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i n t r o d u c t i o n t o adjectives

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p g

A n adjective is a w o r d t h a t d e s c r i b e s a n o u n or p r o n o u n . T h e m a j o r d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n a d j e c t i v e s in F r e n c h a n d
E n g l i s h c o n c e r n a g r e e m e n t a n d p l a c e m e n t . In F r e n c h , a n a d j e c t i v e is u s u a l l y p l a c e d a f t e r t h e n o u n it m o d i f i e s a n d
m u s t a g r e e in g e n d e r a n d n u m b e r w i t h t h e n o u n . In E n g l i s h , a n a d j e c t i v e u s u a l l y c o m e s b e f o r e t h e n o u n it m o d i f i e s
a n d is i n v a r i a b l e , t h a t is, it d o e s not a g r e e .
T e x est un t a t o u philosophique.

T e x is a p h i l o s o p h i c a l

E d o u a r d est u n e s c a r g o t raffin.

E d o u a r d is a r e f i n e d snail.

J o e - B o b est u n c u r e u i l aimable.

J o e - B o b is a f r i e n d l y s q u i r r e l .

B e t t e est u n e c h a t t e capricieuse.

B e t t e is a t e m p e r a m e n t a l cat.

C o r e y est un c a f a r d ivre.

C o r e y is a n i n t o x i c a t e d c o c k r o a c h .

F i o n a est travailleuse. (f)

F i o n a is h a r d - w o r k i n g .

M a i s J o e - B o b n'est p a s travailleur.

(m)

armadillo.

B u t J o e - B o b isn't h a r d - w o r k i n g .

adjective vs. adverb


It is c o m m o n in n o n s t a n d a r d E n g l i s h f o r s p e a k e r s to u s e a d j e c t i v e s in p l a c e of a d v e r b s .

J o e - B o b s a y s : " G e e , T e x w r i t e s real g o o d . " ( i n s t e a d of: " T e x w r i t e s w e l l . " )


J o e - B o b s a y s " G o s h , E d o u a r d , y o u w a l k real s l o w . " ( i n s t e a d of: " E d o u a r d , y o u talk
slowly.")

F r e n c h a d j e c t i v e s a r e r a r e l y u s e d in p l a c e of t h e a d v e r b i a l f o r m . R e m e m b e r t h a t a d j e c t i v e s m o d i f y n o u n s a n d
adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs!

T e x crit bien.

Tex writes well.

(adverb modifies verb)


La p o s i e d e T e x est bonne.

T e x ' s p o e t r y is g o o d .

(adjective modifies noun)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page: adj2

adjectives: formation and placement

1. formation
2. placement

formation
Adjectives agree in both number and gender with the noun or pronoun they modify. For regular adjectives the masculine
form is the base form to which endings are added. The feminine adjective is formed by adding an e. The plural adjective
is formed by adding s. Listen to the recorded examples to hear the pronunciation of the different adjective forms:
4

masculine

feminine

masculine

feminine

singular

singular

plural

plural

petit

petite

petits

petites

Note how the singular and plural forms of the masculine adjective sound the same, and the singular and plural forms of
the feminine adjective also sound the same.

4D

Tex est petit.

Tex is little.

T a m m y est petite.

T a m m y is little.

Tex et Trey sont petits.

Tex and Trey are little.

T a m m y et Bette sont petites.

T a m m y and Bette are little.

The adjective takes the masculine plural when the nouns it modifies are of different genders: T a m m y et Tex sont petit s.
(Tammy and Tex are little.)
Irregular adjectives do not follow the rules given above.

placement
In French, most adjectives follow the noun, unlike in English, where the the adjective precedes the noun. Here are some
examples of adjectives following the noun:
4))

Tex porte toujours un bret rond, mme

Tex always wears a round beret, even when

quand il fait du sport. Il aime les romans

he exercises. He likes existentialist novels.

existentialistes. Dans son enfance, Tex a

A s a child, Tex lived with catholic nuns.

habit chez des nonnes catholiques.


T a m m y a un nez pointu. C'est une tatou

T a m m y has a pointed nose. She is a slim

mince et sympathique. Elle apprend la

and nice armadillo. She's learning the

langue franaise et fait des tudes

French language and is studying literature.

littraires.
Bette est de caractre mfiant. Elle est

Bette has a mistrustful personality. She has

d'humeur changeante. C'est une chatte trs

changing moods. She's a very cunning cat.

mali ne.
Note that there is a small group of adjectives that normally precede the noun. Some adjectives can also be placed
before or after the noun but changing the position of the adjectives can modify their meaning.
Listen to this dialogue:

B e k * !

T -

A i M 5

V f A i ^ c M - r
Tammy, Bette et Tex sont Gregory Gym.

Tammy, Bette and Tex are at Gregory Gym.

Les deux filles parlent, puis se disputent,

The two girls talk, then argue, while Tex

pendant que Tex fait son sport annuel.

does his yearly workout.

Tammy: Regarde, Bette, comme ses ongles

Tammy: Bette, would you look at those

jaunes tapent sur le tapis roulant quand il

yellow nails of his clicking on the tread mill

court! Quel tatou adorable! Et ce museau

when he runs! What an adorable armadillo!

fin et pointu, ces cailles tincelantes, ce

And that snout, so fine and pointy! Those

corps souple, ces gestes et ces

shiny scales, that supple body, his every

mouvements pleins de grce ...


Bette: Berk! Tu aimes vraiment a!? Un

gesture and movement so full of grace ...


Bette: Yuck! You like that!? That clammy

corps humide de sueur et un poil gris

body, gray fur? Like a wad of paper mach!

comme une boule de papier mch! Oh

Oh, Lord! And that awful smell! Like a

mon dieu! Et cette odeur dsagrable!

drowned rat! You're not serious!

Comme un rat noy! Tu n'es pas srieuse!


Tammy: Bette, je ne suis pas idiote! Je

Tammy: Bette, you don't fool me! I

connais tes intentions! Il est moi!

understand your intentions! He's mine!

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the adjective indicated in parentheses.
1. Tex et Tammy sont des tatous
2. Bette est une chatte
3. Fiona et T a m m y sont
4. Bette a un stylo
5. T a m m y aime le vin
6. T a m m y a une robe
7. Tex a un charme

. (charmant, 'charming')
. (rus, 'cunning')
. (intelligent)

. (vert, 'green')
. (franais, 'French')
. (ravissant, 'ravishing')
(fou, 'incredible, crazy').

8. A h , T e x a une allure

! (sduisant, 'attractive')

9. J o e - B o b et C o r e y ne sont pas
10. E s t - c e q u ' E d o u a r d est un s e r v e u r
11. E s t - c e q u ' E d o u a r d et T e x sont d e s Franais
12. T a m m y et Bette aiment les t a t o u s

! (dgourdi, 'resourceful')
? (poli, 'polite')
? (typique, 'typical')
. (muscl, 'muscular')

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

adjectives that precede t h e noun

P 9

The placement of most adjectives in French is after the noun: un escargot parlant, une fourmi travailleuse, des tatous
intelligents, etc. There is a small group of adjectives, however, that normally precede the noun. These adjectives may be
categorized as adjectives of Beauty, A g e , N u m b e r s Goodness, and Size ( B A N G S ) .
^ij)

autre, other

beau (belle), beautiful

bon (bonne), good

grand (grande), tall, big

gros (grosse), big, fat

jeune, young

joli (jolie), pretty

mauvais (mauvaise), bad

nouveau (nouvelle), new

petit (petite), little

vieux (vieille), old

beau, nouveau, vieux


Beau, nouveau, and vieux have irregular forms. Note the special forms in the masculine singular when they precede a
word that begins with a vowel or a silent h.
masculine

masculine

feminine

masculine

feminine

singular

before vowel

singular

plural

plural

beau

bel

belle

beaux

bel l es

nouveau

nouvel

nouvelle

nouveaux

nouvelles

vieux

vi eil

vieille

vieux

vieilles

The adjectives which precede the noun must agree in number and gender with the noun they modify (see the regular
rule for adjective formation). Be aware that changing the position of some adjectives may change their meaning. Listen
to this dialogue:
d1))

Tex et T a m m y regardent le nouvel album

Tex and T a m m y are looking at Rita's new

de famille de Rita.

family album.

T a m m y : Qui est cette belle f e m m e ?

T a m m y : Who is that beautiful w o m a n ?

Rita: C'est notre mre.

Rita: T h a t ' s our mother.

T a m m y : Et qui sont ces autres p e r s o n n e s ?

T a m m y : A n d w h o are these other p e o p l e ?

Rita: Le vieil h o m m e , c'est P a w - P a w Louis.

Rita: T h e old man, that's P a w - P a w Louis.

Et puis, ct, c'est moi.

A n d then, next to him, that's me.

T e x : Et ce petit bb, qui e s t - c e ? C o m m e il

T e x : A n d the little baby, w h o is it? Boy is

est laid!

he u g l y !

Rita: C'est toi, T e x . C'est la premire photo

Rita: T h a t ' s you, T e x . It's the first picture

de toi.

of you.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct f o r m of the adjective indicated in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x est un

animal, (beau)

2. T a m m y a un
3. Les

oncle en Australie, (vieux)


p o m e s de T e x sont nuls ('worthless'), (premier)

4. Fiona a t o u j o u r s de
5. Bette n'a pas une
6. T e x a de
7. T e x achte une
8. Bette est une
9. J o e - B o b a de
10. E d o u a r d n'a pas de

notes, (bon)
qualit, (seul)
. oreilles. (grand)
bague ('ring') pour T a m m y . (beau)
chatte opportuniste, (jeune)
amis, ( n o u v e a u )
amie, (petit)

11. J o e - B o b a une

. influence sur Corey. (mauvais)

12. J o e - B o b a de

dents. (joli)

2005 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

17 Nov 05

u V ^ J ^ L r J

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: adj2

irregular adjectives

1. gender
2. number

Regular adjectives are formed by adding an e to the masculine form in the singular (content / contente ), or by adding an
s to the masculine and feminine forms in the plural (Tex et Edouard sont contents / T a m m y et Bette sont contentes).
This group of adjectives is by far the most common. There are, however, a number of adjectives which are called
irregular, because they do not have the normal -e, -s, or -es endings. The endings of these irregular adjectives vary
widely and often change the pronunciation.

gender
Some adjectives are completely irregular:
m

masculine

feminine

translation

doux

douce

soft

faux

fausse

false

favori

favorite

favorite

frais

frache

fresh

long

longue

long

public

publique

public

Other adjectives can be grouped in categories:


masculine ending

f e m i n i n e ending

french

english

-el

-elle

cruel cruelle

cruel

-eil

-eille

pareil pareille

similar

-il

-ille

gentil gentille

kind, nice

-on

-onne

mignon mignonne

cute

-s

-sse

gros grosse

big, fat

-en

-enne

ancien ancienne

old

-et

-te

secret secrte

secretive

-er

-re

cher chre

dear, expensive

-eux

-euse

heureux heureuse

happy

-eur

-euse

trompeur trompeuse

deceptive

-teur

-trice

crateur cratrice

creative

-f

-ve

actif active

active

-c

-che

franc franche

frank

-ou

-olle

fou folle

crazy

Some adjectives have identical masculine and feminine forms. This is generally the case with adjectives ending in e in

their masculine form and with foreign adjectives like 'snob', 'cool', etc. For example: Tex est un tatou imaginaire; T a m m y
aussi est imaginaire. Ils sont imaginaires. (Tex is an imaginary armadillo; T a m m y too is imaginary. They are imaginary.)
Here are a few of these adjectives:
t^ij)

pauvre (poor)

difficile (difficult)

sensible (sensitive)

riche (rich)

calme (calm)

semblable (similar)

mince (slim)

minuscule (tiny)

ridicule (ridiculous)

propre (clean)

ironique (ironic)

imaginaire (imaginary)

number
The majority of adjectives are regular in the plural; that is, an -s is added to the singular masculine or feminine forms.
There are two major exceptions to this rule:
1. Do not add an s to the masculine form of adjectives ending in s or x. The masculine singular and plural forms are
thus identical: un animal heureux (a happy animal), des animaux heureux (happy animals). However, the feminine
plural form of these adjectives is regular; it is formed by simply adding an s to the feminine singular form: une fille
heureuse (a happy girl), des filles heureuses (happy girls).
2. Adjectives ending in al in the masculine singular form change to aux in the masculine plural form.

4>)

Tex est un tatou international. Edouard et

Tex is an international armadillo. Edouard

Tex sont des animaux internationaux.

and Tex are international animals.

The feminine plural form of these adjectives is regular; it is formed by simply adding an s to the feminine singular form:
Tex aime lire la presse internationale. Tex aime aussi les revues internationales. (Tex likes to read international papers.
Tex also likes international magazines).
Listen to this dialogue:

V t S T - c e

o^t

Nit

VA

Pas

Tex: Mais, qu'est-ce qui ne va pas?

Tex: But, what's w r o n g ?

T a m m y : C'est encore Bette! Elle n'est

T a m m y : It's Bette again! She is never

jamais sincre! Sois franc Tex. T u ne la

sincere! Be frank Tex. Don't you find her

trouves pas capricieuse et cruelle?

capricious and cruel?

Tex: Non! Elle est gentille! C'est une bonne

Tex: No! She is nice! She is a good friend!

amie! Qu'est-ce qu'elle a fait?

What did she do?

T a m m y : C o m m e tu es naf! Elle me raconte

T a m m y : You are so naive! She tells me

que tu me trouves ennuyeuse, que tu es

that you think I'm boring, that you are in

amoureux d'une de tes tudiantes. C'est

love with one of your students. Is that

vrai?

true?

Tex: T u es folle! C'est une fausse

Tex: You're crazy! It's a false accusation!

accusation!
T a m m y : H m m ... T u veux que je

T a m m y : H m m ... Do you want me to

t'explique? C'est trs clair. Elle est jalouse!

explain? It's very clear. She is jealous! It's

C'est le c o m p l o t classique. Elle essaie de


n o u s sparer, n o u s d e s a m i s si loyaux!

us, such loyal friends!

fill in the blanks


Give the correct f o r m of the adjective indicated in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T a m m y a une voix

. (doux, 'soft')

2. T a m m y , quelle est ta c h a n s o n

? (favori, 'favorite')

3. Bette et T a m m y sont

de la m m e personne. ( a m o u r e u x , 'in love')

4. T e x et T a m m y sont

d'amour, (fou, 'crazy')

5. J o e - B o b et C o r e y ne sont pas
6. Fiona est trs

. (vif, 'quick, clever')

. (gentil, 'kind')

7. T e x et E d o u a r d sont d e s a n i m a u x

. (cosmopolite, 'cosmopolitan')

8. Les derniers p o m e s de T e x sont

! (gnial, 'great')

9. Bette est une chatte

. (sensuel, 'sensuous')

10. T a m m y a de belles lvres


11. T a m m y et Bette sont
12. Bette est

. (pulpeux, 'full, juicy')


de peinture. (amateur, 'amateur')

. (rancunier, 'resentful')

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: adj2

adjectives w h o s e meaning varies with placement

Some adjectives can be placed either before or after the noun they are describing. Their position determines their
meaning. When the adjective is placed before the noun it tends to carry a figurative, or metaphorical meaning. When it
follows the noun, it carries a more literal, or actual meaning. Consider the following examples:

adjective

literal sense

figurative sense

following the noun

before the noun

Paw-Paw adore les meubles


ancien

anciens.

Marianne est l'ancienne copine de Tex.


Marianne is Tex's former girlfriend.

Paw-Paw adores very old


furniture.
T a m m y aime les parfums chers de
cher

Paris.

Chers amis, je suis content de vous voir!


Dear friends, I am happy to see you!

T a m m y likes expensive perfumes


from Paris.

dernier

grand

T e x a vu Marianne la semaine

Tex dit Marianne: Pour la dernire fois, je ne

dernire.

veux plus te voir.

Tex saw Marianne last [preceding]

Tex says to Marianne: For the last [final] time, I

week.

don't want to see you anymore.

En gnral, les tatous ne sont pas

Tex est un grand philosophe.

grands.

Tex is a great philosopher.

In general, armadillos are not tall.

mme

Bette est l'hypocrisie mme!

T a m m y et Bette adorent le mme petit tatou.

Bette is hypocrisy itself!

T a m m y and Bette adore the s a m e little


armadillo.

pauvre

prochai n

propre

A son arrive Austin, Tex tait un

Le pauvre Tex tait malheureux quand il a quitt

tatou pauvre.

la France.

When he came to Austin, Tex was

The unfortunate Tex was not happy when he

a financially poor armadillo.

left France.

Mes chers tudiants, la semaine

Tex dit Marianne: Et la prochaine fois que tu

prochaine vous avez un examen

me suis, j'appelle la police!

My dear students, next [in a

Tex says to Marianne: And the next [following]

series] week you have an exam.

time that you follow me, I will call the police.

Mais oui, Edouard est un escargot

Edouard veut son propre restaurant.

propre!

Edouard wants his o w n restaurant.

Yes, Edouard is a clean snail.


Corey est seul. C'est un cafard.
seul

Corey is alone. He's a cockroach.

Dans le coeur de Tex, T a m m y est le seul tatou


qui compte.
In Tex's heart, T a m m y is the only armadillo that
matters.

Bette n'est pas simple.


simple

Bette is not simple

Tex n'est pas un simple pote, c'est aussi un


philosophe.

[uncomplicated]

vrai

Tex is not just a poet, he is also a philosopher.

Paw-Paw a racont des histoires

Les aventures de Tex et ses copains, c'est une

vraies sur sa vie pendant la guerre.

vraie histoire.

Paw-Paw told true stories about

The adventures of Tex and his friends are a real

his life during the war.

story!

Listen to this dialogue:


T a m m y attend Tex la bibliothque depuis

T a m m y has been waiting for Tex at the

une heure. Enfin il arrive.

library for an hour. Finally, he arrives.

T a m m y (ironique): Ne te presse pas mon

T a m m y (ironic): Take your time my dear

cher Tex! Tu oublies tes propres rendez-

Tex! Are you forgetting your own

vous maintenant?!

appointments now?!

Tex: Ah, T a m m y , ma chrie! J'tais au caf

Tex: Oh, T a m m y , darling, I was at the cafe

avec mon grand ami Edouard, quand j'ai vu

with my great friend Edouard, when I saw

une femme seule. Elle avait l'air triste. Elle

a lonely woman. She looked sad. She was

tait le dsespoir mme. Et la beaut mme

despair itself! Beauty itself also ...

T a m m y (toujours furieuse): Et alors?

T a m m y (still furious): So what?

Tex: Eh bien? T u me connais! Je suis un

Tex: S o ? You know the way I am! I am a

brave tatou! Alors, je suis all lui offrir un

good armadillo! So I went and bought her a

caf pour la consoler.

coffee to console her.

T a m m y : A h oui?

T a m m y : Oh really?

Tex: Ae!

Tex: Ouch!

fill in the blanks


Choose the correct English meaning for the adjective in capital letters between the two options given in parentheses.
1. T a m m y est le SEUL amour de Tex. (unique/alone)
2. Corey dteste tre SEUL, (unique/alone)
3. T a m m y a la MEME ambition que Bette : pouser Tex.(identical/itself)
4. Bette est l'opportunisme MEME! (identical/itself)
5. Nous s o m m e s trs PAUVRES, (penniless/unfortunate)
6. Le PAUVRE Corey a encore perdu au loto.(penniless/unfortunate)
7. Le vin rouge est trs CHER aux USA. (expensive/dear)

8. Bette est une G R A N D E amie de Machiavel, (tall/great)


9. La France est C H E R E au c o e u r de T e x . ( e x p e n s i v e / d e a r )
10. T e x n'a pas t o u j o u r s les oreilles P R O P R E S , (own/clean)
11. T e x ne connat pas ses P R O P R E S parents, (own/clean)
12. T e x adore les livres A N C I E N S ,

(antique/former)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: adj2

comparisons with adjectives

1. comparative adjectives indicating more / less


2. comparative adjectives indicating similarity or equality
3. irregular adjectives

comparative adjectives indicating more or less


Adjectives are frequently used to compare things, people, events, ideas etc. Plus ... que conveys the idea of 'more
than', moins ... que the idea of 'less than.'
d'S

Tex est plus intelligent que Joe-Bob.

Tex is more intelligent than Joe-Bob.

Mais Joe-Bob est moins prtentieux que

But Joe-Bob is less pretentious than Tex.

Tex.
Bien sr, il est plus difficile d'tre pote que

Of course, it is more difficult to be a poet

d'tre cureuil!

than to be a squirrel.

comparative adjectives indicating similarity or equality


Aussi ... que conveys the idea of 'as ... as'.

4>)

Fiona est aussi belle que Tammy. Mais elles

Fiona is as beautiful as Tammy. But they

ne sont pas aussi sduisantes que Bette.

are not as seductive as Bette.

irregular adjectives
The adjectives bon and mauvais have irregular forms of comparison, meilleur and pire. However, the regular form plus
mauvais que has become commonly accepted. Note that this irregularity is found in English too with 'better' (not
*gooder) and 'worse' (not *badder).
4>)

D'aprs Tex, T a m m y est un bon parti. Mais

According to Tex, T a m m y is a good match.

Bette pense qu'elle serait un meilleur parti

But Bette thinks she would be a better

que Tammy.

match than T a m m y .

Mais il est vident que le caractre de Bette

But it is obvious that Bette's personality is

est plus mauvais que celui de Tammy.

worse than Tammy's.

Listen to this dialogue:


4>)

Bette: Tex, as-tu jamais vu une fille aussi

Bette: Tex, have you ever seen a girl as

jolie que moi?

pretty as I a m ?

Tex philosophe: Euh! La beaut physique

Tex the philosopher: Ah! Physical beauty is

est moins importante que la beaut de

less important than the beauty of the soul.

l'me. Voyons Bette, je n'ai pas le temps

Look Bette, I do not have time to think

de penser des choses aussi triviales que

about things as trivial as that ...

celles-ci ...

Bette: D'accord, d'accord, mais je suis

Bette: Ok, ok, but I a m less stupid and

moins bte et plus sexy que T a m m y , n o n ?

m o r e s e x y t h a n T a m m y , don't y o u think?

T e x : tre ou ne pas tre, l est la question

T e x : T o be or not to be, that is the


q u e s t i o n ...

Fill in the blank w i t h the appropriate c o m p a r a t i v e of the adjective in parentheses. '+' is for 'more...than', '-' for
'less...than', a n d '=' for 'as...as'. Do not forget to m a k e the adjectives agree in n u m b e r a n d g e n d e r w i t h the n o u n s
t h e y qualify.
1. L'accent a m r i c a i n d ' E d o u a r d est
2. T e x a un

Q.I. ('I.Q.') q u ' E d o u a r d . (+, bon)

3. T a m m y est

. q u e Bette. (=, joli)

4. Fiona est

que Bette. (+, gentil)

5. Les A g g i e s sont

que les L o n g h o r n s . (-, fort)

6. Les t u d i a n t e s de UT sont
7. Les Franais sont

. q u e celles de T e x a s A & M . (+, sduisant)


. que les T e x a n s . (+, raffin)

8. Les T e x a n s sont

que les Franais. (+, drle)

9. La France est
10. T e x est

que celui de T e x . (+, m a u v a i s )

que le T e x a s . (-, grand)


que T a m m y . (+, vieux)

11. C o r e y et J o e - B o b sont
12. E d o u a r d et T a m m y sont

q u ' E d o u a r d . (-, snob)


que J o e - B o b et Corey. (+, i n d p e n d a n t )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: adj2

1. formation and placement


2. irregular superlatives

formation and placement


In French as in English, the superlative is a form of an adjective expressing 'the best', 'the smallest', 'the most
interesting'. To form the superlative, use the definite article (le, la, les) and the adverb plus or moins before the
adjective. Note that the superlative of an adjective agrees with the noun it modifies in gender and in number. The
placement of the superlative corresponds to the usual placement of the adjective. In other words, if the adjective follows
the noun, then the superlative will follow the noun, too. And conversely, if the adjective precedes the noun, then the
superlative adjective will precede the noun, too. Note that if the adjective follows the noun, the definite article is used
twice.

d'S

superlative

le (la, les) plus (the most)

le (la, les) moins (the least)

Bette est la chatte la plus ruse du

T a m m y est la tatou la moins ruse du

monde.

monde.

Bette is the slickest cat in the world.

T a m m y is the least slick armadillo in

adjective after noun


the world.
T a m m y est la plus gentille tatou du

Bette est la moins gentille chatte du

monde.

monde.

adjective before noun


T a m m y is the nicest armadillo in the

Bette is the least nice cat in the

world.

world.

Note that instead of the definite article, you may use a possessive determiner (mon, ma, mes, etc.), so Tex might say:
'Edouard est mon ami le plus distingu' (Edouard is my most distinguished friend).

irregular superlatives
The adjectives bon and mauvais have irregular patterns in the superlative. Note there are two forms for expressing 'the
worst': the irregular form le (la) pire and the more commonly used le (la) plus mauvais(e).

Cj')) superlative of bon (good)


the best
le meilleur campus

la meilleure universit

the least good


le moins bon campus

la moins bonne universit

superlative of mauvais (bad)


the worst

the least bad

le pire campus

le moins mauvais

le plus mauvais campus

campus

la pire universit

la moins mauvaise

la plus mauvaise

universit

universit
les meilleurs profs

les moins bons profs

les pires profs

les moins mauvais profs

les plus mauvais profs

les meilleures notes

les moins bonnes notes

les pires notes

les moins mauvaises

les plus mauvaises notes

notes

The superlative of mauvais is always either le pire or le plus mauvais. But while you may
say 'la plus mauvaise universit' or 'la pire universit,' you may only say 'les pires
ploucs,' 'les pires catastrophes,' 'les pires crimes' etc. W h y ? Because 'plouc,'
'catastrophe,' 'crime' are already negative and it would be redundant to use 'mauvais' or
its superlative, 'le plus mauvais,' in front of them.

4)

T a m m y : Texas A & M est la plus mauvaise

T a m m y : Texas A & M is the worst university

universit du monde. Elle a la moins bonne

in the world! It has the worst football team.

quipe de foot. Elle attire les pires ploucs!

It attracts the worst rednecks! The best

Les meilleurs tudiants viennent UT parce

students come to UT because Austin is the


coolest city in Texas!

qu'Austin est la ville la plus cool du Texas!


Joe-Bob: Tu parles! UT craint! C'est la plus

Joe-Bob: Go on! UT sucks! It's the largest

grande universit du Texas! En plus, les

university in Texas! And, UT students are

tudiants de UT sont les plus snobs!

the most snobbish! College Station is the

College Station est la plus belle ville du

most beautiful city in the world!

monde!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the appropriate superlative of the adjective in parentheses. '+' is for 'the most', '-' for 'the
least'. Do not forget to make the adjectives agree in number and gender with the nouns they qualify.
1. Edouard a

accent d'Austin. (+, mauvais)

2. Le Q.I. ('I.Q.') de Tex est


3. Bette est la chatte .

du Texas. (+, bon)


du campus. (+, perfide, ='treacherous, dishonest')

4. Fiona est la fourmi

de l'Etat. (+, travailleur)

5. Tex et T a m m y sont les tatous .


6. Corey et Joe-Bob sont les animaux
7. T a m m y , Bette et Fiona sont les filles
8. Les blagues de Tex sont toujours
9. Pour Tex, la France est
10. T a m m y et Bette ne sont pas toujours

du monde. (+, mignon)


du groupe. (-, intelligent)
du campus. (+, dbrouillard)
. (-, drle)
pays du monde. (+, beau)
amies du monde. (+, bon)

11. Bette est la chatte


12. La T o u r d ' U T est le m o n u m e n t

du c a m p u s . (-, populaire)
de l'universit. (+, clbre)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: adj2

b o n / m e il l e u r v s . b i e n / m i e u x

1. bon/bien
2. meilleur/mieux
3. aussi bon/aussi bien
4. le meilleur/le mieux: superlative forms

bon/bi en
Bon (good) is an adjective. Although it has an irregular feminine form, bonne, the plural is formed regularly by adding
an -s to the masculine or feminine adjective. Bien (well, really, very) is an adverb. The adjective bon modifies a noun,
whereas the adverb bien modifies verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.
adjective bon
4D

La cuisine de T a m m y est bonne.

T a m m y ' s cooking is good.

T a m m y est une bonne cuisinire.

T a m m y is a good cook.

adverb bien
4>)

M m m ... T a m m y fait bien la cuisine.

M m m ... T a m m y cooks well.

T a m m y lit la recette bien attentivement.

T a m m y reads the recipe very attentively.

Ooh, la soupe de T a m m y est bien

Ooh, Tammy's soup is well -seasoned.

assaisonne.

meilleur/mi eux
Comparisons with bon and bien are not formed regularly using 'plus ... que' (more ... than). Instead use meilleur(e)(s)
que, and mieux que:
adjective bon/meilleur
i^O)

T a m m y est une meilleure cuisinire que

T a m m y is a better cook than Fiona.

Fiona.
Les gteaux de T a m m y sont meilleurs que

T a m m y ' s cakes are better than Fiona's

les gteaux de Fiona.

cakes.

adverb bien/mieux
4D

Mais si, T a m m y cuisine mieux que Fiona.

But yes, T a m m y cooks better than Fiona.

Et la soupe de T a m m y est mieux

A n d Tammy's soup is better seasoned than

assaisonne que la soupe de Fiona.

Fiona's soup.

The adverb bien is an intensifier and can be translatied as 'much' in English. Note that 'much better' is sometimes
translated as bien meilleur, sometimes as bien mieux.
i^O)

T a m m y est bien meilleure cuisinire que

T a m m y is a m u c h better cook that Fiona.

Fiona.
T a m m y fait bien mieux la cuisine qu Fiona.

T a m m y cooks much better than Fiona.

aussi bon/aussi bien


Aussi bon que (comparisons with adjectives) conveys the idea of 'as good as'. Aussi bien que (comparisons with adverbs)
conveys the idea of 'as well as.'
adjective bon/aussi bon que
d'S

Mais Bette est une aussi bonne cuisinire

But Bette is as good a cook as Tammy.

que Tammy.
La cuisine de Bette est aussi bonne que la

Bette's cooking is as good as Tammy's.

cuisine de Tammy.

L A

c u i s i n c

A w

S i

p e

0 n n

1>

fee

i i

q u
M

e v r
L A

adverb bien/aussi bien que


d'S

Bette cuisine aussi bien que Tammy.

Bette cooks as well as Tammy.

le meilleur/le mieux : superlative forms


In French as in English, the superlative is a form expressing a maximum or minimum quality or capacity. In English,
'good' and 'well' have the same maximum superlative: 'the best'. In French, however, the maximum superlatives are
different; they are formed with the definite articles le (la, les) meilleur(s) (superlative adjectives) or le mieux (superlative
adverbs). The minimum superlatives (le moins bon, le moins bien) are formed regularly.
superlative adjectives
d'S

Qui fait la meilleure tarte?

Who makes the best tart?

Qui fait les moins bonnes cuisses de

Who makes the worst frog legs?

grenouilles?

Q y i
ftoHMEi

F A I T

L S

MottoJ

C v l i s e s

"P

superlative adverbs
Qui cuisine le mieux?

Who cooks ( t h e ) best?

Et qui cuisine le moins bien?

A n d who cooks (the) worst?

Edouard arbitre un concours de cuisine.

Edouard is judging a cooking contest.

T a m m y , Bette et Fiona prsentent des

T a m m y , Bette, and Fiona are presenting

tartes.

their tarts.

Edouard gote d'abord la tarte de Tammy.

First, Edouard tastes T a m m y ' s tart.

Edouard: Une tarte aux pommes ... C'est

Edouard: A n apple tart ... It's very sweet,

trs sucr, mais dlicieux. T a m m y est

but delicious. T a m m y is a good cook. Yes,

bonne cuisinire. Oui, oui, elle cuisine bien.

yes, she cooks w e l l .

Edouard gote ensuite la tarte de Fiona.

Next, Edouard tastes Fiona's tart.

Edouard: Une tarte aux piments ... C'est

Edouard: A pepper tart ... It's spicy, but

pic mais certainement original. Est-ce

certainly original. Is this tart better than

que cette tarte est meilleure que celle de

Tammy's? No, in my opionion, Fiona cooks

T a m m y ? Non, mon avis, Fiona cuisine

as well as T a m m y .

aussi bien que Tammy.


Enfin, Edouard gote la tarte de Bette.

Finally, Edouard tastes Bette's tart.

Edouard: Une tarte aux fruits exotiques.

Edouard: A n exotic fruit tart. H m m ... it's

H m m ... c'est magnifique. Cette tarte me

magnificent. This tart really seduces me. No

sduit terriblement. Aucun doute! C'est

question about it! Bette's going to receive

Bette qui va recevoir le prix. C'est elle qui

the prize. She's the one who cooks the

cuisine le mieux. C'est, comme c'est

best. How delicious it is! Tell me, Bette,

dlicieux! Dites-moi, Bette, il y a un je ne

there's an I don't know what in this tart.

sais quoi dans cette tarte. Quel est votre

What is your secret?

secret?
Bette: Mais, c'est tout simple, Edouard.

Bette: But it's very simple, Edouard. When

Quand je cuisine, j'ajoute toujours une

I cook, I always add a pinch of Viagra!

pince de Viagra!

Fill in the blank with one of the following: 'bien', 'mieux', 'bon(ne)(s)', 'meilleur(e)(s)'. Do not forget to make the
adjectives agree in number and gender with the nouns they qualify.
1. Edouard fait les _
2. Personne ne fait _

crpes (fem.) de la ville.


. les crpes qu'Edouard.

3. T a m m y travaille _
4. Tex a le

accent franais de UT.

5. Les crpes (fem.) de T a m m y ne sont pas aussi

. que les crpes d'Edouard.

6. T a m m y est une

tudiante.

7. Bette et T a m m y ne sont pas t o u j o u r s les


8. T a m m y cuisine aussi

a m i e s du m o n d e .

qu'Edouard.

9. T a m m y : Oh, T e x , m o n chri, j e me s e n s ('feel') si


10. Bette fait b e a u c o u p

les t a r t e s que T a m m y et Fiona.

11. E d o u a r d est s e r v e u r d a n s le
12. Bette est trs

avec toi!

restaurant d'Austin.

cuisinire.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: adj2

participles as adjectives

1. present participles
2. past participles

The present participles and past participles of verbs are often used as adjectives. So they agree in number and gender
with the noun they modify, just like regular adjectives. The distinction between adjectives derived from present and past
participles is similar to that between - i n g and - e d adjectives in English: fatigant (tiring) / fatigu (tired).
d'S

Oh, la, la, Tex est fatigu aprs ses cours.

Oh, la, la, Tex is tired after his classes.

Pff... quand il parle de philosophie, Tex est

Pff... when he talks about philosophy, Tex

parfois fatigant.

is sometimes tiring.

present participles used as adjectives


The present participle is formed by dropping the -ons ending from the nous form in the present tense and adding -ant.
d'S

Tex est un tatou intressant. (intresser)

Tex is an interesting armadillo.

T a m m y est une fille charmante. (charmer)

T a m m y is a charming girl.

Edouard et Corey sont des animaux

Edouard and Corey are amusing animals.

amusants. (amuser)
Bette et Fiona sont des cratures

Bette and Fiona are surprising creatures.

surprenantes. (surprendre)

past participles used as adjectives


Past participle formation depends on the verb class (-er, -ir, -re, or irregular).
Tex et T a m m y forment un couple uni. (unir)

Tex and T a m m y form a united couple.

Pauvre Joe-Bob! Il est perdu. . . comme

Poor Joe-Bob! He's lost ... as usual.

d'habitude. (perdre)
Edouard et Tex sont des Franais peu

Edouard and Tex are not very Americanized

amricaniss. (amricaniser)

French people.

Bette est trop gte. (gter)

Bette is too spoiled.

Note that past participles used as adjectives may have a passive meaning, and thus be followed by an agent introduced
by par (by) or de (with):
d'S

4>)

Bette est une chatte entoure d'admirateurs.

Bette is a cat surrounded by admirers.

Bette est trs gte par ses admirateurs.

Bette is very spoiled by her admirers.

