French Lessons and Articles - 2004
Previous French lessons, quizzes, and articles, from your About guide to the French language
by date | by topic
12-31-04 - 2005 French
Calendars and Date Books
When it's time to start thinking about a new calendar or date book, this page is here to help. Why not incorporate just that little bit more French into your life by using a calendar that's either in French or about France? Here are my favorite French-related calendars and date books.
12-30-04 - Beginning French
French, like English, can be very difficult in terms of pronunciation, due to intricacies like silent letters, multiple sounds for a single letter, and endless exceptions to whatever rules you find. This simplified pronunciation chart can help you get a good idea about how to pronounce new words.
12-28-04 - All about Aller
Aller is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to go." It is also used in some idiomatic expressions and to conjugate the near future.
12-27-04 - Mettre and
Mise - French Expressions
Idiomatic expressions must be memorized, since their meanings are often impossible to decipher by translating the individual words. Learn dozens of French expressions that contain mettre, se mettre, or mise.
12-24-04 - French games
You probably don't feel like working on your French on Christmas Eve, but you can still get a little French practice by playing games. This page includes an assortment of French word games, including word searches, Concentration, and crossword puzzles.
12-23-04 - Tonic Accent
~ Accent tonique
In French, you can't emphasize a word by putting stress on it, the way you can in English, because each word in a French sentence is pronounced with the same emphasis (except for the final syllable of each rhythmic group). In order to emphasize a specific word in French, you can use the accent tonique.
12-20-04 - Parce que, Car, Puisque,
Comme - Conjunctions of Conclusion
The French conjunctions parce que, car, puisque, and comme are commonly used to draw conclusions or otherwise relate a cause or explanation with a result or conclusion. These conjunctions have similar but not identical meanings and uses - this lesson explains the difference.
12-17-04 - Advanced
If you speak French at an advanced level, congratulations! You may not be fluent yet, but you're definitely on your way. Nonetheless, there are probably a few concepts you can use a bit of help with. Oftentimes these are small details that don't affect your listener's comprehension, but mistakes are mistakes and if you want to be fluent you need to avoid them. Here are the ten most common French mistakes and difficulties for advanced speakers, with links to lessons.
12-16-04 - At the Airport ~ À
Planning to fly to France or another French-speaking country? Study this airport vocabulary to help you get your ticket and on the plane.
12-14-04 - French Numbers
More number practice - this time for the numbers 10-19. In addition to the list of numbers and exercises with long strings of numbers, I've also added a random number generator so that you can test yourself by listening to a single randomly chosen number at a time.
12-13-04 - Voice - La Voix
Voice is one of the five inflections involved in conjugating French verbs. It indicates the relationship between the subject and verb.
- Why learn French
There are all kinds of reasons to learn a foreign language in general, and French in particular.
12-9-04 - Word Order with
The word order of imperatives is a typical pitfall: the order changes depending on whether the command is affirmative or negative. Get your commands in order by studying this lesson.
12-6-04 - Verbs with
Many French verbs require a certain preposition in order for the meaning of the verb to be complete, and unfortunately the prepositions required for French verbs are often not the same as the ones required by their English counterparts. In addition, some verbs that require a preposition in English don't take one in French, and vice versa. Learn all about French verbs with prepositions and then take the test.
12-3-04 - French Numbers
Learning to count in French is one thing - it's fairly easy to memorize un, deux, trois. It's another matter entirely to be able to think of a number without counting up to it, or to understand individual numbers when you hear them. Fortunately, practice makes perfect, and these sound files can help you to get better at understanding and using French numbers.
12-2-04 - Indefinite
Expressions - N'importe...
The indefinite expression n'importe can be followed by an interrogative in order to designate an unspecified person, thing, or characteristic: n'importe qui, n'importe quel, n'importe où.... Learn these expressions and more with this lesson.
11-30-04 - French Verb Conjugator
With all of the simple conjugations for more than 500 verbs (will be 1,000 when I finish), my new French verb conjugator should be a great help for students and teachers alike. Type the verb or select it from a list, click conjugate, and see everything you need to know.
11-29-04 - Tel, Telle, Tels, Telles
The French word tel can be a qualifying adjective, an indefinite adjective, or an indefinite pronoun, and is also used in a number of expressions and conjunctions, making it an extremely versatile and useful French word.
11-25-04 - Expressions with
The verb rendre usually means to return in the sense of giving back, and also has a number of additional meanings both on its own and in idiomatic expressions.
11-22-04 - Depuis vs Il y a
The French temporal expressions depuis and il y a have distinctly different meanings and uses, yet they commonly present difficulties for French students. Here is a detailed explanation and comparison of depuis and il y a to help you clearly understand the difference once and for all.
11-19-04 - Bilingual Books
I don't like to read translations, because I believe that something is lost when literature is translated out of its original language. However, bilingual books (sometimes called dual-language books) are a great way to enjoy literature when your language skills aren't quite good enough to read the original. The following books are French classics that include the original French as well as an English translation, so that you can compare them as you read.
11-18-04 - Past Imperative ~ Impératif passé
A rare French verb mood, used to give a command for something that must be done before a certain time.
11-16-04 - French
Here is a collection of useful books for anyone traveling to France. In addition to the guide books you would expect from such a list, a phrase book and two audio books are also included.
11-15-04 - Vouloir, Pouvoir, Devoir
To want, to be able to, to have to. It is absolutely essential to understand and be able to use these three irregular French verbs, as they are very common as well as useful. They are often taught together because of the similarities in the conjugations of vouloir and pouvoir and the uses of pouvoir and devoir.
- Online Translation - French Class Project
Online translators can be a blessing or a curse. If you don't speak a word of a foreign language, an online translator can give you the gist of a web page's meaning. However, the translation will likely be full of errors and strange wording. French students may be uninformed about these online translation problems and may try to get away with using one in order to lessen their workload. This project can help them understand why it's not a good idea from a linguistic point of view, and also - for teachers who are looking for a way to discourage online translator usage - let them know that you won't tolerate it.
