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Beginning French Grammar

Lessons and links for beginning French students: basic vocabulary and simple sentence construction.

French Parts of Speech
Learning French is hard, and it's even harder if you don't understand the basics of grammar in your own language. If your mind boggles when people start talking about nouns, adjectives, and other parts of speech, this lesson is for you.

Introduction to French Sentences
A sentence (une phrase) is a group of words including at minimum a subject (which may be stated or implied) and a verb. Learn about French sentences, including sentence parts and the four different types of sentences.

Top French Verbs
Of the thousands of French verbs, there are a few that get used far more than the rest, so you need to make sure that you know what they mean and how to use and conjugate them. Here are lessons and conjugations for the most common French verbs.

Adjectives
An introduction to the formation and placement of French adjectives.

French Adverbs ~ Les Adverbes
An adverb, one of the eight parts of speech, is an invariable word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs provide information about the words they modify, such as when, where, how, how often, or to what degree something is done.

Aimer - To like, love
Aimer is one of the most common French verbs. It is a regular -ER verb, requires avoir in the compound tenses, and can mean to like or to love. There is a little bit of a trick to using aimer correctly with people and direct object pronouns which you will learn about in this lesson.

Aller - To go
Aller is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to go." It is also used in several idiomatic expressions and to conjugate the near future.

French Articles - A, an, the, some
French articles are sometimes confusing for language students, because they have to agree with the nouns they modify and because they don't always correspond to articles in other languages. As a general rule, if you have a noun in French, there is virtually always an article in front of it, unless you use some other type of determiner such as a...

Avoir - To have
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.

Avoir, Être, Faire
The irreglar French verbs avoir (to have), être (to be), and faire (to do/make) are the most important French verbs. They are used in some of the ways that we use them in English as well as in many expressions.

Bon, meilleur - Good, better, best - Comparatives and Superlatives
Comparatives and superlatives are adverbs that let you make comparisons between two or more things. Their names indicate the difference between them: comparatives compare two or more things, while superlatives express extremes

C'est vs Il est - It is
The French expressions c'est and il est are extremely important impersonal expressions. They can both mean things like this is, that is, it is, they are, and even he or she is.

Ce, cette, ces - This, that, these, those
Learn about French demonstrative pronouns.

French Conjunctions ~ Les Conjonctions
Learn everything there is to know about French conjunctions.

Dates in French - La Date
Knowing how to talk about the date is essential for making reservations and appointments. Dates are a little bit different in French and English, but they're not difficult once you learn the rules and formulas.

Devoir - Should, must, to have to
Devoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and has a number of different meanings related to concepts like obligation and probability.

Être - To be
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.

Faire
Faire is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to do" or "to make." Faire is also used in numerous idiomatic expressions and in the causative construction.

Je, tu, il - I, you, he - Subject Pronouns - Pronoms sujets
The subject of a verb is the person or thing which performs that action. Subject pronouns replace this person or thing. When learning French, you must understand subject pronouns before you can begin conjugating verbs, because the forms of verbs change for each subject pronoun.

Il y a - There is
Il y a is one of the most common French expressions.

Jouer - To play
Jouer is a very common and useful regular -ER French verb. It means "to play" both transitively and intransitively, and it needs different prepositions depending on what exactly is being played.

Le, la, les - The
All about the French definite articles le, la, l', and les.

Me, te, le, la - Me, you, him, her, it - Direct Objects
Lesson and quiz on the usage and placement of French direct objects.

Mon, ma, mes - My - Possessive Adjectives
Possessive adjectives are the words used in place of articles to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. French possessive adjectives are used similarly to English possessive adjectives, but there are some differences in form.

Ne...pas - Not - Negative Adverbs
Learn to use French negative adverbs like ne...pas, ne...jamais, and ne...plus.

French Nouns ~ Noms
A noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing, whether concrete (e.g., chair, dog) or abstract (idea, happiness).

Pouvoir - Can, to be able
Pouvoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "can" or "to be able to." Pouvoir has different meanings in certain tenses and is found in numerous expressions.

Prepositions
A simple introduction to French prepositions, with a "must-know" list.

Regular -ER Verbs
Regular -er verbs, that is, verbs that end in -er, are the largest category of French verbs. Thousands of regular French -er verbs are conjugated according to the same pattern, so once you've learned the rules of conjugation for regular -er verbs, you'll be able to conjugate all of them.

Regular -IR Verbs
Regular -IR verbs, that is, verbs that end in -IR, are the second largest category of French verbs. Hundreds of regular French -IR verbs are conjugated according to the same pattern, so once you've learned the rules of conjugation for regular -IR verbs, you'll be able to conjugate all of them.

Regular -RE Verbs
Regular -RE verbs, that is, verbs that end in -RE, are a small category of French verbs which are conjugated according to the same pattern. Once you've learned the rules of conjugation for regular -RE verbs, you'll be able to conjugate all of them.

Un, une, des - A/an, some - Indefinite Articles
Learn how to use the French indefinite articles un, une, and des.

Venir - To come
Venir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to come." It is also used in some idiomatic expressions and to conjugate the recent past.

Verbs
Learn the basics of French verbs with this introductory lesson.

Vouloir - To want
Vouloir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and has several different meanings, depending mainly on the tense and mood it is conjugated into.

Grammar Glossary
If you don't understand the difference between prepositions and pronouns even in English, you can find out here - dozens of grammar terms defined, with examples and links to lessons.

Passé composé - French Compound Past Tense
The passé composé is the most common French past tense, often used in conjunction with the imperfect (imparfait) and used to express actions completed in the past.

Savoir - To know
Savoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to know." Savoir has different meanings in certain tenses as well as some other tricky aspects to it.

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