Joe-Bob: Corey, tu as v u ? Il y a un article

Joe-Bob: Corey, did you see? There's an

absolument choquant dans le Daily Texan. Il

absolutely shocking article in the Daily

s'agit d'un prof qui a des personnalits

Texan. It's about a prof who has multiple

multiples!

personalities.

Corey: A h oui, je l'ai eu le semestre pass.

Corey: Ah, yes. I had him last semester. Of

Bien sr, j'ai rat mon examen, mais au

course, I failed my exam, but at least his

moins ses confrences taient plus

lectures were more amusing than the other

amusantes que celles des autres profs.

profs'.

IL y A

WM

A(trtu

AB-o

CH<7^AKTH

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h either the present participle or the past participle of the verb g i v e n in p a r e n t h e s e s . Do not
forget to m a k e the participle agree in n u m b e r and g e n d e r w i t h the n o u n it modifies.
1. C o r e y : J'ai trop travaill! Je suis

. (puiser ='to tire')

2. C o r e y : Lire d e s livres, c'est

! (puiser ='to tire')

3. T a m m y : Ce film d'horreur est

! (effrayer = 'to frighten')

4. T a m m y : J'ai m e s e x a m e n s en ce m o m e n t , j e suis trs


5. Les e x a m e n s , c'est

. (stresser = 'to stress')

6. T a m m y : T e x tu es insupportable! T u es
7. T a m m y est trs
8. T e x est un pote mal

11. Bette est


12. T a m m y est une t a t o u

! ( e x a s p r e r = 'to exasperate')

de t o u s ses amis, (apprcier = 'to appreciate')


. ( c o m p r e n d r e = 'to understand')

9. E d o u a r d et T e x ont bu trop de caf. Ils sont


10. Le livre de T e x est

. (stresser = 'to stress')

. (nerver = 'to annoy')

! (captiver = 'to captivate')


que T e x soit a m o u r e u x de T a m m y . (tonner = 'to astonish')
. (amuser)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: adj2

introduction to adverbs

A n adverb is a w o r d t h a t q u a l i f i e s t h e a c t i o n of t h e v e r b , t h a t is, it s p e c i f i e s h o w o r w h e n t h e a c t i o n is p e r f o r m e d . In
E n g l i s h , m a n y a d v e r b s a r e i n d i c a t e d by t h e - l y e n d i n g . In F r e n c h , m o s t a d v e r b s e n d in - m e n t .
lentement

slowly

attentivement

carefully

souvent

often

A d v e r b s a n s w e r q u e s t i o n s a b o u t t h e a c t i o n : h o w ? h o w m u c h ? w h e n ? a n d w h e r e ? W h i l e m o s t a d v e r b s in F r e n c h a n d
English modify verbs, they can also modify other adverbs as well as adjectives.
verb

modified

adverb

by

modified

adjective

modified

adverb
by

adverb
by

adverb

E c o u t e attentivement.

Listen carefully.

trop l e n t e m e n t

too slowly

extrmement s i l e n c i e u x

e x t r e m e l y quiet

Adverb vs. Adjective


It is c o m m o n in n o n - s t a n d a r d E n g l i s h f o r s p e a k e r s to u s e a d j e c t i v e s in p l a c e of a d v e r b s .
T e x w r i t e s g o o d . ( i n s t e a d of 'well')
A g g i e s t a l k t o o s l o w . ( i n s t e a d of ' s l o w l y ' )

W h i l e t h i s a l t e r n a t i o n is c o m m o n in E n g l i s h , it is n o t c o m m o n in F r e n c h w h e r e
a d j e c t i v e s a r e r a r e l y u s e d in p l a c e of t h e a d v e r b . R e m e m b e r t h a t a d v e r b s
m o d i f y v e r b s (as w e l l a s o t h e r a d v e r b s a n d a d j e c t i v e s ) a n d a d j e c t i v e s m o d i f y
nouns.
T e x crit bien.

T e x writes well.

La p o s i e d e T e x est bonne.

T e x ' s p o e t r y is g o o d .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page:

adverbs: formation and placement

1. uses
2. common adverbs
3. formation of regular adverbs
4. placement

uses
In French as in English, an adverb describes the action of a verb. It answers such
questions as 'where', 'when,' 'how,' 'how long,' or 'how often.' Adverbs are invariable
and may be used with almost all verbs. For example:
49

Edouard cuisine bien.

Edouard cooks well.

Joe-Bob mange beaucoup.

Joe-Bob eats a lot.

A n adverb may also qualify an adjective or another adverb. Consider the sentence:
'Edouard cuisine trs bien' (Edouard cooks very well). Trs qualifies bien and both
describe the action of the verb 'cuisiner'.

common adverbs
Following is a list of frequently used adverbs, categorized by type:
m

manner

bien, well

mal, badly

vite, quickly

time

souvent, often

quelquefois,

toujours, always

sometimes
jamais, never
bientt, soon
mai ntenant, now

place

tt, early
aujourd'hui, today
dj, already

tard, late
hier, yesterday
demain, tomorrow

dedans, inside

dehors, outside

ici, here

l, there

partout, everywhere

quelque part,
somewhere

quantity or degree

beaucoup, a lot

trs, very

trop, too much

assez, enough

peu, little, not

peut-tre, maybe

much

sequence

d'abord, at first

puis, then, next

donc, thus

enfin, finally

alors, then, so

formation of regular adverbs


A large number of French adverbs are derived from adjectives.
They are usually formed by adding -ment to the f e m i n i n e singular form of the adjective. Note the exception
'gentiment', which is derived from the adjective 'gentil' (nice).
49

lent(e), slow

lentement, slowly

doux (douce), soft

doucement, softly

adj2

heureux (heureuse), happy

heureusement, happily, fortunately

franc (franche), frank

franchement, frankly

However, -ment is added to the masculine singular form of adjectives that end with a vowel. Note the exception
'gaiement' which is derived from the adjective 'gai' (cheerful).
d'D

poli(e) polite

poliment, politely

absolu(e), absolute

absolument, absolutely

vrai(e), true, real

vraiment, truly, really

modr(e), moderate

modr ment, moderately

Add -emment to the stem of adjectives that end in -ent; add -amment to the stem of adjectives ending in - a n t . The
stem is what remains of the adjective when -ent or -ant have been removed. Note that the one-syllable adjective 'lent'
does not form its adverb, 'lentement', on this model.
rcent, recent

rcemment, recently

frquent, frequent

frqu emment, frequently

suffisant, sufficient

suffisamment, sufficiently

mchant, wicked, malicious

mchamment, wickedly, nastily

Note the addition of an acute accent to form the following adverbs:


d'S

prcis(e), precise

prcisment, precisely

profond(e), deep

profondment, deeply

norme, huge, enormous

normment, enormously

placement
Use the following guidelines for placement of adverbs,
adverbs that modify an adjective or another adverb
Adverbs are placed directly before the adjective or adverb that they modify.
d'D

Edouard: J'habite le Texas depuis trs

Edouard: I've lived in Texas for a very long

longtemps, mais je trouve que le barbecue

time, but I find that barbecue is truly

est vraiment dgueulasse!

disgusting!

adverbs that modify a verb


Adverbs are usually placed immediately after the conjugated verb. If the verb is negative, the adverb is placed after the
negation.

H A B t r v W
d1')

Edouard comprend mal les habitudes

Edouard understands poorly American

culinaires amricaines.

culinary habits.

Edouard ne marche pas vite, parce qu'il sait

Edouard is not walking fast, because he

dj ce que les clients vont commander.

already knows what the customers are


going to order.

Edouard: Ils exigent toujours du ketchup,

Edouard: They always demand ketchup, but

mais il n'y a pas de ketchup dans mon

there is no ketchup in my restaurant.

restaurant.

Note that most common adverbs are placed directly after the verb before the objects.
d'S

Joe-Bob: J'aime beaucoup le ketchup!

Joe-Bob: I like ketchup a lot!

Edouard: J'aime davantage le foie gras!

Edouard: I like foie gras even more!

adverbs that modify a whole sentence


If an adverb is a comment on the entire sentence (malheureusement, en plus), it may be placed at the beginning or end
of the sentence. Adverbs of this type include adverbs of time and place. In the following dialogue, contrast the adverbs
that modify the whole sentence to those that modify just the verb.

Joe-Bob: Edouard, viens dner avec nous ce

Joe-Bob: Edouard, come out to eat with us

soir !

this evening!

Edouard: Je n'aime pas dner dans des

Edouard: I don't like to eat in American

restaurants amricains parce que je trouve

restaurants because I find ketchup

du ketchup partout.

everywhere.

V o u s allez srement au Salt Lick, et tu sais

You're surely going to go to the Salt Lick

que je dteste le barbecue.

and you know that I detest barbeque.

Joe-Bob: Malheureusement, on n'a pas

Joe-Bob: Unfortunately, we don't have

assez d'argent pour aller dans un restaurant

enough money to go to a snobby

snob!

restaurant!

Edouard refuse obstinment l'invitation de

Obstinately, Edouard refuses Joe-Bob's

Joe-Bob: Tu m'invites souvent, mais

invitation: You invite me out to eat often,

toujours l'amricaine!

but always in the American style.

See placement of adverbs with pass compos and the periphrastic future for further examples.

fill in the blanks


A d v e r b p l a c e m e n t : C o m p l e t e the a n s w e r s to T a m m y ' s questions using the adverb in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T a m m y

T u c o m p r e n d s la posie de T e x ? T r e y : Non, je/j'

2. T a m m y

T u a i m e s le c h o c o l a t ? T e x : Oui, je/j'

3. T a m m y

C o m m e n t va Rita? T e x : Elle

4. T a m m y

T u a i m e s le c a f ? T e x : Oui, je/j'_

5. T a m m y

T u penses Bette? T r e y : Oui, je/j'

6. T a m m y

Bette est s e x y ? T r e y : A h oui, elle _

7. T a m m y

T u a i m e s les n o i x ? J o e - B o b : Oui, je/j'_

8. T a m m y

T u m a n g e s du chili? J o e - B o b : Oui, je/j'_

9. T a m m y

T u a i m e s S a r t r e ? T e x : O h oui, je/j'

10. T a m m y

T e x connat T r e y ? T a m m y : Non, T e x ,

11. T a m m y

T e x est gnial! Bette : Oui, T e x

12. T a m m y

T e x porte un bret? E d o u a r d : Oui, T e x ,

_. (mal)
_.(normment)
(trs bien)
___ . (beaucoup)
. (toujours)
_.(extraordinairement)
.(beaucoup)
.(souvent)
(vraiment)
(bien)
(absolument)
.(frquemment)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: adj2

placement of adverbs with pass c o m p o s

T h e adverb in French usually f o l l o w s the c o n j u g a t e d verb. T h u s , in all


c o m p o u n d t e n s e s (i.e. t e n s e s w h e r e an auxiliary is required, s u c h as the
pass c o m p o s ) , a d v e r b s are placed right after the auxiliary and just
before the past participle. H o w e v e r , s o m e longer a d v e r b s e n d i n g in -ment
m a y follow the past participle. In a s e n t e n c e in the periphrastic future
('futur proche'), a d v e r b s are placed right before the infinitive. If the
c o n j u g a t e d verb is in the negative, the adverb f o l l o w s the negation.

d'D

T e x : Oh, j'ai trop m a n g . Je ne vais pas

T e x : Oh, I ate t o o m u c h . I a m not going to

bien dormir.

sleep well.

E d o u a r d : Mais tu n'as pas beaucoup m a n g !

E d o u a r d : But y o u didn't eat much! Just

Juste de la soupe!

s o m e soup!

T e x : Oui, mais il y avait une m o u c h e d a n s

T e x : Yes, but there w a s a fly in the soup!

la soupe!
E d o u a r d : Q u o i ? Une m o u c h e d a n s m o n

E d o u a r d : W h a t ? A fly in m y restaurant! It's

restaurant! Pas possible!

not possible!

Je v a i s immdiatement te prparer une

I'm going to prepare a n herb tea for y o u

infusion. Oh, tu sais, les m o u c h e s , a se

right a w a y . Oh, y o u know, flies are easily

digre vite.

digested.

A d v e r b p l a c e m e n t : C o m p l e t e the a n s w e r s to T a m m y ' s q u e s t i o n s using the a d v e r b in p a r e n t h e s e s . T h e tense is the


s a m e in the q u e s t i o n and the a n s w e r , either pass c o m p o s or periphrastic future.
1. T a m m y : T u as achet m o n c a d e a u ? T e x : Non, je/j'
2. T a m m y : T u as aim le f i l m ? T e x : Oui, je/j'
3. T a m m y : T u as lu ce livre ? T e x : Oui, je/j'

t o n cadeau. (encore)
le f i l m . ( b e a u c o u p )
ce livre.(dj)

4. T a m m y : T u es mont en haut de la T o u r Eiffel? T e x : Oui, je/j'.

en haut de la T o u r

Eiffel, (vraiment)
5. T a m m y : T u v a s tre gentil? T e x : Oui, je/j'

(trs)

6. T a m m y : T u v a s a i m e r m o n g t e a u ? T r e y : O h oui, je/j'
7. T a m m y : T u as m a n g ? J o e - B o b : Oui, je/j'

_ton gteau. ( b e a u c o u p )
_. (trop)

8. T a m m y : T u as russi tes e x a m e n s ? J o e - B o b : Non, je/j'.

_mes e x a m e n s . (rarement)

9. T a m m y : T r e y va c o m p r e n d r e S a r t r e ? T e x : H m m , T r e y _

_Sartre.

10. T a m m y : T e x a rencontr E d o u a r d ? T e x : Oui, T r e y


11. T a m m y : T e x va partir pour Paris? Bette : Oui, T e x

(difficilement)

_Edouard. (dj)
pourParis. ( i m m d i a t e m e n t )

12. T a m m y : T e x et Bette sont d e v e n u s a m i s ? E d o u a r d : Oui, T e x et Bette

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

. amis. (vite)

updated: 27 May 04

i ^ i

'JS^JXTjJj

)S2JJJJJJXJS

page: adj2

comparative and superlative of adverbs

1. comparative of adverbs: indicating more, less, or equality


2. superlative of adverbs: indicating the most, the least

comparative of adverbs: indicating more, less, or equality


Plus + adverb + que conveys the idea of 'more

than'. moins + adverb + que the idea of 'less ... than'. Aussi +

adverb + que conveys the idea of 'as ... as.'


d'il

Joe-Bob court plus vite

Joe-Bob runs faster than

qu'Edouard.

Edouard.

Tex court moins vite que Joe-

Tex runs slower (less fast)

Bob.

than Joe-Bob.

Qui court aussi lentement

Who runs as slowly as

qu' Edouard? Personne. bien

Edouard? No one. of course!

sr!
Note that mieux (better) is the irregular comparative form of the adverb bien (well). The other comparative forms of bien
are regular (moins bien que. aussi bien que).
Joe-Bob: V o u s allez bien aujourd'hui? V o u s

Joe-Bob: Are you doing ok today? Are you

tes en forme pour la course?

in good shape for the race?

Tex: Ah. oui. je vais mieux qu' hier. Je n'ai

Tex: A h yes. I am better than yesterday. I

pas fum depuis 24 heures.

haven't smoked for 24 hours.

Edouard: Moi. je vais moins bien qu' hier.

Edouard: Oh no. I am less well than

J'ai tellement travaill que j'ai des

yesterday. I've worked so much that I have

courbatures.

aches and pains.

Corey: Oh. je vais aussi bien qu'hier. Je

Corey: Oh I am doing as well as yesterday.

suis dop. comme d'habitude.

I'm high (on insecticides). as usual.

superlative of adverbs: indicating the most, the least


In French as in English. the superlative is a way to express a maximum or minimum quality or capacity: 'the fastest'.
'the least fast'. To form the superlative of an adverb. the masculine singular form of the definite article is always used:
le. followed by plus (more) or moins (less) before the adverb. Note that the superlative of an adverb has only one form.
Le mieux (the best) and le moins bien (the least well) are the superlative forms of the adverb bien (well).

fill in the blanks

Joe-Bob. Tex. Corey et Edouard se

Joe-Bob. Tex. Corey and Edouard are about

prparent faire une course.

to start a race.

Corey: Qui va gagner?

Corey: Who's going to win?

Joe-Bob: Moi. bien sr! je cours le plus vite

Joe-Bob: Me. of course! I run the fastest

et Edouard va tre le dernier parce qu'il

and Edouard is going to be last. because he

court le moins vite!

runs the least fast!

Edouard (vex): T u dis a parce que je suis

Edouard (offended): You say this because I

un escargot! Mais tout le monde sait que je

am a snail! But everyone knows that I run

cours le plus lgamment!

the most elegantly!

C o m p l e t e T a m m y ' s s t a t e m e n t s w i t h the a d v e r b s in b e t w e e n p a r e n t h e s e s . using one of the French superlative f o r m s


or one of the c o m p a r a t i v e f o r m s . a s indicated. '+' is for c o m p a r a t i v e indicating 'more... than'. '-' is for c o m p a r a t i v e
indicating 'less...than'
1. T a m m y : T e x explique
2. T a m m y : T e x lit

Edouard. (+. clairement)


J o e - B o b . (+. r a p i d e m e n t )

3. T a m m y : Je parle franais

Bette. (=. bien)

4. T a m m y : T e x est le t a t o u qui e m b r a s s e ('kisses')


5. T a m m y : C o r e y travaille
6. T a m m y : T e x m a n g e

(superlative +. bien)

Fiona. (-. f r q u e m m e n t )
moi. (-. poliment)

7. T a m m y : T e x parle le franais

moi. (+. c o u r a m m e n t )

8. T a m m y : Fiona est l'tudiante qui russit


9. T a m m y : J o e - B o b c h a n t e
10. T a m m y : C o r e y a p p r e n d

UT. (superlative +. brillamment)


. T e x . (=. mal)
Fiona. (-. vite)

11. T a m m y : De t o u t e s m e s a m i e s . Bette parle


12. T a m m y : De t o u t e s m e s copines. Bette ment ('lies')

(superlative -. h o n n t e m e n t )
. (superlative +. s o u v e n t )

2006 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

19 Jun 06

page: adj2

-il y a, a g o

When il y a is followed by a time expression (such as longtemps, quelque temps, une semaine, deux jours etc.), it
generally means 'ago': il y a une semaine (a week ago).

d1))

Tex: Mother Superior (Tex was raised by

Tex: La mre suprieure m'a crit


rcemment. Elle veut un souvenir du Texas!

nuns in France) wrote me recently. She

Il y a un an j'ai promis de lui envoyer

wants a souvenir from Texas! A year ago I

quelque chose, mais en ce moment je n'ai

promised to send her something, but now I

pas d'argent. Je viens de dpenser mes

don't have any money. I just spent my last

derniers sous il y a 10 minutes.

money 10 minutes ago.

Joe-Bob: Pense des souvenirs pas chers.

Joe-Bob: Think of souvenirs that don't cost

H m m m . . mon ancien berceau, peut-tre.

much. H m m m ... my old crib, maybe. It's

C'est parfait pour une mre!

perfect for a mother!

See also il y a and Il y a

que.

Complete Bette's statements with either 'il y a' to indicate how long it has been since the event occurred, or with
'en' to indicate the date of the event.
1. Bette

Corey est n

2. Bette

Je suis arrive UT

3. Bette

J'ai rencontr T a m m y

4. Bette

Je suis tombe amoureuse de Tex

5. Bette

J'ai rencontr Corey

6. Bette

3 ans.
un an.
12 mois.

1998.

dcembre, je suis alle Paris.

7. Bette

trois jours, Tex m'a embrasse!

8. Bette

Je suis dispute avec T a m m y

9. Bette

Je suis ne

deux semaines.

1997.

10. Bette

J'ai vu T a m m y

11. Bette

J'ai fait du ski Purgatory

12. Bette

longtemps!

environ une heure.


janvier.

l'an 2005, je serai la femme de Tex!

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

page: adj2

tt, tard, en avance, en retard, l'heure

Tt and tard are irregular adverbs. Tt means early in a general, non-measurable sense: early in the day, or in one's life,
one's career, relationship, in a film, book, etc. Likewise, tard means late in the sense of late in the day (or in one's life,
career, etc.).
En avance (early), en retard (late), l'heure (on time) are invariable phrases, i.e. they have only one form. They always
refer to a schedule: en avance means early in the sense of ahead of schedule and en retard means late, behind schedule.
They are usually used with 'tre' and verbs of movement like 'arriver', 'partir', 'rentrer', 'revenir': in other words, the
verbs from the Alamo of tre. They are placed at the end of the sentence.

49

Tex et Bette sont devant PCL.

Tex and Bette are outside PCL.

Bette: Qui est-ce que tu attends, Tex?

Bette: Who are you waiting for Tex?

Tex: Oh, comme d'habitude, j'attends

Tex: Oh, as usual, I'm waiting for Edouard.

Edouard. Il est en retard. Il n'est jamais

H e is late. He is never on time.

l'heure.
Bette: Moi, je suis toujours l'heure. Et

Bette: I am always on time. And I even

j'arrive mme en avance quand j'ai rendez-

arrive early when I'm meeting someone like

vous avec quelqu'un comme toi: digne,

you: dignified, intelligent, sophisticated,

intelligent, sophistiqu, beau ...

handsome ...

Tex: Bof ... T u crois qu'il est trop tt pour

Tex: Bof ... Do you think it is too early to

parler mariage avec T a m m y ?

discuss marriage with T a m m y ?

Bette: Certainement! Il est beaucoup trop

Bette: Certainly! It is much too early. You

tt. Tu dois attendre! Regarde l'heure. Il est

have to wait! Look at the time. It is late.

tard. On y v a ?

Shall we go?

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blanks with one of the following: en retard, l'heure, tt, tard.
1. Tex fait toujours la fte le soir : il se couche

2. T a m m y ne sort pas le soir : elle se couche

3. Fiona se lve avec le soleil : elle se rveille

4. Edouard n'a pas de montre : il arrive toujours

5. Fiona est trs ponctuelle : elle arrive toujours

6. Corey est trs lent. Il n'arrive jamais

7. T a m m y est trs ponctuelle : elle n'arrive jamais


8. T a m m y : Tex, o tais-tu? Il est
9. T a m m y : Tu veux de la glace? Trop

, j'tais inquite!
_, je l'ai finie!

10. Bette : T e x n'est pas e n c o r e a m o u r e u x de moi, c'est trop


11. Bette : Mieux vaut
12. Bette : Je suis j u s t e

q u e j a m a i s ! (in English, 'Better

, il ne me connat pas assez bien!


t h a n never!')

, le film va c o m m e n c e r !

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

characters

bienvenue!
T h i s w e b site is a b o u t m u c h m o r e t h a n j u s t F r e n c h g r a m m a r . It is a l s o a b o u t t h e e p i c love s t o r y of T e x a n d
T a m m y , t w o s t a r - s t r u c k a r m a d i l l o s , a n d B e t t e , t h e s e x k i t t e n b e n t o n d e s t r o y i n g t h e i r love. In a d d i t i o n to t h i s
m n a g e t r o i s , t h e c a s t of c h a r a c t e r s i n c l u d e E d o u a r d , a p r e t e n t i o u s F r e n c h s n a i l , J o e - B o b , a d i m - w i t t e d s q u i r r e l
f r o m C o l l e g e S t a t i o n , a n d C o r e y , a c o c k r o a c h w h o p r e f e r s g e t t i n g h i g h a n d w a t c h i n g t h e X - F i l e s o n T V to d o i n g his
French

homework.

Will T e x ' s a n d T a m m y ' s u n i o n e v e r be legally s a n c t i o n e d ? Will B e t t e e v e r l e a r n to b a l a n c e t h e e r o t i c a n d t h e


p l a t o n i c ? Will E d o u a r d e v e r g e t o v e r his a n t i p a t h y f o r T e x a s b a r b e q u e ? Will J o e - B o b a n d C o r e y e v e r p a s s F r e n c h
1 0 1 ? A n d will T e x e v e r i n t e g r a t e t h e c o m p e t i n g f o r c e s of his c o m p l e x F r a n c o - A m e r i c a n

identity?

C o m e e x p l o r e t h e w o r l d of T e x a n d f i n d t h e a n s w e r s to life's i m p o r t a n t q u e s t i o n s . B o n v o y a g e !

j *
49

Te

J e s u i s p o t e ... et q u e l q u e f o i s t u t e u r

4))

l ' u n i v e r s i t d u T e x a s . J e d t e s t e la c u l t u r e

t n f a p f t t i e T w w

Je s u i s la c o p i n e d e T e x . J ' a d o r e
l'universit du Texas.

populaire amricaine.

49

J e s u i s un e s c a r g o t f r a n a i s et j ' a d o r e la

4))

J e s u i s de C o l l e g e S t a t i o n . J ' a i m e la bire!

cuisine franaise.

49

J e s u i s un c a f a r d d p r i m . J ' a d o r e
l'insecticide.

49

J e s u i s t u d i a n t e . J ' a d o r e les h o m m e s .

Je suis cadien. J'aime m o n petit-fils Tex.

4))

Je s u i s u n e f o u r m i s r i e u s e . J e s u i s de
L a r e d o . J ' a i m e les p i q u e - n i q u e s .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page:

introduction to conjunctions

conl

A conjunction is a w o r d u s e d to link or 'conjoin' w o r d s or p h r a s e s into a c o h e r e n t w h o l e . T h e r e a r e t w o c l a s s e s of


conjunctions: coordinate and subordinate.

coordinating conjunctions
A c o o r d i n a t i n g c o n j u n c t i o n ' c o o r d i n a t e s ' t w o e q u i v a l e n t e l e m e n t s in a s e n t e n c e , t h a t is, w o r d s b e l o n g i n g to t h e s a m e
g r a m m a t i c a l c a t e g o r y ( n o u n s + n o u n s , v e r b s + v e r b s , i n d e p e n d e n t c l a u s e + i n d e p e n d e n t c l a u s e , etc.). T h e m o s t
c o m m o n l y u s e d c o o r d i n a t i n g c o n j u n c t i o n s in F r e n c h are:
mais

but

ou

or

et

and

donc

so,thus

or

so, n o w

ni ... ni

n e i t h e r ... n o r

car

for

puis

then

E d o u a r d n ' a i m e ni le b a r b e c u e ni les

E d o u a r d likes n e i t h e r b a r b e c u e n o r

hamburgers.

hamburgers.

T e x f u m e d e s c i g a r e t t e s et boit d u v i n

T e x s m o k e s cigarettes a n d drinks red

rouge.

wine.

subordinating conjunctions
A s u b o r d i n a t i n g c o n j u n c t i o n links a n i n d e p e n d e n t c l a u s e to a d e p e n d e n t
c l a u s e . In o t h e r w o r d s , a s u b o r d i n a t i n g c o n j u n c t i o n j o i n s t w o
unequivalent clauses (independent and dependent). An

independent

c l a u s e is a n y c l a u s e t h a t c a n s t a n d a l o n e to f o r m a g r a m m a t i c a l
sentence. A d e p e n d e n t clause, on the other hand, cannot stand alone and
t h u s ' d e p e n d s ' o n t h e m a i n c l a u s e in o r d e r to f o r m a c o m p l e t e t h o u g h t .
The most commonly used subordinate

conjunctions:

que

that

pendant que

as, w h i l e

quand

when

lorsque

when

depuis que

since (indicating time)

tandis que

while, whereas

puisque

since

parce que

because

Il e s t v i d e n t que T e x f u m e t r o p .
(dependent)

It is o b v i o u s t h a t T e x s m o k e s t o o m u c h .

(independent)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page: conl

coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions link words, phrases or independent sentences. The most commonly used are mais (but), ou
(or), et (and), donc (so, thus), or (so, now, but), ni . . . ni (neither ... nor), car (for), puis (then). These conjunctions
conjoin forms of the same grammatical category (adjective + adjective, noun + noun, clause + clause, etc.).
With the exception of or, all of these conjunctions can be used to link adjectives, nouns or verbs within a sentence.

Tex, puis Tammy, ont essay de

Tex, then Tammy, tried to understand

comprendre les gots de Trey.

Trey's tastes.

Ils trouvent que le rap est une musique

They think that rap is interesting but / yet

intressante mais fatigante.

tiring music.

Ils prfrent la musique franaise ou le

They prefer French music or jazz.

jazz.
Trey est jeune donc curieux.

Trey is young, thus curious.

Trey n'est ni intellectuel ni cultiv.

Trey is neither intellectual nor cultivated.

Pour Trey, le saut l'lastique est fascinant

For Trey, bungee jumping is fascinating

car dangereux.

because (it's) dangerous.

In addition, ou, et, ni, car, mais, donc, and puis are also used to combine two clauses into one:

T k e - f

Fait-

p o

DC

L A

M u s i q u e
Tex parle de posie, de philosophie, ou il ne

Tex talks about poetrey, philosophy, or he

parle pas du tout.

does not talk at all.

Trey fait du skate-board et coute de la

Trey does skate-boarding and listens to

musique.

music.

Tex n'aime pas couter de la musique rap

Tex does not like to listen to rap music nor

ni faire du s k a t e - b o a r d .

d o e s he like to s k a t e - b o a r d .

T e x ne veut c e r t a i n e m e n t pas e s s a y e r le

T e x certainly d o e s not w a n t to try b u n g e e

saut l'lastique car c'est trs d a n g e r e u x .

j u m p i n g for it is very d a n g e r o u s .

T e x aime bien son frre T r e y mais ils n'ont

T e x really likes his brother T r e y but t h e y

rien en c o m m u n .

have nothing in c o m m o n .

Ou, or, puis, donc, mais indicate a link b e t w e e n t w o s e p a r a t e s e n t e n c e s . Or, mais and puis are usually placed at the
very beginning of the s e c o n d sentence. Donc is usually placed either at the b e g i n n i n g or right after the c o n j u g a t e d verb
of the s e c o n d sentence.
d'D

En France, T e x ignorait l'existence de son

In France, T e x did not k n o w of the

frre. Puis, un jour, il a rencontr Trey.

existence of his brother. T h e n , one day, he


met Trey.

T e x et T r e y n'ont rien en c o m m u n . Ils ont

T e x and T r e y have nothing in c o m m o n . So

donc q u e l q u e s p r o b l m e s de

t h e y have a f e w c o m m u n i c a t i o n problems.

communication.
Or cela inquite Tex.

C o n s e q u e n t l y , this w o r r i e s T e x .

Mais que faire?

But w h a t can be d o n e ?

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h one of the following conjunctions: 'mais', 'ou', 'et', 'donc', 'ni', 'car'.
1. T e x , tu prfres T a m m y

Bette?

2. T e x aime la France,

pas les Franais!

3. T e x a grandi en France, il parle

franais c o u r a m m e n t .

4. T a m m y n'aime pas le chili,


5. T e x aime T a m m y
Les Franais sont snobs.

les t a m a l e s .

elle fait bien la cuisine.


_ E d o u a r d est snob.

T e x est ami a v e c C o r e y _
T e x porte un bret

Joe-Bob.
n'a pas de c h e v e u x .

9. T a m m y : Tex, il faut que tu choisisses : c'est moi _


10. Bette adore le chocolat

Bette!

les glaces Blue Bell.

11. C o r e y n'est pas un bon tudiant


12. T e x n'apprcie pas la m u s i q u e rap

n'tudie pas.
_ la m u s i q u e t e c h n o .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: conl

subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions introduce subordinate, or dependent, clauses. The most commonly used are que (that),
pendant que (as, while), quand / lorsque (when), depuis que (since, indicating time), tandis que (while, whereas) puisque
(since), parce que (because).
m

Il est vident que Trey est un curieux

It is evident that Trey is a curious

personnage.

character.

Trey et Tex sont tous les deux des artistes,

Trey and Tex are both artists, but while Tex

mais tandis que Tex est pote, Trey est

is a poet, Trey is a musician.

musicien.
Depuis que Tex connat Trey,

a dcouvert

Since Tex has known Trey, he has

le monde du rap.

discovered the world of rap.

Trey se lve quand le soleil se couche. Il

Trey gets up when the sun goes down. He

travaille pendant que Tex dort.

works while Tex is alseep.

Puisque Tex et Trey sont frres et artistes,

Since Tex and Trey are brothers and artists,

ils devraient se comprendre. Mais ce n'est

they should understand each other. But this

pas le cas.

is not case.

Some of these conjunctions may occur with other tenses besides the present, including the future, conditional, and
imperfect. There are other conjunctions which require the subjunctive.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the following conjunctions: depuis que, tandis que, que, quand, puisque, parce que.
1. Tex:

je connais Bette, ma vie a chang.

2. Joe-Bob est un cureuil


3. Tex: Je pense

Corey est un cafard.

T a m m y est jolie.

4. T a m m y :

Tex m'embrasse, je suis heureuse.

5. T a m m y :

tu ne fais rien, viens m'aider!

6. Bette: J'aime Tex

il est beau.

7. Edouard est serveur


8. Il est clair

il adore la cuisine.

Bette aime Tex.

9. Tex: T a m m y est gentille

Bette est seduisante.

10.
11. T a m m y :
12.

T e x sort avec T a m m y , il f u m e de m o i n s en moins.


P a w - P a w est t o n g r a n d - p r e , t u dois le respecter.
il fait beau, T a m m y fait son j o g g i n g .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

18 Oct 04

lij-'^dLrJ^LrJ - D z J j j J j j j z J S

page:

credits and acknowledgments

credits

S o m e of the folks w h o helped create and s h a p e the w o r l d , according to T e x and T a m m y :

editorial, writing, content


Carl Blyth
Karen Kelton
Lindsy M y e r s
Catherine Delyfer
Yvonne Munn
Jane Lippmann
cartoons, characters
W a l t e r Moore
nspiration
Tex
Tammy
the color o r a n g e
Armadillo World Headquarters

character voices

special thanks

Eric Russell

Tex

Brian Roberts

A s s o c i a t e Dean, College of Liberal A r t s

S t e p h a n i e Pellet

Tammy

Joe T e n B a r g e

Director, Liberal A r t s ITS

Nora M e g h a r b i

Bette

Dina S h e r z e r

F o r m e r Chair, Dept. of French & Italian

Marlin Parrack

Corey

Daniela Bini

Chair, Dept. of French & Italian

Walter Moore

Joe Bob

s. palomino

design, w e b , cms, multimedia

Seth Wolitz

Edouard

Karen Kelton

audio recording, editing

Karen C o d y

Fiona

J a m e s Lewis

tex v1, html clean-up coordination

Carl Blyth

Paw Paw

Gary Dickerson

tex v1, html

Lindsy M y e r s

les e n f a n t s

Dale A u s t i n

tex v1, html

Catherine Delyfer

narrator, Rita

Tex's fans

comments, suggestions

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

introduction to determiners

detl

A determiner is a w o r d t h a t d e t e r m i n e s or q u a l i f i e s t h e m e a n i n g of a n o u n by e x p r e s s i n g s u c h c o n c e p t s a s q u a n t i t y
or d e f i n i t e n e s s . T h e r e is n e v e r m o r e t h a n o n e d e t e r m i n e r per n o u n a n d it is a l w a y s p l a c e d b e f o r e t h e n o u n .
D e t e r m i n e r s a l w a y s a g r e e in g e n d e r a n d n u m b e r w i t h t h e n o u n s t h e y m o d i f y .

A r t i c l e s a r e t h e m a i n g r o u p of d e t e r m i n e r s in F r e n c h . T h e r e a r e t h r e e c a t e g o r i e s of a r t i c l e s : d e f i n i t e , i n d e f i n i t e , a n d
partitive.

D e f i n i t e a r t i c l e s (le, la,les) a r e u s e d w h e n t h e n o u n is s p e c i f i c . T h e y a r e all t r a n s l a t e d a s 'the' in E n g l i s h .


Le s e r v e u r d o n n e la c a r t e d e s v i n s T e x .

T h e w a i t e r g i v e s t h e w i n e list to T e x .

I n d e f i n i t e a r t i c l e s (un, une,des) i n t r o d u c e n o u n s t h a t a r e n o t s p e c i f i c .
T h e y a r e t r a n s l a t e d a s 'a' or 'an' in E n g l i s h .
T e x c h o i s i t un v i n .

T e x chooses a wine.

P a r t i t i v e a r t i c l e s (du, de la, del') a r e u s e d to i n t r o d u c e m a s s n o u n s ,


t h a t is n o u n s t h a t a r e c o n c e i v e d of a s a m a s s of i n d e t e r m i n a t e

quantity.