11-11-04 - French/English Spelling Tricks
A table of common spelling equivalents between French and English that will help your vocabulary to grow by leaps and bounds by teaching you to recognize and spell French cognates.
11-8-04 - Pas ~ French Negative Adverb
The French negative adverb pas is often used in conjunction with ne, but pas can also be used all on its own. The main difference is that ne... pas is used to negate a verb, while pas without ne is used to negate an adjective, adverb, noun, or some other non-verbal construction. Pas can also be used to confirm a statement.
11-6-04 - Dictionary of French
Another way to learn French expressions: I've taken all of the French expressions found in various lessons on my site, including idiomatic expressions, proverbs, phrasal verbs, and formulas, and arranged them alphabetically by the first word in the French expression.
5-11 November - National French Week
2004 marks the sixth annual National French Week in the United States. Organized by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), National French Week is a celebration of French language and francophone cultures. If you are a French teacher, National French Week is the perfect opportunity to organize in-class and/or extracurricular events for current or potential students. Take a look at this page for some ideas with links to additional information.
11-4-04 - Create a
French Magazine ~ French Class Project
Give your students an assignment to create a French magazine, with articles and ads. While this project is best suited for a final project and can be used as the basis for an end-of-term presentation, it can also be adapted for less time - whatever fits your schedule.
11-2-04 - Les portes tordues -
Vocabulary lesson + test
Les portes tordues is a bilingual audiobook for beginning to intermediate French students. The beginning-level sound files featured here are supplemented by a study guide, transcript, English translation, comprehension test, vocabulary list, and vocabulary quiz.
11-1-04 - Negative
Pronouns - Pronoms négatifs
French negative pronouns, sometimes called indefinite negative pronouns, are made up of two parts which surround the verb, and are used to negate, refuse, or cast doubt on the existence of the noun that they replace.
10-31-04 - Halloween in
What is Halloween? Where did it come from? Why and how is it celebrated in France? If you've ever puzzled over these questions, take a look at this article - the answers are here!
10-29-04 - French
After reading an introduction to French names and a list of more than 200 common names (complete with sound files and English equivalents), you can now find out about their popularity as well as their origins and meanings. Learn more about French names.
10-28-04 - Past Subjunctive - Subjonctif passé
The past subjunctive is used for the same reasons as the present subjunctive - to express emotion, doubts, etc. The past subjunctive is used when the verb in the subordinate clause - the verb that follows que - happened before the verb in the main clause. Learn the conjugation and uses of the past tense of the French subjunctive mood.
10-25-04 - Adverbs - Les Adverbes
Need help with those invariable words that modify verb, adjectives, or other adverbs? Learn all about the types, placement, formation, and usage of French adverbs.
10-22-04 - Expressions with Chat
The French word chat refers to a cat or the game of tag, and is also used in various idiomatic expressions as well as three proverbs. Learn how to call a spade a spade, let sleeping dogs lie, give up, and more with this list of expressions with chat.
10-21-04 - All About Devoir
The French verb devoir has a number of different meanings related to concepts like obligation and probability. Learn about the different uses and meanings of this common French verb.
10-19-04 - Books on
This mix of fact and fiction will teach you everything you could ever want to know about French cuisine: what it is, when it began, who helped it along the way, why it's so good, how to make it, and where to find the best of the best.
10-18-04 - French Definite
Article ~ Article défini
The French definite article is used much more often than its English counterpart. In addition to indicating a specific noun or talking about a noun in a generic sense, there are many other uses, which this lesson will discuss in detail.
10-14-04 - French Hotel
If you're going to France, this page of French hotel vocabulary will help you to make your reservation, ask about services, and pay your bill.
10-12-04 - Top 10 High-Intermediate
High-intermediate means your French is pretty good - you excel in everyday situations, and can even hold your own in long discussions, but there are still some issues that you can't seem to get the hang of, or that you simply don't remember five minutes after looking them up. I've found that reading several explanations of the same issue can help cement understanding of these sticky issues, so here are ten of the most common high-intermediate French mistakes with links to my lessons - maybe this time it will finally make sense.
10-11-04 - French
Impersonal Verbs ~ Verbes impersonnels
Impersonal verbs have only one conjugation: the third person singular indefinite, or il. Some of these verbs also have personal versions with different meanings, so it's important to learn to recognize impersonal verbs.
10-8-04 - All about Quelque
Quelque is an indefinite adjective and adverb found in numerous indefinite terms and expressions.
10-7-04 - Conditional Perfect - Conditionnel passé
The French conditional perfect (also called the past conditional) is used just like the English conditional perfect. It is used to express actions that would have occurred in the past if circumstances had been different.
10-5-04 - "What" in French
French learners often have trouble deciding how to translate "what" into French. Should it be que or quoi, or maybe that pesky quel? Understanding the difference between these terms is critical to knowing how to use them correctly.
10-4-04 - Indefinite Adjectives -
Affirmative indefinite adjectives are used to modify nouns in a unspecific sense. Certain adjectives will help some people talk about several new things.
10-1-04 - À Moi Paris - Final
It's the moment you've all been waiting for - the 16th and final chapter of this beginning/intermediate level audio story is now available on my site, complete with translation and comprehension test.
9-30-04 - Expressions with Donner
The French verb donner literally means to give, and is also used in nearly a hundred idiomatic expressions. Learn how to talk about the TV being on full-blast, making someone believe something, hitting one's head, sounding the alarm, giving in, devoting oneself to something, and much more.
9-28-04 - Francophonie Report
Researching a francophone region or country and writing a report or country study is an interesting project for French classes or for independent studiers looking to spice up their self-instruction. This project is perfect as a long-term activity for intermediate and advanced students, though it can also be adapted for beginners.
