your French Study Card. It goes through the layout and content and it gives you a brief explanation of each topic with examples.

If you come across an English Grammar Term you are not familiar with, check the Glossary section on the website. Remember that you can use your French Study Card with any textbook you may be using.

french study card

 

Practising your sentences out loud helps you absorb the language effectively! 

The French Study Card displays 40 independent tables with the most important grammar elements such as pronouns, possessives, adjectives, verb tenses, key words and expressions. Don’t let these words scare you, they’re actually very easy to understand and you’ll find more explanations below.

.Les PRONOMS SUJET (Subject Personal Pronouns) determine the three main colours used throughout the card.

Always think of the Subject Personal Pronouns as the persons who do the action. In English they are the words I, you, he, she, it, we, you and they.

 

They are divided into first, second and third persons, in singular and plural.

SINGULAR PERSONS

  • 1st person: Ije
  • 2nd person: you –  tu
  • 3rd persons: he, she and itil, elle, on

PLURAL PRONOUNS

  • 1st person: we nous
  • 2nd person: you – vous
  • 3rd person: they – ils, elles

Note that French has masculine and feminine pronouns. In English, you use the word they, whether it’s a group of men or a group of women. In French, you need to use the specific word according to the gender.

These are the Subject Personal Pronouns in French:

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french pro

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Get familiar with the colour pattern to easily identify the word or ending you need according to the Subject Personal Pronoun you’re using.

With your card in hand, go through this section to find the explanations on the content of your French Study Card. Or you can also skip to the name of the table you wish to expand your information on.

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The section below is intended to be a general explanation of grammar created for you to understand the layout of your card, in order to take full advantage of it. By no means should this section be considered a course on its own.


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LES PRONOMS SUJECT
  •  Les Pronoms Suject (Subject Pronouns) are the persons who do the action or the persons being described.

Example:

 Je suis Marie. I’m Marie.

Il est tres gentil. He’s very kind.

Elle habite au Canada. She lives in Canada.

Nous avons deux enfants. We have two kids

  • Je changes to j’ before a vowel:

Example:

J’aime Paris.

  • On means someone, you, they, we, or one. It’s commonly used in spoken French. Remember that on is a third person singular. That means that in your card, you need to refer to the light green colour for verb endings, prepositions, and other colour coded elements which need a specific word.

Example:

On mange quoi ce soir? What do we eat tonight?

On peut se garer ici? Can you park here?

ÊTRE PRESÉNT

This is a very important verb which you will be using all the time. This verb is also used as an auxiliary verb so make sure you know it very well.

etes

  • Être literally means to be. (the conjugated forms: am, is, are)
  • Être will allow you to express many different things such as your name, your nationality, your mood, among other things.
  • It’s also an auxiliary verb (a helping word) which will help you form other tenses like the Past tense or Passé Composé.

Remember to refer to the colours in the table to find the word you need to use depending on which person you are using in your sentence.

Example:

Je suis étudiant. I’m a student.

Nous sommes français. We are French.

Il est là-bas.  He’s over there.

  • Note that there are a few “to be” expressions which use avoir in French.

Example:

to be cold – avoir froid. 

to be afraid – avoir peur.

 

 

LES ARTICLES DÉFINIS
  • Les Articles Définis (Definite Article) are the word the in English. In French there are three different words to say the, depending if the word you are referring to is masculine, feminine or plural, so you need to know the gender of the noun.
  • The articles have to agree with the number and gender of the noun it precedes. That means that you need to pay attention if the word you are referring to is in masculine, feminine singular or plural.

Remember that nouns are words like apple, car, house, book, etc. You can also have abstract nouns like time, space, air.

*At the back of the card, there is a handy table with masculine and feminine endings.

  • le is used with masculine singular nouns.

Example:

 le matin – the morning

  • la is used with feminine singular nouns.

Example:

la maison – the house

  • les is used with masculine and feminine nouns in the plural form.

 Example:

les matins – the mornings

les maisons – the houses

  • l’ is used with a masculine or feminine noun in the plural form when the noun begins with a vowel.