T h e y a r e u s u a l l y t r a n s l a t e d a s ' s o m e ' in E n g l i s h .
T e x boit du vin.

T e x drinks s o m e wine.

D e m o n s t r a t i v e d e t e r m i n e r s (ce,cet, cette, ces) p o i n t o u t s o m e t h i n g ,


t y p i c a l l y s o m e t h i n g w i t h i n s i g h t . T h e y m a y be t r a n s l a t e d in E n g l i s h a s
'this', ' t h a t ' , ' t h e s e ' , 'those' d e p e n d i n g o n t h e n u m b e r ( s i n g u l a r o r p l u r a l )
a n d p r o x i m i t y ( n e a r or f a r )
T e x e x p l i q u e : Ce b a s s i n e s t B a r t o n S p r i n g .

T e x e x p l a i n s : T h i s p o o l is B a r t o n S p r i n g s .

Cette p i s c i n e s ' a p p e l l e D e e p E d d y .

T h i s s w i m m i n g pool is D e e p E d d y .

P o s s e s s i v e d e t e r m i n e r s (mon, ma,mes, e t c . ) i n d i c a t e o w n e r s h i p or p o s s e s s i o n like ' m y ' , 'your' 'his', 'her', 'our',


'their'.
T e x p r s e n t e sa f a m i l l e : V o i c i mon f r r e T r e y ,

T e x i n t r o d u c e s h i s f a m i l y : H e r e is m y b r o t h e r ,

ma s o e u r Rita a v e c ses e n f a n t s et leur c h i e n

T r e y , m y sister, Rita w i t h h e r c h i l d r e n a n d

Fido. Notre f a m i l l e e s t f o r m i d a b l e .

t h e i r d o g Fido. O u r f a m i l y is g r e a t .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page: detl

determiners: definite articles

1. forms
2. lision and liaison
3. to identify a specific noun
4. to express general truth or concepts
5. to express likes and dislikes
6. to indicate habitual recurrence
7. in a series
8. no article

forms
In French, few nouns can stand alone. Most need to be introduced or 'determined' by an article. A s in English, an article
is characterized as either definite ('the') or indefinite ('a', 'an'). In addition, French articles are also masculine or
feminine, singular or plural, according to the gender and number of the noun they determine. Here are the definite
articles in French:
d'D

Masculine singular: le (l')

Feminine singular: la (l')

Masculine and feminine plural: les

Tex le tatou

Tex the armadillo

Joe-Bob l'cureuil

Joe-Bob the squirrel

Bette la chatte

Bette the cat (female)

l'Universit du Texas

The University of Texas

les tatous

the armadillos

les cureuils

the squirrels

les chats

the cats

les universits

the universities

lision and liaison


In the examples above, note that le and la both become l' when they precede a noun beginning with a vowel or a silent
h: l'escargot, l'universit. This is called elision.
Unlike le and la, les does not have a contracted, reduced form. When les is followed by a word starting with a vowel,
the normally silent final s of les is pronounced, making a /z/ sound. This additional sound linking two words is called
liaison. Listen to the following examples:
4

Compulsory liaison with a vowel or

No liaison with a consonant

silent h
les i nsectes

les tatous

les animaux

les fourmis

les h o m m e s

Note that elision and liaison occur with most words starting with h: l'homme,
les hommes, l'hiver, les hivers. Exceptions to this rule are words beginning with
an aspirate 'h'.

to identify a specific noun


The definite article is used to identify a specific noun or to refer to a noun that
has already been specified.
4>)

Corey: T u connais la tour de l'Universit du


Texas?

Corey: Do you know the UT Tower?

Tex: Bien sr, c'est le symbole de

Tex: Of course, it is the symbol of the

l'Universit!

University!

Corey: Et la Sixime rue?

Corey: What about Sixth street?

Tex: Eh bien, c'est les Champs-Elyses

Tex: Well, it's the Champs-Elysees of

d'Austin!

Austin.

to express general truths or concepts


French uses the definite article to express general truths or concepts. English, in contrast, uses no article at all. Compare
the following sentences:
d'D

Tex: L'argent ne rend pas l ' h o m m e

Tex: Money does not make man happy!

heureux!
T a m m y : T u as raison. L'amour et la sant

T a m m y : You are right. Love and health are

sont plus importants!

more important!

Tex: Bien sr, pour les insectes et les

Tex: Of course, for insects and animals,

animaux, l'argent n'existe pas! Mais

money does not exist! But love is as

l'amour est aussi important pour nous que

important for us as it is for humans. Ah,

pour les humains. A h oui ... l'amour

yes, love, love, love, always love!

l'amour, toujours l'amour!

to express likes and dislikes


The French also use the definite article with verbs of preference, such as aimer, prfrer, dtester. Once again, English
omits the article in such general statements. For example:
Tex adore les croissants.

Tex loves croissants.

Joe-Bob prfre les doughnuts.

Joe-Bob prefers doughnuts.

T a m m y n'aime pas le caf.

T a m m y does not like coffee.

Edouard apprcie la bonne cuisine

Edouard appreciates good French cuisine.

franaise.

to indicate habitual recurrence


The definite article is used in French with moments of the day, days of the week, and seasons to indicate habitual
recurrence. For example:
Le matin, T a m m y va en cours.

Every morning, T a m m y goes to class.

L'aprs-midi, elle va la bibliothque.

Every afternoon, she goes to the library.

Le lundi, Tex fait son jogging.

On Mondays, Tex goes for a jog.

L't, il se baigne avec T a m m y Barton

Every summer, he bathes with T a m m y at

Springs. L'hiver, il skie Purgatory.

Barton Springs. Every winter, he skis in


Purgatory.

i n a seri es
The article is usually repeated in a series, in contrast to English. For example:
d'S

T a m m y : Tex, aide-moi mettre la table!

Tex, help me set the table! Bring the

Apporte les assiettes, les couteaux, les

plates, knives, glasses, napkins, and wine.

verres, les serviettes et le vin.

no article
Cities usually do not require an article in French. For example:
d'S

Tex habite Austin.

Tex lives in Austin,

mais il prfre Paris.

but he prefers Paris.

Continents, countries, states, regions, and oceans usually require an article (l'Afrique, la France, le Texas, la Bourgogne,
l'Atlantique etc.), but there are a few exceptions, usually islands: Hati, Isral, Madagascar. See prepositions with place
names for more information.

Months never require an article: janvier, fvrier, mars, etc.


Cependant Tex adore mars Austin.

Nevertheless Tex adores March in Austin.

Days of the w e e k do not require an article in instances where they do not indicate habitual recurrence. For example:
d'S

Lundi, il a rendez-vous avec Tammy.

Monday he has a date with T a m m y .

Listen to the dialogue:


d'D

T a m m y : J'aime beaucoup le franais. C'est

T a m m y : I like French a lot. It is the

la langue de Molire et de Hugo, et surtout

language of Molire and of Hugo, and

c'est la langue maternelle de Tex!

above all it is the mother tongue of Tex!

Bette: Alors comme a Tammy, tu aimes

Bette: So Tammy, you really like French

bien les Franais?

men?

T a m m y : Oh oui! Surtout les Franais qui

T a m m y : I sure do! Especially French men

portent le bret!

who wear a beret!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct definite article : le, la, I', or les.
1. Tex : J'adore
2. Corey : J'adore
3. T a m m y :
4. Corey : Je dteste

chattes!
odeur des pesticides!
f e m m e s sont sensibles.
professeur de maths.

5. T a m m y :

salle de classe est romantique!

6. T a m m y :
7.

affiche de Paris est super!

Corey

tlvision.

8. T e x dteste

Texas.

9. T a m m y :
10. T e x :

_ _ _ t a t o u s sont intelligents!
dictionnaire est intressant!

11. T a m m y est
12. T e x est prof

a m i e de T e x .
universit.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: detl

definite articles w i t h physical characteristics

The definite article (le, la, l', les) is often used with parts of the body instead of a possessive determiner (mon, ma, mes,
etc.). Sentences with this structure always use the verb avoir to indicate that the possessor is the subject of the
sentence. The following French sentences are equivalent.

Tex rve: Ah, Tammy! T u as les yeux brlants, la

Tex is dreaming: A h Tammy! Y o u have fiery

bouche pulpeuse, les cheveux si doux ...

eyes, full lips, such soft hair ...

Tex rve: A h Tammy! Ton regard est brlant, ta

Tex is dreaming: A h Tammy! Your eyes are

bouche pulpeuse, tes cheveux si doux ...

fiery, your lips full, your hair so soft ...

However, an indefinite article is used if an adjective comes before the part of the body:
4>)

Tex continue: Tammy, tu as un petit nez

Tex continues: T a m m y , you have a little

pointu et de grandes oreilles dcolles ...

pointed nose and big ears which stick out

The definite article is also always used when pronominal verbs refer to parts of the body.

Fill in the blank with the correct article : le, la, les, un, une, or de. HINT: adjective agreement in the sentences may
help you discover the gender of each noun.
1. Corey a
2. Tex a
3. T a m m y a
4. Tex a
5. Bette a
6. T a m m y a
7. Tex a toujours
8. Joe-Bob a
9. Fiona a

. yeux bleus. (blue eyes)


. poil gris. (grey coat)
jolie bouche. (pretty mouth)
jolies jambes, (pretty legs)
visage noir, ( b l a c k f a c e )
cheveux boucls, (curly hair)
corps luisant, (glistening body)
_ joues joufflues. (plump cheeks)
. taille fine. (thin waist)

10. T a m m y a
11. Bette a
12. T e x a

teint rose. (rosy c o m p l e x i o n )


p e a u douce. (soft skin)
beau nez texan. (beautiful T e x a n nose)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: detl

determiners: indefinite articles

1. forms
2. uses
3. 'de' after the negative
4. before a plural adjective
5. with adjectives of profession, nationality, and religion

forms
In French, few nouns can stand alone. Most need to be introduced or 'determined' by an
article. A s in English, an article is characterized as either definite ('the') or indefinite ('a',
'an'). In French, articles are also masculine or feminine, and singular or plural,
according to the gender and number of the noun they determine. Here are the indefinite
articles in French:
masculine singular: un

feminine singular: une

plural: des

Tex est un tatou.

Tex is an armadillo.

Joe-Bob est un cureuil.

Joe-Bob is a squirrel.

Bette est une chatte.

Bette is a cat. (female)

UT est une universit

UT is a university.

des tatous

(some) armadillos

des cureuils

(some) squirrels

des chats

(some) cats

des universits

(some) universities

In the examples above, listen carefully to the difference in pronunciation of un and


des before words beginning with a consonant (un tatou, des tatous) and before a
words beginning with a vowel sound (un cureuil, des cureuils). These are examples
of liaison.

uses
A s the English 'a' 'an' or 'some', the indefinite articles un, une, des refer to nouns
which are non-specific. Un or une may also indicate quantity, 'a' or 'an' in the sense
of 'one.' Contrast the use of the indefinite and definite articles in the first two
sentences below. The indefinite plural des is always expressed in French, but its
English equivalent 'some' is often omitted.
Joe-Bob et Corey ont une chambre dans

Joe-Bob and Corey have a (one) room in a

une rsidence universitaire Austin.

residence hall in Austin.

Ils ont la chambre numro 1735 dans la

The have the room #1735 in the Jester

rsidence Jester.

residence hall.

Joe-Bob et Corey sont des camarades de

Joe-Bob and Corey are roommates!

chambre.

'de' after the negative


In a negative sentence, the indefinite articles un, une, des are replaced by de or d':
Tex: Joe-Bob, tu as un chien?

Tex: Joe-Bob, do you have a dog?'

Joe-Bob: Mais non! Je n'ai pas de chien. Je

Joe-Bob: No, I don't have a dog. I'm a

suis un cureuil.

squirrel.

Tex: Corey, tu as des amis?

Tex: Corey, do you have friends?

Corey: Mais non! Je n'ai pas d'amis. Je suis

Corey: No, I don't have a n y friends. I'm a

un cafard.

cockroach.

However, following the verb tre, the indefinite articles un, une, des remain unchanged in the negative:
d'S

Edouard: Joe-Bob, c'est un cureuil. Ce

Edouard: Joe-Bob is a squirrel. He is not an

n'est pas un tatou!

armadillo.

Tex et Tammy, ce sont des tatous. Ce ne

Tex and T a m m y are armadillos. They are

sont pas des escargots.

not snails.

before a plural adjective


Before a plural adjective which precedes a noun, des usually becomes de. If the adjective comes after the noun, des does
not change to de.

Edouard: Tex et T a m m y sont de charmants

Edouard: Tex and T a m m y are charming

amoureux.

lovers.

Bette: A h bon? Ce ne sont pas seulement

Bette: Really? They are not just good

de bons amis?

friends?

Edouard: Tu ne trouves pas que Tex et

Edouard: Don't you think that Tex and

T a m m y sont des tatous parfaits l'un pour

T a m m y are armadillos who are perfect for

l'autre?

each other?

Bette: Absolument pas!

Bette: Absolutely not!

with adjectives of profession, nationality, and religion


Professions, nationalities and religions are considered adjectives in French and need no article after the verbs tre and
devenir.
d'S

Edouard: Tex devient professeur; il est

Edouard: Tex is becoming a professor. He is

amricain; il n'est pas catholique.

American. He is not Catholic.

Listen to the dialogue:


4>)

Bette et T a m m y parlent entre femmes.

Bette and T a m m y are talking w o m a n - t o woman.

Bette: Je n'ai pas de vritables amis! Tout

Bette: I have no real friends! Everybody

le monde pense que je suis une mchante

thinks that I am a wicked cat.

chatte.
T a m m y : Mais non Bette! Toi et moi nous

T a m m y : That's not true Bette! Y o u and I

s o m m e s de vieilles amies!

are old friends!'

Bette: Oui, mais toi tu as un petit ami

Bette: Yes, but you have a boyfriend

tandis que moi je n'ai pas de petit ami!

whereas I don't have any boyfriend!

T a m m y : T u sais Bette, avoir un petit ami

T a m m y : Y o u k n o w Bette, having a

ce n'est pas t o u j o u r s une partie de plaisir,

boyfriend is not a l w a y s a fun thing,

surtout q u a n d il s'appelle Tex!

especially w h e n he's called T e x !

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct indefinite article: un, une, des, de.
1. T e x : Je v o u d r a i s

caf fmasc.').

2. T a m m y et T e x sont

amis.

3. T a m m y et Fiona sont

b o n n e s amies.

4. T a m m y est
5. T e x est
6. Fiona est

fille (fem.) merveilleuse.


prof. intelligent.
f o u r m i (fem.) loyale.

7. J o e - B o b et C o r e y sont

a n i m a u x ridicules.

8. T e x , Trey, et Rita sont

t a t o u s t y p i q u e s au T e x a s .

9. C o r e y est
10. T e x est
11. Bette est
12. J o e - B o b est

ami de Tex.
t a t o u (masc.) a m u s a n t .
tudiante UT.
tudiant A & M .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

i i i ^ d

iJ'j-'^jLTj^lrJ

- J j j ^ j j J j j J i J y

page: detl

determiners: partitive articles

1. forms
2. uses
3. after the negative

forms
There are three partitive articles in French.
m

Masculine: du

du pain

(some) bread

Feminine: de la

de la viande

(some) meat

Masculine or feminine before a

de l'ail (m.)

(some) garlic

vowel: de l'

de l'eau (f.)

(some) water

uses
Partitive articles are used both in English and in French to express
quantities that cannot be counted. While the indefinite article (un, une, des) is
used with countable quantities (un oeuf, deux oeufs ...), the partitive article is
used before mass nouns, nouns that are indivisible or uncountable. In English
the article 'some' is often omitted.
Edouard: C o m m e dessert,

Edouard: For dessert, we

nous avons de la mousse

have (some) chocolate

au chocolat, de la glace

mousse, vanilla ice cream,

parfume la vanille et du

and pineapple sorbet.

sorbet l'ananas.

While the definite article designates something in its totality, or as a whole, the partitive article designates a part of the
whole. Note that depending on what you want to say, the same noun may be introduced by a definite, indefinite, or a
partitive article. Compare these examples:
d'D

Edouard: Vous prenez du vin,

partitive

Edouard: You are having (some)

n'est-ce pas?

article

wine, aren't y o u ?
(a quantity that is not specified)

Le vin rouge est bon pour la

definite

Red wine is healthy!

sant!

article

('wine' in general)

En fait, nous avons un Beaujolais

indefinite

In fact, we have a Beaujolais

nouveau ou un Chambertin, un

article

nouveau, or a Chambertin, a

Chteauneuf-du-Pape, ou j'ai un

Chteauneuf-du-Pape, or I have

excellent Mdoc pour vous, ou un

an excellent Mdoc for you, or a

tout petit vin gris de Savoie.

little grey wine from Savoy.


(These are items on the wine list,
a countable quantity)

after the negative


In negative sentences, du, de la, des, de l' change to de:
4>)

Joe-Bob mange de la

T a m m y ne mange pas de

Joe-Bob eats meat.

viande.

viande.

T a m m y does not eat meat.

T a m m y ne boit j a m a i s de

Tex drinks coffee.

caf.

T a m m y never drinks coffee.

Il n'y a plus de vin.

There is some wine left.

Tex boit du caf.

Il y a encore du vin.

There is not any wine left.

The partitive and indefinite articles may be used in negative


sentences, however, to emphasize the contrasting positive noun.
For example:

d'D

Entre Tex et Tammy, ce n'est pas de

Between Tex and Tammy, it is not

l'amiti, c'est de l'amour!

friendship, it is love!

Edouard sert du poulet, pas des escargots!

Edouard serves chicken, not snails!

Notice the use of the partitive articles in the following dialogue.


d'D

T a m m y est au tlphone: All, Edouard? Je

I'm having some friends over tonight. I

des crpes, mais j'ai oubli la recette. T u

would like to make some crpes, but I've

peux m'aider?

forgotten the recipe. Can you help m e ?

Edouard: Rien de plus facile! T u mlanges

Edouard: No problem! Mix some flour and

de la farine et des oeufs. Tu ajoutes ensuite

eggs. Add some milk, some salt and some

du lait, du sel et de l'huile. T u verses cette

oil. Pour this batter in a pan. When the

pte dans une pole. Quand la pte est

batter is cooked, fill the crpe with some

cuite, tu garnis la crpe avec du fromage

grated cheese, some ham, or cepes

rp, du jambon, ou des cpes. Mais


n'oublie pas T a m m y , avec des crpes, on
ne boit pas de vin. Il faut boire du cidre et
porter une coiffe bretonne!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct partitive article: du, de la, or de l'
1. Tex : Je voudrais

vin rouge.

2. T a m m y : Je vais prendre

soupe aux oignons.

3. Tex : T a m m y , est-ce qu'il reste


4. T a m m y : Je vais a c h e t e r .

omelette?
pain.

5. T a m m y : Tex, je vais boire

eau.

T a m m y : Je vais faire
Joe-Bob boit

crme brle (fem.).


bire.

8. Corey : Tex, tu as

pesticide (masc.)?

9. T a m m y : Tex, tu fais

sport aujourd'hui?

10. Tex : T a m m y , tu fais


11. Bette prend
12. Fiona a

T a m m y is on the phone: Hello, Edouard?

reois des amis ce soir. Je voudrais faire

arobic aujourd'hui?
thon le matin.

chance ('luck', fem.).

(mushrooms). But don't forget T a m m y ,


with crpes, you don't drink wine. You have
to drink cider and wear a Breton hat!

page: detl

1. forms and uses


2. liaison

f o r m s and uses
The possessive determiners serve to express ownership or possession (hence the name). They are also often called
possessive adjectives because they agree in gender and number with the noun they introduce.
49

Masculine

Feminine

singular

singular

Plural

Translation

mon

ma

mes

my

ton

ta

tes

your (familiar)

son

sa

ses

his or her or its

notre

notre

nos

our

votre

votre

vos

your (formal or
plural)

leur

leur

leurs

their

Possessive articles, like all articles, must agree with the noun they modify. Thus, if
the noun is feminine, the possessive article must be feminine, too. In the following
example, the feminine noun famille requires a feminine form - sa. Note that sa has
three potential translations in English: 'his,' 'her,' or 'its.' So, how do you know which
meaning is intended? Context! Since the following example sentence refers to Tex,
we know that sa means 'his.'

do)

Tex prsente sa famille: Voici mon frre,

Tex introduces his family. Here is my

Trey, et ma soeur, Rita, avec ses e nfants et

brother, Trey, and my sister, Rita with her

leur chien Fido. Notre famille est formidable!

children and their dog Fido. Our family is


great!

liaison
Do not forget to make the liaison between the plural forms of the possessive determiners and words that begin with a
vowel sound. Ma, ta, sa become mon, ton, son in front of feminine nouns beginning with a vowel sound.
Tex continues his introductions:
do)

Tex: Voici Tammy, mon a mie, et ses a mies

Tex: Here is Tammy, my friend, and her

Bette et Fiona, c'est--dire nos amies.

friends, Bette and Fiona, that is to say, our


friends.

Listen to the dialogue


do)

T a m m y parle avec Bette: Tex

T a m m y is talking with Bette:

n'est plus mon ami! Il a

Tex is not my friend any more!

compltement oubli mon

He competely forgot my present

cadeau et notre anniversaire! Il

and our anniversary! He forgot

a oubli toutes ses promesses!

all his promises. What a loser!

Quel nul!

T r x

w ' t t r

M p s f

I I

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct possessive determiner.
1. T e x :

famille est intressante.

2. T a m m y : Tex,

n e v e u x sont ici.

3. T e x et T a m m y : Bette, C o r e y et J o e - B o b sont
4. T a m m y et T e x :

amis.

a m o u r est ternel.

5. P a w - P a w : B o n j o u r Tex, b o n j o u r T a m m y !
6. T a m m y : T e x oublie s o u v e n t

livre.

7. T a m m y : A h Tex,

amour!

8. T e x : T a m m y est

amie.

9. T a m m y : T e x , Trey, et Rita?

visite me fait plaisir ('pleases me').

g r a n d - p r e est adorable.

10. C o r e y et J o e - B o b a i m e n t T a m m y et T e x . Ils sont


11. T a m m y : J'aime la s o e u r de Tex, mais

amis.

frre est bizarre.

12. Bette : La famille de T a m m y aime T e x b e a u c o u p , surtout

parents.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

18 Oct 04

lij-'^dLrJ^LrJ - D z J j j J j j j z J S

page: detl

demonstrative determiners

1. forms
2. uses
2. -ci and -l

forms
Demonstrative determiners ('this', 'these', 'that' or 'those') are used to point out things or people. They are also
sometimes called demonstrative adjectives (in French 'adjectifs dmonstratifs'); they agree in number and gender with
the noun they introduce.

49

Masculine singular: ce

ce tatou

this armadillo

Masculine singular

cet cureuil

this squirrel

Feminine singular: cette

cette chatte

this cat (female)

Plural (masculine or feminine):


ces

ces tatous

these armadillos

ces cureuils

these squirrels

before a vowel sound: cet

Note that liaison is compulsory between ces and words starting with a vowel or a
silent h.

uses
In general, demonstrative determiners designate something one can see or show:

49

Tex explique: Ce bassin,

Tex explains: This pool is

c'est Barton Springs. Cette

Barton Springs. This

piscine s'appelle Deep Eddy.

swimming pool is Deep Eddy.

-ci and -l
Demonstrative determiners can designate something close or far away: in order to distinguish between two or more
elements, you can add the suffixes -ci or -l to the demonstrative determiner. The suffix -ci indicates that the item is
relatively near to the speaker; -l suggests that something is farther away. In English, they are generally translated by
'this' and 'that':
49

Tex: T u vois Tammy, cette toile -ci

Tex: See Tammy, this star (here) is called

s'appelle Vnus. Mais ces toiles-l, c'est la

Venus. But those stars (there), are the

Voie lacte.

Milky Way.

T a m m y : V e n u s ... la voie lacte ... oh Tex,

T a m m y : V e n u s ... the Milky Way ... oh,

j'aime bien quand tu me parles

Tex, I like it when you talk to me about

d'astronomie!

astronomy!

Listen to the dialogue:


49

Tex et T a m m y sont dans le rayon f e m m e s

Tex and T a m m y are in the women's section

de J. C. Penney.

of J. C. Penney.

T a m m y : Q u ' e s t - c e que tu p e n s e s de ce

T a m m y : W h a t do y o u think of this bathing

maillot-ci ?

suit?

T e x : A h non! Je n'aime pas du tout cette

T e x : O h no! I don't like this color at all.

couleur.
T a m m y : Et ce bikini? Ce sera parfait pour

T a m m y : W h a t about this bikini? It will be

cet t. T u ne t r o u v e s p a s ?

perfect for this s u m m e r , don't y o u think?

T e x : Quelle horreur! Ce tissu est

T e x : It's horrible! T h i s fabric is c o m p l e t e l y

compltement dmod!

outdated!

T a m m y : Mais T e x , tu n'as a u c u n got! T u

T a m m y : T e x , y o u have no taste

crois que ce vieux bret q u e tu portes est

w h a t s o e v e r ! Y o u think that this old beret

la m o d e ?

y o u w e a r is f a s h i o n a b l e ?

fill i n the bl anks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct d e m o n s t r a t i v e d e t e r m i n e r : ce, cet, cette, or ces.
1. T e x : T a m m y , tu as v u le j o u r n a l

matin?

2. T a m m y : T e x est beau! Je suis folle de ('crazy about')


3. C o r e y : Qui est

jolie fille?

4. E d o u a r d : Q u e f a i t e s - v o u s
5. P a w - P a w :

aprs-midi?

e n f a n t s sont nafs!

Tammy :

b o n b o n s sont dlicieux!

Edouard : Hmm...
Tex :

glace au chocolat est trs bonne.

w e e k - e n d , T a m m y et moi allons S a n A n t o n i o .

9. Bette : T e x , q u e p e n s e s - t u de

mini-jupe ( f e m . ) ?

10. T a m m y

. escargot est snob.

11. T a m m y

_ Franais sont v r a i m e n t sexy.

12. T a m m y

animal!

Tex,_

c a d e a u est pour toi.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: detl

determiners: expressions of quantity


There are many ways of expressing quantity: numbers (deux crpes), the indefinite
article (un tatou, an armadillo), and the partitive article (du lait, some milk).
Quantities may also be expressed using adverbs and adverbial expressions, such as
assez (enough), beaucoup (a lot), or trop (too much).
When used with nouns, expressions of quantity are always followed by de (d' if the
noun begins with a vowel sound).
4>)

T a m m y et Tex reoivent des amis ce soir.

T a m m y and Tex are having some friends

T a m m y est dans la cuisine. Tex regarde la

over tonight. T a m m y is in the kitchen. Tex

tlvision.

is watching television.

T a m m y : Une douzaine de crpes, c'est trop

T a m m y : A dozen crepes, that's too much

pour quatre personnes?

for four people?

Tex: Mais non, T a m m y , ce n'est pas assez.

Tex: No, T a m m y , it's not too much. You

Il faut prparer beaucoup de crpes.

can never prepare too many crepes.

Here is a list of common adverbial expressions of quantity:


assez de, enough

plein de, many

beaucoup de, a lot

un tas de, a lot of

un peu de, a little

trop de, too many

Note that these expressions of quantity do not change in negative sentences:


4>)

Tex: On ne prpare jamais trop de crpes.

Tex: One never prepares too many crepes!

One can express quantity by using specific nouns or adverbs of quantity, as well as measures of weight, distance, or
volume, especially in reference to food. For example:
une bote de, a can (box) of

un litre de, a liter of

un bol de, a bowl of

une livre de, a pound of

un bout de, a piece (end) of

un morceau de, a piece of

une bouteille de, a bottle of

une part de, a serving of

une cuillre de, a teaspoon of

une pince de, a pinch of

une douzaine de, a dozen

une tasse de, a cup of

50 grammes de, 50 grams of

une tranche de, a slice of

un kilo de, a kilo of

un verre de, a glass of

The definite article (le, la, les) may be used with these expressions to indicate a quantity of a specific item. Remember
that de + le and de + les form the contractions du and des respectively.
un morceau du gteau qu'Edouard a prpar

a piece of the cake that Edouard made

un verre du vin rouge, pas du blanc

a glass of the red wine, not the white one

beaucoup des invits parlent franais

many of the guests speak French

Listen to the dialogue:


T a m m y lit la recette: Pour une douzaine de

T a m m y reads the recipe: For a d o z e n

crpes, m l a n g e r 400 grammes de farine et

crpes, mix 4 0 0 g r a m s of flour and t w o

d e u x oeufs. A j o u t e r ensuite un demi litre de

eggs. T h e n add half a liter of milk, a

lait, une cuillre de sel et une cuillre

s p o o n f u l of salt and a spoonful of oil.

d'huile.
T a m m y : Dis, Tex! A r r t e de faire le l g u m e

T a m m y : Hey, T e x ! Stop v e g g i n g out in

d e v a n t la tl! V i e n s m'aider!

front of the T V ! C o m e and help me!

T e x : C o m m e n t ? J'ai fait m o n travail, moi!

T e x : W h a t ? I did m y job! T h e b o u q u e t of

Le bouquet de roses et la bouteille de cidre

f l o w e r s and the bottle of cider are on the

sont sur la table!

table!

Fill in the blank w i t h one of the following e x p r e s s i o n s of quantity : un b o u q u e t de, assez de, une tasse de, peu de,
trop de, b e a u c o u p de, un verre de. S o m e e x p r e s s i o n s may be used more t h a n once.
1. J o e - B o b : T u as 1 dollar T e x ? Je n'ai pas

argent pour acheter m o n d o u g h n u t !

2. T e x : Je suis un grand pote. J'ai

talent.

3. C o r e y : Je suis seul ('alone'). J'ai

amis.

4. E d o u a r d : Je prends t o u j o u r s
5. P a w - P a w : Je bois

caf a p r s le repas.
vin t o u s les repas

6. T a m m y : Je suis grosse parce que je m a n g e


7. T e x :

roses s'il v o u s plat.

8. T a m m y : Tex, q u a n d t u bois
9. T a m m y : J'ai

bonbons.

vin, tu es arrogant!

c h a n c e d'tre la copine de Tex!

10. T a m m y : Tex, tu n ' a i m e s pas la m a i s o n ? T u passes


11. Bette : T e x est original. Il y a

. t e m p s sur le c a m p u s !

t a t o u s c o m m e lui!

12. J o e - B o b : Ce h a m b u r g e r m a n q u e ('lacks') de ketchup! Il n'y a pas

. k e t c h u p d a n s ce h a m b u r g e r !

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

lij-'^dLrJ^LrJ

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: detlO

tout

1. tout as an adjective
2. tout as a pronoun
3. tout as an adverb
4. tout in common idiomatic phrases

'tout' as an adjective
Tout means 'all' or 'every' when it modifies a noun. It agrees in number and gender with the noun that follows.

Masculine

Masculine

Feminine

Feminine

singular

plural

singular

plural

tout

tous

toute

toutes

These forms of tout are most often used with the definite articles le, les, la, l', but they may also be used with a
possessive determiner: tous mes pomes (all my poems), toute sa vie (all his/her life) etc. Listen as Tex recites one of
his poems:
d'S

Malgr toutes les filles que j'ai connues,

In spite of all the girls (or all of the girls)


that I have known,

je pense toi ...

I think of you ...

tout le temps,

all the time,

toute la journe,

all day long,

tous * les soirs,

every evening,

toutes les nuits.

every night.

*Note that the final s of tous is not pronounced when it is used as an adjective.
Tout or toute may also be used without an article to mean 'every.'
Tex: Tout tatou est pote!

Every armadillo is a poet!

'tout' as a pronoun
Tout is invariable when it functions as the indefinite pronoun meaning 'everything' or 'all', as in the first sentence
below.
The plural pronouns tous and toutes agree with the nouns they replace. Compare the examples below.
4>)

Indefinite

To replace

singular

a plural

'everything'

noun

T a m m y : Tex, tu as vu ton
diteur? Tout s'est bien

T a m m y : Tex, did you see

pass?

everything go well?

Tex: Les diteurs sont des

Tex: Publishers are fools, I

idiots, je les dteste tous !*

hate them all! Publishing

your publisher? Did

Les maisons d'ditions ne

houses don't understand my

comprennent pas mon art.

art. All refuse my erotic

Toutes refusent mes pomes

poems!

rotiques!

*Note that the final s in the pronoun tous is pronounced, in contrast to the unpronounced s in tous as an adjective.

'tout' as an adverb
Tout may also be an adverb meaning 'all,' 'completely,' or 'quite' when it modifies another adverb, a preposition, or an
adjective. Although tout is invariable before an adverb, a preposition or a masculine adjective, the feminine forms toute
and toutes are used before feminine adjectives beginning with a consonant.
4S

Invariable

Before

a feminine

beginning

with a

adjective
consonant

Tex: Les diteurs ne

Tex: Editors don't understand

comprennent rien. Mes

anything. My themes are

thmes sont tout nouveaux.

completely new.

Tex: Et ma posie est toute

Tex: A n d my poetry is very

moderne.

modern.

tout in common idiomatic phrases


Here is a list of common idiomatic phrases with tout:
4>)

pas du tout, not at all


tout de suite, right away
tout le monde, everyone
tout le temps, all the time
tous les jours, every day
tous (toutes) les deux, both
tous les deux jours, every other day

en tout cas, in any case


malgr tout, in spite of everything
tout l'heure, in a little while
tout coup, all of a sudden
tout fait, completely
tout droit, straight ahead
tout de mme, just the same

tous les trois jours ... , every three days


toutes les deux semaines, every other week

tout en + participe prsent, all the while

Listen to the dialogue:


T a m m y : Alors Tex, tu as bientt fini ton

T a m m y : So Tex, have you almost finished

recueil de pomes?

writing your collection of poems?

Tex: Oh ne m'en parle pas! J'ai perdu tout

Tex: Oh don't ask! I have lost all my

mon enthousiasme! J'ai toutes sortes de

enthusiasm! I have all sorts of problems

problmes avec mon diteur. Il refuse tous

with my publisher. He refuses to publish all

mes pomes rcents.

my recent poems.

T a m m y : Ne t'inquite pas! Tous les grands

T a m m y : Don't worry! All great poets are

potes sont incompris!

misunderstood!

Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of tout.


1. T e x :

les A m r i c a i n e s sont jolies!

2. T e x : Les amis, ie v o u s invite


3. C o r e y : Je m ' e n n u i e

m o n anniversaire.
le t e m p s .

4.

E d o u a r d : A Austin, il fait beau

5.

T a m m y : Je suis

6. T e x :

excite!

pote est sensible.

7. T e x : Je me rase
8. Bette :
9.
10.

12.

les quatre iours.


le m o n d e aime Tex!

J o e - B o b : Je ne parle pas du
T a m m y : Bette, regarde

11. Bette :

les jours.

franais!
m e s photos de T e x !

les c h a t t e s dtestent l'eau.

J o e - B o b : Je t'ai c h e r c h

la journe!

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page:

indefinite determiners

detlO

Indefinite determiners qualify nouns and express the indefinite idea of quality (certain, any) or quantity (not one, each,
different, several). They agree in number and gender with the noun they modify. Some indefinite determiners may be
used as indefinite pronouns to replace a noun.
Here is a list of common indefinite determiners:
do)

aucun (aucune), not one, not a single


certains (certaines), certain
chaque, each, every
diffrents (diffrentes), various, some
divers (diverses), various, some
plusieurs, several
quelques, a few
tout, all, every

Listen to the following dialogue:


Bette: Il n'y a aucun doute. Tu finiras mre

Bette: There is no doubt. You'll end up a

au foyer!

housewife!

T a m m y : Chaque jour, tu trouves une

T a m m y : Every day, you find something

d'S

mchancet dire. Aucune chatte n'est

nasty to say. No cat is as unpleasant as

aussi dsagrable que toi!

you are!

Bette: Mais ouvre les yeux T a m m y ! Ton

Bette: Open your eyes Tammy! Your future

futur mari a plusieurs dfauts. Il est snob,

husband has several negative traits. He is

prtentieux et veut toujours avoir raison.

snobbish, pretentious and always wants to


be right.

T a m m y : Mais il a aussi quelques qualits: il

T a m m y : But he also has a few good points:

est beau et talentueux. Certains diteurs

he is handsome and talented. Some

pensent qu'il est le prochain prix Goncourt!

publishers think that he is the next


Goncourt prize winner.