9-27-04 - Pluperfect - Le Plus-que-parfait
The pluperfect (aka past perfect) is used to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. The latter can either be mentioned in the same sentence or implied. Learn how to conjugate and use this compound tense.
9-24-04 - All about Être
Être is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to be." Être is also used in some idiomatic expressions and as an auxiliary verb for compound tenses and the passive voice.
9-23-04 - Indefinite Pronouns -
Indefinite pronouns, such as certain, chacun, quelqu'un, on, and tout, are unspecific and are used in place of nouns. They can be the subject of a sentence, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.
9-20-04 - Il y a
Il y a - there is or there are - is one of the most important expressions in the French language. Learn about the meanings, uses, negation, and interrogative powers of il y a.
9-17-04 - Most
popular vocabulary lessons
Vocabulary is one of the keys to language. When people talk about fluency, they usually include some reference to the minimum number of words that one must know. I must have at least 200 vocabulary lessons on my site, but some are much more popular than others. To make it easier for you to find these essential French vocabulary pages, I've put them together into a handy top 15 list that you can bookmark for future reference.
9-16-04 - Pronominal Voice -
The pronominal voice refers to a verb conjugation wherein the subject performs the action of the verb upon itself. Pronominal verbs (including reflexive verbs) must be conjugated with a reflexive pronoun in addition to the subject pronoun or subject. Learn about the conjugation, types, and usage of French pronominal verbs.
9-14-04 - AI / AIS - French
The letters AI in French can be pronounced in one of three ways: like the E in "bed," more or less like the A in "gave," and like the A in "father." Learn more with this detailed lesson and sound files.
9-13-04 - Relative Adjectives - Adjectifs relatifs
Relative adjectives are placed in front of nouns to indicate a link between that noun and an antecedent. In both English and French, relative adjectives are used mainly in legal, administrative, or other highly-formal language.
9-10-04 - All About Faire
Faire is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to do" or "to make." It is also used in numerous idiomatic expressions and in the causative construction.
9-9-04 - Stem-Changing Verbs -
Verbes qui changent d'orthographe
French -ER verbs that take regular endings but have two different radicals are called stem-changing verbs. There are seven categories of French stem-changing verbs - learn all about them here.
9-7-04 - Beginning
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.
9-6-04 - Temporal Prepositions
- Prépositions de temps
Many French students are confused by the French prepositions for time. The problem is that there are so many different French temporal prepositions with different uses. Study this lesson to learn the difference between pendant, depuis, à, en, dans, and pour.
9-3-04 - A Moi Paris
- Chapter 15
The penultimate chapter of this beginning-level audio book: it's almost time for Mary to leave France. Listen to the audio file, then take the comprehension test.
9-2-04 - C'est vs Il est
The French expressions c'est and il est are very similar in meaning. They are both used in impersonal expressions as well as for general comments, but they are not interchangeable. Learn the difference between c'est and il est and then take the test.
8-31-04 - The
Importance of Accents
Think accents don't matter when writing or typing in French? Think again! There are dozens of French word pairs which are spelled (though not always pronounced) the same other than accents. To avoid confusion, you should always distinguish between these "accent homographs" by using the correct accents.
8-30-04 - Passive Voice - La Voix passive
The passive voice is used to focus on the person or thing performing the action, or to focus on an action without identifying the performer. Learn how to conjugate, use, and avoid the passive voice with this lesson.
8-26-04 - Toiletries -
Articles de toilette
Do you know the French vocabulary related to washing, putting on make-up, and shaving? Learn how to talk about toiletries in French.
8-24-04 - Modal Verbs in French
Modal verbs, also called modal auxiliaries or simply modals, are unconjugated English verbs which express the mood of a verb, such as ability, possibility, condition, and necessity. French does not have modal verbs, which can make it difficult to translate them. There are ten common English modal verbs: can, must, should....
8-23-04 - Direct and
Indirect Speech - Discours direct et indirect
There are two different ways to express the words of another person: direct speech (or style) and indirect speech. Learn how report what another person said in French.
8-20-04 - First Day
What should you do on the first day of French class? Students may be new to language learning or coming back from vacation, so is it better to have some fun or dive right into grammar and vocabulary? Take a look a these excellent suggestions shared by teachers.
8-19-04 - Expressions with Bouche
La bouche - the mouth - is used in dozens of French expressions. Learn how to say mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, my mouth is watering, food bills, burdens on society, top secret, to simper, and more with this lesson.
8-16-04 - Savoir vs Connaître - French Verbs
French has two verbs which can be translated by the English verb to know: savoir and connaître. This might seem confusing to English speakers, but in fact there are distinct differences in meaning and usage for the two verbs.
8-13-04 - Mot du jour Top 25
The Mot du jour is one of the most popular features on my site. Obviously, I try to choose French words that are both common and useful, but some choices are a lot more successful than others. Once in a while I hit on such a good word that it continues to get heavy traffic months after it has been featured. Whether you use the Mot du jour regularly or not, you should check out these 25 words.
8-12-04 - IPA -
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA, is a standardized alphabet for phonetic notation: a comprehensive set of symbols and diacritical marks used to transcribe the speech sounds of all languages in a uniform fashion. The most common uses of the International Phonetic Alphabet are in linguistics and dictionaries.
8-10-04 - All About Avoir
Avoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to have." However, it is also used in numerous idiomatic expressions and as an auxiliary verb.
8-9-04 - Asking Questions in
French - Les Questions
Did you know that there are four different structures you can use to ask questions in French?