Example

 l’étudiant – the student

LES ARTICLES INDÉFINIS
  • Les Articles Indéfinis (Indefinite Articles)are the equivalent of a/an in English.
  • In French, they have a masculine, feminine and a plural form des, which means some.
  • Just like les Articles Définis, they need to agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.
  • Un is used with masculine singular nouns.

Example:

un livre – a book

  • Une is used with feminine singular nouns.

 Example

une voiture – a car

  • Des is used with plural masculine or feminine nouns.

 Example

des livres, – some books, 

des voitures – some cars

  • Note that un and une change to de/ d’ in negative sentences.

Example:

tu n’as pas de soeur. You don’t have a sister.

DEMONSTRATIFS
  • The Demonstratifs point out a person, object, idea or point in time. In English, they are the words: this, that, these, those.
  •  In French, they must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.
  • Ce is used with masculine singular nouns that begin in a consonant.

Example:

Ce livre. This or that book.

  • Cet is used with masculine nouns beginning with a vowel.

Example:

Cet étudiant.  This or that student.

  • Cette is used with feminine singular nouns.

  Example:

Cette chaise. This chair.

  • Ces is used with masculine and feminine nouns in the plural form.

Example:

Ces livres. These / those books.

Ces chaises. These / those chairs.

  • To show the relative distance between the speaker and the object you are talking about, add the suffix -ci (for something close) and – (for something further away).

Example:

Ce livre ci. This book. 

Cette chaise –là.  That chair.

PARTITIFS
  • They can be translated as some in English. They indicate an unknown quantity of something, usually things that you can’t count. They are also used in food or drink.
  • Du is used with masculine singular nouns.

Example:

Du lait – some milk

  • De la is used with feminine singular nouns.

Example:

De la viande – some meat

  • De l is used with masculine or feminine nouns beginning with a vowel.

Example:

 De l’eau – some water

  • Des is used with plural nouns in masculine or feminine.

Example:

Des pommes – some apples

  • Note that du, de la and de l’ change to de/ d’ in negative sentences.

Example:

Je ne veux pas de viande. I don’t want any meat.

POSSESSIFS 1

This table displays the Possessive Adjectives in masculine and feminine in the singular and plural form.

  • They are the words used to indicate to whom or to what something belongs.
  • The possessive needs to agree with the noun that is possessed, in gender and number.
  • The colours in the Possessifs table will help you identify the word needed for a specific person (first, second, third; singular or plural). Remember that the light colours indicate the singular persons and the dark ones the plural persons.
  • M stands for masculine. F stands for feminine and PL stands for plural.
  • mon, ma, mes mean my in English for a masculine, feminine and plural noun respectively.

Example:

mon père, – my father

ma mère – my mother

mes amis –my friends

  • ton, ta, tes : your (singular).
  • son, sa, ses: his or her.
  • notre, notre, nos: our.
  • votre, votre, vos: your (plural).   
  • leur, leur, leurs: their in English.   
  • *ma, ta and sa change to mon, ton, son when the following word begins with a vowel sound.

Example:

Mon amie Claire. My friend Claire.

POSSESSIFS 2

This table displays the Possessive Pronouns in masculine and feminine in the singular and plural form.

  • They are the words used to indicate to whom or to what something belongs.
  • The possessive needs to agree with the noun that is possessed, in gender and number.
  • The difference between possessives 1 and 2 is that these words are not followed by a noun. It may be implicit or it has been used before.
  • In English, they are similar to the words: mine, yours, his, hers, etc.
  • The colours in the Possessifs table will help you identify the word needed for a specific person (first, second, third; singular or plural). Remember that the light colours indicate the singular persons and the dark ones the plural persons.
  • M stands for masculine. F stands for feminine.
  • The plural in masculine and feminine is formed by adding les…s
  • Le mien, la mienne, les miens, les miennes mean mine in English for a masculine, feminine and plural in masculine and feminine nouns respectively.
  • Le tien, la tienne, les tiens, les tiennes mean yours in singular.
  • Le sien, la sienne, les siens, les tiennes mean his or hers.
  • Le nôtre, la nôtre, les nôtres mean ours.
  • Le vôtre, la vôtre, les vôtres mean yours (plural).   
  • Le leur, la leur, les leurs mean theirs in English.   

Example:

C’est le chat de Claude; c’est le sien. It’s Claude’s cat; it’s his.