Bette tout bas: Tu parles!

Bette under her breath: Yeah, right!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with one of the following indefinite determiners: aucun, aucune, chaque, quelques.
1. Bette :

matin, je fais mon jogging.

2. Tex : Je n'ai

inspiration aujourd'hui!

3. Corey : Je n'ai

ami!

4. Edouard : Je connais
5. T a m m y : J'ai
6. Bette :

recettes texanes.
admirateurs!

homme ne me rsiste!

7. Tex : J'cris un nouveau pome

semaine.

8. Bette : J'ai
9. J o e - B o b :
10. T a m m y : T e x a

d o u t e s sur l'amour de T e x et T a m m y .
j o u r suffit sa peine!
a m i s en France.

11. Bette : T a m m y n'a


12. J o e - B o b : Tex, t u me d o n n e s

charme!
dollars?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

15 Nov 04

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website

1. A b o u t Q u i c k T i m e
2. E n t e r i n g a c c e n t e d c h a r a c t e r s

About QuickTime
what is quicktime?
T h i s w e b site uses QuickTime, A p p l e ' s digital m e d i a s o f t w a r e for c r e a t i n g , p l a y i n g a n d s t r e a m i n g a u d i o a n d v i d e o
c o n t e n t o v e r t h e Internet. Q u i c k T i m e is f r e e of c h a r g e for a n y o n e with a Mac or W i n d o w s - b a s e d c o m p u t e r .
Q u i c k T i m e is k n o w n primarily as a digital a u d i o a n d v i d e o player, but Q u i c k T i m e p r e s e n t a t i o n s can include text
t r a c k s , sprite (interactivity) t r a c k s , V R (virtual reality) t r a c k s , M a c r o m e d i a Flash t r a c k s , a n d more.
Q u i c k T i m e consists of a w e b - b r o w s e r p l u g - i n a n d a m e d i a player. Installation tips a n d a t r o u b l e s h o o t i n g F A Q are
i n c l u d e d in t h e s e c t i o n s below.

installing quicktime
If y o u don't h a v e Q u i c k T i m e , y o u will n e e d to d o w n l o a d a n d install t h e Q u i c k T i m e Player a n d b r o w s e r plug-in f r o m
A p p l e C o m p u t e r . T h e installation process will o c c u r interactively, o v e r t h e Internet.
A l t e r n a t e l y , y o u can d o w n l o a d t h e s t a n d a l o n e installer. S e l e c t i n g this o p t i o n is useful, for e x a m p l e , if y o u won't
h a v e a c c e s s to t h e I n t e r n e t at t h e t i m e of installation: y o u can d o w n l o a d n o w a n d install later.

configuring quicktime
W h e n Q u i c k T i m e c o m p o n e n t s are installed, y o u will be g u i d e d a u t o m a t i c a l l y t h r o u g h a s h o r t c o n f i g u r a t i o n process.
Y o u will be a s k e d to set a f e w o p t i o n s , s u c h as y o u r n e t w o r k c o n n e c t i o n s p e e d . If y o u a c c e s s the I n t e r n e t f r o m
b e h i n d a firewall, y o u m a y also n e e d to c o n f i g u r e Q u i c k T i m e for s t r e a m i n g [see F A Q i t e m b e l o w for m o r e
information].

technical requirements
C h e c k latest r e c o m m e n d e d r e q u i r e m e n t s f r o m t h e Q u i c k T i m e w e b site:
Macintosh
A P o w e r P C p r o c e s s o r - b a s e d M a c i n t o s h c o m p u t e r
At least 128 M B of R A M
Mac O S 8.6 or later; or Mac O S X v 1 0 . 1 . 3 or later
Windows
A P e n t i u m p r o c e s s o r - b a s e d PC or c o m p a t i b l e c o m p u t e r
At least 128 M B of R A M
Windows

98/NT/Me/2000/XP

A S o u n d Blaster or c o m p a t i b l e s o u n d c a r d a n d s p e a k e r s

recommended

DirectX v e r s i o n 3.0 or later r e c o m m e n d e d


current version
C u r r e n t v e r s i o n s : 7.1 ( M a c O S X 1 0 . 3 . 9 + , W i n d o w s 2 0 0 0 / X P ) , 6 . 5 . 2 ( M a c O S X 10.3.8 a n d earlier). T h e f e a t u r e s of
Tex's

French

Grammar

will w o r k with Q u i c k T i m e 5 . 0 2 a n d higher. Franais

Interactif

requires Q u i c k T i m e 6 and

higher. C h e c k t h e Q u i c k T i m e w e b site for m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n on c u r r e n t v e r s i o n .

quicktime pro
T h e pro v e r s i o n of Q u i c k T i m e is not r e q u i r e d to a c c e s s t h e m e d i a f e a t u r e s of Tex's

French

Grammar,

but y o u can

u p g r a d e for $ 2 9 . 9 9 , at t h e A p p l e w e b site. Q u i c k T i m e Pro offers an e x t e n d e d f e a t u r e set for m e d i a a u t h o r s and


p o w e r users: editing a n d e x p o r t i n g digital m o v i e s , p l a y i n g m o v i e s in full s c r e e n m o d e , s a v i n g w e b site m o v i e clips,
etc.

help

troubleshooting faq
1. W h e n I try to v i e w a m o v i e , I see a b r o k e n p l u g - i n icon.
2. I've installed Q u i c k T i m e , but m o v i e s aren't playing.
3. I can't r e c e i v e s t r e a m i n g v i d e o .
4. H o w do I t r o u b l e s h o o t Q u i c k T i m e p r o b l e m s o n W i n d o w s

computers?

5. H o w do I t r o u b l e s h o o t b r o w s e r p l u g - i n p r o b l e m s ?

1. When I try to view a movie, I see a broken plug-in icon.


H a v e y o u installed Q u i c k T i m e ? If not, p l e a s e visit t h e Q u i c k T i m e w e b site to d o w n l o a d a n d install. A c c e s s i n g
Q u i c k T i m e m e d i a o n this site w i t h o u t a b r o w s e r p l u g - i n s h o u l d direct y o u a u t o m a t i c a l l y to t h e d o w n l o a d page.

2. I've installed QuickTime, but movies aren't playing.


A r e y o u c o n n e c t e d to the I n t e r n e t ? If y o u h a v e c o n f i r m e d y o u r I n t e r n e t c o n n e c t i o n a n d are still h a v i n g p r o b l e m s ,
a c c e s s A p p l e ' s Q u i c k T i m e installation c h e c k w e b page. T h i s p a g e will a u t o m a t i c a l l y d e t e c t if Q u i c k T i m e is installed
correctly. A l s o , c h e c k a d d i t i o n a l help r e s o u r c e s at t h e A p p l e Q u i c k T i m e s u p p o r t w e b site.

3. I can't receive streaming video.


T h e r e c u r r e n t l y is no s t r e a m i n g a u d i o or v i d e o c o n t e n t in Franais

Interactif

a n d Tex's

French

Grammar;

information

c o n c e r n i n g s t r e a m i n g m e d i a is i n c l u d e d here, in t h e e v e n t of f u t u r e i m p l e m e n t a t i o n .
T h e r e are Q u i c k T i m e issues re: a c c e s s i n g s t r e a m i n g a u d i o a n d v i d e o f r o m b e h i n d a firewall. Y o u m i g h t h a v e this
p r o b l e m at h o m e , for e x a m p l e , if y o u use a c c e s s t h e I n t e r n e t t h r o u g h a hardware

router.

A router is a d e v i c e that

allows multiple c o m p u t e r s to s h a r e a single, h i g h - s p e e d I n t e r n e t c o n n e c t i o n . T h e router's firewall s o f t w a r e


s o m e t i m e s blocks t h e d e f a u l t port on w h i c h Q u i c k T i m e s t r e a m i n g o p e r a t e s .
Y o u will n e e d to c h a n g e t h e port on w h i c h y o u receive s t r e a m i n g video. G o to y o u r Q u i c k T i m e S e t t i n g s control
panel:
Windows:

S t a r t M e n u - S e t t i n g s - C o n t r o l Panels

M a c O S X:

S y s t e m Preferences

MacOS:

A p p l e M e n u - C o n t r o l Panels

C h o o s e " S t r e a m i n g T r a n s p o r t " p o p u p m e n u selection. Y o u can click t h e "Auto C o n f i g u r e " b u t t o n , or - if y o u a l r e a d y


k n o w t h e r e is an issue with y o u r firewall - y o u can s i m p l y click t h e "Use HTTP, Port ID: (80)" radio button. Doing so
will allow Q u i c k T i m e s t r e a m i n g o n port 80.
A p p l e w e b site info on s t r e a m i n g f r o m b e h i n d a firewall:
Start:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=60688

M o r e t e c h n i c a l info:

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/resources/qt4/us/proxy/

4. How do I troubleshoot QuickTime problems on Windows

computers?

Errors are usually related to s o f t w a r e conflicts, u n u s a b l e files, or incompatibilities. T h e y can also be related to
specific h a r d w a r e c o m b i n a t i o n s , a n d s o m e t i m e s the w a y in w h i c h the h a r d w a r e is c o n f i g u r e d . C h e c k t h e t e c h n i c a l
h a r d w a r e r e q u i r e m e n t s on this p a g e [listed a b o v e ] . A l s o , c h e c k t h e A p p l e k n o w l e d g e b a s e article on this topic.

5. How do I troubleshoot browser plug-in

problems?

A p p l e ' s w e b site has i n f o r m a t i o n o n h o w to t r o u b l e s h o o t y o u r b r o w s e r plug-in.

Entering accented characters


Different c o m p u t e r o p e r a t i n g s y s t e m s - M a c O S X (Apple M a c i n t o s h ) a n d W i n d o w s (XP, 2 0 0 0 , etc.) - offer differing
Windows
a p p r o a c h ePC
s for e n t e r i n g a c c e n t e d c h a r a c t e r s .
Method 1: Alt + key sequence

T e c h n i q u e s are e x p l a i n e d below.

M a k e s u r e t h e Num

Lock

k e y is d o w n . Hold d o w n t h e Alt k e y while e n t e r i n g a n u m b e r s e q u e n c e on the k e y p a d .

Release the Alt key: y o u s h o u l d see the a c c e n t e d character.


N u m b e r s e q u e n c e s for specific c h a r a c t e r s are listed in t h e c h a r a c t e r t a b l e below.

Method 2: Windows Character Map tool


Use t h e W i n d o w s Character

Map tool - a s m a l l p o p - u p a c c e s s o r y t h a t allows y o u to c o p y a n d paste special

c h a r a c t e r s into a n y a p p l i c a t i o n (such as a w e b b r o w s e r ) .

O n y o u r W i n d o w s PC, a c c e s s

Start Menu > Programs > Accesories > System Tools > Character Map
Click on a n d c o p y t h e c h a r a c t e r y o u n e e d f r o m t h e Character

Map tool.

T h e n , click b a c k in t h e b r o w s e r f o r m field

a n d p a s t e t h e c h a r a c t e r (ctrl-v or 'Paste' via b r o w s e r m e n u selection).

Apple Macintosh
Method: option + key [+ key]
Hold d o w n t h e option

k e y w h i l e e n t e r i n g t h e first letter of a s e q u e n c e (e.g., o p t i o n " or o p t i o n e ) .

Release the o p t i o n k e y a n d e n t e r the s e c o n d c h a r a c t e r of t h e s e q u e n c e (e.g., a, e , i, n, o , or u): y o u s h o u l d see


t h e a c c e n t e d character.
E x c e p t i o n s : A f e w special c h a r a c t e r s (, , ) are p r o d u c e d by s i m p l y e n t e r i n g option

+ key.

T h e c h a r a c t e r is

p r o d u c e d by s i m u l t a n e o u s l y e n t e r i n g 'opt shift ?'

Character Table
character

Macintosh

EC

character

Macintosh

EC

opt

' + a

alt + 0 2 2 4

opt n + n

alt + 0 2 4 1

opt e + a

alt + 0 2 2 5

opt

' + o

alt + 0 2 4 2

opt i + a

alt + 0 2 2 6

opte

+ o

alt + 0 2 4 3

opt u + a

alt + 0 2 2 8

opt i + o

alt + 0 2 4 4

opt c

alt + 0 2 3 1

opt u + o

alt + 0 2 4 5

opt

' + e

alt + 0 2 3 2

opt + s

alt + 0 2 2 3

opt e + e

alt + 0 2 3 3

opt

' + u

alt + 0 2 4 9

opt i + e

alt + 0 2 3 4

opte

+ u

alt + 0 2 5 0

opt u + e

alt + 0 2 3 5

opt i + u

alt + 0 2 5 1

opt

' + i

alt + 0 2 3 6

opt u + u

alt + 0 2 5 2

opt e + i

alt + 0 2 3 7

opt 1

alt + 0 1 6 1

opt i + i

alt + 0 2 3 8

opt shift

2006 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

alt + 0 1 9 1

updated:

15 May 06

tex's index: la g r a m m a i r e de l'absurde

1.

nouns

2.

determiners

3.

adverbs

4.

adjectives

5.

verbs

6.

negation

7.

prepositions

8.

pronouns

9.

conjunctions

10.

tense/aspect/mood/voice

11.

interrogative constructions

12.

appendix : verb practice

13.

appendix : testez-vous!

14.

appendix : verb conjugation reference

15. etc.
16.

pdf downloads

17.

mp3 downloads

NOUNS
introduction
number: singular and plural
gender: masculine and feminine
voil vs. il y a: devices for introducing nouns
temps, heure, fois: different nouns for 'time'

DETERMINERS
introduction
definite articles
def. articles with physical characteristics, ex. elle a les cheveux longs
indefinite articles
partitive articles
possessive determiners: mon, ma, mes, etc.
demonstrative determiners: ce, cet, cette, ces
expressions of quantity: beaucoup de, un peu de, etc.
tout
indefinite determiners

ADVERBS
introduction
formation and placement
placement of adverbs with the pass compos
comparative and superlative of adverbs
il y a 'ago'
bon/meilleur vs. bien/mieux
tt, tard, en avance, en retard, l'heure

ADJECTIVES

page: index

introduction
formation and placement
adjectives before the noun
irregular adjectives
adjectives whose meaning varies with placement
comparison of adjectives
superlative of adjectives
bon/meilleur (adjectives) vs. bien/mieux (adverbs)
participles as adjectives
t.

VERBS
introduction
regular verbs
-er verbs
-er verbs (regular)
-er verbs (stem changing)
-ir verbs
-ir verbs (regular)
-ir verbs (irreg) like ouvrir 'to open'
-ir verbs (irreg) like partir 'to leave,' sortir 'to go out,' dormir 'to sleep'
-re verbs
-re verbs (regular)
-re verbs (irregular) like prendre 'to take'
-re verbs (irregular) like mettre 'to put, to place'
-re verbs (irregular) like suivre 'to follow', vivre 'to live'
common irregular verbs
tre 'to be'
avoir 'to have'
avoir expressions, ex. il y a, avoir besoin de, etc.
aller 'to go'
faire 'to do,' 'to make'
faire expressions
venir 'to come'
boire, croire, voir: 'to drink', 'to believe', 'to see'
savoir vs. connatre: two ways of knowing
dire, lire, crire: 'to say', 'to read', 'to write'
pronominal verbs: se raser, se lever, se disputer
modal verbs: vouloir 'to want to,' pouvoir 'to be able to,' devoir 'to have to'
impersonal verbs and expressions: il faut, il est important de ...
quitter, partir, sortir, laisser: different verbs for 'to leave'
infinitive constructions, including past and negative
causative faire (faire+infinitif)
transitive vs. intransitive constructions
present participle
t.

NEGATION
introduction
basic negation: ne ... pas (don't, not)
alternate forms (1):
ne ... jamais (never)
ne ... rien (nothing)
ne ... personne (nobody, no one)

ne ... pas du tout (not at all)


ne ... plus (no more, any longer)
alternate forms (2):
ne ... a u c u n ( e ) (not one)
ne ... ni ... ni (neither ... nor)
ne ... q u e (only)
one word negative responses: si, jamais, personne, rien
t.

PREPOSITIONS
introduction
common prepositions
contractions of and d e with definite article
depuis vs il y a ... que
depuis with imperfect
depuis, pendant, pour
prepositions with place names
prepositions with infinitives
t.

PRONOUNS
introduction
subject pronouns: je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles
c'est vs. il/elle est
disjunctive pronouns: moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, elles, eux
direct object pronouns: me, te, le, la, nous, vous, les
indirect object pronouns: me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur
pronoun: y
pronoun: en
relative pronouns: qui and que
relative pronouns: ce qui and ce que
relative pronouns: dont, ce dont, o, lequel
order of object pronouns
indefinite pronouns: chacun and quelqu'un
demonstrative pronouns: celui, celle, ceux, celles
possessive pronouns: le mien, la mienne, etc.
t.

CONJUNCTIONS
introduction
coordinating conjunctions: et, mais, ou, puis, car, etc.
subordinating conjunctions: pendant que, quand, depuis que, etc.
conjunctions that take the subjunctive
t.

TENSE/ASPECT/MOOD/VOICE
introduction
present tense
past tenses
pass immdiat (venir de+infinitive)
pass compos with avoir
pass compos with tre
pass compos of pronominal verbs
imparfait: formation

imparfait: states of being, habitual actions


imparfait: idiomatic uses (suggestions, wishes, depuis, venir de)
narration: pass c o m p o s vs. imparfait
plus-que-parfait
pass simple (literary tense)
pass antrieur (literary tense)
future t e n s e s
futur proche (aller+infinitive)
simple future (regular)
simple future (irregular)
future: usage
futur antrieur
imperative m o o d (regular a n d p r o n o m i n a l )
subjunctive m o o d
regular subjunctive f o r m a t i o n
irregular subjunctive f o r m a t i o n
usage: obligation
usage: d o u b t
usage: will, emotion, desire
c o n j u n c t i o n s that take the subjunctive
past subjunctive
summary
w a y s to avoid the subjunctive
conditional m o o d
conditional
past conditional
si clauses - s u m m a r y
reported s p e e c h in present
reported s p e e c h in past
active voice vs. passive voice
t.

INTERROGATIVE CONSTRUCTIONS
introduction
y e s / n o questions: e s t - c e q u e , n ' e s t - c e pas
q u e s t i o n s w i t h s u b j e c t / v e r b inversion
interrogative adjective quel (with e x c l a m a t i v e usage)
interrogative p r o n o u n s : q u i , q u i e s t - c e q u e , q u ' e s t - c e q u i , q u ' e s t - c e q u e
interrogative p r o n o u n lequel
interrogative w o r d s
t.

ETC
site o v e r v i e w
cast of c h a r a c t e r s
credits
s e a r c h this site
website help
t.

PDF downloads
all p a g e s

.zip archive of Tex's French

adjl

introduction to adjectives

Grammar

adj2

adjectives: f o r m a t i o n and p l a c e m e n t

in pdf f o r m a t : 10.3 M B

adj3

adjectives that precede the noun

adj4

irregular adjectives

adj5

adjectives whose meaning varies with placement

adj6

comparisons with adjectives

adj7

superlative of adjectives

adj8

bon/meilleur vs. bien/mieux

adj9

participles as adjectives

adv1

introduction to adverbs

adv2

adverbs: formation and placement

adv3

placement of adverbs with pass compos

adv4

comparative and superlative of adverbs

adv5

-il y a, ago

adv6

tt, tard, en avance, en retard, l'heure

characters

cast of characters

con1

introduction to conjunctions

con2

coordinating conjunctions

con3

subordinating conjunctions

credits

credits and acknowledgments

detl

introduction to determiners

det10

indefinite determiners

det2

determiners: definite articles

det3

definite articles with physical characteristics

det4

determiners: indefinite articles

det5

determiners: partitive articles

det6

possessive determiners

det7

demonstrative determiners

det8

determiners: expressions of quantity

det9

tout

help

help using this website

index

tex's index: la grammaire de l'absurde

int1

introduction to interrogatives

int2

yes/no questions: est-ce que, n'est-ce pas

int3

questions with subject/verb inversion

int4

interrogative and exclamative quel

int5

interrogative pronouns

int6

interrogative pronoun lequel

int7

interrogative words: o, quand, comment ...

negl

introduction to negation

neg2

basic negation: ne ... pas

neg3

alternate forms (1) ne ... jamais, rien, personne, etc.

neg4

alternate forms (2) ne ... aucun, ni ... ni, que

neg5

one-word negative sentences si, jamais, etc.

no1

introduction to nouns

no2

number: singular, plural

no3

gender: masculine, feminine

no4

voil vs. il y a

no5

temps, heure, fois

overview

about this site: overview

prel

introduction to prepositions

prela

common prepositions

pre2

contractions of and de with definite article

pre3

prepositions with places

pre4

prepositions with infinitives

predl

depuis vs. il y a ... que, a fait ... que, and voil ... que

pred2

depuis with imperfect

prepl

depuis, pendant, pour: 'for'

prol

introduction to pronouns

prolO

indefinite pronouns

proll

demonstrative pronouns

prol2

possessive pronouns

pro2

subject pronouns

pro3

c'est vs il/elle est

pro4

disjunctive pronouns

pro5

direct object pronouns

pro6

pronoun y

pro7

pronoun en

pro8

indirect object pronouns

pro9

order of object pronouns present tense

prorl

relative pronouns: qui and que

pror2

relative pronouns: ce qui, ce que

pror3

relative pronouns: dont, o, etc. present tense

tal

intro to tense, aspect, mood, voice

tacl

conditional

tac2

past conditional

tac3

si clauses

tadl

reported speech in the present

tad2

reported speech in the past

tafl

futur proche

taf2

simple future: regular

taf3

simple future: irregular

taf4

future: usage

taf5

futur antrieur

tail

imperative mood

tapl

recent past (venir de + infinitive)

taplO

pass simple

tapll

pass antrieur

tap2

pass compos with avoir

tap3

pass compos with etre

tap4

pass compos of pronominal verbs

tap5

imparfait: formation

tap6

imparfait: states of being, habitual actions

tap7

imparfait: idiomatic uses

tap8

narration: pass compos vs. imparfait

tap9

plus-que-parfait

taprl

present tense

tasl

regular subjunctive

tas2

irregular subjunctive

tas3a

subjunctive usage: obligation

tas3b

subjunctive usage: doubt

tas4

subjunctive usage: will, emotion, desire

tas5

conjunctions that take the subjunctive

tas6

past subjunctive

tas7

subjunctive summary

tas8

ways to avoid the subjunctive

tavl

active vs. passive voice

vl

introduction to verbs

verl

-er verbs (regular) present tense

ver2

-er verbs (stem changing) present tense

viml

impersonal verbs & expressions: il faut, il est important ...

vinfl

infinitive constructions

virl

-ir verbs (regular) present tense

vir2

-ir verbs (irregular) like ouvrir present tense

vir3

-ir verbs (irregular) partir, sortir, and dormir

virrl

tre 'to be'

virrl0

savoir vs. connatre present tense

virrll

dire, lire, crire present tense

virr2

avoir 'to have'

virr3

avoir expressions

virr4

aller 'to go'

virr5

faire 'to do, to make'

virr6

faire expressions

virr7

causative faire

virr8

venir 'to come'

virr9

boire, croire, voir

vll

partir, sortir, quitter, laisser

vml

modal verbs vouloir, pouvoir, devoir

vppl

present participle

vprl

pronominal verbs

vrel

-re verbs (regular)

vre2

-re verbs (irregular) like prendre

vre3

-re verbs (irregular) like mettre

vre4

re verbs (irregular) like suivre, vivre

vtil

transitive vs. intransitive

t.
jf MP3 downloads [zip archives]
all mp3s

.zip archive of Tex's French

adj2

adjectives: formation and placement

Grammar

adj3

adjectives that precede the noun

mp3s: l 0 6 . 8 MB

adj4

irregular adjectives

adj5

adjectives whose meaning varies with placement

adj6

comparisons with adjectives

adj7

superlative of adjectives

adj8

bon/meilleur vs. bien/mieux

adj9

participles as adjectives

adv2

adverbs: formation and placement

adv3

placement of adverbs with pass compos

adv4

comparative and superlative of adverbs

adv5

-il y a, ago

adv6

tt, tard, en avance, en retard, l'heure

characters

cast of characters

con2

coordinating conjunctions

con3

subordinating conjunctions

detl0

indefinite determiners

det2

determiners: definite articles

det3

definite articles with physical characteristics

det4

determiners: indefinite articles

det5

determiners: partitive articles

det6

possessive determiners

det7

demonstrative determiners

det8

determiners: expressions of quantity

det9

tout

intl

introduction to interrogatives

int2

yes/no questions: est-ce que, n'est-ce pas

int3

questions with subject/verb inversion

int4

interrogative and exclamative quel

int5

interrogative pronouns

int6

interrogative pronoun lequel

int7

interrogative words: o, quand, comment ...

neg2

basic negation: ne ... pas

neg3

alternate forms ( l ) ne ... jamais, rien, personne, etc.

neg4

alternate forms (2) ne ... aucun, ni ... ni, que

neg5

one-word negative sentences si, jamais, etc.

no2

number: singular, plural

no3

gender: masculine, feminine

no4

voil vs. il y a

no5

temps, heure, fois

prela

common prepositions

pre2

contractions of and de with definite article

pre3

prepositions with places

pre4

prepositions with infinitives

predl

depuis vs. il y a ... que, a fait ... que, and voil ... que

pred2

depuis with imperfect

prepl

depuis, pendant, pour: 'for'

prolO

indefinite pronouns

proll

demonstrative pronouns

prol2

possessive pronouns

pro2

subject pronouns

pro3

c'est vs il/elle est

pro4

disjunctive pronouns

pro5

direct object pronouns

pro6

pronoun y

pro7

pronoun en

pro8

indirect object pronouns

pro9

order of object pronouns present tense

prorl

relative pronouns: qui and que

pror2

relative pronouns: ce qui, ce que

pror3

relative pronouns: dont, o, etc. present tense

tacl

conditional

tac2

past conditional

tac3

si clauses

tadl

reported speech in the present

tad2

reported speech in the past

tafl

futur proche

taf2

simple future: regular

taf3

simple future: irregular

taf4

future: usage

taf5

futur antrieur

tail

imperative mood

tapl

recent past (venir de + infinitive)

taplO

pass simple

tapll

pass antrieur

tap2

pass compos with avoir

tap3

pass compos with etre

tap4

pass compos of pronominal verbs

tap5

imparfait: formation

tap6

imparfait: states of being, habitual actions

tap7

imparfait: idiomatic uses

tap8

narration: pass c o m p o s vs. imparfait

tap9

plus-que-parfait

taprl

present t e n s e

tasl

regular subjunctive

tas2

irregular subjunctive

tas3a

subjunctive usage: obligation

tas3b

subjunctive usage: d o u b t

tas4

subjunctive usage: will, emotion, desire

tas5

c o n j u n c t i o n s that take the subjunctive

tas6

past subjunctive

tas7

subjunctive s u m m a r y

tas8

w a y s to avoid the subjunctive

tavl

active vs. passive voice

verl

-er v e r b s (regular) present tense

ver2

-er v e r b s (stem c h a n g i n g ) present tense

viml

i m p e r s o n a l v e r b s & e x p r e s s i o n s : il faut, il est important

vinfl

infinitive constructions

virl

-ir v e r b s (regular) present t e n s e

vir2

-ir v e r b s (irregular) like ouvrir present tense

vir3

-ir v e r b s (irregular) partir, sortir, and d o r m i r

virrl

tre 'to be'

virrl0

savoir vs. connatre present tense

virrll

dire, lire, crire present tense

virr2

avoir 'to have'

virr3

avoir e x p r e s s i o n s

virr4

aller 'to go'

virr5

faire 'to do, to make'

virr6

faire e x p r e s s i o n s

virr7

causative faire

virr8

venir 'to come'

virr9

boire, croire, voir

vll

partir, sortir, quitter, laisser

vml

modal v e r b s vouloir, pouvoir, devoir

vppl

present participle

vprl

pronominal verbs

vrel

-re v e r b s (regular)

vre2

-re v e r b s (irregular) like prendre

vre3

-re v e r b s (irregular) like mettre

vre4

re v e r b s (irregular) like suivre, vivre

vtil

transitive vs. intransitive

t.
2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

3 Feb 05

page:

i n t r o d u c t i o n t o interrogativos

intl

A n interrogative construction is a g r a m m a t i c a l f o r m u s e d to a s k a q u e s t i o n . T h e r e a r e t w o k i n d s of q u e s t i o n s : y e s / n o
q u e s t i o n s a n d i n f o r m a t i o n q u e s t i o n s . S o - c a l l e d y e s / n o q u e s t i o n s m a y be a n s w e r e d w i t h a s i m p l e ' y e s '

o r

'no'-

A r e y o u a s t u d e n t at t h e U n i v e r s i t y of T e x a s ?
H a v e y o u e v e r b e e n to S i x t h S t r e e t or B a r t o n S p r i n g s ?
D o y o u k n o w h o w m a n y A g g i e s it t a k e s to s c r e w in a l i g h t b u l b ?

I n f o r m a t i o n q u e s t i o n s c o n t a i n a s p e c i f i c i n t e r r o g a t i v e w o r d ( w h o , w h a t , w h e n , w h y , h o w ) a n d c a n n o t be a n s w e r e d
w i t h a y e s o r no. T h e i r p u r p o s e is to elicit a s p e c i f i c p i e c e of i n f o r m a t i o n .
W h o is T e x ?
W h e n did he c o m e to T e x a s ?
H o w did h e learn F r e n c h ?

Est-ce que v o u s p a r l e z

Do y o u speak French?

franais?

B e s i d e s u s i n g ' e s t - c e q u e ' , q u e s t i o n s in F r e n c h c a n be f o r m e d
b y inversion of t h e s u b j e c t a n d v e r b .
Parlez-vous f r a n a i s ?

Do you speak

French?

formulating questions
T h e w o r d 'do' is u s e d in E n g l i s h q u e s t i o n f o r m a t i o n . In s i m i l a r f a s h i o n , F r e n c h y e s / no q u e s t i o n s c a n be f o r m e d
w i t h t h e p h r a s e e s t - c e que.
T h e r e a r e s e v e r a l o t h e r w a y s to a s k a q u e s t i o n in F r e n c h . For i n s t a n c e , a tag question is a q u e s t i o n w o r d o r p h r a s e
' t a g g e d ' o n to t h e e n d of a s t a t e m e n t w h i c h r e q u i r e s a c o n f i r m a t i o n w i t h a 'yes' or 'no' a n s w e r .
V o u s p a r l e z f r a n a i s , n'est-ce pas?

You speak French, don't you?

Finally, t h e m o s t c o m m o n w a y to a s k a q u e s t i o n in F r e n c h c o n v e r s a t i o n is to u s e rising intonation. In t h i s k i n d of


i n t e r r o g a t i v e c o n s t r u c t i o n , t h e w o r d o r d e r is t h e s a m e a s a d e c l a r a t i v e s e n t e n c e , b u t t h e s p e a k e r ' s v o i c e rises at t h e
e n d to s i g n a l t h e q u e s t i o n .
d'i)

V o u s parlez franais?

You speak

French?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

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page: int2

y e s / n o questions: est-ce que, n'est-ce pas

1. questions with intonation


2. questions using 'est-ce que ... ?'
3. questions using 'n'est-ce pas ?'

questions with intonation


One of the easiest ways to ask a question that may be answered by yes/no is to raise the pitch of your voice at the end
of a statement. In a declarative statement, the pitch normally falls. Listen to the following dialogue and pay close
attention to the intonation.
T e x : Trey, tu aimes la philosophie?

Tex: Trey, do you like philosophy?

T r e y : Non. Je n'aime pas la philosophie.

Trey: No. I do not like philosophy.

Tex: T u connais Sartre?

Tex: Do you know Sartre?

Trey: Non. Qui est-ce?

Trey: No. Who is that?

Tex: Gloups! C'est l'auteur du chef d'oeuvre

Tex: Gulp! He's the author of the

existentialiste, La Nause.

existentialist masterpiece, Nausea.

questions using 'est-ce que ... ?'


Another way to ask a yes/no question is to place est-ce que before a statement. Note that que becomes qu' before a
vowel.

d'D

Trey: Et toi, Tex, est-ce que tu aimes les

Trey: A n d you, Tex, do you like films?

films?
Tex: Bien sr, j'adore les films.

Tex: Of course, I adore films.

Trey: Est-ce que tu connais Yoda?

Trey: Do you know Yoda?

Tex: Non. Qui est-ce?

Tex: No. Who is that?

Trey: Duh ...

Trey: Duh ...

questions using 'n'est-ce pas ?'


N'est-ce pas? is added to the end of a yes/no question when the speaker expects an affirmative response.
Trey: T u connais 'La guerre des toiles,'

Trey: You know 'Star Wars,' don't y o u ?

n'est-ce pas? Yoda, c'est le petit sage.

Yoda is the little wise man.

Listen to the end of the dialogue:

FAS

d'D

SAKTEl!

T r e y : Y o d a est m o n hros. Tu ne connais

T r e y : Y o d a is m y hero. Y o u don't k n o w

pas Yoda?

Yoda?

T e x : Ah, si, si, si*, je connais le petit

T e x : Ah, yes, yes, yes, I do k n o w the little

philosophe. Est-ce que tu es f o u ? Y o d a n'est

philosopher. A r e y o u c r a z y ? Y o d a is not

pas Sartre.

Sartre.

T r e y : Oh, mais la philosophie de Y o d a est

T r e y : Oh, but Y o d a ' s p h i l o s o p h y is more

plus intressante que la philosophie

interesting t h a n the existentialist philosophy

existentialiste de La N a u s e ! T u es

of La N a u s e ! Y o u agree, don't y o u ?

d'accord, n'est-ce pas?


T e x : Quel crtin! Retourne tes j e u x

T e x : W h a t an idiot! G o back to y o u r v i d e o

lectroniques!

games!

*Si is used to a n s w e r 'yes' to a negative question.

fill in the blanks


Rewrite each q u e s t i o n using the f o r m specified in parentheses, est-ce que or n'est-ce pas.
1. Bette : T a m m y , tu a i m e s T e x ? (n'est-ce pas)
2. T e x : T a m m y , tu n ' a i m e s pas B e t t e ? (est-ce que)
3. C o r e y : V o u s d a n s e z ce s o i r ? (est-ce que)
4. E d o u a r d : O n j o u e a u x cartes a u j o u r d ' h u i ? (n'est-ce pas)
5. T a m m y : Nous t u d i o n s ce s o i r ? (n'est-ce pas)
6. T a m m y : T e x aime Bette? (est-ce que)
7. T e x : Je suis un gnie? (n'est-ce pas)
8. Bette : T e x et T a m m y v o y a g e n t e n s e m b l e ? (est-ce que)
9. J o e - B o b : O n m a n g e M a c D o ? (n'est-ce pas)
10. T a m m y : Ils habitent J e s t e r ? (n'est-ce pas)
11. Bette : T a m m y ne parle pas italien? (est-ce que)
12. J o e - B o b : N o u s r e g a r d o n s la tl a u j o u r d ' h u i ? (est-ce que)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

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page: int3

questions with subject/verb inversion

1. inversion
2. addition of -t- in third person singular
3. addition of a pronoun with a noun or proper name
4. compound tenses
5. negation
6. 'est-ce' and 'y a-t-il'

inversion
Formal questions may be asked by reversing the subject pronoun/verb order and linking
the two with a hyphen. You may have already seen inversion in fixed expressions like
the following greetings: 'Comment allez-vous?', 'Comment vous appelez-vous?', 'Quelle
heure est-il?'.
Joe-Bob choisit ses cours pour

Joe-Bob is choosing his classes

le semestre prochain.

for next semester.

Job-Bob: Corey, as-tu des

Joe-Bob: Corey, do you have

ides?

any ideas?

T a m m y et Bette, connaissez-

T a m m y and Bette, do you

vous de bons cours?

know any good courses?

addition of -t- in third person singular


In the third person singular, when the verb ends in a vowel, a -t- is added to make
the liaison possible.
d'D

Corey se parle lui-mme:

Corey thinks to himself:

Voyons. Joe-Bob aime-t-il les lettres? Non!

Let's see. Does Joe-Bob like the


humanities? No!