8-6-04 - Champs-Élysées Plus
Champs-Élysées has just introduced a new subscription option, called Champs-Élysées Plus™, which offers a considerable increase in value over a regular subscription. Slow audio readings, audio flash cards, and English summaries will ensure that you understand everything, while a feature called À la recherche de mots and the grammar exercises offer more ways to improve your French. (If you already get C-É, you can purchase a pro-rated upgrade to the remainder of your subscription.)
8-5-04 - French Imperfect - l'Imparfait
The French imperfect is a descriptive past tense which indicates an ongoing state of being or a repeated or incomplete action, with no indication of the beginning and end of the state of being or action.
8-3-04 - Past Participle ~ Le
The participe passé is the French equivalent of the -ed form of English verbs. It is used in compound tenses, in the passive voice, and as an adjective.
8-2-04 - Le passé composé
The passé composé is the most common French past tense, often used in conjunction with the imparfait and used to express actions completed in the past.
7-30-04 - Pour
The definitive lesson on the French preposition pour: learn what it means, which verbs require it, and how to use it.
7-29-04 - Neuter Object Pronoun - Optional Le
The French pronoun le can be a neuter object pronoun in certain constructions. The neuter object pronoun is optional; its usage is formal and is most common in written French.
7-27-04 - Writing a French Résumé - Le CV français
When applying for a job in a French-speaking country, your résumé needs to be in French, which is more than a matter of translation. Aside from the obvious language difference, certain information that may not be required on résumés in your country is required in France. This article explains the basic requirements and formats of French résumés, and includes several samples to help you get started.
7-23-04 - Lequel - French Pronoun
Lequel is arguably the most difficult French pronoun. In addition to the fact that it belongs to two different categories of pronouns, lequel has to agree with its antecedent and contract with certain prepositions. Learn everything you need to know about this troublesome pronoun with this lesson.
7-22-04 - Regular -RE Verbs
-RE verbs are the smallest category of regular French verbs. Study these conjugations in order to conjugate all regular -RE verbs.
7-20-04 - Expressions with Monter
Monter literally means to go up, and has various additional meanings and is used in a number of idiomatic expressions relating to transportation and all kinds of literal and figurative upward movement.
7-19-04 - Demonstrative Pronouns - Pronoms démonstratifs
Demonstrative pronouns (this one, that one, these, those) refer to a previously-mentioned noun in a sentence. In French, they must agree with the gender and number of the noun they modify.
7-17-04 - Santa Barbara French
Join the fun at the largest Bastille Day celebration in the Western United States held on 17-18 July 2004 Santa Barbara, California. Admission is free and over 20,000 people are expected to attend.
7-16-04 - Faux Amis
Don't let similar words in French and English trick you - they don't always mean the same thing in both languages. Learn 5 new French false cognates: caméra/camera, combine, corporation, évincer/evince, and surnom/surname.
7-15-04 - Physical
French vocabulary used to describe someone physically: height, weight, eye color, etc.
7-14-04 - Bastille Day - French National
The French national holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Do you know what this event represents? When the French observe this holiday in mid-July, what ideals are they celebrating? Learn all about Bastille and listen to the Marseillaise in this article.
7-12-04 - Expressions with
The French verb raconter, to tell, is used in a number of idiomatic expressions. Learn how to talk about telling lies, telling one's life story, talking on and on, and more with this lesson.
7-9-04 - Mnemonic être verbs
There are certain French verbs which require être as the auxiliary verb in the passé composé, and students sometimes have a hard time remembering them. You will eventually know instinctively which verbs take être, but in the meantime, you might want to try one of these mnemonic devices.
7-8-04 - Demonstrative Adjectives - Adjectifs démonstratifs
Demonstrative adjectives (this, that, these, those) are words which indicate a specific noun. In French, they must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify (ce, cet, cette, ces). Learn about these essential adjectives and then take the test.
7-6-04 - Top 10 Pages
Week after week, there are certain pages on my site - mostly indexes to particular types of lessons - that consistently get high traffic. To make it easier for my readers to find these popular pages, I've put them together into a handy top 10 list that you can bookmark for future reference.
7-5-04 - Imperative - l'Impératif
The imperative is a French mood which is used to give an order, express a desire, offer advice, recommend something, and make a polite request. Learn the conjugations and uses of the French imperative.
7-1-04 - Conditional - Le Conditionnel
The conditional is a verb mood used for events that are not guaranteed to occur; often they are dependent on certain conditions, usually translated as "would" in English.
6-29-04 - All About Gender
What is gender? How is it used? This index of gender lessons covers everything related to grammatical gender.
6-28-04 - Meilleur vs Mieux
Meilleur and mieux can be confusing to French students. Meilleur is the comparative and superlative form of bon (good), while mieux is the comparative and superlative form of bien (well). When translating into English, there is no difference between meilleur and mieux, hence the confusion.
6-24-04 - French Prepositions ~ Les Prépositions
Prepositions are words which link two related parts of a sentence. There are many French prepositions and it is important to recognize and know when and when not to use them. Take a look at this list of the most common French prepositions, with links to specific information about meaning, usage, and more.
6-22-04 - Informal Negation -
Pas without Ne
If you've ever watched French movies or television, or chatted with native speakers, you have almost certainly heard pas (or another negative adverb) without ne, as this is a typical characteristic of informal and familiar French. Although it is nearly always written, ne is often dropped in spoken French.
6-21-04 - Family Feud
Play Family Feud - it's easy to set up, a fun way to review vocabulary and grammar in any language class, and can be adapted for all levels.
6-18-04 - French-Speaking Celebrities
If your students don't see any point in learning French, maybe Jodie Foster and Johnny Depp can help: we've compiled a list of famous non-native French speakers around the world - if your students know how many cool people speak French, they might realize how cool French really is!
6-17-04 - French Preterite ~ Le Passé simple
The passé simple is the literary equivalent of the passé composé, used only in formal writing and speech. Although you will probably never need to actually use the passé simple, it is important and easy to recognize it. Take a look at this lesson for passé simple conjugations of regular and irregular verbs.