 A: Mes parents sont américains. My parents are American.

 B: Les miens aussi. Mine too.

IL Y A
  • This is a very common expression in French. It means there is and there are.

Example:

Il y a un piscine. There is a pool

Il y a une château. There is a castle.

Il y a des enfents. There are some kids. 

  • This is a great expression to practise les articles indéfinis (un, une, des)
  • Negative form: Il n’y a pas.

Example:

Il n’y a pas d’enfants. There aren’t any kids.

  • Interrogative form: Est-ce qu’il y a

Example:

Est-ce qu’il y a un piscine? Is there a pool?

LES PRÉSENTATIFS
  • Les Présentatifs are impersonal expressions used to show or introduce someone or something
  • C’est is used with a singular noun.

Example:

C’est mon livre. It’s my book.

  • Ce sont is used with a plural noun.

Example:

Ce sont mes amis . They’re my friends.

  • C’est is commonly used for describing something or giving an opinion.

Example:

C’est normal! That’s normal.

PRONOMS INTERROGATIFS

Place the interrogative words at the beginning of the question.

Example:

Quand veux-tu partir ? When do you want to leave?

Quel livre cherchez-vous? Which book are you looking for?

ADJECTIFS COMMUNS

This table displays 36 common Adjectives. They are given in the singular masculine form.

  • Adjectives in French have a masculine and feminine form, singular and plural. As a general rule, add an –e when an adjective refers to a feminine noun. If it ends in an unaccented –e, then the feminine form is the same.

Example:

joli – C’est une jolie ville. It’s a pretty city.

difficile  Une journée difficile. A difficult day. 

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  • To form the plural, add an –s to the masculine or feminine adjective.

Example:

Les petits enfents.  The small children. 

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  •  In adjectives that end in –eux or –oux, the plural masculine is the same. The feminine is formed with the ending –euse in singular and –euses in plural.

Example:

Le garçon heureuxThe happy boy.

Les garçons heureuxThe happy boys.

La fille heureuseThe happy girl.

Les filles heureuses. The happy girls. 

PRONOMS RÉFLÉCHIS / VERBS RÉFLÉCHIS

This table in your card displays the six Reflexive Pronouns, each in its own colour to identify each person.

  • Reflexive pronouns are used when the action is done and received by the subject.
  • The meaning in English is me myself, te yourself, se himself, se herself, nous ourselves, vous yourselves (pl), se themselves.
  • More French verbs need the reflexive pronoun than English verbs.
  • You can identify a Reflexive verb by the reflexive pronouns se, which is placed before the infinitive.
  • To conjugate the verb, you remove se and add the Pronom Réfléxif. You conjugate the verb according to the person.

Example:

Se lever – to wash/shower

Je me lave. I wash (myself).

  • If the verb begins with a vowel, you need to use m’, t’ or s’.

Example:

s’appeler – to be called

Je m’appelle. I call myself / My name is

PRÉSENT / VERBES RÉGULIERS AND IRRÉGULIERS

The centre pages have plenty of information on verbs. To take full advantage of the French Study Card, it’s important to understand the layout and colour coded system.

The main topic on this page is the Present Tense. This page has an upper and lower U table. The upper section contains 19 VERBES RÉGULIERS.

The bottom U table has  15 VERBES IRRÉGULIERS. On each box, you will find the verb in French, habiter, and its meaning in English, to live. The first box on the bottom U table indicates the six endings for each person to use with the irregular verbs:

French irr

Each box in the U table shows the verb, the meaning in English, and the stems of the verb in bold. The first stem is for the singular persons, and the second stem is for the plural persons.

partir

In the centre of the page, you will find the regular endings for the er, ir and re verbs for each person in the colour coded system:

french pron

This table displays all the endings needed to conjugate the verbs in Present for er, ir and re regular verbs. 90% of French verbs end in er. Learn this conjugation very well and you’ll be able to conjugate most of the verbs.

  • You use the present tense to talk about habits, current situations, facts and near future plans.

Example:

Qu’est-ce que tu fais? Je mangeWhat are you doing? I’m eating.

Je retourne à Dublin demain. I’m going back to Dublin tomorrow.