A-t-il envie d'tudier les maths? Non!

Does he want to study math? No!

Va-t-il devenir mdecin? Oh, jamais!

Is he going to become a doctor? Oh, never!

Aime-t-il les filles? Oui!

Does he like girls? Yes!

Alors, j'ai une ide.

So, I have an idea.

Corey: Joe-Bob ...

Corey: Joe-Bob ...

Joe-Bob: Mmm.

Joe-Bob: Mmm.

Corey: J'ai un cours pour toi: 'La vie intime

Corey: I have a course for you: 'Animal

des animaux.'

Intimacy.'

addition of a pronoun with a noun or proper name


When the subject is a proper name or noun, the corresponding subject pronoun (il, elle, ils, or elles) is added for
inversion with the verb.
d'S

Joe-Bob: Et les belles filles suivent-elles ce

Joe-Bob: Do pretty girls take this class?

cours?
Corey: Oh, oui.

Corey: Oh, yes.

Joe-Bob: Ce cours est-il difficile?

Joe-Bob: Is this class difficult?

Corey: Oh, non a.

Corey: Oh, no.

compound tenses
In compound tenses, such as the pass compos, the subject pronoun is inverted with the auxiliary (the conjugated
verb).
4>)

Joe-Bob: Corey, as-tu suivi ce cours?

Joe-Bob: Corey, did you take this class?

Corey: Oui, mais j'ai rat l'examen final.

Corey: Yes, but I flunked the final exam.

negation

Ne precedes the conjugated verb and the second half of the negative (pas, jamais, plus, etc.) follows the pronoun.
4>)

Joe-Bob: Pourquoi n'as-tu pas russi

Joe-Bob: Why didn't you pass the exam?

l'examen?
Corey: Oh, j'ai trouv que l'examen tait

Corey: Oh, I thought that the exam was

trop technique. Moi, je suis plus romantique

too technical. I am more romantic than

que scientifique.

scientific.

'est-ce' and 'y a-t-il'


The inverted forms of 'c'est' and 'il y a' are est-ce and y a-t-il.
4>)

Joe-Bob: Est-ce possible?

Joe-Bob: Is this possible?

N'y a-t-il pas un seul cours facile pour moi?

Isn't there a single easy course for m e ?

fill in the blanks


Rewrite each question in the present tense, using subject/verb inversion.
1. Bette : Tammy! Fiona! V o u s dansez ma soire?
2. Tex : H T a m m y , tu adores le chocolat?
3. Corey : Les insectes sont intelligents?
4. Edouard : T a m m y aime la France?
5. T a m m y : Tex et moi, nous allons en France cet t?
6. Bette : Tex a du talent?
7. Tex : T a m m y ma chrie, tu n'as pas envie d'habiter avec moi?
8. T a m m y : Les chattes mangent des souris ('mice')?
9. Joe-Bob : Un cureuil aime tre amoureux?

10. T a m m y : H J o e - B o b , tu parles f r a n a i s ?
11. Il y a d e s c o w b o y s au T e x a s ?
12. C'est difficile d ' a p p r e n d r e le f r a n a i s ?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

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page: int4

interrogative and exclamative quel

Quel is an adjective. Like any other adjective, it agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies. Remember to
make the liaison between quels / quelles and a following word beginning with a vowel (quels animaux).
masculine singular

masculine plural

feminine singular

feminine plural

quel

quels

quelle

quelles

interrogative quel
Quel is generally translated into English by 'what' or 'which'. It is always followed by a noun or by the verb 'tre' + noun.
d1')

Un petit tatou: Maman,

A little armadillo: What's the

maman, quel est le nom de ce

name of this armadillo?

tatou?
Rita: Oh, c'est Tex, ton oncle.

Rita: Oh, it's Tex, your uncle.

Un petit tatou: Quel ge a

A little armadillo: How old is

Tex?

Tex?

Rita: On ne sait pas.

Rita: We don't know.

Un petit tatou: Quelles sont

A little armadillo: What are

les qualits de Tex?

Tex's good points?

Rita: Oh, il est intelligent,

Rita: Oh, he's intelligent,

dbrouillard, mais aussi

resourceful, but also cynical

cynique et pessimiste.

and pessimistic.

exclamative quel
Quel may also be used for emphasis. In this instance, quel is followed either by an adjective or a noun, and it means
'what' or 'what a'. Note that there is an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence.
T a m m y : Quel beau tatou!

T a m m y : What a handsome armadillo!

Joe-Bob: Non, quel tatou snob! Quelle belle

Joe-Bob: No, what a snobby armadillo!

minette!

What a beautiful kitty!

T a m m y : Quelle chatte mchante!

T a m m y : What a mean cat!

Ah, quels animaux absurdes!

Ah, what absurd animals!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct form of quel.
1. Bette : Tex,

amie est-ce que tu prfres?

2. T e x :
3. C o r e y :

fille sexy!
sont v o s p a s s e - t e m p s prfrs?

4. E d o u a r d :

m o i s est-ce que tu prfres!

5. T a m m y :

j o l i e s affiches!

6. Bette :
7. T e x :
8. Bette : T e x ,
9. J o e - B o b :
10. T a m m y : Tex,
11. Bette :
12. J o e - B o b :

est la date de l'anniversaire de T e x ?


ge a P a w - P a w ?
sports est-ce que tu a i m e s ?
est le secret de T e x ?
n e u v e u est-ce que tu p r f r e s ?
t a t o u adorable!
l a n g u e s est-ce que v o u s parlez?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: int5

1. questions about people: qui, qui est-ce qui, qui est-ce que
2. questions about things: qu'est-ce qui, que, qu'est-ce que, quoi

questions about people


Qui is used to ask questions about people. It may be the subject or the direct object
in a sentence and thus, can mean either 'who?' or 'whom?' You may also choose to
use the longer forms: qui est-ce qui to ask 'who?', qui est-ce que to ask 'whom?'
A s the subject: qui, qui est-ce qui
A s the direct object: qui, qui est-ce que
d'D

Bette: Qui est la porte? Oh, c'est toi,

Bette: W h o is at the door? Oh, it's you

Tammy.

Tammy.

Qui cherches-tu?

W h o m are you looking for?

T a m m y : Je cherche Tex.

T a m m y : I'm looking for Tex.

Bette: Il n'est pas l.

Bette: He's not here.

Cinq minutes plus tard ...

Five minutes later ...

Bette: Encore! Qui est-ce qui est la porte?

Bette: Again! W h o is at the door? Oh! It's

Oh! C'est toi, Tex!

you Tex!

Qui est-ce que tu cherches? Moi peut-tre?

W h o m are you looking for? Me perhaps?

Tex: Non, je cherche T a m m y .

Tex: No, I'm looking for T a m m y .

Bette: Elle n'est pas l.

Bette: She's not here.

A s the object of a preposition: qui


d'S

Tex: Ouvre! Ouvre!

Tex: Open! Open!

Bette: Oui?!

Bette: Yes?!

Tex: T u as vu T a m m y ?

Tex: Have you seen T a m m y ?

Bette: Oui.

Bette: Yes.

Tex: Avec qui est-ce qu'elle est partie?

Tex: W h o m did she leave with?

Bette: Pour qui me prends-tu? Je ne la

Bette: Who do you think I am (whom do

surveille pas!

you take me for)? I don't watch her!

Tex: Oh, la, la, calme-toi, ma petite.

Tex: Oh, la, la, calm down, my little one.

questions about things


Qu'est-ce qui, que and its longer form qu'est-ce que are used to ask
questions about things. They are used to ask 'what?'. Que and its
longer form qu'est-ce que are direct objects in a sentence, whereas
qu'est-ce qui may be used only as the subject. (There is no short
form of qu'est-ce qui.)
A s the subject: qu'est-ce qui
A s the direct object: que, qu'est-ce que
A s the object of a preposition: quoi
T a m m y arrive chez Bette. Elle voit Tex et

T a m m y arrives at Bette's house. She sees

Bette e n s e m b l e .

T e x and Bette together.

T a m m y : Qu'est-ce qui se passe, T e x ?

T a m m y : W h a t ' s going on, T e x ?

T e x : Rien, m o n chou, je te cherchais.

T e x : Nothing, m y dear. I w a s looking for


you.

T a m m y : Oui, d'accord, mais qu'est-ce que

T a m m y : Y e s , ok, but w h a t are y o u doing

t u fais avec ... elle!

w i t h ... her!

T e x : Oh, de quoi tu parles?

T e x : Oh, w h a t are y o u talking a b o u t ?

T a m m y : T e x , ne fais pas l'innocent avec

T a m m y : Don't act innocent w i t h me!

moi!

Fill in the blank w i t h the correct interrogative p r o n o u n : qui est-ce qui, qui est-ce que, qu'est-ce qui, or q u ' e s t - c e

1. Bette :
2. T e x : _
3.

Corey

tu prfres T e x ? Moi ou T a m m y ?
. o n m a n g e ce s o i r ?
vient au c i n m a avec m o i ?

4. T e x : T a m m y ,
5. T a m m y :

ne va p a s ?
. aime le livre de T e x ?

6. Bette : P a r d o n ? .
7. T e x :
8. Fiona :
9. J o e - B o b :
10. T a m m y : _
11. T e x :
12.

Joe-Bob

Tex dit?
j'ai fait?
. aime L y o n ?
tu vas acheter?
. justifie m o n a m o u r pour T e x ?
. n o u s invitons ce s o i r ?
motive les f e m m e s ?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: int

interrogative pronoun lequel

Lequel, lesquels, laquelle, lesquelles are pronouns, i.e. they are used in place of a noun. They are used to ask the
questions 'which one?' or 'which ones?' They assume the number and gender of the nouns they replace and contract with
the prepositions and de.
Preposition

Masculine

Masculine plural

singular

Feminine

Feminine plural

singular

lequel

lesquels

laquelle

lesquelles

with

auquel

auxquels

laquelle

auxquelles

with de

duquel

desquels

de laquelle

desquelles

Corey: Oh Tammy, j'adore les films sur les

Tex: I love bug movies!

insectes!
T a m m y : Lesquels tu aimes?

T a m m y : Which ones do you like?

Corey: Oh, 'A Bug's Life,' et puis 'Antz,' les

Tex: Oh, 'A Bug's Life,' and then 'Antz,' in

classiques quoi!

other words, the classics!

T a m m y : Et tu prfres lequel ?

T a m m y : Which one do you prefer?

Corey: H m m ... Probablement 'The Fly.'

Corey: H m m ... Probably 'The Fly.'

Fill in the blank with the correct form of lequel: lequel, lesquels, auquel, duquel, laquelle, lesquelles, laquelle, de
laquelle.
1. Bette : Entre ces gteaux,_

choisis-tu?

2. Tex : Mon admiratrice?

parles-tu?

3. Corey : T u veux voir un film?

penses-tu?

4. Tex : Entre ces deux cravates,


5. Tex : Mon pome?

dois-je porter?
parles-tu?

6. Corey : Je vais l'universit Texas A&M. Et toi,


7. Tex : T a m m y , tu as lu mes livres.
8. Fiona : Tammy! Bette!

vas-tu?
est le meilleur?

de vous deux connat Lyon?

9. T e x : T a m m y , tu ne peux pas a c h e t e r d e u x robes!


10. T a m m y : Tex, entre ces b o u c l e s d'oreilles,
11. T e x : Je v e u x acheter d e s lunettes de soleil!
12. T e x : T u a i m e s les livres?

prfres-tu?
d o i s - j e porter?
me c o n s e i l l e s - t u ?

p r f r e s - t u ? Les r o m a n s d ' a m o u r ou les r o m a n s policiers?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: int7

interrogative words: o, quand F c o m m e n t . . .

O (where), quand (when), comment (how), pourquoi (why), combien (how much),
combien de (how many) may be used to ask questions with subject/verb inversion
or with est-ce que. Note that the question word goes before est-ce que.

Bette pose des questions Edouard pour en

Bette asks Edouard questions to find out more

savoir davantage sur Tex.

about Tex.

Bette: O Tex est-il n?

Bette: Where was Tex born?

Edouard: Comment?

Edouard: Pardon?

Bette: O est-ce que Tex est n?

Bette: Where was Tex born?

Edouard: A u Texas.

Edouard: In Texas.

Bette: Quand a-t-il rencontr T a m m y ?

Bette: When did he meet T a m m y ?

Edouard: Comment?

Edouard: Pardon?

Bette: Quand est-ce qu'il a rencontr T a m m y ?

Bette: When did he meet T a m m y ?

Edouard: Il y a deux ans Lyon.

Edouard: T w o years ago in Lyon.

Comment est-il venu aux Etats-Unis?

Bette: How did he come to the United States?

Edouard: Qu'est-ce que tu as dit?

Edouard: What did you say?

Comment est-ce qu'il est venu aux Etats-Unis?

Bette: How did he come to the United States?

Edouard: Il a t expuls de France!

Edouard: He was deported from France.

Bette: Pourquoi porte-t-il toujours un bret?

Bette: Why does he always wear a beret?

Edouard: Comment?

Edouard: Pardon?

Bette: Pourquoi est-ce qu'il porte toujours un

Bette: Why does he always wear a beret?

bret?
Edouard: Il n'a pas de cheveux. Sans chapeau il

Edouard: He doesn't have any hair. Without a hat

risque des coups de soleil.

he risks getting sunburned.

Bette: Combien est-il pay?

Bette: How much is he paid?

Edouard: Comment?

Edouard: Pardon?

Bette: Combien est-ce qu'il est pay?

Bette: How much is he paid?

Edouard: Pas assez. Les tuteurs sont mal pays.

Edouard: Not enough. Tutors are not paid well.

Bette: Combien de cigarettes fume-t-il par j o u r ?

Bette: How many cigarettes does he smoke every


day?

Edouard: Comment?

Edouard: Pardon?

Bette: Combien de cigarettes est-ce qu'il fume

Bette: How many cigarettes does he smoke every

par j o u r ?

day?

Edouard: Je ne sais pas, mais il fume de moins

Edouard: I don't know, but he's smoking less and

en moins depuis son arrive au Texas. Dis donc,

less since he came to Texas. Say, you are very

tu es bien curieuse.

curious.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct interrogative w o r d : o, q u a n d , c o m m e n t , c o m b i e n , pourquoi.
1. Bette :
2. T e x :

est-ce que t u v a s en v a c a n c e s cet t ? En France?


est-ce que je ne suis pas b i g a m e ( ' b i g a m o u s ' ) ?

3. T a m m y :
4. C o r e y :
5. T e x :

est-ce qu'on fait d e s c r p e s ? J'ai besoin d'une recette.


est-ce que le film c o m m e n c e ? A 9 h e u r e s ?
est-ce que a c o t e ? $20?

T a m m y : Tex,

est-ce que tu v a s m ' p o u s e r ('marry m e ' ) ? En 2 0 1 0 ?

Tex : Tammy,

est-ce que tu t r o u v e s m e s p o m e s ? Bons o u m a u v a i s ?

Fiona :

est-ce que v o u s allez m a n g e r ce s o i r ? A u M a c D o ?

9. E d o u a r d : A h T e x , bonjour.

vas-tu aujourd'hui?

10. T a m m y :

est-ce que Bette p s e ? Elle a grossi!

11

Tex :

est-ce q u ' E d o u a r d parle avec un accent f r a n a i s ? Parce qu'il est franais!

12

T a m m y : C'est

l'anniversaire de T e x ?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

introduction to negation

"

p g

Negation is a g r a m m a t i c a l t e r m f o r t h e c o n t r a d i c t i o n of s o m e or all of t h e
m e a n i n g of a n a f f i r m a t i v e ( p o s i t i v e ) s e n t e n c e . In E n g l i s h , a s e n t e n c e is
c o m m o n l y n e g a t e d b y i n s e r t i n g a s i n g l e n e g a t i v e w o r d (not, d o n ' t , d i d n ' t ,
w o n ' t , etc.) into t h e a p p r o p r i a t e p l a c e in t h e s e n t e n c e . In F r e n c h , a
s e n t e n c e is c o m m o n l y n e g a t e d b y i n s e r t i n g t w o w o r d s .

basic negation
Ne ... pas is p l a c e d a r o u n d t h e c o n j u g a t e d v e r b to n e g a t e a n a f f i r m a t i v e
s e n t e n c e in F r e n c h . N o t e t h a t t h e ne c h a n g e s to n' b e f o r e a v e r b
beginning with a vowel.

Tff?f M ^ C O U T E J A M A I J
P 6

M ^ l O ^ t

J o e - B o b , l ' c u r e u i l , c o u r t vite.

J o e - B o b , the squirrel, runs fast.

E d o u a r d , l ' e s c a r g o t , ne c o u r t pas vite.

E d o u a r d t h e snail d o e s n ' t run f a s t .

T r e y a i m e le rap.

T r e y likes rap.

J o e - B o b n ' a i m e pas le rap.

J o e - B o b d o e s n ' t like rap.

CJW IstTT

alternate forms of negation


T h e r e a r e m a n y o t h e r F r e n c h w o r d s t h a t o n e c a n u s e to n e g a t e a p o s i t i v e s t a t e m e n t b e s i d e s t h e b a s i c f o r m ne ...
pas. M o r e o v e r , n e g a t i v e w o r d s c a n be u s e d to c o n t r a d i c t t h e v e r b a s w e l l a s o t h e r p a r t s of t h e o r i g i n a l a f f i r m a t i v e
sentence.
J o e - B o b c o u t e d e la m u s i q u e c o u n t r y .

J o e - B o b listens to c o u n t r y .

T e x n ' c o u t e jamais de m u s i q u e c o u n t r y .

T e x n e v e r listens to c o u n t r y .

T r e y n' c o u t e que d u rap.

T r e y o n l y l i s t e n s to rap.

F i o n a n ' c o u t e rien.

F i o n a listens to n o t h i n g .

P r e s q u e persone n ' c o u t e d e m u s i q u e c o u n t r y

A l m o s t n o b o d y listens to c o u n t r y m u s i c in

en France.

France.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page: neg2

basic negation: ne ... pas

Basic negation is formed by placing ne ... pas around the conjugated verb. Ne becomes n' in front of a verb starting with
a vowel or a mute h.

Tex: T u ne vas pas en cours aujourd'hui,

Tex: You're not going to class today

Tammy?

Tammy?

T a m m y : Non. Je ne vais pas bien. Je ne

T a m m y : No. I am not well. I cannot eat

peux pas manger et j'ai mal la tte.

and I have a headache.

Tex: T u n'as pas de chance! Ce soir, il y a

Tex: That's too bad [literally 'you are not

une fte chez Edouard!

lucky']! Tonight there is a party at


Edouard's!

T a m m y : T u n'es pas d'un grand rconfort,

T a m m y : You are not a lot of comfort, you

tu sais!

know!

In compound tenses, like the pass compos, the ne ... pas are also placed around the conjugated verb, which is the
auxiliary, avoir or tre. In the periphrastic future, ne ... pas goes around the verb aller.
d'S

Tex n'a pas t trs gentil.

Tex was not very nice.

T a m m y ne va pas passer la soire chez

T a m m y is not going to spend the evening

Edouard.

at Edouard's.

Note that in spoken French, the ne / n' is sometimes dropped. In familiar speech, tu is often pronounced as t' before a
vowel.
T a m m y : Tex, t'es (tu es) pas trs gentil.

T a m m y : Tex, you are not very nice.

fill in the blanks


The following affirmative sentences are untrue. Correct the sentences by making them negative using ne...pas. You
must rewrite the entire sentence in the blank. Include punctuation in your answer.
1. T a m m y aime les tatous muscls ('muscular').
2. Rita voyage souvent.
3. Corey et Joe Bob tudient beaucoup.
4. Edouard adore le barbeque.
5. Tex adore Bette.

6. J o e - B o b dteste le ketchup.
7. T e x et T a m m y j o u e n t aux cartes.
8. T r e y a envie d'aller en France.
9. C o r e y et J o e - B o b habitent N e w Y o r k .
10. E d o u a r d tudie la cuisine t e x a n n e .
11. T a m m y c h a n t e bien la Marseillaise.
12. Bette adore T a m m y .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

u V ^ J ^ L r J

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

alternate forms (1) ne ...jamais, rien, personne, etc.

page:

int3

Different nuances of negation are achieved by using the following negative


expressions:
do)

ne ... jamais

never, not ever

ne ... pas encore

not yet

ne ... rien

nothing, not anything

ne ... personne

nobody, no one, not


anybody

ne ... plus

no more, not any longer

ne ... pas du tout

not at all

Note that ne becomes n' in front of a verb starting with a vowel or a mute h. In spoken French, the ne / n' is sometimes
dropped. The second element of the negation is usually placed right after the conjugated verb and before the object, as
in this dialogue:
C'est dimanche matin.

It is Sunday morning.

T a m m y : Tex, tu es rveill?

T a m m y : Tex are you awake?

Tex: Non, je ne suis pas rveill.

Tex: No, I am not awake.

T a m m y : T u dors encore?

T a m m y : Are you still asleep?

Tex: Maintenant, je ne dors plus! Avec toi, je

Tex: Now I am no longer alseep! With you I

ne peux jamais faire la grasse matine!

can never sleep in!

T a m m y : Mais regarde, je t'apporte une tasse

T a m m y : But look, I'm bringing you a cup of

de caf et un croissant.

coffee and a croissant.

Tex: Non merci, je ne veux rien. Je n'ai pas

Tex: No thanks, I don't want anything. I am

du tout faim.

not hungry at all.

T a m m y : Eh bien, tu es charmant ce matin.

T a m m y : Well, aren't you charming this


morning.

Personne and rien are negative pronouns; they may function as the subject
or direct object of a sentence, or as the object of a preposition. When
personne is an object, it is placed after the verb or the preposition it
complements:
4>)

Ce matin, Tex ne veut voir This morning Tex does not


want to see anybody.
personne.
Il ne veut parler

He does not want to talk

personne.

to anybody.

Il ne pense rien.

He's not thinking about


anything.

Personne and rien may be used at the beginning of a sentence, as pronoun subjects, followed by ne / n':
4)

Personne n'aime se lever tt un dimanche.

Nobody likes to get up early on a Sunday.

Rien n'est pire.

Nothing is worse.

Some of the negations listed above can be combined, as shown in these examples:

d'S

T a m m y : Je ne te ferai plus jamais le petit-

T a m m y : I will n e v e r make y o u r breakfast

djeuner.

again.

T e x : Mais T a m m y , tu sais que j e ne p r e n d s

T e x : But T a m m y , y o u k n o w I n e v e r have

jamais rien au p e t i t - d j e u n e r .

anything for breakfast.

T e x is in a negative m o o d today. Fill in the blank to c o m p l e t e T e x ' s negative response. C h o o s e the correct f o r m f r o m
the following list of negative e x p r e s s i o n s : j a m a i s , pas encore, pas du tout, personne, plus, rien.
1. T a m m y : A s - t u dj fini t o n r o m a n ('novel'), T e x ?
T e x : Non, ne n'ai

fini m o n roman.

2. T a m m y : T u v e u x q u e l q u e chose, chri?
T e x : Non, je ne v e u x

3. Joe Bob: Ce h a m b u r g e r est tout fait dlicieux, n'est-ce p a s ?


E d o u a r d : A h non! ce n'est

acceptable.

4. T a m m y : M o n Dieu! Q u e l q u ' u n lisait m o n j o u r n a l intime (diary)!


Tex: Calme-toi.

ne lisait t o n j o u r n a l intime.

5. T a m m y : E s t - c e que tu cris encore tes p o m e s r o t i q u e s ?


T e x : Non, on m'a censur. Je n'cris

de p o m e s .

6. T a m m y : Chri, il est t e m p s de p e n s e r notre c r m o n i e de mariage.


T e x : Pas maintenant! Je ne v e u x p e n s e r

7. T a m m y : Bette m'a dit que tu f u m e s encore!


T e x : Mais non! Je ne f u m e

8. T a m m y : Le p r o f e s s e u r a l'air tout fait c h a r m a n t .


T e x : Mais non, c'est un imbcile. Il n'est

charmant.

9. T a m m y : E s t - c e que Bette dit t o u j o u r s la vrit ('truth')?


T e x : Ha! Elle ne dit

la vrit.

10. T a m m y : T o u t le m o n d e apprcie ta posie, T e x .


T e x : A u contraire!

n'apprcie ma posie.

11. T a m m y : T e x , tu es t o u j o u r s impoli.
T e x : Non, je ne suis

impoli.

12. T a m m y : T e x , a s - t u dj bu t o n caf?
T e x : Non, je n'ai

bu m o n caf.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 7 Jun 04

page:

a l t e r n a t e f a r m s ( 2 ) n e ... a u c u n , ni ... n i , q u e

int4

Ne / n' ... aucun(e) + noun conveys the idea of 'absolutely no, not a single' + noun. Aucun agrees in gender with the word
that follows.
d'S

Bette: Alors Tex, T a m m y est malade?

Bette: So Tex, is T a m m y ill?

Tex: Aucune ide. Je suis pass chez elle

Tex: I have no idea. I went to her place

hier soir et il n'y avait personne. Je n'ai

last night and there was nobody there. I

reu aucun coup de tlphone et aucune

have received no phone call and no news

nouvelle depuis deux jours ...

for two days ...

Ne ... ni ... ni is commonly translated as 'neither ... nor'. It is used in a similar way
as the English expression. Note, however, that in French the verb has to be
preceded by ne (or n' in front of a vowel or a mute h).
d'S

Bette: Et moi, je n'ai vu

Bette: And me, I saw

T a m m y ni hier ni

T a m m y neither yesterday

aujourd'hui.

nor today.

Tex: Ni moi ni Fiona n'avons

Tex: Neither I nor Fiona saw

vu T a m m y hier. Et

her yesterday. And today,

aujourd'hui, T a m m y ne m'a

T a m m y neither called me

ni tlphon ni crit un e -

nor wrote me an e-mail. I

mail. Je m'inquite. T u crois

am worried. Do you think

qu'elle est partie avec un

she left with another

autre tatou?

armadillo?

Ne ... que is used to express a restriction. It is usually translated as 'only'.


d'D

Bette: Peut-tre ... Aprs tout, cela ne fait

Bette: Maybe ... After all it has only been a

qu'un an que vous tes ensemble ...

year that you've been together ...

Tex: Oh, merci Bette! Il n'y a que toi pour

Tex: Oh, thanks Bette! Only you can say

dire des choses pareilles!

such things!

Negate the affirmative sentences with the negative expressions in parentheses. Make all necessary changes to the
sentence. Include punctuation in your answer.
1. Tex aime le rap et le rock. (ne...ni...ni)
2. T a m m y et Bette comprennent la posie de Tex. (ne...ni...ni)
3. Fiona a bu et a fum la fte. (ne...ni...ni)
4. Le baseball et le basket font plaisir Tex. (ne...ni...ni)
5. Un diteur a publi la posie de Tex.(ne...aucun : 'not a single editor...')
6. Bette a reu une invitation, (ne...aucun)
7. Une femme peut rsister au charme de Tex. (ne...aucun)
8. Edouard mange un hamburger, (ne...aucun)

9. J o e - B o b choisit les cours faciles, (ne...que)


10. E d o u a r d m a n g e la cuisine franaise, (ne...que)
11. T a m m y adore T e x . (ne...que)
12. T e x lit la philosophie, (ne...que)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

o ne-word negative sentences si, jamais, etc.

Oui is a 'yes' answer to an affirmative question, while si is a 'yes' to a negative question.


do)

Chez T a m m y :

At T a m m y ' s house:

Tex: Tammy, tu es l?

Tex: Tammy, are you there?

T a m m y : Oui.

T a m m y : Yes.

Tex: T u ne m'aimes plus?

Tex: You don't love me anymore?

T a m m y : Si, un peu.

T a m m y : Yes, I do, a little.

Non is a one-word negative answer to a yes / no question; pas, by itself, negates part of a
sentence:
do)

Tex: T a m m y , tu es malade?

Tex: Tammy, are you sick?

T a m m y : Non!

T a m m y : No!

Tex: T u es fche?

Tex: Are you mad?

T a m m y : Pas vraiment.

T a m m y : Not really.

Rien (nothing), personne (no one), and jamais (never) may be used in one-word answers:
do)

Tex: Tammy, qu'est-ce que tu fais?

Tex: Tammy, what are you doing?

T a m m y : Rien!

T a m m y : Nothing!

Tex: Qui est avec toi?

Tex: Who is with y o u ?

T a m m y : Personne !

T a m m y : No one!

Tex: T u vas me quitter pour un autre?

Tex: Are you going to leave me for another?

T a m m y : Jamais!

T a m m y : Never!

Fill in the blank with the correct one word negative response from the following list: rien, personne, jamais, oui,
non, si.
1. Qu'est-ce que Joe Bob tudie?

2. Qu'est-ce que Tex fait pour encourager ses tudiants? .


3. Qui dteste Fiona?

4. Qui comprend l'esprit d'un tatou existentialiste?


5. Quand est-ce que Joe Bob va finir son diplome?
6. Quand est-ce que Tex va s'arrter ('stop') de fumer?
7. Tex et T a m m y ne sont plus amoureux?
8. Edouard ne mange jamais trop?
9. Selon Tex, est-ce que T a m m y est belle?
10. Tex, est-il goste?

11. Tex et T a m m y s'entendent toujours bien?

!
!
.

int5

12. E d o u a r d aime le k e t c h u p ?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

A noun is essentially a label for places, things, events, ideas, c o n c e p t s and so on. Like English, n o u n s in French m a y
be categorized as c o m m o n or proper, count or mass, singular or plural. H o w e v e r , unlike English, French n o u n s are
also categorized as either masculine or feminine.
common vs. proper
C o m m o n n o u n s in English and French are the generic term for s o m e t h i n g . C o m m o n nouns are never spelled with a
capital letter unless t h e y begin a sentence.
un tatou

an a r m a d i l l o

Proper n o u n s are specific n a m e s and thus begin with capital letters.


Tex et Tammy

Tex and T a m m y

count vs. mass


A n o t h e r w a y of classifying nouns is according to w h e t h e r t h e y can be c o u n t e d or not. C o u n t nouns identify
individual entities that can be counted, like armadillos.
un tatou, d e u x tatous

one a r m a d i l l o , t w o a r m a d i l l o s

In contrast, a m a s s noun refers to an entity as an u n c o u n t a b l e unit. In the following e x a m p l e , the bread that T e x is
eating is c o n c e i v e d of as a mass, that is, an undefined quantity.

T e x m a n g e du pain.

T e x is eating bread.

T h e difference b e t w e e n count and m a s s n o u n s is usually clearcut. H o w e v e r , s o m e t h i n g that is typically countable


such as an animal (one armadillo, two armadillos, three armadillos) can nevertheless be c o n c e i v e d of in t e r m s of a
mass, as in the following tasteless e x a m p l e .
Berk! Il y a du tatou cras partout sur les

Yuck! T h e r e ' s s q u a s h e d a r m a d i l l o all over

autoroutes du T e x a s .

the T e x a s highways.

singular vs. plural


All n o u n s in French a n d English are m a r k e d for n u m b e r , that is, for singular (one) or plural ( m o r e than one).
French, like English, usually indicates plurality by a d d i n g an -s to the end of the base f o r m , the singular noun.
C o u n t nouns have both singular and plural f o r m s :
le tatou, les tatous

the a r m a d i l l o , the a r m a d i l l o s

Mass n o u n s typically have only a singular form. T r y saying the plural f o r m s of the following English m a s s nouns:

sewage, mucus,

plasma.

It s o u n d s s t r a n g e d o e s n ' t it? T h i s s h o w s t h a t it is d i f f i c u l t to p l u r a l i z e a m a s s n o u n ,

masculine vs. feminine


In E n g l i s h , g r a m m a t i c a l g e n d e r is b a s e d o n b i o l o g y a n d is o n l y r e l e v a n t f o r p r o n o u n s (he, s h e , it) a n d p o s s e s s i v e
d e t e r m i n e r s (his, her, its). G e n d e r in F r e n c h , o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , a f f e c t s all n o u n s , p r o n o u n s , a d j e c t i v e s a n d articles.
A n o u n ' s g e n d e r is i n d i c a t e d by t h e article t h a t p r e c e d e s it. M a s c u l i n e n o u n s a r e p r e c e d e d b y le a n d f e m i n i n e n o u n s
b y la. T h e u s e of a r t i c l e s in F r e n c h is m o r e w i d e s p r e a d t h a n in E n g l i s h .
le garon

the

boy

la fille

the girl

U n l i k e E n g l i s h , t h e g r a m m a t i c a l c o n c e p t of g e n d e r in F r e n c h h a s little to d o w i t h b i o l o g i c a l s e x . T h e r e f o r e ,

inanimate

o b j e c t s s u c h a s t a b l e s a n d d e s k s a r e c a t e g o r i z e d a s e i t h e r m a s c u l i n e or f e m i n i n e ( t h e r e is n o n e u t e r g e n d e r in
French

grammar).
la table ( f e m i n i n e )

the table

le bureau ( m a s c u l i n e )

the

desk

R e m e m b e r t h a t g e n d e r in F r e n c h , f o r t h e m o s t part, is not a b o u t s e x , b u t is s i m p l y a n a r b i t r a r y c a t e g o r y . T h e t e r m s
' m a s c u l i n e ' a n d ' f e m i n i n e ' really m e a n n o t h i n g m o r e t h a n ' n o u n c l a s s A ' a n d ' n o u n c l a s s B'. B e c a u s e g r a m m a t i c a l
g e n d e r is f a i r l y a r b i t r a r y , it is e s s e n t i a l to m e m o r i z e a n o u n ' s g e n d e r a l o n g w i t h its s p e l l i n g a n d p r o n u n c i a t i o n .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

number: singular,

page: no2

plural

1. regular formation
2. nouns ending in -s, -x, -z
3. nouns ending in -al, -au, -eu, -eau, -ou
4. irregular plurals

In French, a noun is always either singular or plural. It is usually introduced by a determiner, which reflects the number
of the noun.

regular plural formation


A s in English, the plural is formed by adding an -s to the singular form of the noun. Note, however, that the -s is not
pronounced. In spoken language, the determiner is often the only indication that a noun is singular or plural.
4>)

Tex est un tatou. Tex et T a m m y sont des

Tex is an armadillo. Tex and T a m m y are

tatous.

armadillos.

nouns ending in -s, -x, -z in the singular


Nouns ending in -s, -x, or -z do not change in the plural. For example:
4>)

Tex a un long nez. Les tatous ont toujours

Tex has a long nose. Armadillos always

de longs nez.

have long noses.

Joe-Bob est un cureuil. Les cureuils

Joe-Bob is a squirrel. Squirrels adore nuts.

adorent les noix. Joe-Bob mange au moins

Joe-Bob eats at least one nut every day.

une noix par jour.


Bette est une chatte. Les chats mangent

Bette is a cat. Cats eat mice. Has Bette

des souris. Est-ce que Bette a jamais

ever eaten a mouse?

mang une souris?

nouns ending in -al, -ail, - a u , -eu, - e a u , - o u in the singular


Nouns ending in -al, -ail, or -au in the singular end in -aux in the plural. For example:
4>)

Edouard est un animal distingu. Corey et

Edouard is a distinguished animal. Corey et

Fiona ne sont pas des animaux, ce sont des

Fiona are not animals. They are unsociable

insectes peu sociables!

insects!

There are a few exceptions: un bal (ball, dance), des bals; un carnaval (carnival), des carnavals; un festival (festival),
des festivals; un rcital (recital), des rcitals.
Nouns ending in -eu or -eau in the singular add -x in the plural. For example:
4)

Edouard n'a pas un seul cheveu. Bien sr,

Edouard does not have one single hair. Of

c'est un escargot! Mais T a m m y a les

course, he's a snail. But T a m m y has long

cheveux longs. C'est une tatou

hair. She's an extraordinary armadillo!

extraordinaire!