6-15-04 - French Faux Amis
Don't let similar words fool you into thinking they always mean the same thing. Here are five new false cognates: dessiner/design, exploitation, match, salaire/salary, and tourniquet.
6-14-04 - French Math Vocabulary
Whether you're teaching math operations in French class, planning to study math in a French school, or just interested in knowing French vocabulary from a new domain, this list of French math vocabulary will help you on your way.
6-11-04 - Nouveau
English speakers sometimes find it difficult to translate "new" into French, due to confusion over the French words nouveau and neuf. In fact, the French adjectives have distinctly different meanings; the problem is actually caused by the fact that the English "new" has more than one meaning. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to remedy. Read over this lesson, learn the difference between nouveau and neuf, and you won't have any more trouble saying new in French.
6-10-04 - Regular -IR Verbs
-IR verbs are the second most common category of regular French verbs. Once you've learned the rules of conjugation for them, you'll have no problem conjugating dozens of common verbs.
6-8-04 - All About Penser
Penser is a regular -ER verb and means "to think." Penser is commonly used like its English counterpart, but there are a few aspects that make it a little tricky. This lesson explains which verb mood to use with penser, the difference between penser à and penser de, the meaning of penser followed by an infinitive, and a few essential expressions with penser.
6-7-04 - French Present Tense - Le Présent
The French present tense, called le présent or le présent de l'indicatif, is quite similar in usage to the English present tense. Learn how to use it with this lesson.
6-4-04 - Dix
points ~ French Classroom Game
At the end of the school year, students are often preoccupied with summer vacation and lose their motivation to continue learning. It's a good time to learn, practice, and review French in interesting and creative ways, and games are an excellent way to do this. This game, called Dix Points (Ten Points), is a fun way to review vocabulary.
6-3-04 - Stressed/Disjunctive
Pronouns - Pronoms disjoints
Stressed pronouns are used to emphasize a noun or pronoun that refers to a person. There are 9 forms in French, one of which (soi) sometimes confuses French learners. Study this lesson and then take the quiz.
6-1-04 - Intermediate/Advanced French Listening Comprehension
Learn about the ETA, Sète, and Guignol as you work on your French listening comprehension skills.
5-31-04 - Future Tense - Le Futur
The future is one of the simplest French tenses. There is only one set of endings, and most verbs - even those which are irregular in the present tense - use their infinitive as the root for the future tense. After studying this lesson, you will be able to talk about future events.
5-28-04 - Intermediate
After learning French for a while, whether in a class or on your own, you've probably found that there are some things you just can't figure out how to say, or that people are always correcting you on. These may be issues that you haven't been taught yet, or concepts that you've studied but just don't get. As an intermediate French speaker, there is still plenty of time to fix these mistakes before they fossilize in your mind. Here are ten of the most common intermediate-level French mistakes with links to lessons.
5-27-04 - Expressing Opinions
If you want to have a debate in French or discuss your opinions, you need to know the relevant vocabulary and expressions. This page offers suggestions for offering, supporting, asking for, and avoiding opinions in French.
5-25-04 - French
To help students use as much French as possible in the classroom, here is a list of essential words and phrases related to comprehension and typical classroom requests, with sound files.
5-24-04 - French Relative Pronouns
~ Pronoms relatifs ~ qui, que, lequel, dont, où
Just as in English, a relative pronoun links a dependent/relative clause to a main clause. There are no standard translations for French relative pronouns; depending on context, the English equivalents are who, whom, that, which, whose, where, or when. In French, relative pronouns are required, whereas in English, they are sometimes optional.
5-20-04 - Articles: Definite, Indefinite, and
French definite, indefinite, and partitive articles are sometimes confusing for French students, because there are several of each and they don't always correspond to articles in other languages. Take a look at this lesson for detailed explanations, tips, and comparisons of French definite, indefinite, and partitive articles.
5-17-04 - Subjunctive - Le
Students of French tend to agree that the subjunctive is the most difficult verb form. The subjunctive mood is used to express actions which are subjective: will/wanting, emotion, doubt, possibility, necessity, judgment, etc., and is nearly always found in dependent clauses introduced by que. Take a look at this lesson for conjugations and uses of the tricky French subjunctive.
5-14-04 - Assimilation
Assimilation is a pronunciation phenomenon which causes consonant sounds to change according to the sounds that surround them. More specifically, assimilation occurs when voiced and unvoiced sounds are combined. Because it can be difficult to pronounce voiced and unvoiced sounds together, one or the other is assimilated: either a normally voiced consonant becomes unvoiced or a normally unvoiced consonant becomes voiced.
5-13-04 - Proofreading and Editing Tips
Whether you're checking over homework, proofreading a paper, or verifying a translation, there are certain key problem areas to watch out for. This is not a definitive list by any means, but it indicates areas of confusion and common mistakes caused by differences between French and English and includes links to more detailed explanations and examples. Before you turn anything in, check the following areas of your work.
5-11-04 - Expressions
The French noun un bout can mean tip, end, or bit, and is used in all kinds of idiomatic expressions. Learn how to say fingertips, from one end to the other, through and through, to the limit, and more with this list of French expressions with bout.
5-10-04 - Regular -ER Verbs
-ER verbs are the most common category of regular French verbs. Once you've learned the rules of conjugation for them, you'll have no problem conjugating dozens of common verbs.
5-7-04 - Introduction to Translation and
Translation and interpretation are the ultimate jobs for people who love language. However, there are a lot of misunderstandings about these two fields, including the difference between them and what kind of skills and education they require. This article is an introduction to the fields of translation and interpretation.
5-6-04 - Apocopes / Abbreviations
It is very common in French for long words to be abbreviated by dropping one or more syllables at the end, and, in some instances, then adding an -o, such as dico, ordi, and métro. There are some apocopes which are so old that they are normal register, but most are informal or familiar, so use them with caution.
