Posted in Foreign Language, Writing

L’histoire de l’aubergine

Au travail aujourd’hui, une cliente s’est approché de ma caisse poussant un chariot plein de courses. Parmi les courses, il y avait une aubergine qui avait une déformation. Normalement, les clients ne veulent pas acheter des produits avec des déformations, mais cette femme a donné une chance à l’aubergine. Voici une photo :

Ses enfants l’avaient même décorés.

Mon amie m’a dit que ça ressemblait à Skeeter de l’émission (dessin animé) « Doug » :


Qu’en pensez-vous ? Achèteriez-vous du produit comme ça ? Si vous avez eu des expériences similaires, racontez-en dans un commentaire. 🙂

(S’il vous plaît, n’hésitez pas à corriger mes erreurs. Je voudrais bien à améliorer mon français.)

Posted in Foreign Language, Writing

Learn Numbers 1-100 in French

imageBonjour… C’est moi… Je me demandais si, après tous ces ans, vous souhaitez rencontrer…

😀 Hello. It’s been a while! I’ve been meaning to post for months now, but I’m working on what will be my very first entry written completely in French. I don’t work on it every day, so it’s taking me longer than it probably should. It’ll be coming soon.

In the meantime, I’ve taken my love and passion for language and delved into the whimsical world of YouTube. I’ve decided to begin recording my journey to French fluency, as a way to benefit myself as a means of practice, as well as to hopefully benefit new or prospective learners. That said, I posted my first (language-related) video a couple of days ago. Follow along and learn how to count from 1 to 100 en français ! The way numbers operate in French is very interesting, and although basic, has been something I’ve struggled with in the past. I recorded this video to serve as a refresher  for myself, and maybe it can even help you, too. 🙂

Watch here:

Let me know what you think, either below, or in a YouTube comment.

Stay happy. See you soon.

Posted in Foreign Language, writing

Avoir – The Conjugation and Tenses of the French Irregular Verb

Salut! Ça fait longtemps, mais je suis là.

Hello! It’s been a long time, but here I am. I’m happy to announce that my French studies have been going very well! When I’m learning, I can’t move on to something new until I fully understand the why and how of what’s in front of me. I take great pleasure in being completely confident in my ability to properly use a new word, as well as understanding why, when, and how to use said new word. Having said that, certain things I once had trouble with in my French studies have lately seemed to just click, and I’ve begun to understand more clearly and add to my cache of knowledge on the subject. So today, we’re going to take a deeper look at one of the first verbs beginner French speakers learn, and that’s avoir, which means to have. It’s the verb with the most conjugations, as it has a multitude of uses.

Present tense conjugations of avoir are commonplace in the beginning and are easy to recognize:

J’ai – I have
Tu as – you have (informal)
Vous avez – you have (formal)
Il/elle a – he/it/she has
Nous avons – we have
Ils/elles ont – they have

Now comes the tricky part. Avoir has numerous tenses and conjugations, depending on the mood and who’s speaking. But if you’re like me, it’s difficult to remember all the different tenses and what each one means. There’s present, present perfect, imperfect, future, future perfect, pluperfect, nearly perfect, less than perfect… Okay, so maybe those last two I made up. But the six tenses prior are all legitimate. But again, I never remember what exactly ‘present perfect’ or ‘pluperfect’ mean, and honestly, I can’t be bothered to care. So that’s why I’m taking the liberty of conjugating avoir for you in each of these tenses, as well as writing the English equivalent. This way, if you’re having trouble knowing when to use which conjugation, just remember that how you’d say it in English, that’s the translation you’d need to use in French, too. Note that as I conjugated the present tense above, it will not appear below. Enjoy.

Present Perfect Tense (English: have had)

J’ai eu – I have had
Tu as eu – you have had (informal)
Vous avez eu – you have had (formal)
Il/elle a eu – he/it/she has had
Nous avons eu – we have had
Ils/elles ont eu – they have had

Imperfect Tense (English: had)

J’avais – I had
Tu avais – you had (informal)
Vous aviez – you had (formal)
Il/elle avait – he/it/she had
Nous avions – we had
Ils/elles avaient – they had

Pluperfect Tense (English: had had)

J’avais eu – I had had
Tu avais eu – you had had (informal)
Vous aviez eu – you had had (formal)
Il/elle avait eu – he/it/she had had
Nous avions eu – we had had
Ils/elles avaient eu – they had had

Future Tense (English: will have)