Nouns ending in -ou end in -oux in the plural:


4D

un bijou (jewel), des bijoux


un caillou (stone, pebble), des cailloux
un chou (cabbage), des choux

un genou (knee), des genoux


un hibou (owl), des hiboux
un pou (louse), des poux

Exceptions include: un clou (nail), des clous; un sou (money), des sous; un trou (hole), des trous,

irregular plurals
Some nouns have an alternate form in the plural:
un oeil (eye), des yeux
Madame (Madam), Mesdames
Monsieur (Sir), Mes sieurs
Mademoiselle (Miss), Mes demoiselles

Note that some nouns follow the regular rule of plural formation but are pronounced differently in the plural. For
example, the -f is pronounced in the singular, but not in the plural. Listen:
4>)

un oeu f (egg), des oeufs


un boeu f (steer), des boeufs
un os (bone), des os

Listen to the dialogue:


Corey: Dis Bette, tu as dj mang une

Corey: Bette, have you ever eaten a

souris?

mouse?

Bette: Oh oui! J'aime les souris! Et aussi

Bette: Oh yes! I love mice! A n d rats, birds

les rats, les oiseaux, les lzards. Je ne

and lizards too! I never eat plants, but

mange jamais de vgtaux, mais

sometimes insects ...

quelquefois des insectes ...


Corey: Des insectes! Allez, au revoir.

Corey: Insects! Alright, bye-bye.

fill in the blanks


Give the plural form of the noun indicated in parentheses. Pay attention to both the article and the noun.
1. Bette aime

. (le bijoux)

2. Fiona aime

. (le cheval)

3. J o e - B o b aime

amricaines. (la bire)

4. T e x n'aime pas

_ _ _ . (le choix)

5. J o e - B o b n'aime pas
6. T a m m y n'aime pas

difficiles. (le cours)


. (l'hpital)

7. Eduard aime

_. (le tableau)

8. Bette aime

de Tex. (l'oeil)

9. T e x aime
10. C o r e y aime
11. T a m m y aime
12. C o r e y n'aime pas

franais, d e p o t e l
fraches. (la boisson)
a m r i c a i n s . (le c a m p u s )
. (l'examen)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

18 Oct 04

page: int3

gender: masculine, feminine

1. people
2. animals
3. objects

In French, a noun is always feminine or masculine. It is introduced by a determiner, which usually indicates the gender
of the noun.

people
When a noun refers to a person, the gender is determined by the person's sex (although some exceptions do exist).
In general, the feminine form of the noun is formed by adding an - e to the masculine noun. Note that the addition of the
-e changes the pronunciation in some words:
Joe-Bob est tudiant, T a m m y est aussi

Joe-Bob is a student, T a m m y is a student.

tudiante.
Tex est ami avec Joe-Bob, T a m m y est aussi

Tex is Joe-Bob's friend, T a m m y is also Joe-

amie avec Joe-Bob.

Bob's friend.

There are cases when the feminine form of the noun changes more drastically.
d1')

Edouard: Je suis serveur.

Edouard: I'm a waiter.

T a m m y : Je ne suis pas serveuse.

T a m m y : I'm not a waiter.

Trey: Je suis musicien.

Trey: I'm a musician.

T a m m y : Je ne suis pas musicienne.

T a m m y : I'm not a musician.

v i j

l^uitcifef/

Tex: Je suis un sducteur.

Tex: I'm a womanizer.

Bette: Je suis une sductrice.

Bette: I'm a seductress.

Joe-Bob: Pour le travail, je ne suis pas

Joe-Bob: I'm not a champion at working.

champion.

Fiona: I'm the one who is a champion.

Fiona: C'est moi qui suis championne.


Tex: Je suis le copain de Tammy.

Tex: I'm T a m m y ' s pal.

T a m m y : Je suis la copine de Tex.

T a m m y : I'm Tex's pal.

In general, when the masculine noun ends in -e, the feminine noun remains unchanged. Only the determiner or the
context indicates if it is a feminine or masculine noun.

do)

Tex et Rita sont frre et soeur, mais ils ont

Tex and Rita are brother and sister, but

des mtiers tout fait diffrents.

they have completely different jobs.

Tex est pote. Rita est secrtaire.

Tex is a poet. Rita is a secretary.

Tex n'est srement pas secrtaire et Rita

Tex is certainly not a secretary and Rita is

n'est pas pote non plus.

not a poet either.

animals
The gender of animals is often arbitrary. Some animals are always masculine (un escargot, a snail), others are feminine
(la fourmi, ant). However, for some animals there are irregular masculine and feminine forms.
do)

le chat / la chatte, cat


le chien / la chienne, dog
le coq / la poule, chicken (rooster / hen)
le boeuf, le taureau / la vache, ox / bull / cow

objects and ideas


The gender of nouns referring to things and abstractions is arbitrary. However, it can often be inferred from the ending
of the word. Typically, words ending in -age, -ment, -eau, -phone, -scope, -isme are masculine and those ending in -tion,
-sion, -t, -ette, -ance, -ence, -ie, -ure, -ode/-ade/-ude are feminine.

masculine endings

feminine endings

le from age (cheese)

la salade (salad, lettuce)

le monument (monument)

la fourch ette (fork)

le sentiment (feeling)

la tlvision (television)

le couteau (knife)

la cult ure (culture)

le tlphone (telephone)

la situation (situation)

le microscope (microscope)

la socit (society)

le romantisme (romanticism)

la diffrence (difference)
la philosophie (philosophy)

Listen to the dialogue. Feminine n o u n s are in blue, masculine in black.


4>)

T a m m y prsente T e x pour la premire fois

T a m m y introduces T e x for the first time to

Bette et Fiona.

Bette a n d Fiona.

T a m m y : T e x est un a m i de Lyon. C'est un

T a m m y : T e x is a friend f r o m Lyon. He is a

t u t e u r maintenant! T e x , la minette c'est

t u t o r now! T e x , the kitty is m y friend Bette

m o n amie Bette, et la fourmi c'est ma

a n d the ant is m y pal Fiona. Bette and

copine Fiona. Bette et Fiona sont tudiantes.

Fiona are students.

Bette: Enchante, T e x ! J'adore la culture

Bette: Nice to meet you, Tex. I adore

franaise.

French culture.

T e x : Ah, d o n c tu, . . . tu a i m e s

T e x : Ah, so you, . . . y o u like

l'existentialisme?

existentialism?

Bette: Euh, oui, bien sr, Tex.

Bette: Uh, yes, of course, T e x .

fill i n the bl anks


Fill in the blank w i t h 'le' (masculine) or 'la' (feminine).
1. T a m m y adore

nature.

2. Bette:

beaut est importante.

3. J o e - B o b :

c o u r a g e est essentiel.

4. C o r e y :

btiment ('builiding') est impressionant.

5. T a m m y :

c h t e a u est grand.

T a m m y : Bette,
Tex:
Fiona:
9. T e x :
10. C o r e y :

minette tudiante UT.

t o r n a d e est d a n g e r e u s e .
. pollution est terrible.
racisme est a b o m i n a b l e .
t l e s c o p e est super.

11. P a w - P a w : Je suis
12. Rita: Je suis

g r a n d - p r e (grandfather) de T e x .
s o e u r (sister) de Tex.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: int4

voil vs. il y a

1. il y a
2. voil

Il y a and voil are two ways of introducing nouns. They are translated into English as 'there is / there are' or 'here is /
here are.'

il y a
Il y a + noun usually indicates the existence of a person or a thing in the context of a particular setting. It is commonly
translated as 'there is' or 'there are.' For example:
4>)

A Austin, il y a une grande universit.

In Austin, there is a big university.

Dans cette universit, il y a plusieurs

At this university, there are several animals

animaux qui parlent le franais!

who speak French!

Parmi ces animaux, il y a des tatous, un

A m o n g these animals, there are armadillos,

escargot, une chatte, un cureuil, et

a snail, a cat, a squirrel, and several

plusieurs insectes! Attention!

insects! Careful!

The negation of 'il y a' is il n'y a pas, 'there is / are not'. You will also find these forms:
il n'y a plus, 'there is / are not anymore', il n'y a jamais, 'there is / are never'.
A Austin, il n'y a jamais de

In Austin, there is never any

neige.

snow.

Donc parmi ces animaux

So, among these French-

francophones, il n'y a pas de

speaking animals, there is no

pingouin!

penguin!

The verb avoir in the expression il y a may be conjugated in any tense or mood, for

f^

(J f

example, in the past (il y avait, 'there was') or in the future (il y aura, 'there will be.')

,a

McurE"

voil / voi ci
Voil + noun and voici + noun are commonly translated as 'here is/are'. They are used to indicate the sudden
appearance of something or someone, to introduce people or ideas. Alternating between voici and voil is common when
referring to more than one item.
T a m m y montre le campus Tex: Voici la
bibliothque et voil la clbre tour!

T a m m y is showing the campus to Tex:


Here is the library, and there is the famous
Tower.

Tex: Oui, oui ...

Tex: Yes, yes ...

T a m m y prsente Tex: Tex, voici Joe-Bob et

T a m m y introduces Tex: Tex, here is Joe-

Corey ... et voil Edouard qui arrive.

Bob and Corey ... and there comes


Edouard.

Joe-Bob: Bonjour, Tex.

Joe-Bob: Hello, Tex.

Corey: Salut, Tex.

Corey: Hi, Tex.

Tex: Oh, la, la, de vrais Texans ...

Tex: Oh, la, la, real Texans ...

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h either 'il y a' or 'voici'.
1. T e x :
2.

une fte ('party') la s e m a i n e prochaine.

Joe-Bob:

3. T e x :
4.

un exercise trs difficile.

Joe-Bob:

5. T e x :
6.

Bette:

un ingrdient secret d a n s la tarte.


b e a u c o u p de m u s i q u e country a u T e x a s .

8. T r e y :

m o n s k a t e b o a r d prfr.

Bette:

le bret de T e x .

10. T e x :
11.
12.

b e a u c o u p d'tudiants l'universit du T e x a s .
m o n p r e m i e r livre: G u e r r e et a m o u r .

7. T e x :

9.

une chaise confortable.

un p o m e rotique. C'est pour toi, T a m m y .

Joe-Bob:

une actrice d a n s ma classe.

un i u k e b o x au restaurant.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: int5

1. temps
2. heure
3. fois

There are three nouns in French, temps, heure, and fois, which are translated as 'time' in English, but each has very
specific uses and nuances.

temps
Temps can mean either 'time' or 'weather' (in which case it is almost always accompanied by the verb faire).
Tex tlphone Paw-Paw.

Tex telephones Paw-Paw.

Paw-Paw: Tex, tu es o? Tu es en retard!

Paw-Paw: Tex, where are y o u ? You are


late!

Tex: Mais non, j'ai le temps! Je suis en train

Tex: But no, I have time! I'm packing my

de faire ma valise. Quel temps fait-il

suitcase. What's the weather like in

Opelousas?

Opelousas?

Temps is usually singular but may be used in the plural, especially in the following phrases:
4>)

Paw-Paw: Tex, tu es un petit-fils ingrat! Tu

Paw-Paw: Tex, you're an ungrateful grand-

ne viens jamais me voir! Les temps changent

son! You never come to visit me! Times


change ...

Tex: Allons Paw-Paw, tu sais bien que je

Tex: Oh, Paw-Paw, you know I'm coming

viens aujourd'hui. 'Laissez les bons temps

today. 'Let the good times roll', as they say

rouler', comme on dit en Louisiane! Dis, tu

in Louisiana! Do you know that nobody

sais que personne ne connat cette

knows this expression in France?

expression en France?

Here are the most commonly used phrases with temps:


De temps en temps, Tex va voir Paw-Paw

From time to time, Tex goes to see Paw-

Opelousas le week-end.

Paw in Opelousas on the week-end.

P a w - P a w parle tout le temps de ses

P a w - P a w talks about his rheumatism all the

rhumatismes. Il prend son temps.

time. He takes his time.

P a w - P a w parle souvent du bon vieux temps:

P a w - P a w often talks about the good old

De mon temps, les jeunes taient polis ...

days: In my days, young people were polite

La plupart du temps, Tex s'ennuie. Il a

Most of the time Tex gets bored. He feels

l'impression de perdre son temps.

like he is wasting his time.

Pendant ce temps, T a m m y , Edouard et Joe-

In the meantime, T a m m y , Edouard and

Bob sont Austin.

Joe-Bob are in Austin.

Ils ont le temps de faire la fte.

They have time to party.

Pauvre Tex! Il rentre Austin le lundi

Poor Tex! He comes back to Austin on

matin, juste temps pour faire cours.

Monday morning, just in time to teach.

heure
Heure is feminine and can be used in the singular or in the plural. It is used to refer to clock time.

T a m m y : Tex, tu as l'heure?

T a m m y : Tex, you got the time?

Tex: Oui, j'ai l'heure.

Tex: Yes, I've got the time.

T a m m y : Et bien?! Quelle heure est-il ?

T a m m y : Well?! What time is it?

Tex: Il est 4 heures.

Tex: It is 4 o'clock.

T a m m y : Chouette! C'est l'heure d'Oprah,

T a m m y : Great! It's time for Oprah, my

mon mission prfre!

favorite show!

Tex: Et pour moi, c'est l'heure de faire la

Tex: And it's time for me to take a nap!

sieste!

fois
Fois is feminine and its singular and plural forms are identical. It is used to refer to one or several instances of an event.
4>)

T a m m y : Tex, rveille-toi! Paw-Paw est au

T a m m y : Tex, wake up! Paw-Paw is on the

tlphone, il veut te parler.

phone, he wants to talk to you.

Tex: Comment? Il a appel quatre fois

Tex: What? He has called four times today!

aujourd'hui!
T a m m y : Cette fois, il est dprim. Sois

T a m m y : This time, he is depressed. Be

gentil, il a trois fois ton ge.

nice, he is three times your age.

Tex: Bon, bon, j'y vais, mais c'est la

Tex: Ok, ok, I'm going, but it is the last

dernire fois!

time!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with: 'temps' 'heure' or 'fois'. Pay attention to the use of the determiner.
1. Tex: T a m m y m'appelle cinq
2. T a m m y : C'est

par jour.

d'aller en cours.

3. Joe-Bob: Tex, quelle

est-ce que le cours commence?

4. Bette: Tex, est-ce que tu as


5. Joe-Bob oublie tout

de m'accompagner?
ses devoirs.

6. Corey: Fiona, est-ce que tu as


7. Paw-Paw: Tex, quel

? J'ai perdu ma montre

fait-il Austin? Il fait chaud Opelousas.

8. T a m m y : Bette, tu me trompes pour la dernire

9. T e x : Je n'ai pas assez de


10. T a m m y est dix

pour rflchir.

plus s y m p a t h i q u e que Bette.

11. T a m m y : Mais J o e - B o b , sept


12. C o r e y est rveill n'importe quelle

sept font q u a r a n t e - n e u f .
du soir.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

a b o u t this site: o v e r v i e w

overview

bienvenue!
W e l c o m e to T e x ' s F r e n c h G r a m m a r (la grammaire
a pedagogical reference g r a m m a r that combines

de

l'absurde),

explanations

w i t h s u r r e a l d i a l o g u e s a n d c a r t o o n i m a g e s . O r i g i n a l l y built f o r
s t u d e n t s at t h e U n i v e r s i t y of T e x a s at A u s t i n a s a u s e r - f r i e n d l y
g u i d e t o F r e n c h g r a m m a r , t h i s w e b site m a y be p r o f i t a b l y u s e d
b y a n y l e a r n e r of F r e n c h , p r o v i d e d he or s h e p o s s e s s a sense

of

humor.
T e x ' s F r e n c h G r a m m a r is a r r a n g e d like m a n y o t h e r t r a d i t i o n a l
r e f e r e n c e g r a m m a r s w i t h t h e p a r t s of s p e e c h ( n o u n s , v e r b s ,
e t c . ) u s e d to c a t e g o r i z e s p e c i f i c g r a m m a r i t e m s ( g e n d e r of
nouns, irregular verbs). Individual g r a m m a r items are carefully
e x p l a i n e d in E n g l i s h , t h e n e x e m p l i f i e d in a d i a l o g u e , a n d f i n a l l y t e s t e d in s e l f - c o r r e c t i n g , f i l l - i n - t h e - b l a n k e x e r c i s e s .
T o f a c i l i t a t e r e f e r e n c e a n d l e a r n i n g , all g r a m m a r i t e m s a r e t h o r o u g h l y c r o s s - l i n k e d . I m p o r t a n t g r a m m a t i c a l
t e r m i n o l o g y is d e f i n e d in a n i n t r o d u c t o r y p a g e f o r e v e r y p a r t of s p e e c h . For e x a m p l e , t h e d e f i n i t i o n of i n f i n i t i v e ,
c o n j u g a t i o n , a n d p a r a d i g m c a n all be f o u n d in t h e I n t r o d u c t i o n to V e r b s p a g e . A l s o i n c l u d e d a r e s e v e r a l o t h e r
pedagogical tools: verb conjugator and a verb tutor.

our story begins ...


T h i s w e b site is a b o u t m u c h m o r e t h a n j u s t F r e n c h g r a m m a r . It is a l s o a b o u t t h e e p i c
l o v e s t o r y of T e x a n d T a m m y , t w o s t a r - s t r u c k a r m a d i l l o s , a n d B e t t e , t h e s e x k i t t e n
b e n t o n d e s t r o y i n g t h e i r love. In a d d i t i o n to t h i s m n a g e t r o i s , t h e c a s t of
characters include Edouard, a pretentious French snail, J o e - B o b , a d i m - w i t t e d squirrel

Aj
^^

from College Station, and Corey, a cockroach w h o prefers getting high and watching
t h e X - F i l e s o n T V to d o i n g his F r e n c h

homework.

S o , c o m e e x p l o r e t h e w o r l d of T e x a n d f i n d t h e a n s w e r s to life's i m p o r t a n t q u e s t i o n s :
Will T e x ' s a n d T a m m y ' s u n i o n e v e r be legally s a n c t i o n e d ? Will B e t t e e v e r l e a r n to
b a l a n c e t h e e r o t i c a n d t h e p l a t o n i c ? Will E d o u a r d e v e r g e t o v e r his a n t i p a t h y f o r T e x a s b a r b e q u e ? Will J o e - B o b
C o r e y e v e r p a s s F r e n c h 1 0 1 ? A n d will T e x e v e r i n t e g r a t e t h e c o m p e t i n g f o r c e s of his c o m p l e x

and

Franco-American

i d e n t i t y ? ... B o n v o y a g e !

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page:

introduction to prepositions

prel

A preposition is a w o r d u s e d to e s t a b l i s h r e l a t i o n s h i p s b e t w e e n n o u n s ,
b e t w e e n n o u n s a n d v e r b s a n d b e t w e e n d i f f e r e n t p a r t s of a s e n t e n c e .
P r e p o s i t i o n s u s u a l l y h a v e s p a t i a l or t e m p o r a l m e a n i n g s (e.g. b e n e a t h ,
b e t w e e n , in f r o n t of, b e f o r e , a f t e r , d u r i n g , etc). P r e p o s i t i o n s a r e i n v a r i a b l e ,
t h a t is, t h e y h a v e o n e f o r m w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n of a n d d e w h i c h c o n t r a c t
w i t h t h e d e f i n i t e a r t i c l e s (le, la, les).
T r a n s l a t i n g p r e p o s i t i o n s is n o t o r i o u s l y t r i c k y . N e v e r a s s u m e t h a t F r e n c h will
u s e t h e s a m e p r e p o s i t i o n a s E n g l i s h to e x p r e s s a p a r t i c u l a r m e a n i n g . In fact,
there are m a n y cases w h e r e one language requires a preposition w h e r e the
o t h e r d o e s not. T h i s is p a r t i c u l a r l y p r o b l e m a t i c w i t h infinitives f o l l o w e d b y
p r e p o s i t i o n s . In g e n e r a l , it is b e s t to t r e a t p r e p o s i t i o n s a s v o c a b u l a r y i t e m s
requiring

memorization.

In t h e f o l l o w i n g s e n t e n c e s , t h e s e p r o b l e m s a r e d e m o n s t r a t e d by t r a n s l a t i n g t h e F r e n c h p r e p o s i t i o n s

literally. N o t e

h o w a w k w a r d t h e E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n is a s a result.
B e t t e est f c h e contre T a m m y .

B e t t e is a n g r y a g a i n s t T a m m y .
B e t t e is a n g r y at T a m m y .

Tex tlphone Joe-Bob.

Tex telephones to Joe-Bob.


Tex telephones Joe-Bob.

Literal t r a n s l a t i o n s a r e also a w k w a r d in s i t u a t i o n s w h e r e a p r e p o s i t i o n is not u s e d in F r e n c h b u t is r e q u i r e d in


English.
F i o n a a t t e n d le bus.

J o e - B o b c o u t e la radio.

F i o n a w a i t s t h e bus.
F i o n a w a i t s f o r t h e bus.
J o e - B o b listens t h e radio.
J o e - B o b listens to t h e radio.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

D J z J j j J j j X j

page:

c o m m o n prepositions

prela

Prepositions are used to establish relationships between nouns, between nouns and verbs, and between different parts of
a sentence.
(to) and de (from, about) are the most common prepositions in French. They form contractions with definite articles:
Tex parle aux tudiants. Il parle des devoirs. Il regarde la question en haut du tableau. (Tex talks to the students. He is
talking about homework. He is looking at the question at the top of the blackboard.)
When prepositions have literal, spatial meanings, using them is straightforward: sur (on), sous (under), avec (with),
sans (without). There are, in addition, many idiomatic uses of prepositions, especially and de. Dictionaries include
listings of idiomatic meanings.
In addition to prepositions + noun (or pronoun) objects, discussed here, there are specific guidelines for using
prepositions with place names. Finally, many prepositions, including some on this page, may be followed by infinitives.

1. a-b-c
2. d-e-f
3. g-h-i-j-k-l
4. m-n-o-p
5. q-r-s-t-u-v

do) a-b-c
= to, at
See contractions with definite articles, the use of with place names, and + infinitive.
Tex parle ses amis au caf. Ils vont

Tex is talking to his friends at the caf.

Opelousas.

They're going to Opelousas.

cause de = because of, d u e to


The preposition cause de is followed by a noun, whereas the conjunction parce que (because) is followed by a
subordinate clause.
Ils vont en Louisiane cause de la fte.

They're going to Louisiana because of the


celebration.

au centre de = at the center of


Opelousas se trouve au centre de la

Opelousas is in the center of Louisiana.

Louisiane.

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ct de = beside
Bette veut s'asseoir ct de Tex.

Bette wants to sit beside Tex.

droite de = to the right of, on the right of


T a m m y est droite de PawPaw Louis.

T a m m y is on PawPaw Louis' right.

gauche de = to the left of, on the left of


Tex est gauche de PawPaw.

Tex is on PawPaw's left.

aprs = after (temporal)


See also aprs used in past infinitive constructions.
Aprs le dner, ils vont danser.

After dinner, they're going dancing.

travers = across, through


T a m m y voit Bette travers la foule.

T a m m y sees Bette through the crowd.

au milieu de = in the middle of


PawPaw danse au milieu de la salle.

PawPaw is dancing in the middle of the


room.

au sujet de / propos de = on the subject of; about


Paw-Paw parle au sujet de la Rsistance et

PawPaw is talking about the Resistance and

propos de sa longue vie de sducteur.

about his long life as a womanizer.

autour de = surrounding, around


Les amis sont assis autour de la table.

The friends are seated around the table.

avant = before [temporal]


Contrast avant with devant meaning 'before' in a spatial sense. See also avant de + infinitive.
Ils ne vont pas se coucher avant cinq heures

They are not going to bed before five

du matin.

o'clock in the morning.

avec = with
Avec + noun is often translated as an '-ly' adverb: avec joie (joyfully).

Tex est en Louisiane avec ses amis. Ils

Tex is in Louisiana with his friends. They

dansent avec joie l'anniversaire de

are dancing joyfully at PawPaw's birthday

PawPaw.

celebration.

chez = 'at X's (house), at the house of, at the store of; to X's (house), to the store of'
Chez may refer to individual's homes as well as to someone's shop, as in the first example below. When applied to larger
groups of people, such as nationalities, it means among: Chez nous les Texans, on adore la sauce piquante = "We
Texans love hot sauce" (literally: A m o n g us Texans we love hot sauce).
Le lendemain matin, ils vont acheter des

The next morning they are going to buy

croissants chez le boulanger.

croissants at the baker's.

Tout le monde a ador le sjour chez Paw-

Everyone loved their stay at Paw-Paw's.

Paw.
Aprs un an Austin, Tex se sent vraiment

After a year in Austin, Tex really feels at

l'aise chez les Texans.

ease with (among ) Texans.

d'aprs = according to
D'aprs Edouard, les Amricains mangent

According to Edouard, Americans eat very

trs mal. Mais T a m m y cuisine bien!

poorly. But T a m m y cooks well.


s

de = of, from, about


See also the use of de with place names and de + infinitive.
A u dner, Tex et T a m m y parlent de leur

At dinner, Tex and T a m m y talk about their

voyage en Louisiane.

trip to Louisiana.

de l'autre ct de = on the other side of


Puis ils font une promenade et regardent les

Then they take a walk and look at the

gratte-ciel de l'autre ct du fleuve.

skyscrapers on the other side of the river.

derrire = in back of, behind (spatial)


Ils admirent le soleil se coucher derrire les

They admire the sun setting behind the

collines.

hills.

devant = in front of, before (spatial sense)


Contrast devant with avant (temporal sense).
Enfin, ils s'embrassent passionment devant

Finally, they kiss passionately in front of

le Capitole.

the Capitol.

en = in
En means 'in' and immediately precedes the noun (i.e., it does not require a determiner; it is followed directly by its
object, for example, en France). It is also used in many idiomatic expressions: Tex roule en voiture (Tex is driving in a
car); Trey vient en vlo (Trey comes on a bike); and in some time expressions: en automne (in the fall); en aot (in
August). Compare with dans.
See also the use of en with place names and en with a present participle.
en bas de = at the bottom of, at the end of
Ils prennent un verre dans un bar en bas de

They have a drink in a bar at the end of

la cinqime rue.

Fifth Street.

en dehors de = outside of, excluding


En dehors de T a m m y , Tex ne connat pas

Outside of T a m m y , Tex doesn't know many

beaucoup de Texans.

Texans.

en dpit de = in spite of
En dpit de l'alcool, Tex se conduit en

In spite of the alcohol, Tex behaves like a

gentleman.

gentleman.

en face de = in front of, across from


Tex est assis en face de Tammy.

Tex is (seated) across from Tammy.

en haut de = at the top of; to the top of


Tout d'un coup Bette apparat en haut de

All of a sudden, Bette appears at the top of

l'escalier.

the staircase.

entre = between
Entre means 'between' and it is used when referring to two people or things (or two groups of people or things).
Contrast with parmi ('among').
Puis elle vient s'asseoir entre T a m m y et Tex.

Then she comes and sits down between


T a m m y and Tex.

envers = toward (figurative sense)


Envers means 'toward' in a figurative sense, indicating an attitude or gesture toward someone. Contrast with vers, which
means toward in a spatial or temporal sense.
T a m m y ressent une certaine antipathie

T a m m y feels a certain animosity toward

envers Bette.

Bette.

T A M H H

R t s s E M T

C e r t T f l i ivl

4') g-h-i-j-k-l

utur

AJtJT I F A I

H I F

grace = thanks to
Tex a dcouvert son grand-pre grace

Tex discovered his grandfather thanks to

l'album de photos de Rita.

Rita's photo album.

jusqu' = until
Distinguish between the preposition jusqu' and the conjunction jusqu' ce que.
Tex et T a m m y vont jusqu' Opelousas.

Tex and T a m m y are going as far as


Opelousas.

l oi n de = far from
Tex habite loin de son grand-pre Paw-Paw

Tex lives far from his grandfather Paw-Paw

Louis.

Louis.

do) m-n-o-p
malgr = in spite of
Malgr la distance, Tex aime aller voir son

In spite of the distance, Tex likes to go see

grand-pre.

his grandfather.

par = by, through, per


Par has several idiomatic meanings. It means 'by' when it is used with the passive voice. See also the use of par +
infinitive.
Tex va Opelousas une fois par mois.

Tex goes to Opelousas once a month (one


time per month).

Tex est invit Opelousas par Paw-Paw.

Tex is invited to Opelousas by Paw-Paw.

Pour aller Opelousas, Tex passe par

Tex goes through Houston to get to

Houston.

Opelousas.

parmi = a m o n g
Parmi means 'among' and it is used when referring to three or more people or things (or groups of people or things).
Contrast with entre (between).
Tex compte beaucoup de Cajuns parmi ses

Tex counts many Cajuns a m o n g his

cousins.

cousins.

pendant = during
Pendant son sjour chez Paw-Paw, Tex

During his stay with Paw-Paw, Tex eats

mange des crevisses.

crawfish.

pour = for, in favor of


See also the use of pour + infinitive.
Paw-Paw est pour la dfense du Cajun. Pour

P a w - P a w is in favor of the defense of

lui, le franais est la plus belle langue du

Cajun. For him, French is the most beautiful

monde.

language in the world.

prs de = near to
Opelousas est prs de Baton Rouge.

Opelousas is near Baton Rouge.

d'j) q-r-s-t-u-v j quant = as for


Paw-Paw est content de voir Tex. Quant

P a w - P a w is happy to see Tex. A s for Tex,

Tex, il est heureux de pouvoir enfin parler

he is happy to finally be able to speak

franais.

French.

sans = without
Sans often is translated by '-less' or a negative prefix 'in-' or 'un-': un travail sans effort (effort less work); un film sans
intrt (an uninteresting film). See also the use of sans + infinitive.
Sans doute, le franais se parle dans sa

Without doubt, French has spoken in his

famille depuis longtemps.

family for a long time.

sauf = except
Toute sa famille parle franais, sauf son

Everyone in his family speaks, except Uncle

oncle Elmer, qui habite en Californie.

Elmer, who lives in California.

selon = according to
Selon Paw-Paw, Tex a un drle d'accent

According to Paw-Paw, Tex has a funny

franais.

French accent.

sous = under, in (idiomatic)


Sous means 'under,' but it is often translated by 'in' in expressions such as sous la pluie (in the rain); sous le soleil (in
the sun).
En route pour Opelousas, Tex et T a m m y ont

On the road to Opelousas, Tex and T a m m y

vu un alligator sous un pont.

saw an alligator under a bridge.

sur = on, upon, on top of


Sur means 'on,' but it is also used in several idiomatic expressions: un sur deux (one out of two); tourner son attention
sur quelquechose (to turn one's attention to something); sur le moment (at the time); sur invitation (by invitation). etc.
En Louisiane, on sert souvent des

In Louisiana, crawfish are often served directly on the

crevisses directement sur la

table, with no plate.

table, sans assiette.

vers = toward(s)
Vers means 'toward, around' in both a spatial and a temporal sense. Contrast with envers, which has a figurative sense.
Vers midi, Tex et T a m m y repartent vers

Around noon, Tex and T a m m y head back

Austin.

towards Austin.

Bette et T a m m y entrent dans un restaurant

Bette and T a m m y enter a restaurant together.

ensemble. Elles ont toutes les deux pris rendez-

Unknowingly, they both have a date with Tex.

vous avec Tex sans le savoir! Elles regardent

They look around the room. At the same time

autour de la salle. En mme temps, elles

they see Tex seated at a table. They rush

aperoivent Tex assis une table. Elles se

towards him. They look at each other, hesitate

prcipitent vers lui. Elles se regardent, hsitent


un moment, puis s'asseyent. T a m m y s'assied
droite de Tex et Bette s'assied gauche de lui.
Elles se regardent nouveau d'un air confus.
Tex s'amuse malgr le drame entre Bette et

a moment, then sit down. T a m m y sits on Tex'


right and Bette sits down to his left. They look
at each other again, confused. Tex is having fun
in spite of the drama between Bette and
Tammy.

Tammy.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct preposition.
1. Tex et T a m m y vont
2. Opelousas se trouve
3. Bette adore danser
4.

Opelousas pour rendre visite Paw-Paw. (, de, pour)


la Louisiane, ( droite de, au centre de, devant)
Tex. (, avec, par)

Paw-Paw, le franais est la plus belle langue du monde, (sauf, selon, vers)

5. T a m m y se fche
6. Opelousas se trouve

Tex, quand il offre des fleurs Bette, (, de, contre)


Baton Rouge, (dans, derrire, prs de)

7. Edouard prend toujours un caf


8. Paw-Paw parle souvent

son dner, (aprs, dans, devant)


. ses aventures pendant la deuxime guerre mondiale. (, de, avec)

9. E d o u a r d est serveur. Il travaille


10. Il y a un cureuil et un escargot

un restaurant franais, (dans, en, sur)


les copains de T e x . (parmi, pour, quant )

11. P a w - P a w arrose d e s fleurs qui poussent d a n s le j a r d i n


12. T e x et ses a m i s restent

sa maison, (avant, devant, entre)

P a w - P a w en Louisiane, (, chez, vers)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: pro 2

contractions of and d e with definite article

T h e prepositions or de contract w i t h the definite articles le and les to give the following f o r m s :
de + le = du

de + les = des

+ le = au

+ les = aux

La and l' on the other hand do not contract after and de. Note that t h e s e c o n t r a c t i o n s also o c c u r w i t h t w o - a n d t h r e e w o r d prepositions e n d i n g w i t h or de (jusqu', prs de, loin de, ct de, etc.).
4>)

T a m m y et Bette are in a caf

T a m m y et Bette sont d a n s
un caf prs du c a m p u s ,

near c a m p u s , not far f r o m

ct des c o m m e r c e s , pas

the stores, not far f r o m the

loin d e la tour.

Tower.

T a m m y : Je vais prendre un

T a m m y : I a m going to have

th la vanille et un muffin

a vanilla tea and a chocolate

au chocolat. Et t o i ?

muffin. W h a t about y o u ?

Bette: Pour moi, un biscuit

Fiona: For me, an a l m o n d

aux a m a n d e s et un caf au

cookie a n d a latte.

lait.
T a m m y : Bon, d e m a i n o n va

T a m m y : A n d t o m o r r o w we'l

au g y m n a s e , h e i n ?

go to the g y m , e h ?

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the proper f o r m of or de plus a definite article.
1. E d o u a r d travaille d a n s un restaurant franais pas loin
2. T a m m y rencontre T e x d a n s un caf prs
3. T e x et ses a m i s adorent parler

universit.

c a m p u s ('mase').

vacances.

4. J o e - B o b adore le g t e a u

chocolat.

5. T e x passe ses a p r s - m i d i s

caf.

Fiona est une tudiante srieuse. Elle passe d e s h e u r e s


T e x rflchit b e a u c o u p

bibliothque.

existentialisme. Il adore la philo.

T e x explique la culture franaise


9. T a m m y tudie l'universit

tudiants amricains.
Texas.

10. J o e - B o b , t u v a s

restaurant avec C o r e y ce s o i r ?

11. Voici une photo

e n f a n t s de Rita.

12. La bibliothque U G L se trouve ct

tour.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

y f j i s i r X f i

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: pro 3

prepositions with places

Prepositions are used in expressions which relate where you are, where you are going and where you are coming from.
The preposition used in such expressions depends on the geographic location discussed.
do)

to/in

from

de (d')

cites (Paris, Londres, Austin)

Paris

d'Austin

islands (Cuba, Tahiti)

Cuba

de Tahiti

feminine (usually ending in -e)

en

de (d')

countries (la France)

en France

de France

states (la Californie)

en Californie

de Californie

provinces (la Bourgogne)

en Bourgogne

de Bourgogne

continents (l'Europe)

en Europe

d'Europe

masculine

au

du

countries (le Canada, le Texas :-)

au Canada

du Texas

provinces/states (le Colorado)

au Colorado

du Colorado

geographic

location

masculine beginning with a vowel

en

de (d')

countries (l'Iran)

en Iran

d'Iran

provinces/states (l'Ontario)

en Ontario

d'Ontario

aux

des

aux Etats-Unis

des Etats-Unis

plural countries and regions


(les Etats-Unis)

d1')

Tex est n au Texas, bien sr. Mais par

Tex was born in Texas, of course, but by

accident il a grandi en Europe. Comment

accident he grew up in Europe. How de we

expliquer cette histoire incroyable?

explain this unbelievable story?

Eh bien, quand il tait tout petit, on l'a mis

Well, when he was very little, he was put

dans un avion avec les bagages l'aroport

with the luggage in a plane at Bush

Bush International Houston.

International Airport in Houston.

Son avion est arriv Paris (en France) o

His plane arrived in Paris (in France) where

il a rencontr des nonnes franaises qui

he met some French nuns who had just

venaient de faire un voyage aux Etats-Unis.

taken a trip to the United States. They, too,

Elles arrivaient de Houston, elles aussi.

were arriving from Houston. What a

Quelle concidence!

coincidence!