John habite à Londres. John lives in London. 

Je finis à 18 heures. I finish at 6PM.

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  To form the Present tense is quite easy:

  • First, you need to get the infinitive of the verb. Your French Card has a top U table with 19 regular verbs. They end in er, ir and re.

Example:

parler to speak

finirto finish

vendreto sell

  • Remove the infinitive ending er, ir or re. You are now left with the present stem: parl-, fin-, vend-
  • Finally, add the personal ending shown in the centre of the card, according to your type of verb and the person you want to use it with.

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present ending1

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Je parle (I speak)

tu parles (you speak)

il/elle/ons parle (he/she/one speaks)

nous parlons (we speak)

vous parlez (you speak)

ils/elles parlent (they speak).

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Use the table called FREQUÉNCE on your table, to form complete personal sentences.

Remember to practise them out loud.

VERBES IRRÉGULIERS

To conjugate an irregular verb, add the endings on the red box in the bottom U table to the stems given in the irregular verb boxes:French irr Each verb box in the bottom U table shows the verb, the meaning in English, and the stems of the verb in bold. The first stem is for the singular persons, and the second stem is for the plural persons.partir

partir – to leave

par– (stem for: I, you, he, she, it)

part– (stem for: we, you, they)

je pars

tu pars

il/elle/ons part

nous partons

vous partez

ils/elles partent

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FALLOIR- IL FAUT This is an impersonal verb. This means that it only has one grammatical person, the third personal singular.

  • You only need to add the verb in the infinitive form.

Example:

Il faut manger. It’s necessary to eat.

ALLER, AVOIR, FAIRE

This table displays 7 of the most common and most irregular verbs in French. They are very common so you should know them well. Each conjugation is shown in the colour that corresponds to each person.aller

STRESSED PRONOUNS

This table shows the pronouns used to emphasize a subject. They are displayed in the colour coded system for easy reference.

  • They’re used after c’est or ce sont.

Example:

C’est lui qui habite à ParisIt’s he who lives in Paris.

  • To emphasize the subject.

Example:

Moi, j’habite à Miami. I live in Miami. 

  • When a sentence has more than one subject or object.

Example:

Michèle et moi ne travaillons pas. Michelle and I don’t work.

  • After prepositions.

Example:

après lui after him

avec elles – with them

sans moi – without me

  • To ask and answer questions.

Example:

Qui va a la piscine? Moi! Who’s going to the pool? Me!

 J’ai faim, et toi? I’m hungry, and you?

PRONOMS DÉMONSTRATIFS

This table displays the demonstrative pronouns in masculine, feminine, neuter in singular and plural.

  • The pronouns in the singular form mean this one, that one.
  • The pronouns in plural can mean these, those.
  • They replace a noun mentioned before and they have to agree in gender and number with the noun they replace.
  • If you want to make it clear whether the nouns are near or far, you can add the suffix –ci (here, nearby)and – (there, far away)to the pronoun.

Example:

  Quel film veux-tu voir? Celui-ciWhich film do you want to watch? This one? 

OBJECT DIRECT ET INDIRECT

This table displays the Direct and Indirect Objects in the colour coded system.

  • The Direct or Indirect Object pronouns are placed before a conjugated verb.
  • If the person or thing is not preceded by a preposition, it’s a direct object.

Example:

J’ai mangé la pomme. I ate the apple.

Je l’ai mangé. I ate it. I ate it.

  • If the person or thing is preceded by a preposition, it’s an indirect object.

Example:

Est-ce que tu parles à ta voisine? Do you speak to your neighbour?

Oui, je lui parle. Yes, I speak to her. 

LE NÉGATIF

This table shows different ways of negating in French.

  • In French, a negative is normally made of two parts.
  • The word that you want to negate usually goes between the two parts.

Example:

Je ne fume pas. I don’t smoke.

Je ne mange jamais de la viande. I never eat meat. 

Je ne cherche personneI’m not looking for anyone.

PASSÉ COMPOSÉ - ÊTRE /AVOIR

The main topic on this page is the Passé Composé.

This page has an upper and lower U table. The upper section contains 14 verbs that are conjugated with être. The bottom U table has  19 verbs that are conjugated with avoir.