J’aurai – I will have
Tu auras – you will have (informal)
Vous aurez – you will have (formal)
Il/elle aura – he/it/she will have
Nous aurons – we will have
Ils/elles auront – they will have

Future Perfect Tense (English: will have had)

J’aurai eu – I will have had
Tu auras eu – you will have had (informal)
Vous aurez eu – you will have had (formal)
Il/elle aura eu – he/it/she will have had
Nous aurons eu – we will have had
Ils/elles auront eu – they will have had

Conditional Present Mood (English: would have)

J’aurais – I would have
Tu aurais – you would have (informal)
Vous auriez – you would have (formal)
Il/elle aurait – he/it/she would have
Nous aurions – we would have
Ils/elles auraient – they would have

Conditional Past Mood (English: would have had)

J’aurais eu – I would have had
Tu aurais eu – you would have had (informal)
Vous auriez eu – you would have had (formal)
Il/elle aurait eu – he/it/she would have had
Nous aurions eu – we would have had
Ils/elles auraient eu – they would have had

The spellings of each conjugation are important, as the accidental omission or addition of a letter could potentially be the wrong translation. But getting the hang of that will come in time. And just when you thought that the previously listed eight moods were overwhelming, they don’t stop there. There are three other tenses: the subjunctive (uncertainty of events), the imperative (a demand/request/suggestion), and the three participles (perfect: having done/had; past: when avoir acts as a helping verb; present: to be in the process of). But I’ll elaborate more on those in a future post, once I get the hang of them myself. In the meantime, I hope this post has helped to clear up any confusion you may have had surrounding the enigmatic avoir. Any questions or concerns? As always, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them all. Also, a disclaimer: I am still learning, so if any of the above information is incorrect, please, by all means, let me know. I don’t want to be teaching potential/beginner French speakers how to conjugate incorrectly! Ce ne serait pas bon. 🙂

Happy tensing! (See what I did there?)

Posted in Foreign Language, Linguistics

French Demonstrative Pronouns – When To Use Which

French is a beautiful language; from the intonation, to the flow of sentences, to the rolled rs. But if you’re not a native speaker, you may find certain rules of the language difficult to comprehend or remember. For example, in French, there can be no imprecision. What I mean is that essentially, everything must be accounted for and there should be no ambiguity in sentence structure. Still confused? I was, too, when I first began studying. But if you take a closer look, it’s not as confusing as you may think. In fact, as far as pronouns go, there are a number of different demonstrative pronouns to be used for varying occasions. I realize that probably doesn’t help at all. Which is why, for my own sake and now, hopefully, for yours, I’ve taken the liberty to give a rundown of each demonstrative pronoun. The following is a list of each, including their translations and uses.

The word ce is a pronoun meaning ‘this’ or ‘it.’ Most commonly, it’s used before the verb être, meaning to be, in the contraction c’est (this/it is). But it can stand alone.

Ce cheval mange. (This horse is eating.)

C’est bon. (This is good.)

Cet homme est grand. (This man is tall.)

Did you catch what I did there? That last one isn’t ce, but cet. But it shares the same meaning of ‘this/that.’ The difference is that ce is placed before a singular, masculine noun that begins with a consonant. And though homme begins with a consonant, hs are not pronounced in French, and therefore a t must be added to the end of ce, so that it flows better. (The same applies before words beginning with vowels.)

On the other hand, if the noun is singular but feminine, the pronoun becomes cette.

Cette femme boit. (This woman is drinking.)

Cette pomme est rouge. (That apple is red.)

Cette maison est large. (This house is large.)

Despite the gender, if the noun that follows is plural, the pronoun becomes ces, to mean these/those.

Ces rues sont longues. (These streets are long.)

Ces oranges sont bleues. (These oranges are blue.)

Ces garçons boivent du lait. (These boys are drinking milk.)

Now that we’ve covered what comes before a noun, what happens if the noun is unspecified? Ceci and cela become both direct and indirect objects in this case (providing the verb être is absent immediately afterward).

To refer to something close by, you’d use ceci. The word ici means here, and we’ve already discussed that ce means this. So essentially, this is a contraction of ce + ici, to mean this (thing) here. 

Conversely, to refer to something a little farther away, the pronoun cela* is used. The word means there, and so again this is a contraction, combining ce + là (and dropping the accent), to mean that (thing) there.

Ceci peut être difficile. (This could be difficult.)

S’il vous plait, donnez-moi cela. (Please, give me that.)

*Note that cela can also be used to mean this as opposed to strictly that. The French prefer to use cela most often, in fact, especially verbally. Ceci is rarely used unless specifically to distinguish between ‘this’ and ‘that.’

