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French Grammar

  • Je suis, I am comes from the verb être, to be :

    je suisI am
    tu esyou are
    il esthe is
    elle estshe is
    nous sommeswe are
    vous êtesyou are
    ils sontthey are
    elles sontthey are

  • Pronouns :

    Notice that there is no single pronoun in French for things or animals; the word it can be translated il, elle, or ce, and everything is either feminine or masculine.

  • Tu and vous : when addressing people, the French distinguish between :

    • those they are close to (family, friends, children, etc.), with whom they use tu, and

    • all others, with whom they use vous. Vous, however, must always be used when addressing more than one person.

  • Questions :

    To ask a question with être, you can do the same as with to be; simply invert the subject and the verb :

    Es-tu/Êtes-vous fatigué? Are you tired?
    Es-tu/Êtes-vous malade? Are you sick?

  • Usually (but not always), the feminine form of nouns and adjectives has an e at the end of the word.

    il est américain - elle est américaine

  • In many expressions such as I am hungry or I am thirsty, the French use the verb avoir, to have followed by a noun. Instead of saying I am hungry, therefore, they say 'I have hunger' : j'ai faim. We will look at the verb avoir, to have in the next email, but for now take a look at the following expressions :

    J'ai faim I am hungry
    J'ai soif I am thirsty
    J'ai peur I am afraid
    J'ai vingt ans I am twenty

  • Remember :

    être en avance to be early
    être pressé to be in a hurry

 

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