Elles ont eu piti de ce pauvre tatou gar

They took pity on this poor lost armadillo

et elles l'ont emmen au couvent Lyon.

and they took him to their convent in Lyon.

Tex a vcu heureux chez les nonnes

Tex lived happily with the nuns for several

pendant plusieurs annes.

years.

Malheureusement, un jour il a t expuls

Unfortunately, one day he was deported

de France, et il est retourn dans son pays

from France and he returned to his native

natal, c'est--dire au Texas!

country, that is, to Texas!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the proper preposition: , en, au or aux.
1. Tex et T a m m y vont passer les vacances
2. T a m m y et Bette tudient

Espagne.

Austin.

3. Edouard n'aime pas travailler _

Texas.

4. Tex: Il fait beau tout le temps

France.

5. Fiona: Il y a beaucoup de monuments intressants


Bette a envie de faire du shopping
T a m m y aime faire du ski

Mexique?

Japon.

Suisse.

Rita va aller au cinma

San Antonio.

9. Edouard: J'adore le cidre

Bretagne.

10. Paw-Paw va au parc tous les jours


11. Rita adore les plages

Opelousas.

Floride.

12. Trey a envie d'aller

Australie.

fill in the blanks, part 2


Fill in the blank with the proper preposition: , en, au, aux, de, du, or des.
1. Tex habitait
2. Tex est n

Lyon.
Etats-Unis.

3. Tex a t explus
4. T a m m y a grandi

France.
_ Fort Worth.

5. Joe-Bob, tu v i e n s .

College Station, n'est-ce pas?

Edouard a pass quelques annes

Paris.

Les parents de Fiona sont mexicains. Ils viennent


Edouard vient

Bourgogne.

9. T a m m y a fait un voyage
10. Bette est alle

Europe.

Canada l't pass.

Mexique.

11. C o r e y a d e s parents qui habitent


12. T e x et ses a m i s rendent visite P a w - P a w

Californie.
Louisiane.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: pro 4

prepositions with infinitives

1. + infinitive
2. de + infinitive
3. pour, afin de, avant de, sans, par + infinitive
4. aprs (past infinitive constructions)

The infinitive is the verb form generally used after a preposition in French. (to) and de (from, about) are the most
common prepositions in French. In many expressions, the choice of the preposition or de before an infinitive is purely
idiomatic; that is, it is unrelated to meaning. In such cases, one must memorize which preposition is used.

+ infinitive
When the following verbs are followed by an infinitive, the preposition is required.
do)

Tex a du mal trouver l'inspiration.

Tex finds it difficult to find inspiration.

aider , to help to

encourager , to encourage to

s'amuser , to have fun at

s'habituer , to get used to

apprendre , to learn to

hsiter , to hesitate to

arriver , to succeed in, to manage to

inviter , to invite to

s'attendre , to expect to

se mettre , to start to

avoir du mal , to find it difficult to

se prparer , to prepare to

chercher , to try to, to attempt to

renoncer , to give up

commencer , to start to

russir , to succeed at

continuer /de, to continue to

servir , to be used for

(either or de)
se dcider , to make up one's mind to

tenir , to be anxious to, to be eager to

de + infinitive
When the following verbs are followed by an infinitive, the preposition de is required.
do)

Tex arrte d'crire, parce qu'il rve

Tex stops writing, because he is dreaming

d'embrasser Tammy.

of kissing Tammy.

(s')arrter de, to stop

oublier de, to forget to

choisir de, to choose to

permettre ( quelqu'un) de,


to permit someone to

conseiller de, to advise to

persuader de, to persuade to

se contenter de, to content oneself with

se presser de, to hurry to

continuer /de, to continue to

promettre de, to promise to

(either or de)
dcider de, to decide to

proposer de, to propose to

s'efforcer de to try hard to, to endeavor to

refuser de, to refuse to

essayer de, to try to

rver de to dream of

s'excuser de, to apologize for

se soucier de, to care about

finir de, to finish

se souvenir de, to remember to

mriter de, to deserve, to be worth

Most idiomatic expressions with avoir also require de + infinitive:


d1))

Oh, Tex a l'air de rver.

Oh, Tex seems to be dreaming.

Tex a peur de se rveiller.

Tex is afraid of waking up.

Tex a envie de dormir.

Tex feels like sleeping.

Tex a besoin de se reposer.

Tex needs to rest.

Tex a honte d'tre amricain.

Tex is ashamed of being American.

Tex a tort d'tre susceptible.

Tex is wrong in being touchy /


should not be touchy.

Tex a raison d'tre fier.

Tex is right to be proud.

f
t ' m i

flMtrtifAtiO

The infinitive may be used to complete the sense of an adjective or a pronoun. Generally infinitives following a noun or
adjective are preceded by the preposition de. (Tex est content de voir T a m m y dans ses rves rotiques. Tex is glad to
see T a m m y in his erotic dreams.)
However, adjectives and nouns are followed by the preposition + infinitive to indicate a passive sense or a function:
"cette eau est bonne boire" (this is drinking water), "ce livre est amusant lire" (this book is fun to read), "c'est triste
voir" (it's a sorry sight), "c'est difficile dire" (this is difficult to say).

pour, afin de, avant de, sans, par + infinitive


The infinitive expresses purpose when it is used after pour or afin de (in order to).
In the case of avant de (before) and sans (without), the English translation is often a conjugated verb (before they left),
or a present participle (without speaking), rather than the English infinitive.
The infinitive follows the preposition par (by) after the verbs commencer (to start) and finir (to finish).
d'D

pour/afin de

Tex s'allonge sur son lit pour lire.

Tex lies down on his bed to read.

avant de

Avant de s'endormir, Tex lit toujours

Before going to sleep, Tex always

un pome rotique.

reads an erotic poem.

sans

par

Il ne peut pas dormir sans rver de

He can not sleep without dreaming

Tammy.

of Tammy.

Il finit par rver de T a m m y toute la

He ends up dreaming of T a m m y all

nuit.

night long.

aprs (past infinitive constructions)


T h e infinitive of avoir or tre plus the past participle of a v e r b is used after the preposition aprs (after) to describe a
preceding action in the past. Note the past participle a g r e e m e n t in past constructions w i t h tre.
do)

Aprs avoir rv de T a m m y , T e x retrouve

A f t e r d r e a m i n g of T a m m y , T e x finds his

son inspiration.

inspiration again.

Aprs tre devenue la m u s e de T e x , T a m m y

A f t e r b e c o m i n g Tex' m u s e , T a m m y is

est passe la p o s t r i t !

immortalized!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the proper preposition: or de (d').
1. T e x se met

travailler t o u s les soirs 7 heures.

2. T e x et T a m m y s ' a m u s e n t

c o u t e r de la m u s i q u e cadienne.

3. T e x aide ses tudiants

a p p r e n d r e le franais.

4. T a m m y invite ses a m i s

dner chez elle.

5. T e x e n c o u r a g e ses tudiants
E d o u a r d a du mal
T e x promet
Bette essaie
9. E d o u a r d refuse
10. T e x a honte _ _

parler franais.

c o m p r e n d r e les h a b i t u d e s culinaires d e s A m r i c a i n s .
rendre visite P a w - P a w .
draguer Tex.
manger des hamburgers.
tre amricain.

11. E d o u a r d propose ses a m i s


12. J o e - B o b oublie t o u j o u r s .

dner au restaurant franais.


tudier.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

16 Feb 05

page:

depuis vs. il y a ... que, a f a i t . . . que, and voil ... que

predl

1. depuis
2. il y a ... que, a fait ... que, voil ... que

depuis
To indicate the starting date or duration of an action or situation which is still going on in the present, use the
preposition depuis + a time expression. Note that depuis can mean two different things in English. When depuis is
followed by a length of time, as in the first example below, it indicates duration and is translated into English by 'for'.
When depuis is followed by a date or a point in time, as in the second example, it indicates the starting point and is
translated by 'since'.
Tex sort avec T a m m y depuis un an.

Tex has been going out with T a m m y for


one year.

Tex sort avec T a m m y depuis septembre.

Tex has been going out with T a m m y since


September.

In a question, depuis is generally translated as 'how long' or 'since when'. In most cases, such questions with depuis can
be answered with either the expression of duration or the beginning point.

duration

(for how long?)

starting point

(since w h e n ? )

Depuis combien de

How long ...

Depuis quand ...

Since when ...

temps ...
... Bette est-elle

... has Bette been in

... Bette est-elle

... has Bette been in

amoureuse de Tex?

love with Tex?

amoureuse de Tex?

love with Tex?

Elle est amoureuse de

She has been in love

Elle est amoureuse

She has been in love

lui ...

with him ...

de lui ...

with him ...

... depuis un an.

... for one year.

... depuis le 20 aot.

... since August 20.

... depuis deux

... for two minutes.

... depuis lundi.

... since Monday.

... for ages.

... depuis son

... since his arrival.

minutes.
... depuis une
ternit.

arrive.

other uses of depuis


When used at the beginning of a sentence without any complement and followed by a comma, depuis is usually
translated as 'since then'. For example:
d1')

Bette a vu Tex le jour de son arrive UT


et depuis, elle n'arrte pas de penser lui.

Bette saw Tex on the day of his arrival at


UT and since then, she has not stopped
thinking about him.

In negative sentences, depending on the meaning, depuis may be used with either
the present (action still going on) or the pass compos to indicate how long
something has not been going on (non-action).
N'S

Tex: Je ne suis pas au Texas


depuis longtemps.

Tex: I haven't been in Texas


for long. (Tex is still in
Texas)

Tex: Je ne suis pas all en

Tex: I haven't been to

France depuis l't dernier.

France since last summer.

(Tex is not in France now)


Listen to the dialogue:
d'S

Bette: Tex, depuis quand es-tu au T e x a s ?

Bette: How long have you been in Texas?

Tex: Je ne suis pas au Texas depuis

Tex: I have not been in Texas for long. I

longtemps. Je suis au Texas depuis 1998.

have been in Texas since 1998.

Bette: Tex, depuis quand connais-tu

Bette: Tex, how long have you known

Tammy?

Tammy?

Tex: Je connais T a m m y depuis deux ans.

Tex: I have known T a m m y for two years.

Bette: Depuis quand veux-tu devenir

Bette: How long have you wanted to

pote?

become a poet?

Tex: Oh, depuis toujours!

Tex: Oh, I have always wanted to!

Bette: Depuis quand n'es-tu pas all en

Bette: How long have you not been in

France?

France?

Tex: Je ne suis pas all en France depuis

Tex: I haven't been in France since last

l't dernier. Et toi, Bette, depuis quand

summer. And you, Bette, how long have

as-tu ce tatouage?!

you had this tattoo?!

Bette: Oh, depuis lundi. a fait cool, tu ne

Bette: Oh, since Monday. Cool, isn't it?

trouves pas? Depuis, les mecs ne me

Since then, guys have not been able to

quittent pas des yeux!

take their eyes off me!

il y a ... que, a fait ... que, voil ... que


Il y a ... que, a fait ... que and, more emphatic, voil ... que express duration only. Unlike depuis, they are always used
at the beginning of a sentence. For example:

4>)

Bette: Tex, a fait longtemps que tu

Bette: Tex, how long have you been

enseignes le franais?

teaching French?

Tex: Voil un an que j'enseigne le franais.

Tex: I've been teaching French for a year.

Bette: Tex, il y a combien de temps que tu

Bette: Tex, how long have you known

connais T a m m y ?

Tammy?

Tex: a fait deux ans.

Tex: It's been two years.

Although il y a ... que and a fait ... que may occasionally be found in the future (il y aura ... que, a fera ... que), the
subordinate clause introduced by que is never in the future. It remains in the present. For example:
4>)

Bette: Tex, il y a combien de temps que tu

Bette: Tex, how long have you known

connais T a m m y ?

Tammy?

Il y aura deux ans demain que je connais

Tex: It will be two years tomorrow (that I

Tammy.

have k n o w n T a m m y ) .

fill in the blanks


Restate the following s e n t e n c e s using depuis. Include p u n c t u a t i o n in y o u r a n s w e r . M o d l e : a fait dix a n s q u ' E d o u a r d
est serveur. E d o u a r d est s e r v e u r d e p u i s dix ans.'
1. Il y a d e u x a n s q u ' E d o u a r d est a u T e x a s .
2. Il y a un a n q u e T e x et T a m m y sortent e n s e m b l e .
3. Il y a cinq ans que T a m m y tudie le franais.
4. Il y a six m o i s que Bette connat T e x .
5. Voil un an que T e x e n s e i g n e le franais.
6. Voil d e u x ans T a m m y connat T e x .
7. Voil q u e l q u e s m o i s que J o e - B o b habite Austin.
8. Voil un an que T a m m y est a m o u r e u s e de T e x .
9. a fait trois a n s que Bette et T a m m y sont amies.
10. a fait d e u x mois que C o r e y habite Jester.
11. a fait un an que T e x n'est pas all en France.
12. a fait un j o u r q u e Bette a un t a t o u a g e .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

y f j i s i r X f i

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: predl

depuis with imperfect

The preposition depuis with the imperfect indicates how long something had been going on in relation to a past event.
Basic sentence meaning and construction are similar to those of depuis with present. Depuis with imperfect may indicate
either duration or a temporal starting point.
4j)

what had been going on ...

past

event

translation

T a m m y attendait Tex depuis

... quand il est entr.

T a m m y had been waiting for


Tex for an hour ... when he

une heure ...

came in.
T a m m y souhaitait avoir une

... quand enfin le moment

discussion srieuse depuis

s'est prsent.

T a m m y had been wanting to


have a serious discussion
since Monday ... when at last

lundi ...

the opportunity presented


itself.

Duration may also be indicated with il y avait ... que, cela faisait ... que and, more
emphatic, voil que. The first sentence above could also be expressed as:

Il y avait ...

une heure que

T a m m y had been

Cela faisait .

T a m m y attendait

waiting for Tex for an

Voil ...

Tex.

hour.

Listen to the dialogue:


T a m m y : Salut, Tex. a v a ?

T a m m y : Hi Tex. How are y o u ?

Tex: Non! Hier, j'tais la bibliothque

Tex: Not well! Yesterday, I had been in the

depuis deux minutes quand l'alarme

library for two minutes when the fire alarm

incendie a sonn. Je n'ai pas pu travailler!

went off. I was not able to work! Then at

Ensuite la cafteria, je faisais la queue

the cafeteria, I had been waiting in line for

depuis une demi - heure, lorsqu'ils ont

half an hour when they announced they had

annonc qu'il n'y avait plus de sandwiches!

run out of sandwiches! I went to teach

Je suis all faire cours sans avoir mang!

without eating!

T a m m y : Pour moi non plus, rien ne va

T a m m y : Nothing is going the way I want

comme je veux! Depuis lundi je voulais te

either! I had been wanting to talk to you

parler, mais ce matin tu as dit que tu avais

since Monday, but this morning you said

trop de travail!

you had too much work!

Restate the following sentences using depuis. Include punctuation in your answer.Modle: Cela faisait deux ans
qu'Edouard tait serveur Paris. Edouard tait serveur Paris depuis deux ans.'
1. Il y avait deux heures qu'il pleuvait.
2. Il y avait un an que Tex connaissait Tammy.
3. Il y avait dix-huit ans que T a m m y habitait Fort Worth.
4. Il y avait cinquante ans que Paw-Paw habitait Opelousas.
5. Voil une semaine que T a m m y voulait avoir une discussion srieuse avec Tex.
6. Voil trente minutes que Tex attendait Edouard.

7. Voil q u e l q u e s m o i s que J o e - B o b habitait Austin.


8. Voil un an que T a m m y faisait du ski.
9. Cela faisait trois s e m a i n e s que Fiona tudiait le chinois.
10. Cela faisait dix m i n u t e s que C o r e y attendait le bus.
11. Cela faisait un m o i s que J o e - B o b n'tait pas all College Station.
12. Cela faisait un j o u r que Bette tait de bonne h u m e u r .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page:

depuis, pendant, pour: 'for'

predl

1. depuis
2. pendant
3. pour

There are three prepositions in French, depuis, pendant and pour, that are translated as 'for' and are used to indicate
the duration of an event.
depui s
If an event began in the past and is continuing into the present, use 'depuis' with the present tense. For example:
d1))

T a m m y : Tex et moi sommes ensemble

T a m m y : Tex and I have been together for a

depuis un an.

year.

pendant
Pendant literally means 'during', but it is usually best expressed in English as 'for' plus a certain amount of time. It can
be used with all tenses.
d1))

Tex: Tous les jours, je parle avec T a m m y

Tex: Everyday, I talk with T a m m y for an

pendant une heure.

hour.

Tex: A Nol, T a m m y et moi resterons chez

Tex: For Christmas, T a m m y and I will stay

ses parents pendant deux semaines.

at her parents' for two weeks.

Pendant is used with the pass compos to indicate how long a c o m p l e t e d activity lasted. Be careful not to use depuis
with the pass compos in this context.
d1))

Tex: J'ai attendu Edouard pendant une

Tex: I waited for Edouard for an hour.

heure. Finalement, il est arriv. Il est

Finally he arrived. He is always late.

toujours en retard.

pour
The preposition pour is used in a variety of contexts. When translated as 'for' in English, it may designate the duration of
a future event with the verbs partir and aller. Note that the verb may be conjugated in either the present or future

T a m m y : A Nol, Tex et moi, nous allons

T a m m y : For Christmas, Tex and I are going

chez moi pour deux semaines.

to my house for two weeks.

Tex: C'est vrai, nous partirons pour deux

Tex: It's true, we will leave for two long

longues semaines.

weeks.

Listen to the dialogue:

rta

d1))

fcfltw

M t ^ o i ^

T a m m y : Salut, Tex. a v a ?

T a m m y : Hi Tex. How are y o u ?

Tex: Non, ce n'est pas mon jour! Je pars

Tex: Not well! This is not my day! I am

pour le w e e k - e n d . Je v a i s rendre visite

leaving for the w e e k e n d . I a m going to visit

P a w - P a w . J'ai a t t e n d u le b u s pendant une

P a w - P a w . I w a i t e d for the bus for a n hour

heure ce matin. Puis j e l'ai rat c a u s e de

this morning. T h e n I missed it b e c a u s e of

Bette.

Bette.

T a m m y : Q u ' e s t - c e qu'elle a fait?

T a m m y : W h a t did she d o ?

T e x : Je ne vais pas te le dire.

T e x : I a m not going to tell you.

T a m m y : N o u s sortons e n s e m b l e depuis un

T a m m y : W e have been going out for a

an. T u ne peux plus garder de secrets

year. Y o u can't keep secrets like that

c o m m e a!

anymore!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct proposition: depuis, pendant, or pour.
1. T e x est rest au caf

une heure.

2. T e x et T a m m y sortent e n s e m b l e

un an.

3. E d o u a r d est s e r v e u r

longtemps.

4. T a m m y a c o n n u T e x

ses t u d e s Lyon.

5. T e x connat J o e - B o b

son arrive Austin.

6. T a m m y tudie le franais

cinq ans.

7. T a m m y a v o y a g en France

_ d e u x mois.

8. T o u s les j o u r s T e x reste a u caf


9. T e x va aller en Louisiane

d e u x h e u r e s pour crire d e s p o m e s .
d e u x jours.

10. T e x : T a m m y et moi partirons c h e z ses parents


11. T a m m y : Je suis a m o u r e u s e de T e x
12. Fiona a tudi

. d e u x longues s e m a i n e s .

un an!

cinq h e u r e s hier soir.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: predl

introduction to pronouns

A pronoun is a w o r d used to replace a noun. It is c o m m o n l y used to avoid repeating


a previously m e n t i o n e d noun k n o w n as the a n t e c e d e n t . In the following e x a m p l e ,
p r o n o u n s in bold face are used to replace the underlined antecedents.
T e x a crit un p o m e rotique, T e x w r o t e an erotic p o e m and
et puis il l'a e n v o y T a m m y .

then he sent it to T a m m y .

Elle a t c h o q u e q u a n d elle

S h e w a s s h o c k e d w h e n she

l'a lu.

read it.

T h e different kinds of pronouns are n a m e d according to their g r a m m a t i c a l function.


subject pronouns
je, tu, il, elle, on,

I, you, he, she, one,

nous, vous, ils, elles

we, you, t h e y (m), t h e y (f)

direct object pronouns


me, te, le, la

me, you, him / it, her / it

nous, vous, les

us, you, t h e m ( m ) / ( f )

indirect object pronouns


me, te, l ui

to me, to you, to him / her

nous, vous, leur

to us, to you, to t h e m (m) / (f)

the pronouns y and en


y
en

there (replaces preposition + location)


s o m e , any, not any (replaces 'de' + noun)

disjunctive pronouns
moi, toi, lui, elle, soi

me, you, he, she, o n e

nous, vous, eux, elles

w e , you, t h e m (m), t h e m (f)

reflexive pronouns
me, te, se

myself, yourself, himself, herself

nous, vous, se

ourselves, y o u r s e l v e s , t h e m s e l v e s

interrogative pronouns
qui

who

que

what

demonstrative pronouns
celui, celle

this one / that one (m,f)

ceux

these, t h o s e

relative pronouns
qui, que

w h o , w h o m , which

lequel, laquelle

which

indefinite pronouns
quelqu'un

someone

quelque chose

something

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

' i ^ i r k i

i/jt^iXflrJ

DSJJJJJJIJ,

page: pro2

A pronoun replaces a noun in order to avoid repetition. Subject pronouns are subjects of verbs. In French, a subject
pronoun is immediately or almost immediately followed by its verb. The use of subject pronouns is mandatory in French;
always use a subject pronoun to construct sentences in the absence of a noun subject. Here are the French subject
pronouns:

person
1st

person

2nd

person

3rd

person

singular

plural

je, I

nous, we

tu, you

vous, you/y'all

il, he/it

ils, they (masc.)

elle, she/it

elles, they (fem.)

on, one/we (colloquial)

Subject pronouns are labelled by the term 'person', referring to the subject's role in the conversation. 1st person refers
to the person(s) speaking (I, we); 2nd person to the person(s) spoken to (you); and 3rd person to the person(s) or
thing(s) spoken about (he, she, it, they).

je
Unlike the English pronoun 'I', je is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence,

tu

The pronoun tu is singular and, importantly, informal. Use tu to address people your own age and those you know well,

on
The pronoun on means 'one', or 'they' in a nonspecific sense: 'comme on dit' (as they say). On often replaces 'nous' in
spoken French: 'On y va?' (Shall we go?).
vous
The pronoun vous is conjugated with a plural verb so it obviously refers to more than one person. However, it is also the
customary form of address when you are talking to only one person you do not know well, such as an elder, a boss, a
shopkeeper, etc. Inappropriate use of the tu form is considered a sign
T a mof
m ydisrespect.
: Hello Paw-Paw. Are you doing
4>)
T a m m y : Bonjour, Paw-Paw. Vous allez
well?
bien?
Paw-Paw: Ah, oui! Et vous, mes enfants,

Paw-Paw: Ah, yes! And you, kids, Tex,

Tex, Tammy, vous allez bien?

T a m m y , are you doing O K ?

il/elle
Il and elle besides meaning 'he' and 'she' can both express the meaning 'it' depending
on the gender of the noun being replaced. For example:
d'S

Bette: La musique est bonne,

Bette: The music is good, isn't

n'est-ce pas?

it?

Tex: Non, elle est terrible! Je

Tex: No, it's terrible. I hate

dteste la musique country.

country music.

Bette: Oh, qu'est-ce que tu as

Bette: Oh, what did you do,

fait, T e x ? Le juke-box est

T e x ? The juke-box is broken

cass?

Tex: Oui, il est cass!

Tex: Yes, it is broken!

ils/elles
Ils and elles are similar to il and elle since they agree with the gender of the noun they
replace. Ils and elles may refer to people or things. Elles is used to mean 'they' if it replaces people who are all w o m e n
or objects that are all feminine in gender. On the other hand, ils is used to mean 'they' for objects that are masuline in
gender or a group of all men or any group where there is at least one male person or masculine object in the group.
Bette et Tex sont de bons amis.

Bette and Tex are good friends.

Normalement ils s'entendent bien, mais

Normally, they get along well, but not

pas aujourd'hui!

today!

Listen to the dialogue:

4>)

Fiona: Bonjour Tex, tu vas bien?

Fiona: Hi Tex, are you doing well?

Tex: Pas du tout, je vais trs mal. Je veux

Tex: Not at all. I'm doing poorly. I want to

couter de la musique franaise. Et puis

listen to some French music. And then

Bette et moi, on s'est disput.

Bette and I had a fight.

Fiona: A h bon? Elle est toujours l?

Fiona: Oh really? Is she still here?

Tex: Non. Elle est partie avec T a m m y . Elles

Tex: Non, she left with Tammy. They went

sont alles au Broken Spoke.

to the Broken Spoke.

Fiona: Tiens, nous y allons, toi et moi?

Fiona: Hey, why don't you and I go there?

Tex: Tu ne m'as pas entendu? Je n'aime

Tex: Didn't you hear m e ? I don't like

pas la musique country!!! Beurk! Qu'est-ce

country music!!! Argh! People really like

qu'on aime la musique country au Texas!

country music in Texas!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct subject pronoun: je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles.
1. Edouard:
2. Tex:

suis un escargot franais. (I)


m'appelle Tex. (I)

3. Joe-Bob: Bonjour, T a m m y
4. Corey: Tex,
5. T e x ?

vas bien? (you, fam)

es un tatou? (you, fam)


est professeur, (he)

6. T a m m y ?
7. Tex: En France,

est tudiante, (she)


est content? (one/we)

8. La craie?

est bleue, fit, f e m )

9. T e x : Mes tudiants,

s o m m e s franais, f w e )

10. J o e - B o b : Boniour, m o n s i e u r le professeur. C o m m e n t allez11. C o r e y et J o e - B o b ?


12. T a m m y et B e t t e ?

? fyou, formai)

sont du Texas, f t h e y )
sont tudiantes, f t h e y )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: pro 3

c'est vs il/elle est

1. c'est/ce sont
2. il/elle est / ils/elles sont

To describe and introduce things or people in French, two common phrases are used: c'est and
il/elle est. The plural forms are ce sont and ils/elles sont.
The choice between c'est and il / elle est is not always easy, but there are basic principles
which can guide you in the choice. A rule of thumb is that c'est or ce sont are followed by a
determined noun ('le tatou', 'une Amricaine', 'mes livres'). Remember that nouns in French
are preceded by a determiner. Il/elle est and ils/elles sont are followed by an adjective
('content', 'sympathique').

c'est/ce sont
C'est and ce sont are followed by the following:
+ noun, including

modified

nouns

+ proper

noun

+ disjunctive

Tex? C'est un tatou. C'est

is an American. He is a

tatou bilingue.

small bilingual armadillo.

T a m m y et Tex? Non, ce ne

T a m m y and T e x ? No they

sont pas des chats! Ce sont

are not cats! They are

des tatous.

armadillos.

C'est Tex.
pronoun

T e x ? He's an armadillo. He

un Amricain. C'est un petit

T a m m y : All T e x ? C'est

It's Tex.
T a m m y : Hello Tex? It's me.

moi.

dates

Tex: Qui est-ce? Ah, c'est

Tex: Who is this? Oh, it's

toi T a m m y !

you Tammy!

Tex: Mon anniversaire?

Tex: My birthday? It's July

C'est le quatorze juillet.

14th. It's next Thursday!

C'est jeudi prochain!


+ an infinitive

+ adjective

as

for

subject

non-specific

referents

Tex: Vivre, c'est parler

Tex: To live is to speak

franais.

French!

Tex: A h c'est chouette!

Tex: Oh, that's neat! That's

C'est incroyable!

unbelievable.

il/elle est/ils/elles sont


Use il/elle est or ils/elles sont to introduce the following:
+ adjective

+ nationality,
religion

alone

occupation,

(used as adjectives

in French)

Tex? Il est arrogant! Il n'est

Tex? He is arrogant! He

pas franais. Il est

isn't French. He is

amricain.

American.

T a m m y ? Elle est gentille.

T a m m y ? She is nice.

Tex? Il est pote.

Tex? He is a poet.

Trey? Il est musicien.

Trey? He is a musician.

T a m m y ? Elle est tudiante.

T a m m y ? She is a student.

R e m e m b e r that il(s) and elle(s) refer to a specific person or thing. Ce d o e s not refer to a specific p e r s o n or thing; it is
usually t r a n s l a t e d as t h a t .
d'S

Il est stupide. (He's stupid.)

C'est stupide. (That's stupid.)

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of c'est or il est: c'est, ce sont, il est, elle est, ils sont, or elles sont.
1. E d o u a r d ?
2. T e x ?

franais.
un tatou.

3. B e t t e ?

amricaine.

4. F i o n a ?

une fourmi.

5. Bette et T a m m y ?

intelligentes.

6. Fiona et B e t t e ?

d e s t u d i a n t e s l'universit du T e x a s .

7. C o r e y et J o e - B o b ?

texans.

8. Etudier le f r a n a i s ?

amusant!

9. T e x : La date de l ' e x a m e n final?


10. Qui est au t l p h o n e ?
11. Qui e s t - c e ?
12. T e x et T a m m y ?

le 10 d c e m b r e .

Paw-Paw.

moi!
d e s tatous.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

1. forms
2. uses

forms
Disjunctive pronouns (also known as tonic or stressed pronouns) refer to people whose names have already been
mentioned or whose identity is obvious from context. They are used in a variety of situations in French, most often in
short answers without verbs, for emphasis, or for contrast with subject pronouns. Here are all the disjunctive pronouns:

disjunctive pronouns
moi (I, me)

nous (we, us)

toi (you)

vous (you)

lui (he, him)

eux (they, t h e m ; masc.)

elle (she, her)

elles (they, them; fem.)

soi (one)

uses

d'S

after

prepositions

in short answers
exclamations

or

when no verb

is expressed
with ni.

ni, ne. . . que

in a compound

subject

or

object
in simple

agreements

disagreements
is expressed

for

emphasis

or

C'est samedi soir:

It's Saturday night:

T a m m y adore Tex. Elle ne

T a m m y loves Tex. She can't

peut pas vivre sans lui. Elle

live without him. She lives

vit pour lui. Elle veut se

for him. She wants to marry

marier avec lui.

him.

Corey: Qui sort avec

Corey: Who is going out

Tammy?

with T a m m y ?

Tex: Moi !

Tex: Me!

Tex ( T a m m y ) : Je n'aime

Tex (to Tammy): I love only

que toi ma chrie.

you, my dear.

T a m m y : Tex et moi, nous

T a m m y : Tex and I like to go

aimons aller en bote.

clubbing.

Joe-Bob: Moi aussi!

Joe-Bob: Me too!

Corey: Pas moi !

Corey: Not me!

Fiona: Moi non plus!

Fiona: Me neither!

Joe-Bob: Eux, ils s'amusent,

Joe-Bob: Those guys, they

mais vous, vous ne sortez

have fun, but you, you

jamais.

never go out.

Dimanche matin:

Sunday morning:

when no verb

after c'est

or ce

w i t h -mme,

in

sont

to mean'-self'

comparisons

Corey: C'est moi le plus nul.

C o r e y : I'm the biggest loser.

T a m m y : A r r t e de t'apitoyer

T a m m y : Stop pitying

sur t o i - m m e !

yourself!

Corey: Il n'y a p e r s o n n e qui

C o r e y : T h e r e is n o b o d y w h o

soit plus pitoyable que moi !

is m o r e pitiful t h a n me.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct disjunctive p r o n o u n : moi, toi, lui, elle, soi, nous, vous, eux, elles.
1. Qui adore Bette? J o e - B o b et Corey:

, n o u s a d o r o n s Bette! (we)

2. Fiona tudie beaucoup, mais pas J o e - B o b et Corey.


3. J o e - B o b habite Jester. Et C o r e y ?

, ils dtestent tudier.

aussi, il habite Jester.

4. T a m m y aime Tex. Elle veut se marier avec

5. T a m m y : T e x , tu sors avec Bette ce s o i r ? T u v a s o avec


J o e - B o b : Je ne d a n s e pas. Corey:
J o e - B o b : C o r e y et

non plus. Je ne d a n s e j a m a i s .

, n o u s s o m m e s de vrais T e x a n s !

C o r e y : Les autres sortent beaucoup, mais pas


9. Bette: Qui est la p o r t e ? Oh, c'est

_! Je ne sors j a m a i s .

, Tammy.

10. T a m m y : Corey, n o u s allons Barton Springs. T u v i e n s avec


11. T a m m y tudie le franais. Et Bette et Fiona?
12. Bette adore T e x . Elle pense s o u v e n t

aussi.
.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

1. forms and uses


2. placement
3. agreement of the past participle

A direct object is a noun following the verb that answers the questions 'what?' or 'whom?' Remember a pronoun replaces
a noun, and in this case the noun is a direct object. For example, T a m m y might ask: 'Tex, will you kiss m e tonight?',
where the direct object pronoun 'me' stands for T a m m y . Whether a verb takes a direct object or not depends on whether
the specific verb is transitive or intransitive.

forms and uses

direct object pronouns


me, me

nous, we/us

te, you

vous, you

le, him/it

les, them (masc./fem.)

la, her/it

In front of a word starting with a vowel, le and la become l'; me becomes m'; te becomes t'.
4>)

T a m m y : Dis, tu m'appelles ce soir, Tex?

T a m m y : Say, will you call me tonight, Tex?

Tex: Oui, ma belle, je t'appelle ce soir.

Tex: Yes, beautiful, I will call you tonight.

Corey: Edouard et moi, tu nous appelles ce

Corey: Edouard and me, will you call us

soir, Tex?

tonight, Tex?

Tex: Non, je ne vous appelle pas ce soir.

Tex: No, I will not call you guys tonight.

Joe-Bob: Moi, je peux les appeler ce soir!

Joe-Bob: I can call them tonight!

Direct object pronouns in French agree in number and gender with the nouns they replace.
Tex cherche le numro de tlphone de

Tex looks for Tammy's phone number.

T a m m y . Enfin il le trouve et il l'appelle.

Finally he finds it and he calls her.

Joe-Bob cherche les numros d'Edouard et

Joe-Bob looks for Edouard and Corey's

de Corey. Enfin il les trouve et il les

phone numbers. Finally he finds t h e m and

appelle.

he calls them.

Note that l e / r can replace an adjective or a verb.


Tex et T a m m y sont amoureux? Oui, ils le

Tex and T a m m y are in love? Yes, they are.

sont.
Tex est quelquefois jaloux? Oui, il l'est.

Tex is sometimes jealous? Yes, he is.

Joe-Bob: T u veux que j'appelle T a m m y ?

Joe-Bob: Do you want me to call T a m m y ?

Tex: Non, moi, je vais le faire.

Tex: No, I'll do it.

placement
Direct object pronouns precede the verb of which they are the object. In a composed tense (like the pass compos), the
pronoun precedes the auxiliary. In infinitive constructions, the pronoun goes immediately before the infinitive. When the

conjugated verb is negative, the ne precedes the object pronoun.


d1')

T a m m y : Tex m'aime.

T a m m y : Tex loves me.

Bette: Tex ne t'aime pas.

Bette: Tex does not love you.

T a m m y : Tex va m'pouser.

T a m m y : Tex is going to marry


me.

Bette: Sois raisonnable,

Bette: Be reasonable, Tammy.

Tammy. Tex ne veut pas

Tex doesn't want to marry

t'pouser.

you.

T a m m y : Mais si. Il l'a promis

T a m m y : Yes he does. He

quand je l'ai rencontr Lyon.

promised when I met him in


Lyon.

Bette: Mais il ne m'avait pas

Bette: But he hadn't yet met

encore rencontre!

me!

In the negative imperative, the pronoun follows the normal placement before the verb. However, in the affirmative
imperative, the object pronoun goes after the verb and is attached to it by a hyphen. In addition, me and te become moi
and toi.
d'S

Bette: Tex, embrasse-moi !

Bette: Tex, kiss me!

Joe-Bob: Attends, ne l'embrasse pas

Joe-Bob: Wait, don't kiss her in front of

devant moi. Je m'en vais.

me. I'm leaving.

Bette: Eh bien, il est parti. SMACK!

