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La Lecture : Beginning French Readers

Saturday May 31, 2014
Are you or your students ready to try reading in French? Here is a selection of French readers for beginning to intermediate students, including short stories, novel exerpts, non-fiction, and poems chosen or written especially with beginning students in mind.

Essential French Resources: French listening links | French dictionaries | Learn French

Mot du jour: smicard

Friday May 30, 2014
Mot du jourLearn a new French word every weekday! Today's word is smicard.

More vocabulary More Daily French

French expression: En faire tout un fromage

Friday May 30, 2014
No need to make a big stink over it - just click to learn about the idiomatic French expression en faire tout un fromage.


French indefinite relative pronouns: Ce qui, ce que, ce dont, quoi

Thursday May 29, 2014
Indefinite relative pronouns link relative clauses to main clauses but have no antecedent. Ce qui, ce que, ce dont, and quoi are the French indefinite relative pronouns, and there's no one-to-one equivalent for these words - depending on context, the English translation may be "what" or "which."
More: French pronouns | Indefinite French

French verb of the week: tutoyer

Thursday May 29, 2014
French verb of the weekLearn simple verb conjugations, see similarly conjugated verbs, and learn more with links to related lessons for the French verb tutoyer.

French verb conjugator

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Mot du jour: paillard

Thursday May 29, 2014
Mot du jourLearn a new French word today: paillard.

More: French vocabulary | Daily French | How to speak French

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French quiz: Verbs with prepositions

Wednesday May 28, 2014
Some French verbs must be followed by à, de, or another preposition, while others must be followed directly by a verb or direct object. Do you know which are which? Test yourself with this quiz or take a look at the master list to review.
More: French tests

Mot du jour: teneur

Wednesday May 28, 2014
Mot du jourLearn a French word a day: teneur.

More vocabulary More Daily French

French expressions: Body parts

Tuesday May 27, 2014
Parts of the body are found in many idiomatic French expressions. Learn how to say irrelevant, lazy, hangover, and more in these lessons.
More: French expressions

Mot du jour: bercer

Tuesday May 27, 2014
Mot du jourLearn a new French word every weekday! Today's word is bercer.

More vocabulary More Daily French

French proverb: Quand on parle du loup

Monday May 26, 2014
Wondering what the French proverb quand on parle du loup means? Speak of the devil, here's a lesson.
More: French expressions | Common French phrases

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Mot du jour: dégoiser

Monday May 26, 2014
Mot du jourLearn a new French word every weekday! Today's word is dégoiser.

More vocabulary More Daily French

French Open: Tennis terms

Sunday May 25, 2014
The French Open is ... open, so here's some French vocabulary related to tennis.

   French sports vocabulary
   Essential French

What is French? Facts and Figures about French

Saturday May 24, 2014
How many French speakers are there? Where is French spoken? How many French-speaking countries are there? In which international organizations is French an official language? Read this introduction to some facts and figures about the French language.
More: Travel and culture

Mot du jour: égard

Friday May 23, 2014
Mot du jourLearn a new French word today: égard

More vocabulary More Daily French | How to speak French

French expression: Un coup d'État

Friday May 23, 2014
Overthrow incomprehension by learning about the French expression coup d'État.


Tricky French grammar: Être verbs used transitively

Thursday May 22, 2014
Verbs that require être in the passé composé and other compound tenses are intransitive - that is, they have no direct object. But some of them can be used transitively, and when this happens, these verbs need avoir as the helping verb. In addition, there is a slight change in meaning. Learn more in this lesson on être verbs used transitively.
More: French verbs | French grammar glossary

French quiz: Subjunctive or indicative?

Wednesday May 21, 2014
Test yourself on a classic French foe with this quiz: choose between the subjunctive and the indicative for each silly sentence. If you need help, take a look at the lesson or check out the Subjunctivator!

More: French tests | Mistakes and difficulties

Poll: When did you start learning French?