5-4-04 - Mâcher la
Moustique - French Classroom Game
Mâcher la moustique is a fun and easy game and a great way to review vocabulary or grammar in any language class.
5-3-04 - Possessive Pronouns
Possessive pronouns are the words which replace nouns modified by possessive adjectives. In French there are different forms depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
4-30-04 - Top French
Pronunciation Mistakes and Difficulties
Many students find that pronunciation is the hardest part of learning French. The new sounds, the silent letters, the liaisons... they all combine to make speaking French very tricky. By listening to French as much as possible, and by studying and practicing the pronunciation aspects that you find most difficult, you can do a lot to improve your pronunciation. Here is a list of the top French pronunciation difficulties and mistakes, with links to detailed lessons and sound files.
4-29-04 - All About Vouloir
The verb vouloir has several different meanings, depending mainly on the tense and mood it is conjugated into. This lesson explains the various uses and meanings of this common French verb.
4-27-04 - Accelerative
The foreign language teaching methodology known as Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM) uses gestures, music, dance, and theater to help students learn.
4-26-04 - Y and En ~ French Adverbial
The adverbial pronouns y and en are so tiny that one might think their role in a sentence is not very important, but in fact they are both extremely important in French.
4-23-04 - French Listening
Mary and the gang are back - work on your French listening comprehension with chapters 9 and 10 of À Moi Paris. If you haven't done the previous chapters, don't worry - they are all available from this page.
4-22-04 - Expressions with Claquer
The verb claquer literally means to slap or to bang. It is also used in a number of idiomatic expressions, including snapping one's heels or fingers, slamming the door, pulling a muscle, and more.
4-20-04 - Euphony
In French, there are rules about maintaining euphony; that is, agreeable or harmonious sound. French is a very musical language because it tends to flow from one word to the next with no hiatus (pause). In situations where euphony doesn't happen naturally, French requires that sounds be added or words changed.
4-19-04 - Possessive Adjectives
Possessive adjectives are the words used in place of articles to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. Their usage is similar to English, but there are some differences in form.
4-16-04 - Pronominal voice
and reflexive verbs
Pronominal verbs are conjugated with a reflexive pronoun in addition to the subject. This lesson explains the types, usage, and word order of pronominal verbs (including the placement of the reflexive pronoun in a sentence with two verbs), and the correct reflexive pronoun to use with the infinitive.
4-15-04 - Auxiliary Verbs -
Avoir and Être
An auxiliary verb is a conjugated verb used in front of another verb in compound tenses in order to help form the mood and tense of the verb. French verbs are classified by which auxiliary verb they take. Most French verbs use avoir, so you need to memorize this list of verbs that require être.
4-13-04 - Adjectives with special forms
Since French adjectives usually have to agree with the nouns they modify in gender and number, most of them have up to four forms. But there are several French adjectives that have an additional variation: a special form that is used when the adjective precedes a word that begins with a vowel or mute H.
4-12-04 - The Subjunctivator!
This interactive tool helps improve your knowledge of which French verbs and expressions take the subjunctive.
4-11-04 - French Vocabulary in English
Over the years, the English language has borrowed a great number of words and expressions from French. Some of this vocabulary has been so completely absorbed by English that speakers might not realize its origins. Other words and expressions have retained their "Frenchness" - a certain je ne sais quoi which speakers tend to be much more aware of. Here, then, is a list of French terms commonly used in English.
4-9-04 - Qui vs Que
What's the difference between qui, que, and quoi? They all mean "what," so how do you know which one to use? This lesson has the answers.
4-6-04 - Expressions with Sonner
The verb sonner literally means to ring and is used in a number of idiomatic expressions which must be memorized. Learn how to talk about ringing bells, ringing ears, ringing hollow, and more with this lesson.
4-5-04 - True Cognates
Even if you're just starting to learn French, you already know 1,700 words. True cognates are words that are spelled (although not pronounced) identically in French and English and have the same meaning. Take a look at this list to discover just how much vocabulary is shared between French and English.
4-1-04 - La
Simplification de la langue française
L'Académie française, the prestigious organization which regulates the French language, shocked Francophones around the world with its announcement of wide-sweeping changes to make French « plus facile et moins agaçant » (easier and less aggravating).
3-31-04 - Negative Adverbs
Making sentences negative in French is a bit different than in English, due to the two-part negative adverb and the sometimes difficult issue of placement. Normally, ne...pas is the first negative adverb that we learn. But there are actually many negative adverbs used just like it, so once you understand ne...pas, you can make just about any sentence negative.
3-30-04 - À
vs De ~ French Prepositions
The French prepositions à and de cause constant problems for French students. Generally speaking, à means to, at, or in, while de means of or from. Both prepositions have numerous uses - this summary table compares them.
3-29-04 - Partir, S'en aller, Sortir, Quitter,
There are five French verbs that mean to leave: partir, s'en aller, sortir, quitter, and laisser. These all have different meanings, so how can you know which one to use? Study this lesson to find out.
3-26-04 - French Adjectives ~ Les Adjectifs
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun - it can describe shape, color, size, and many other aspects of a noun. French adjectives are very different from English adjectives, for two main reasons.
3-25-04 - Largonji / Loucherbem / Louchébème
- French Slang
Largonji, also called loucherbem or louchébème, is a form of French slang that consists of playing around with syllables, much like pig Latin. It is a secret language that was invented by the butchers of la Villette in Paris.
3-23-04 - Top 10
Beginning French Mistakes
When you start learning French, there's a lot to remember - new vocabulary, all kinds of verb conjugations, strange spelling... just about everything is different. It's normal to make mistakes, but it's in your best interest to try to fix them as soon as possible. The longer you make the same mistake, the harder it will be for you to get it right later on. With this in mind, this article discusses ten of the most common French mistakes made by beginners, so that you can fix these problems right from the beginning.