On the top U table, you will find infinitive verbs in French: aller. Their past participle underlined: allé, and their meaning in English: to go.

.On the bottom U table, you’ll find infinitive verbs that are conjugated with avoir. The ending of the verb is underlined: manger, and the meaning is given in English: to eat.

.In the centre of the page, you will find the regular endings for Passé Composé for the er, ir and re verbs for each person in the colour coded system:

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french pron

  • This Passé Composé is used to express that an action in the past has been completed.

Example:

Tu es allée à Paris. You went to Paris.

  • The Passé Compossé is formed with the present form of être or avoir and the particple of the verb.
  • Most of the verbs are used with avoir. You need to memorise the verbs used with être.  Remember that the top U table gives you the verbs to use with être. And the bottom U table displays some verbs you can use with avoir.

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Forming the Past Participle of the verb:

  • To get the participle of the regular verbs, check if your verb ends in: er, ir or re.

Example:

parlerto speak

finir to finish

vendreto sell

  • If it ends in er, remove the ending and add é.
  • If it ends in ir, remove the ending and add i.
  • If it ends in re, remove the ending and add u.

Example:

parler – parl + é = parlé

finir – fin + i = fini

vendre – vend + u = vendu

  • Irregular participles have to be memorised. Your card has a table called Irregular Past Participles with 24 verbs with their participle form.

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Forming the Passé Composé with être:

  • Conjugate être in present and add the participle of the main verb. The conjugation of être is on your card on the front page.

french etre

  • When you use the Passé Composé with être, the past participle needs to agree with the subject. You have to add –e if the subject is feminine and –s if the subject is plural.

Example:

Elles sont arrivés au restaurant. They arrived at the restaurant.

Elle est restée dans sa chambre. She stayed in her room.

Tu es allée à Paris (the person is a woman). You went to Paris. 

  • All reflexive verbs use être as the auxiliary verb to conjugate in the Passé Composé.

Example:

Je me suis lavée. I washed myself. 

Use the time expressions in the table called EXPRIMER LE PASSÉ to create longer sentences.

Forming the Passé Composé with avoir:

  • Conjugate avoir in present and add the participle of the main verb. The conjugation of avoir is on your card in the present section.

french pron

Example:

J’ai parlé. I spoke.

Nous avons fini. We finished.

Tu as vendu. You sold.

For further practice, you can join or contrast sentences with the words in the table called KEY WORDS at the back of your card.

IRREGULAR PAST PARTICIPLES

This table displays 24 irregular Past Participles.

Irreg

  • Conjugate the auxiliary avoir in present, and add the irregular participle. The participle doesn’t have to agree with the subject.

Example:

J’ai eu une voiture. I had a car.

Elle a bu le café. She drank the coffee.

IMPARFAIT

This table displays the endings needed to conjugate the Imperfect.

  • To form the Imperfect, you need to get the stem from the verb conjugated in present with nous. Remove ons and add the imperfect ending from your table:

finir- to finish

nous finissons – we finish

finiss +

Imperf

  • The Imperfect is used to express the repetition of an action in the past. The beginning and end of the action is not indicated.

Example:

L’année dernière, je travaillais avec Pierre. Last year I worked with Pierre.

  • It’s used for habitual actions. In sentences where used to is used in English.

Example:

J’étudais le Français à l’école. I used to study French at school.

  • To describe weather, time, age and feelings.

Example:

Il faisait chaud pendant l’été l’année dernière. It was hot during the summer last year.

Il était trois heures. It was three o’clock. 

Quand j’avais 10 ans. When I was 10 years old.

J’avais très faim hier. I was very hungry yesterday.

  • To express that two actions were happening at the same time in the past.

Example:

Pendant que tu étudiais, je regardais la télé. While you were studying, I was watching t.v.

ÊTRE IMPARFAIT

This table displays all the conjugated forms for the verb être in Imperfect

The verb être in Imperfect can’t be formed like the other verbs with the verb conjugated in present with nous. This is an irregular verb and you have to memorise it.

Example:

 Il était à la banque. He was at the bank. 

Tu étais un enfant sage? Were you a well-behaved child? 

CONDITIONNEL

This table displays the endings needed to conjugate the verbs in Conditional.