Saturday May 17, 2014

The age at which you start learning French (or anything else) makes a difference - sooner is usually better, but there's nothing that says you can't learn as an adult, and there are even some advantages.* I still think it's an interesting question - when did you start learning French?

Please note: It's impossible to create a poll with every possible choice. Some of my fairly broad age ranges are based on the American school system - if you're not American, please just choose the option that comes closest. It's obviously not a scientific poll. And if you learned a little when you were younger, didn't speak it for 50 years, and picked it up again, choose the age that is most relevant to your learning.

*Tips on learning French as an adult | French for kids

French for beginners

More polls

Poll: French vs Spanish - Is one of them easier?

Saturday May 3, 2014

Many people claim that Spanish is far easier to learn than French, but is it really? Read my article and vote in this highly unscientific poll.


Bonne Fête du Premier Mai

Thursday May 1, 2014

Le premier mai est une journée spéciale en France. C'est la Fête du Travail, ou Fête des Travailleurs, et donc c'est un jour férié, un jour chômé pour tout le monde, avec une grande exception : les fleuristes. Le premier mai est aussi la Fête du Muguet, et il est traditionnel d'offrir à ses proches un brin de muguet, symbole du printemps et du porte-bonheur, surtout si le brin a 13 clochettes. Et les fleuristes sont très chanceux parce que ce jour uniquement ils ont le droit de vendre le muguet sans taxes. Attention : cette belle fleur et même l'eau dans laquelle elle trempe sont très toxiques.

En accord avec la coutume française, je travaille juste le temps de vous envoyer ce muguet et de vous souhaiter une bonne Fête du Premier Mai, où que vous soyez dans le monde. Bonne fête !  :-)

Fête du Muguet

Bonne Fête du Muguet ! © LKL

English translation

And the winner is...

Thursday April 24, 2014
Trophée endommagé
Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty
Je ne crois pas que ce
trophée soit très tentant.
Over the last month, a few hundred of my faithful readers have voted, and the results are finally in. The winner of the first (and only) LKL's French Grammar Clash is... the subjunctive! Some other grammar points put up a good fight, but—to no one's great surprise—that darned subjective subjunctive subjected everyone to its superior difficulty. Better luck next time, noun gender!

Félicitations, monsieur le subjonctif. Longue vie et prospérité—enfin, si vous y tenez.

French mistakes and difficulties

The Final French Grammar Clash

Thursday April 17, 2014

LKL's French Grammar Clash
 Ryan McVay / Getty Images
LKLFGC Semi-Finals are over, and they were both close races.

I'm very surprised that Noun gender beat Relative pronouns with 54% of the votes (134 to 114). Gender is just a matter of memorization, whereas relative pronouns are much trickier, and I get more emails about them than just about any other grammar point. But you have spoken, so gender it is.

Less unexpectedly, Subjunctive beat Prepositions after verbs with 56% of the vote (137 to 107).

So the Final match-up is Noun gender vs Subjunctive: remember to vote early and vote often! ;-)

The Most Difficult French Grammar in the History of French Grammar will be announced on Thursday, April 24th.

Learn French on Facebook

Wednesday April 16, 2014
If you don't already follow my French Facebook page, you should: I've started adding beautiful photos, interesting cultural tidbits, and near-daily links to (currently) free Kindle books. Be sure to like and follow so that posts like this show up in your Facebook feed:

LKLFGC - Semi-Finals

Sunday April 13, 2014
LKL's French Grammar Clash
 Ryan McVay / Getty Images
LKL's French Grammar Clash's Round Two votes are in - on to the Semi-Finals!

Nouns vs Adjectives

Noun gender beat Adjective placement with 61% of the votes (238 to 151)


Relative pronouns edged out Lequel with 59% of the votes (160 to 108)


The Subjunctive slaughtered Faire vs rendre with 78% of the votes (205 to 55)

Miscellaneous Grammar

Prepositions after verbs tromped all over Encore vs toujours with 84% of the votes (211 to 38)


Voting is over - see who won: The Last Grammar Points Standing.

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