3-22-04 - Position of French Adjectives
The use of French adjectives can be difficult, because they may be placed before or after the noun, depending on their type and meaning. This lesson can help you understand where to put French adjectives.
3-18-04 - Expressions with Rouler
Rouler literally means to roll, to wheel along, or to con, and is also used in a number of idiomatic expressions. Learn how to talk about rolling on the ground laughing, rolling out dough, getting swindled, going 80 km per hour, and more useful expressions with this lesson.
3-15-04 - French Past Tenses ~ Le Passé
One of the most striking differences between French and English is in verb tenses. Learning how to use the various past tenses can be very tricky, because English has several tenses which either do not exist in or do not translate literally into French - and vice versa. Learn the difference between the passé composé and the imparfait with this lesson.
3-12-04 - Adverbial French Adjectives
By now you know that French adjectives normally agree with the nouns they modify, but you've probably seen a few cases where they don't. There are a number of French adjectives which are often used as adverbs (that is, they modify verbs rather than nouns), and when used in this way, these "adverbial adjectives" are invariable.
3-11-04 - Dessus and Dessous
The adverbs dessus and dessous are used alone as well as in a number of adverbial phrases, such as au-dessus/dessous, là-dessus/dessous, par-dessus/dessous, and more. Despite their similar spelling, dessus and dessous are exact opposites.
3-9-04 - Warm-Up Activities +
I've just added two new warm-up activities to my site: Name Game and Quotations.
3-8-04 - Expressions with
The verb demander literally means to ask and is used in a number of idiomatic expressions which must be memorized. Learn how to ask for assistance, to ask for a favor, to ask to speak to someone, and more with this lesson.
3-5-04 - French Listening Comprehension
Work on your French listening comprehension with two more chapters from À Moi Paris, a beginning- to low-intermediate-level French story.
3-4-04 - Accord - French Agreement
Agreement is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of the French language. This summary of the different types of agreement includes links to detailed lessons on each grammatical point.
3-2-04 - Introduction to French
If you've ever wondered where French came from and how it fits in with other languages, or what exactly a Romance language is, here is some basic information.
3-1-04 - L'On or On?
On is the French impersonal subject pronoun, and normally shouldn't be preceded by l' - neither the direct object nor the definite article. However, if you've been studying French for a while, particularly written French, you've probably seen l'on where you expected to find on and wondered what that l' was doing there. Here's everything you need to know.
2-27-04 - Expressions with Tirer
The French verb tirer usually means to pull, but it has numerous other meanings and is also used in many different idiomatic expressions.
2-26-04 - Money + Banking Vocabulary
A basic introduction to French vocabulary related to money and banking, with links to more detailed sources.
2-24-04 - French
Tongue Twisters - Les Virelangues
Tongue twisters, known as virelangues in French, are words or phrases which are repeated as quickly as possible as a test of the speaker's ability to correctly pronounce the succession of similar sounds. For French students, les virelangues provide an interesting insight into the French language as well as a way to practice phrases which are difficult even for native speakers.
2-23-04 - Impersonal French - Le français
Grammatically speaking, impersonal refers to words or structures which are invariable; that is, they do not specify a grammatical person. This index to impersonal French includes impersonal expressions, pronouns, verbs, and passive structures.
2-22-04 - Comparatives and Superlatives
This lesson has been around for a long time, but I've just made it better, with clearer explanations, more detailed descriptions, and additional examples. I now consider it one of the best explanations of French comparatives and superlatives that exist. :-)
2-20-04 - French Club
Tips and Ideas
Are you thinking about creating your own French club or looking to spice up one you already attend? This isn't as daunting as it sounds - all you need to do is find a meeting place and some members, decide on meeting frequency, and plan a few interesting activities. This article can help you find the way.
2-19-04 - Verlan - French Slang
Verlan is a form of French slang that consists of playing around with syllables, kind of along the same lines as pig Latin. Verlan is actively spoken in France - many words have become so commonplace that they are used in everyday French.
2-18-04 - Learn
Learning French is an ongoing and involved process. You can't learn French overnight, and you probably can't learn it entirely on your own, no matter how many books and tapes you buy. What you can do is use resources like this site to supplement your classes.
2-17-04 - Daily French
Practicing French every day is key to becoming fluent. This 14-day newsletter course offers dozens of ideas and links for daily French practice.
2-16-04 - Make a Mardi Gras Mask
Mardi Gras, which means "fat Tuesday" in French, is celebrated in many francophone regions. Mardi Gras masks are a traditional part of this annual celebration, and making them is a fun and very creative project.
2-15-04 - Expressions related to invitations
There are a number of different ways to extend, accept, and refuse invitations in French, both formally and informally.
2-13-04 - French Listening Comprehension
Work on your French listening comprehension with two more chapters from À Moi Paris, a beginning- to low-intermediate-level French story.
2-12-04 - Fickle French Adjectives
There are a number of French adjectives which have different meanings depending on where they are placed. Generally speaking, when the adjective precedes the noun, it has a figurative or subjective meaning, whereas the adjective which follows the noun has a literal or objective meaning.
2-10-03 - Make
French Flash Cards
Studying endless lists of French vocabulary can get tedious, which doesn't do language students - or their teachers - any good. One way to make learning vocabulary more interesting and interactive is with the use of flash cards. This article has information and tips on creating French flash cards and putting them to good use.
2-9-04 - Moroccan women and the new family code
A new family code, introduced by king Mohammed VI in October 2003 and unanimously adopted by parliament in February, puts Moroccan women on equal footing with men in regard to marriage and children.
2-8-04 - Languages and Nationalities
Learn to talk about languages and nationalities in French. Lesson includes sound files.