  • Would is the form used in English for the Conditional. In French, there’s no word for would, so you need to use the following endings to form it.
  • To form the Conditional, you need to add the endings on your table to the ar and ir verbs in Infinitive. For the re verbs, remove the e.

parler, finir, vendr +

Imperf

Je parlerais  I would talk

tu finirais you would finish

elle vendraitshe would sell

  • Some verbs have irregular stems. These are given in the table called IRREGULAR STEM IN FUTURE AND CONDITIONAL, at the back of your card.  You just need to add the endings to the stems given.

Irreg Futur

Example:

Je serais disponible si les conditions étaient plus favorables. I would be available if the conditions were  favourable.

  • The Conditional is commonly used to express polite requests.

Example: 

Je voudrais de l’eau minérale, s’il vous plaît. I’d like mineral water, please. 

FUTUR

This table displays the endings needed to conjugate the verbs in Future.

  • The Future tense is used to indicate that an action will happen in the future.

Example:

Je te téléphonerai la semaine prochaine. I will call you next week. 

  • To form the Future, you need to add the endings to the ar and ir verbs in Infinitive. For the re verbs, remove the last e.

parler, finir, vendr +

Futur

Je parlerai  I will talk

tu finiras you will finish

nous vendrons we will sell

  • The future form is used with temporal conjunctions such as quand (when), dès que (as soon as), aussitôt que (as soon as), tant que (as long as).

Example:

Quand il voyagera en France, il mangera beaucoup de fromage. When he travels (will travel)  to France, he will eat a lot of cheese. 

  • Some verbs have irregular stems. These are given in the table called IRREGULAR STEM IN FUTURE AND CONDITIONAL, at the back of your card.  You just need to add the endings to the stems given.

Irreg Futur

Example:

Nous aurons bientôt notre propre maison. We will soon have our own house. 

  • You can use the time expression in the table called FUTUR EXPRESSIONS, to create complete sentences.
FUTUR PROCHE

This table displays the verb aller conjugated, needed to form the Futur Proche.

  • The Futur Proche is used to express something that’s going to happen soon.
  • It’s formed with the present tense of aller + the infinitive of the main verb.

Example:

Elle va chanter. She’s going to sing. 

Nous allons travailler. We’re going to work.

Ils vont voir Jerome. They’re going to see Jerome. 

  • Remember to use the time expressions that are in the table called FUTUR EXPRESSIONS at the back of your card.

Example:

Ils vont voir Jerome demain matin. They’re going to see Jerome tomorrow morning

ENDINGS

Unlike English, nouns in French have a masculine and feminine gender. Some endings and categories can follow a pattern, however, there might be a few exceptions, so it’s advisable to learn the noun with an article.

This table in your card displays some masculine and feminine endings.

Masculine:age

le fromage (the cheese)

Feminine: –ure

la chaussure (the shoe)

VERBES + À /+ DE

In French, some verbs are followed by the prepositions à or de. This table displays 12 common verbs with the prepositions.

Example:

Je vais téléphoner à Richard. I’m going to call Richard. 

Je joue de la guitare. I play the guitar.

PARTICIPE PRÉSENT (ING)
  • The  Participle Présent refers to the ing form of a verb. However, in French, it’s used differently in English.
  • To express the Progressive form, use the Present simple instead.

Example:

He’s sleeping. Il dort or Il est en train de dormir.

  • Instead of the gerund, French uses the infinitive of the verb or a noun.

Example

I love cycling. J’adore le cyclisme.

I love dancing. J’aime danser.

  • Use the Participe Présent with the preposition en to express that two actions are happening at the same time.

Example:

Claude s’est endormi en regardant la télévision. Claude fell asleep while watching the television. 

Paul écoute de la musique en faisant ses devoirs. Paul  listens to music while doing his homework. 

  • To form the Participe Présent, remove the ons ending from a conjugated verb in present with nous, and add ant.

Example:

nous parlons

parl + ant = parlant

Il mange en parlant. He eats while he talks.

  • There are three verbs that are formed differently:

êtreétant

avoirayant

savoirsachant


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If you have a particular question on how to use the card, don’t hesitate to contact us at:

hola@yurisstudycards.ie

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