It’s better to be more specific when speaking formally. But if you’re more familiar with your listener (or reader if you’re writing in French), ça is the informal replacement for both ceci and cela, and can also mean it.

Il n’y a rien comme ça. (There is nothing like it.)

Je ne veux pas ça, je veux ça. (I don’t want this, I want that.)

Next, let’s take a look at pronoun usage when making a comparison.

If you want to reference this/that one, you’d need to use celui or celle. In French, demonstrative pronouns must agree in gender and number with what they’re referring to. Therefore, celui refers to something previously mentioned that’s masculine and singular, and celle to something that’s feminine and singular.

Quelle cravate veux-tu porter, celle-ci ou celle-là? (Which tie do you want to wear, this one or that one?)

You’ll notice that I added the suffixes –ci and – to the end of celle. This is because celle and celui cannot stand alone, and adding a suffix is one of a few ways to make the sentence grammatically correct. Again, adding –ci (here) references something a little closer, while adding – (there) references something a little farther.

Celui and celle may also be followed by de (of), which is used to show origin or possession, and eliminates the need for a suffix.

Dont le bateau est-ce? Il est celui de mon grand-père. (Whose boat is this? It is my grandfather’s.)

In the above construction, the second sentence literally translates to it is the one of my grandfather. In this case, celui (and celle if I’d used a feminine noun) means the one (of).

The same rules apply for plural nouns as well. The plural counterpart to celui is ceux, and the plural counterpart to celle is celles. Easy enough, right?

Quelles robes veux-tu acheter, celles-ci ou celles-là? (Which dresses do you want to buy, these ones or those ones?)

Ces manteaux sont ceux de mon fils. (These coats are my son’s.)

To wrap things up, let’s summarize:

Ce this (before noun)

Cecithis/that (no noun necessary)

Cela = this/that (no noun necessary)

Ça this/that/it (informal replacement of ceci/cela)

Celuithis one/that one/the one (masculine, singular)

Celle this one/that one/the one (feminine, singular)

Ceuxthese ones/those ones/the ones (masculine, plural)

Cellesthese ones/those ones/the ones (feminine, plural)

I understand this can be a lot to take in and memorize. It certainly was for me in the beginning and still proves to be sometimes. But the more you study, and the more frequently you put these pronouns to use, the easier it will become to remember when to use which one.

I hope you’ve found this informative and/or helpful! Questions? Feel free to ask away in the comments and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Comments/concerns? Please, by all means, don’t hesitate to leave those in the comments as well. Is any of this information incorrect? I’d love to know; I’m a native English speaker who’s merely on the road to French fluency. I’m still learning and want to pass on what I know, but of course I want to be as accurate as possible. 🙂

Posted in Foreign Language

Fluent French speakers: I need your help

French is a beautiful and romantic language, and I am enjoying every minute I spend studying and practicing it. As with any new language, however, I’m having some difficulties. I guess I shouldn’t complain, since my native tongue is English, and English is one of the most difficult language to learn. It’s got all kinds of inconsistent rules, the pronunciation of the vowels varies depending on the word, some letters are contextually pronounced as others, etc.

Back to my point. I’m struggling to understand certain rules in French, insofar as when to use different forms of the same word. I’m using a fantastic app called Duolingo which allows anyone to learn a new language, free of charge. It’s very good about explaining when to use what. But sometimes, it leaves me hanging.

Par exemple:

The words eux and les both mean ‘them.’ But are they interchangeable? If not, when do I use which word? I’ve tried scouring Google for answers, but the results are explained confusingly and are unhelpful. I’ve also occasionally seen leur, which means ‘their,’ used to mean ‘them.’ Did I make that up? Or is it really a thing? 

The phrase ce sont eux qui dirigent translates into ‘they are the ones driving.’ (Literally: it is them who drive.) Could I use les in place of eux here? Why or why not? My theory is that les refers to inanimate objects, whereas eux is in regards to people or animals. Is this at all true?

Un autre exemple:

Nous is the formal word for ‘we’/’us.’ I’m familiar with the conjugation for this form. However, on is the informal version. Sometimes, I’m caught off-guard by its usage. It seems to me that the conjugation of on is the same as the conjugation of the forms il/elle. Is this correct? (i.e. nous allons = ‘we go’; on va/il va = ‘we go,’ ‘he goes.’)

These two examples are what stump me the most in French. There are others, and as I come across them again in my studies, I will post addendums to request more help. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!