2-6-04 - LL - French
In French, the double L is sometimes pronounced like an L, and other times like a Y. How do you know when to pronounce it each way? This lesson explains the general rules and the inevitable exceptions.
2-5-04 - Expressions with Casser / Se Casser
The French verbs casser and se casser literally mean to break, and are also used in a number of idiomatic expressions. Learn how to talk about breaking someone, boring someone stiff, warning someone, making an omelette by breaking eggs, and more.
2-3-04 - Daily French Practice
Daily French practice is a must, as it is only by practicing and using your French that you will be able to retain what you've learned and, eventually, develop fluency. Aside from the obvious ways to practice, like speaking up in class and reading books, there are a number of ways you can incorporate French into your daily life.
2-2-04 - Only / Not Only - Ne... que, Seulement, and their negatives
There are two common French equivalents for the restrictive only in English: ne... que and seulement. These two terms mean essentially the same thing, but their negative forms are a bit more complicated.
1-30-04 - French Presentatives ~ Les Présentatifs
French presentatives are terms which introduce something at the same time that they emphasize it. They are not a single part of speech, but rather a category of terms which includes various prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs, and expressions used in this particular way.
1-29-04 - Quantities, Weights, + Measures in French
Learn how to talk about quantities so that you can go shopping and follow recipes in French.
1-27-04 - Gender Patterns
French gender is a constant headache for many students of French. There's no simple way to know the gender of every noun other than just learning the gender with each word. There are, however, some patterns in suffixes and word endings - certain endings tend to indicate masculine nouns, while other endings favor feminine nouns. These gender patterns are not fool-proof, but they can help you to figure out the gender of many French nouns.
1-26-04 - Conversations françaises : Les Relations transatlantiques - The French-American Relationship
From the publisher of Champs-Élysées audiomagazine comes a brand-new product ideal for anyone wondering what the French think of the United States or why the Iraq war contributed to a spate of anti-Frenchism. This bilingual audiobook comprises three interviews with prominent French intellectuals about the relationship between France and the United States - read my review.
1-25-04 - Stem-Changing Verbs - Verbes qui changent d'orthographe
French -ER verbs that take regular endings but have two different radicals are called stem-changing verbs. There are seven categories of French stem-changing verbs - learn all about them here.
1-24-04 - Keep a French Journal - French Project
There are any number of ways to practice French every day, and one easy and interesting one is to keep a French journal. This project, which can be done in class or independently, is fully adaptable for any level and duration.
1-23-04 - Mot du jour
If you visit the Mot du jour page every weekday, you're well on your way to increasing your French vocabulary, but what can you do to retain all of those new words? Here is a collection of tips and tricks from other Mot du jour lovers.
1-22-04 - Expressions with Coup
The French noun un coup literally refers to a shock or blow. It is also used in dozens of idiomatic expressions, noun clauses, and prepositional phrases.
1-20-04 - Travel French newsletter
Taking a trip to France or another francophone country? My six-week Travel French newsletter is just the thing - learn the essential French vocabulary and phrases you may need during your trip, from making reservations and eating at restaurants to getting around and dealing with emergencies.
1-19-04 - All About Pouvoir
The verb pouvoir has a number of different meanings, depending mainly on the tense and mood it is conjugated into. This lesson explains the various uses and meanings of this common French verb.
1-15-04 - Expressions with payer
The French verb payer literally means to pay (for). It is also used in a numberof idiomatic expressions. Learn how to pay in kind, pay for the damages, pay out of one's own pocket, and more.
1-13-04 - Create a
French Village Project
Whether you're a teacher or an independent-study student, projects are a great way to spice up your language classes. This is a fairly short-term project - one week to one month - will put vocabulary related to shopping to the test.
1-12-04 - Agreement with French Compound Verbs
If you've already studied le passé composé, you know that certain French verbs have to agree with their subjects. In addition, you may know that this is true for all compound verb tenses and moods. What you may not be aware of is that some verbs require agreement not with the subject of the sentence, but with the direct object. This issue of agreement can be rather tricky; this lesson is a thorough but (hopefully) accessible explanation.
1-9-04 - Verbs with
Many French verbs require a certain preposition in order for their meaning to be complete. Here is an alphabetical list of French verbs and the prepositions they need (if any).
1-8-04 - Baby Talk ~ Langage
French has quite a bit of "baby talk" or "kiddie speak" - words and expressions which are usually used by children or when talking to children. Even if you don't talk to kids in French, this informal language is important to recognize, as baby talk can also be found in jokes and in conversations with good friends. Lesson includes sound files.
1-6-04 - Passive Impersonal ~ Impersonnel passif
The passive impersonal is commonly used in place of the passive voice. In this construction, a non-reflexive verb is used reflexively in order to demonstrate the passive nature of the action, as in Ça se voit - That's obvious.
- Back to School - French Class
With the holidays out of the way, it's time to think about school again. To help you get back into the French mood - pun intended - here are some links to general information about French, lessons, online resources, and recommended tools and supplies. Whether you need to start thinking about a formal evaluation of your French level, figuring out what kind of job you can use your French in, or upgrading to a bigger dictionary, this page has everything you need to get back into French.
1-4-04 - Expressions with Chercher
The French verb chercher literally means to look for or to search for. It is also used in a number of idiomatic expressions which must be memorized. Learn how to look for a fight, look everywhere for something, look for words, and more.
1-3-04 - To Take
The English verb to take has several French equivalents. Learn the difference between prendre, amener, and all the rest.
1-2-04 - French Clip Art and Photographs
A dozen free images created by me, plus links to additional clip art, photographs, and screensavers.
1-1-04 - French Calendar 2004
If you'd like to get that extra little bit of French practice by using a French calendar, here's one for you to print out. The months and days of the week are in French; the week begins on Monday, rather than Sunday; and there's a French quote given for each month, with its English translation.