Bette: Eh bien, he's left. SMACK!

agreement of the past participle


The past participle agrees in gender and in number with a preceding direct object. In other words, if the direct object
pronoun is feminine, add an e to the end of the past participle; if the pronoun is masculine plural, add an s (unless the
past participle already ends in s); if it is feminine plural, add es.
Un peu plus tard ...

A little later ...

Bette: T a m m y ? Tu sais, Tex m'a

Bette: T a m m y ? Tex kissed me.

embrasse.
T a m m y : Ce n'est pas vrai!

T a m m y : That's not true.

Bette: Demande-lui. Il arrive.

Bette: Ask him. Here he comes.

T a m m y : Tex, tu l'as embrasse, Bette?

T a m m y : Tex, did you kiss her, Bette?

Tex: Qui? Bette? Mais non. Je ne l'ai pas

Tex: W h o ? Bette? Why no. I didn't kiss her.

embrasse. C'est elle qui m'a embrass!

She kissed me! POW! Ow!

PAF! Aie!

Rewrite the following sentences, replacing the words in capital letters with a correct direct object pronoun: le, la,
les. Modle: T a m m y cherche TEX. T a m m y le cherche.
1. Joe-Bob adore LES FEUX D'ARTIFICE.
2. Tex drague BETTE, (drague = hits on, flirts with)
3. Bette a embrass TEX.

4. J o e - B o b ne finit pas S E S D E V O I R S .
5. E d o u a r d n'aime pas attendre LE BUS.
6. T a m m y a invit S E S A M I S dner.
7. T e x c h e r c h e T A M M Y .
8. J o e - B o b regarde LA T E L E V I S I O N .
9. T a m m y va c h a n t e r LA M A R S E I L L A I S E .
10. Les tudiants de T e x ont appris L E U R S V E R B E S .
11. T a m m y va fter LA S A I N T - S Y L V E S T R E .
12. Fiona a tudi L ' E S P A G N O L .

2005 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

1 Nov 05

page: pro 6

pronoun y

1. uses
2. placement

uses
y expressing place
Y replaces a preposition indicating location plus its object: ' UT' (at UT), 'devant la Tour'
(in front of the Tower). It is usually translated as there. Prepositions which indicate
location include , en, dans, devant, derrire, sous, sur. The noun objects of these
prepositions are places and things which indicate a place. The exception is the preposition
chez which is used with a person, as in 'chez Bette' (Bette's place). Note that + person
is replaced by an indirect object pronoun except with certain verbs.
4>)

Bette: Tammy, tu vas Waco?

Bette: Tammy, are you going to Waco?

T a m m y : Oui, j'y vais ce week-end pour un

T a m m y : Yes, I'm going there this weekend

bal Baylor.

for a dance at Baylor.

Bette: Mais on ne peut pas y danser.

Bette: But you can't dance there.

T a m m y : Mais si, les tudiants Baylor ont

T a m m y : But yes, Baylor students now have

maintenant le droit de danser.

the right to dance.

Bette: Super, on y va!

Bette: Super, let's go there!

y wi th certai n verbs
With certain verbs y replaces the preposition when its object is an idea or thing, but not a person. Some of these
verbs are penser , rflchir (to think about), s'intresser (to be interested in), rpondre (to answer to), participer
(to participate in). In these expressions, the preposition is idiomatic. It does not indicate location in or movement
toward.
Tex s'intresse la philo. Il s'y intresse

Tex is interested in philosophy. He's terribly

normment.

interested in it.

Tex pense toujours l'existentialisme. Il y

Tex always thinks about existentialism. He

pense jour et nuit.

thinks about it night and day.

When these verbs are followed by a person, the disjunctive pronoun will be used, for example, 'Bette pense souvent
Tex. Elle pense souvent lui.' (Bette often thinks of Tex. She often thinks of him.)

placement
Placement of y is the same as that of direct and indirect pronoun objects: y precedes
the verb it refers to, except in the affirmative imperative. In compound tenses, like
the pass compos, it precedes the auxiliary. Note that there is no agreement
between y and the past participle, since y does not replace a direct object.
d'D

Edouard: O allez-vous?
Bette: A Waco. Tu veux y aller avec nous?

Edouard: Where are you going?


Bette: To Waco. Do you want to go there
with us?

Edouard: Je n'y suis jamais all. On m'a dit

Edouard: I've never been there. I've been

que Waco tait une exprience

told that Waco was an anthropological

anthropologique, le muse Dr. Pepper, le

experience: the Dr. Pepper museum, the

muse Texas Rangers, Baylor ...

Texas Rangers museum, Baylor ...

Bette: Nous y allons tout de suite.

Bette: We're going there right away.

E d o u a r d : Bon, a t t e n d e z - m o i , j'y vais aussi.

E d o u a r d : Good, wait for me I'm going

Allons-y!

t h e r e , too. Let's go (there)!

fill in the blanks


Rewrite the following sentences, replacing the w o r d s in capital letters by the p r o n o u n 'y.' Modle: 'Bette et T a m m y
v o n t A W A C O . Elles y vont.'
1. Fiona passe ses a p r s - m i d i s A LA B I B L I O T H E Q U E .
2. Bette va s o u v e n t A U J A R D I N PUBLIC.
3. T e x dsire retourner A LYON.
4. E d o u a r d ne v e u t pas travailler D A N S UN R E S T A U R A N T T E X A N .
5. Bette n'est pas e n c o r e alle EN F R A N C E .
6. J o e - B o b ne va j a m a i s EN C L A S S E .
7. J o e - B o b : O n va A U C I N E M A ce w e e k - e n d ?
8. T a m m y s'intresse A LA C U L T U R E F R A N A I S E .
9. T e x rflchit b e a u c o u p A LA P H I L O S O P H I E .
10. T e x , tu j o u e s A U X C A R T E S ?
11. T e x et ses a m i s sont alls A L ' A L A M O .
12. E d o u a r d a i m m i g r A U X

ETATS-UNIS.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: pro 7

1. uses
2. placement

uses
En is a pronoun that typically replaces de + a noun; this includes nouns introduced by partitive or indefinite determiners
(de, du, de l', de la, des). En may be translated as 'some', 'any', or 'not any'.

Tammy, Edouard et Tex sont table.

Tammy, Edouard and Tex are eating.

T a m m y : Edouard, tu veux de la soupe?

Tammy: Edouard, do you want some soup?

Edouard: Oui, merci. Elle est dlicieuse.

Edouard: Yes, thank you. It is delicious.

Tex: Il y a du vin?

Tex: Is there any wine?

Tammy: Oui il y en a. Tu en veux?

Tammy: Yes, there is some. Would you


like some ?

In a similar fashion, en replaces a noun introduced by a number or an expression of quantity. Notice that the equivalent
of en is not always expressed in English, although en must still be used in the French sentence:
Tammy: Edouard, tu as assez de pain?

Tammy: Edouard, do you have enough


bread?

Edouard: Oui, merci, j'en ai assez.

Edouard: Yes, thank you, I have enough


(of it ).

Tammy: Tex, tu veux un peu de pain?

Tammy: Tex, do you want a little bread?

Tex: Non, merci, je n'en veux pas. J'en ai

Tex: No, thank you, I do not want any. I

encore une tranche.

still have a slice (of it ).

En also replaces expressions introduced by the preposition de with the following verbs:
d'S

s'occuper de, to deal with


parler de, to speak of
remercier de, to thank for
revenir de, to return from
venir de, to come from

4S

Tammy: Alors Edouard, comment s'est

Tammy: So Edouard, how did your

passe ton interview au restaurant?

interview at the restaurant go?

Edouard: J'en reviens tout juste! C'tait

Edouard: I've just returned from it ! It was

dgotant.

disgusting.

T a m m y : T u veux en parler?

T a m m y : Do you want to talk about it ?

Edouard: Tu sais bien que j'ai envie de

Edouard: You know that I want to earn

gagner plus d'argent, j'en ai vraiment

more money. I really need s o m e (money),

besoin, mais servir du barbecue! Jamais!

but serve barbecue! Never! Edouard will

Edouard ne travaillera jamais dans un

never work in a restaurant named Good

restaurant qui s'appelle le Bon Barbecue!

Barbecue!

Note that a disjunctive pronoun is used with these verbs to replace expressions
when the object of the prepostion de is a person rather than a thing.

placement
Placement of en is the same as direct and indirect pronoun objects. En precedes the
verb it refers to, except in the affirmative imperative. In compound tenses (such as
the pass compos), it precedes the auxiliary verb. Note that there is no agreement
between en and the past participle, since en does not replace a direct object. When
en is used with il y a ('there is, there are'), it comes between y and a: Du pain sur la
table? Il y en a (Some bread on the table? There is s o m e there.)

Tex: De nouveaux pomes? Ne m'en parle

Tex: Some new poems? Don't talk to me

pas!

about them.

Editeur: Mais si, parlons-en.

Editor: But yes, let's talk about them.

Tex: Je n'en ai pas crit depuis longtemps

Tex: I haven't written any for a long time

et je ne vais plus en crire. Ma muse m'a

and I'm not going to write a n y more. My

quitt et je n'ai plus d'ides.

muse has left me and I don't have any


more ideas.

Editeur: Mais si tu en as. Elles sont

Editor: But yes, you have some (ideas).

bizarres, tes ides, mais tu en as beaucoup

Your ideas are strange, but you have a lot

quand mme.

of t h e m nevertheless.

fill in the blanks


Complete the answers to the questions using the pronoun 'en.'
1. Tex : T a m m y , tu me demandes du gteau au chocolat? T a m m y : Oui, je/j'
2. T a m m y : Vous avez beaucoup d'argent? Tex et Edouard : Oui nous
3. Tex : Fiona, tu bois du vin? Fiona : Non merci, je/j'

4. T a m m y : Parlons de notre mariage! Tex : Non,


5. Joe-Bob: Il y a du popcorn? T a m m y : Oui,

!
.

6. T a m m y : Tu as mang assez de lgumes? Bette : Oui, je/j'

7. T a m m y : Tu es folle de la cuisine d'Edouard? Bette : Oui, je/j'.


8. T a m m y : Nous avons besoin de prendre des vacances! Tex : T u as raison, nous
9. Paw-Paw : Est-ce que nous avons parl de la guerre de 40? Tex : Oui, nous
10. T a m m y : Tu joues du piano? Trey : Oui, je/j'
11. Joe-Bob : Je reviens de UT. T a m m y : Moi aussi, je/j'.

12. T a m m y : T u as du chocolat? Bette : Oui, ie/i'

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: pro 8

indirect abject pronouns

1. forms and uses


2. placement

forms and uses


A n indirect object is a person which receives the action of a verb indirectly. In French
the indirect object is always preceded by the preposition and in English by the
preposition 'to' : Tex offre des fleurs T a m m y . (Tex gives flowers to Tammy.) A n
indirect object pronoun indicates + a person. In the sentence 'Tex offre des fleurs
Tammy', 'Tammy' is the indirect object. The indirect object pronoun that replaces '
Tammy' is lui : Tex lui offre des fleurs. (Tex gives flowers to her.) Following are the
French indirect object pronouns:
4

me (to me)

nous (to us)

te (to you)

vous (to you)

lui (to him/to her)

leur (to them)

In front of a word starting with a vowel, me and te become m' and t'.

T a m m y : Tex, tu m'offres des fleurs? Et

T a m m y : Tex, you're giving m e flowers? But

Bette, tu lui offres des fleurs aussi, n'est-ce

Bette, you give her flowers, too, don't y o u ?

pas?
Tex: Oui, mais je t'offre des fleurs plus

Tex: Yes, I give you flowers more often.

souvent.
Joe-Bob: Tu leur as offert des fleurs,

Joe-Bob: You gave them both flowers!

toutes les deux! Bravo, quel t o m b e u r !

Bravo, what a womanizer!

Tammy: Paf!

T a m m y : Pow!

placement
A n indirect object pronoun is placed just before the verb of which it is the object. In a composed
tense (like the pass compos), the pronoun precedes the auxiliary. In infinitive constructions,
the pronoun goes immediately before the infinitive. When the conjugated verb is negative, the ne
precedes the object pronoun. Note that, in compound tenses (such as the pass compos), there
is no agreement between the past participle and the indirect object. In the affirmative imperative,
the indirect object pronoun is placed after the verb it is the object of and attached to it by a
hyphen. In addition, me and te become moi and toi.
d'S

Tex: Regarde, quelqu'un m'a envoy un

Tex: Look, someone sent me a gift.

cadeau.
T a m m y : Qui t'offre un cadeau?

T a m m y : Who is giving you a gift?

Tex ouvre le cadeau.

Tex opens the gift.

Tex: Ahh, une bouteille de champagne!

Tex: Ahh, a bottle of champagne!

T a m m y : Oh, regarde. Il y a une petite carte

T a m m y : Oh, look. There is a little card ...

... Bon anniversaire, mon petit tatou. Je

Happy birthday, my little armadillo. I'm

compte partager cette bouteille ... et la vie

counting on sharing this bottle ... and life

avec toi. Avec toi? Mais, il n'y a pas de

with you. With y o u ? But, there's no

signature. Eh bien, monsieur, explique-moi !

signature. Well, now, sir, explain (this to)


me.

Tex: Euh

Tex: Uh

T a m m y : C'est bien cette petite chatte

T a m m y : It's that c u n n i n g little cat, isn't it?

maline, n'est-ce p a s ? Je v a i s aller lui parler.

I'm going to go talk to her about it.

T e x : Ne lui parle pas! C'est une bagatelle,

T e x : Don't talk to her! It's a small thing,

c'est un petit rien ...

it's nothing ...

T a m m y : Un petit rien? Paf!

T a m m y : N o t h i n g ? Pow!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank using the correct indirect object pronoun.
1. T e x : T a m m y , offre une bire J o e - B o b ! Allez offre-_

une bire!

2. T a m m y : Tex, ne d o n n e pas ces roses Fiona et Bette! Ne .


3. T e x et T a m m y : Edouard, n o u s a d o r o n s t e s crpes! Donne-_
4. T e x : T a m m y , j e

d o n n e pas de roses!
ta recette!

envoie une carte de voeux!

5. J o e - B o b : J'ai faim! T a m m y , tu
6. T e x : T a m m y , j'ai faim! Fais-

fais un h a m b u r g e r ?
un h a m b u r g e r !

7. T a m m y : Tex, tu pues (='to stink'). A c h t e -

du dodorant!

8. T a m m y : J'ai achet un c a d e a u T e x ! Bette : A h ? Q u ' e s t - c e qu tu _


9. T a m m y : Je v a i s acheter un c a d e a u Tex. Bette : A h ? Q u ' e s t - c e q u e tu v a s .
10. T e x : J'ai achet d e s c a d e a u x pour m e s neveux. T a m m y : A h ? Q u ' e s t - c e que t u
11. T e x : J'ai confess m e s s e n t i m e n t s T a m m y . Je
12. T e x : T a m m y m'adore. Elle

. as a c h e t ?
acheter?
as a c h e t ?

ai e n v o y d e s fleurs!

parle t o u s les jours.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: pro 9

order of object pronouns present tense

1. overview
2. y and en
3. direct and indirect object pronouns together
4. negation

overview
A single pronoun object is placed before the verb with which it is associated, except in the affirmative imperative when
the pronoun object follows the verb. The following table outlines the order and placement of pronouns when there is
more than one object pronoun in a sentence.
me

SUBJECT

te

le

nous

la

vous

les

lui

en

leur

VERB

se

Joe-Bob prpare sa leon: Mon dieu,

Joe-Bob is preparing for class: My god, the

comme c'est difficile, l'ordre des pronoms

order of object pronouns sure is difficult!

objets! Le prof me dit qu'il faut les

The teacher says I have to memorize them.

apprendre par coeur. Voici ma chanson ...

Here is my song ...

However, in the affirmative imperative, the pronoun objects follow the verb.
-le
VERB

-la
-les

-moi (m')
-lui

-toi (f)

-leur

-nous

en

-vous

y and en
Y always precedes en, and both precede the verb except in the affirmative imperative. When used with other pronouns, y
and en always follow any other pronoun object, even in the affirmative imperative.
4>)

Bette: Tu vas au gymnase?


T a m m y : Oui, j'y vais. Et toi, Fiona?

Fiona: Non, j'en viens. Vas-y avec Bette.

T a m m y : Il y a des footballeurs l-bas?

Bette: Are you going to the g y m ?


T a m m y : Yes, I'm going there. A n d how
about you, Fiona?
Fiona: No, I've just been there. Go with
Bette.
T a m m y : Are there any football players
there?

Fiona: Oui, il y en a. Je te retrouve dans

Fiona: Yes, there are some. Should I meet

une heure chez toi?

you at your house in an hour?

T a m m y : D'accord. Dis Fiona, je n'ai pas de

T a m m y : OK. Say, Fiona, I don't have any

rouge lvres. Tu m'en donnes?

lipstick. Can you give me some?

Bette: Et n'oublie pas le parfum. C'est

Bette: And don't forget the perfume. It's

essentiel aussi, hein? Allez, donne-nous-en.

also essential, right? Go on, give us some.

direct and indirect object pronouns together


Sometimes there will be both a direct and an indirect object pronoun in the same sentence. The direct object pronoun is
usually closest to the verb of which it is the object. However, the order of direct / indirect object pronouns is reversed in
the third person singular and third person plural (le lui, le leur, etc.). In this case, the indirect object is closest to the

son parfum?

Fiona me le

Fiona gives it to

Fiona nous le

Fiona gives it to

donne?

me?

donne?

us?

Fiona te le

Fiona gives it to

Fiona vous le

Fiona gives it to

donne?

you (singular)?

donne?

you (plural)?

Fiona le lui

Fiona gives it to

Fiona le leur

Fiona gives it to

donne?

him/her?

donne?

them?

Remember that in the affirmative imperative, me and te become moi and toi.

T a m m y : Fiona! Fiona! Ton parfum, tu me le

T a m m y : Fiona! Fiona! Your perfume? Are

donnes! ? Tu vas me le donner? Donne-le-

you giving it to m e ? Are you going to give

moi !

it to me!? Give it to me!

Fiona: Pardon, je ne comprends pas. V o u s

Fiona: Sorry, I do not understand. You

voulez du parfum pour aller au gymnase?

want perfume to go to the g y m ?

negation
In simple tenses, like the present, future, imperfect, and pass simple, the object pronouns are placed between the ne
and the verb. In compound tenses, like the pass compos, the plus-que-parfait etc., the object pronouns are placed
between the ne and the auxiliary verb.
4>)

Plus tard au gymnase.

Later in the gym.

T a m m y : Personne ne fait attention nous!

T a m m y : No one is paying any attention to

T u vois, sans parfum, aucun mec! Pourquoi

us. You see, no perfume, not a single guy!

est-ce que Fiona ne nous en a pas donn?

Why didn't Fiona give us any?

Bette: Et bien, c'est parce qu'elle ne

Bette: Well, that's because she doesn't

comprend pas l'art de la sduction.

understand the art of seduction.

fill in the blanks


Rephrase each sentence by filling in the blank with two appropriate object pronouns.
1. Tex offre son livre Edouard. => Tex

offre.

2. Tex retrouve T a m m y et Edouard au restaurant. => Tex _

retrouve.

3. Edouard donne sa recette Tex et Tammy. => Edouard

donne.

4. Tex : Je ddicace (='to dedicate') mon livre Tammy. => Je

ddicace.

5. T e x : J'offre un peu de vin m e s amis. => Je

offre un peu.

6. E d o u a r d : J'ai fait d e s c r p e s pour vous. => Je


7. T a m m y : Il y a b e a u c o u p de soleil. => Il

ai fait.
a beaucoup.

8. T a m m y et T e x parlent du mariage P a w - P a w et Trey. => T a m m y et T e x


9. T a m m y : T u me reioins la bibliothque? => T u

parlent.

reioins?

10. T e x : Je m o n t r e m e s p h o t o s m e s neveux. => T e x : Je

montre.

11. T e x : Je v e u x parler de m o n livre T a m m y . => T e x : Je v e u x


12. T e x : Je trouve T a m m y trs bien sur cette photo. => T e x : Je/i'

parler.
trouve trs bien!

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

u V ^ J ^ L r J

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: pro 10

indefinite pronouns

1. quelqu'un, quelque chose


2. chacun vs. aucun
3. more indefinite pronouns

A pronoun replaces a noun which has been mentioned or is obvious from context. A n
indefinite pronoun refers to people or things without identifying them precisely.

quelqu'un, quelque chose


Quelqu'un (somebody) is used in affirmative or interrogative sentences to refer to a
person, whether male or female. Quelque chose (something) is the equivalent pronoun
used to refer to a thing. If quelqu'un or quelque chose is followed by an adjective, the
adjective needs to be preceded by de.
do)

T a m m y : Quelque chose

T a m m y : Something

d'extraordinaire est arriv

exceptional happened

aujourd'hui. J'ai rencontr

today. I met somebody

quelqu'un de lgendaire.

legendary.

The negative form of quelqu'un is personne (no one, nobody) and the negative form of quelque chose is rien
(nothing). Remember that ne precedes the verb when personne and rien are used in negative sentences.
49

Tex: Qui as-tu rencontr?

Tex: Who did you meet?

T a m m y : Personne que tu connais.

T a m m y : No one you know.

Tex: C'est tout? Tu ne me dis rien d'autre?

Tex: That's all? You aren't telling me


anything else?

T a m m y : a ne vaut pas la peine. Personne

T a m m y : It's not worth the trouble. Nobody

ne veut me croire.

wants to believe me.

Quelques-uns (a few, masculine) and quelques-unes (a few, feminine) are pronouns used in the plural to speak about
people or things. Note that the s at the end of quelques is pronounced before the following uns or unes.
do)

Tex: Quoi? T u as rencontr Ricky Williams?

Tex: What? You met Ricky Williams? Some

Quelques-uns de mes amis me disent que

of my friends tell me you are in love with

tu es amoureuse de lui ...

him ...

T a m m y : Un peu ... Parmi mes copines,

T a m m y : A little ... A m o n g my girlfriends,

quelques-unes sont compltement folles de

some are completely crazy about him.

lui.

chacun vs. aucun


Chacun (each one) is singular and masculine, chacune is singular and feminine. Chaque, on the other hand, is an
indefinite determiner used to modify a noun.
do)

Tex: T u es amoureuse de Ricky Williams?!

Tex: You're in love with Ricky Williams?! So

Alors c'est chacun sa vie maintenant?!

it's everyone for himself now?!

T a m m y : Mais non, calme-toi!

T a m m y : Of course not, calm down!

The negative form of chacun is aucun. Aucun (none, not a one, not a single) is singular and masculine, aucune is
singular and feminine. They are used with ne.

T a m m y : J'ai rencontr beaucoup de

T a m m y : I have met many football players,

footballeurs, mais aucun ne me fait cet

but none has this effect on me.

effet.

more indefinite pronouns


Plusieurs (several), certains (some; masculine) / certaines (some; feminine), tous (all, everybody; masculine) / toutes
(all, everybody; feminine) are plural indefinite pronouns. They are used in place of plural nouns. Note that the s is
pronounced in tous when it is a pronoun.
d1')

Les copines de T a m m y ? Plusieurs sont

T a m m y ' s girlfriends? Several are crazy

folles de Ricky Williams.

about Ricky Williams.

Les copines de Fiona? Certaines sont folles

Fiona's girlfriends? Some are crazy about

de Joe-Bob.

Joe-Bob.

Les copains de T e x ? Certains sont amoureux

Tex's friends? Some are in love with

de T a m m y .

Tammy.

Les copains de T e x ? Tous sont dingues de

Tex's friends? All are crazy about Bette.

Bette.
Les copines de T a m m y ? Toutes sont folles

T a m m y ' s girlfriends? All are crazy about

de Tex!

Tex!

tout
Tout (everything), on the other hand, is always singular. For example:
d'S

T a m m y : Tex, tout va bien?

T a m m y : Tex, everything's ok?

autre
Autre is always preceded by a determiner: un autre (another, masculine), l'autre (the other, masculine or feminine); une
autre (another, feminine); d'autres (others, masculine or feminine), les autres (the others, masculine or feminine).
d'D

Tex: Non! Il y a un autre dans ta vie!?

Tex: No! There is another in your life!?

Note the following phrases with autre: autre chose (something else), l'un et l'autre (the one and the other, both, masc),
l'une et l'autre (the one and the other, both, fem), les uns et les autres (one and every, masc), les unes et les autres (one
and every, fem), ni l'un ni l'autre (neither one nor the other), l'un l'autre (to one another), l'un pour l'autre (for one
another).

n'importe qui
N'importe qui means 'anybody', 'anyone at all'; n'importe quoi means 'anything', 'whatever', 'nonsense'. Y o u may also
find qui que ce soit (anybody) and quoi que ce soit (anything).
4>)

Tex: Tammy, je ne suis pas n'importe qui !

Tex: Tammy, I am not just anybody! You

T u ne peux pas me traiter comme a!

cannot treat me this way!

T a m m y : T u racontes n'importe quoi, Tex!

T a m m y : You are talking nonsense Tex!

tel(s), telle(s)
Tel(s) (masc), telle(s) (fem) m a y be translated a s 'such', 'such as', 'like' or 'as' according to the context. For e x a m p l e ,
'Tel pre, tel fils' w o u l d be the translation of 'Like father, like son'.
d'S

T a m m y : Je n'ai j a m a i s v u une j a l o u s i e telle

T a m m y : I have never seen s u c h j e a l o u s y

que la tienne!

a s yours!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the appropriate indefinite p r o n o u n : personne, quelque chose, quelqu'un, q u e l q u e s uns/quelques-unes, chacun/chacune,

aucun/aucune.

1. T a m m y : Je v a i s faire les courses, tu as besoin de


2. T a m m y :

a t l p h o n pour toi T e x .

3. T e x : J o e - B o b , t u as lu d e s livres? J o e - B o b : Oui,
4. Fiona : Je suis solitaire, j e n'ai
5. Bette:

petit-ami.

ne m'aime, je suis si triste.

6. T e x : J'ai achet un c a d e a u pour T a m m y et un c a d e a u pour Bette : un c a d e a u pour


7. T e x : A h , je n'ai

inspiration aujourd'hui!

8. T a m m y : Je ne c o n n a i s

c o m m e T e x . Il est unique.

9. T e x : Des c o p i n e s ? Oui, j ' e n ai


10. Bette : Je suis une f e m m e fatale.
11. J o e - B o b :
12. T a m m y :

. Je suis populaire.
h o m m e ne me rsiste.

ne va pas, T a m m y ?
sonne la porte. V a ouvrir Tex.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: pro 11

demonstrative pronouns

1. celui, celle, ceux, celles


2. ceci, cela

celui, celle, ceux, celles


Celui, celle, ceux, celles ('this one' or 'that one' in the singular; 'these,' 'those' or 'the ones' in the plural) are
demonstrative pronouns. They replace a specific noun, which has been mentioned or is obvious from context, in order to
avoid repeating it. They agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace.

49

number

masculine

feminine

singular

celui

celle

plural

ceux

cel l es

Celui de/d', celle de/d' etc. show possession. They are generally translated by 'that of', 'those of' or by the
possessive form.
4>)

T a m m y : T u aimes l'accent d'Edouard?

T a m m y : Do you like Edouard's accent?

Bette: Je prfre celui de Tex.

Bette: I prefer Tex's.

T a m m y : T u aimes la voix d'Edouard?

T a m m y : Do you like Edouard's voice?

Bette: Oh, je prfre celle de Tex.

Bette: Oh, I prefer that of Tex.

T a m m y : T u aimes les yeux d'Edouard?

T a m m y : Do you like Edouard's eyes?

Bette: Oui, mais je prfre ceux de Tex.

Bette: Yes, but I prefer Tex's.

T a m m y : T u aimes les oreilles d'Edouard?

T a m m y : Do you like Edouard's ears?

Bette: Oui, mais je prfre celles de Tex.

Bette: Yes, but I prefer those of Tex.

-ci and -l are added to the demonstrative pronouns to indicate nearness or farness like the distinction between 'this
one' and 'that one' in English.
4>)

Bette: Tammy, regarde mes dernires

Bette: Tammy, look at my latest pictures of

photos de Tex! Tu prfres celle-ci ou

Tex! Do you prefer this one or that one?

celle-l ?

Celui qui ... , celle qui ... mean 'the one that', 'the one who' and ceux qui ... , celles qui ... mean 'those that / who'.
They introduce a relative clause in which they are used as subjects. In the example below, ceux qui is the subject of
the verb 'portent'.

Bette: Moi, j'aime les tatous.

Bette: Me, I like armadillos.

T a m m y : Moi aussi, surtout ceux qui portent

T a m m y : Me too, especially those who wear

le bret.

berets.

Celui que ... and celle que ... mean 'the one that / w h o m / which', ceux que ... and celles que ... mean 'the ones that
/ w h o m / which'. They introduce a relative clause in which they are used as objects. In the example below, celui que
is the object of 'j'aime'.
4>)

T a m m y : Et toi Bette, qui est-ce que tu

T a m m y : What about you Bette, who do you

aimes?

love?

Bette: Celui que j'aime ne m'aime pas!

Bette: The one I love does not love me!

Celui dont ... and celle dont ... mean 'the one whose', 'the one of which', ceux dont ... and celles dont ... mean 'those
whose', 'the ones of which'. They introduce a relative clause in which the verb takes an object introduced by de
(parler de, 'to talk about')
T a m m y : De qui tu parles?

T a m m y : Who are you talking about?

Bette: Tu ne connais pas celui dont je parle.

Bette: You don't know the one I am talking


about!

ceci , cel a
Ceci (this) and cela (that) are invariable demonstrative pronouns. They refer to things that cannot have a specific
gender assigned to them, like ideas or statements. a is used in familiar or conversational style in place of cela for
emphasis.
T a m m y : T u es amoureuse de Tex, cela me

T a m m y : You are in love with Tex. That

semble vident!!

seems obvious to me!!

Bette: Qu'est-ce que tu racontes?! T u crois

Bette: What are you saying!? Do you really

vraiment que je ne respecte pas l'amour

believe that I don't respect the love

entre toi et Tex?! a me fait de la peine,

between you and Tex? Now that really

a!

upsets me!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the appropriate demonstrative pronoun: celui, celle, ceux, celles, cela.
1. T a m m y

est compltement absurde!

2. T a m m y

La passion de Tex, c'est la posie ; _

3. T a m m y

Le talent de Tex est extraordinaire ;

4. T a m m y

Les admiratrices (female admirers) de Tex sont nombreuses,

5. Bette: J'aime les tatous, mais


6. Tex : J'apprcie les femmes.

. de Trey, c'est la musique.


de Joe-Bob est limit.

que je prfre c'est Tex.


que je prfre c'est Tammy.

7. Tex : De tous mes amis, Edouard est


8. T a m m y : De toutes mes amies, Bette est

qui cuisine le mieux.


qui est la plus populaire.

. de Corey sont rares.

9. T e x : Les y e u x de T a m m y sont beaux, mais


10. Bette : L'accent d ' E d o u a r d est sexy, mais
11. J o e - B o b : Les rollers de T e x sont bien, mais
12. T a m m y :

de Bette ne sont pas mal non plus.


de T e x est plus sexy.
de T r e y sont super.

me s e m b l e vident!

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

lij-'^dLrJ^LrJ

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: pro 12

possessive pronouns

1. forms and uses


2. other ways of expressing possession
3. idiomatic uses

forms and uses


A possessive pronoun replaces a noun preceded by a possessive determiner like mon, ton, son, etc.
do)

T a m m y : C'est ton bret Tex?

T a m m y : Is this your beret Tex?

Tex: Oui, c'est le mien.

Tex: Yes, it is mine.

In French, possessive pronouns indicate both the possessor and the number and the gender of the object possessed: le
mien indicates that the possessor is 'I' and that the possession is masculine singular.
In the following table, the choice between the singular or plural form and between the masculine or feminine form
depends on the number and gender of the item possessed. (Note the difference in spelling and in pronunciation between
the possessive determiners notre and votre and the possessive pronouns ntre and vtre.)

singular

plural

masculine

feminine

masculine

feminine

mine

le mien

la mienne

les miens

les miennes

yours

le tien

la tienne

les tiens

les tiennes

his/hers/its

le sien

la sienne

les siens

les siennes

ours

le ntre

la ntre

les ntres

les ntres

yours

le vtre

la vtre

les vtres

les vtres

theirs

le leur

la leur

les leurs

les leurs

Depending on the context, le sien, la sienne, les siens, les siennes may mean 'his', 'hers', or 'its'. Note that for the
others, all four forms of each possessive pronoun have one English translation.
do)

Tex: Mon frre est musicien.

Tex: My brother is a musician.

T a m m y : Le mien est professeur.

T a m m y : Mine is a professor.

Tex: Ma soeur est secrtaire.

Tex: My sister is a secretary.

T a m m y : La mienne est PDG.

T a m m y : Mine is a CEO.

Tex: Mes parents sont amricains.

Tex: My parents are American

T a m m y : Les miens aussi.

T a m m y : Mine too.

Note that + the definite articles le et les form the contractions au and aux respectively. For example:
do)

T a m m y : Je pense souvent mes neveux.

T a m m y : I often think about my nephews.

Tex: Je pense rarement aux miens.

Tex: I seldom think about mine.

T a m m y : Oh! Tex, tu es si goste!

T a m m y : Oh! Tex you are so selfish!

other ways of expressing possession


Possessive pronouns are one way to express possession of things or people. However, you may also use the construction

[tre + + disjunctive pronoun], the possessive determiners or [de + noun]:

4>)

Fiona: A qui appartient cette photo?

Fiona: Who does photo belong t o ?

Tex: Elle est moi.

Tex: It's mine.

T a m m y : Oui c'est la sienne. Tu ne connais

T a m m y : Yes it is his. Don't you know Rita?

pas Rita?
Fiona: Qui est Rita?

Fiona: Who is Rita?

T a m m y : C'est la soeur de Tex.

T a m m y : It is Tex's sister.

Fiona: Ta soeur est trs belle. T u lui

Fiona: Your sister is very beautiful. You

ressembles.

resemble her.

Tex: Non, je ne lui ressemble pas.

Tex: No, I don't look like her.

idiomatic uses
The masculine plural forms of the possessive pronouns may be used alone to refer to parents, friends, allies etc. Etre des
ntres, tre des vtres are common phrases with such a meaning of the possessive pronoun.
T a m m y : Quand j'tais Lyon, je pensais

T a m m y : When I was in Lyon, I often

souvent aux miens.

thought of my folks.

T a m m y : Fiona, j'invite des amis ce soir. Tu

T a m m y : Fiona, I am inviting a few friends

es des ntres?

tonight. Are you joining us?

Y mettre du sien is a common phrase that may be used with any of the possessive pronouns to mean that you are doing
your share, trying your best, making a real effort to contribute.
4>)

T a m m y : Tex, nous avons des invits ce

T a m m y : Tex, we are having guests tonight.

soir. Il y a beaucoup de choses prparer.

There are a lot of things to prepare. I hope

J'espre que tu vas y mettre du tien.

you are going to do your share.

Faire des + miennes, tiennes, siennes, ntres, vtres, or leurs are phrases suggesting misbehavior.
T a m m y : Bette a encore fait des siennes.

T a m m y : Bette has been up to her tricks

Hier elle a dragu Tex toute la soire

again. She flirted with Tex all evening in

devant tout le monde.

front of everybody.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct possessive p r o n o u n p r e c e d e d by le, la, or les.
1. T a m m y : Mon c o u r s de franais est intressant. Et
2. T e x : Ma passion, c'est la posie. Et

B e t t e ? (yours)

T a m m y ? (yours)

3. E d o u a r d : Tex, t e s parents sont amricains,

sont franais! (mine)

4. T a m m y : Je v a i s ouvrir m e s c a d e a u x . Et toi Tex, tu v a s ouvrir


5. T a m m y : A ta sant T e x ! T e x : A

? (yours)

T a m m y ! (yours)

6. T e x : J'ai achet m e s livres. Est-ce que J o e - B o b et E d o u a r d ont achet


7. E d o u a r d : Je n'ai pas c o n n u m o n frre, mais Rita et T r e y connat

? (theirs)
(theirs)

8. T a m m y : Je v o i s souvent ma mere, mais T e x et Rita ne voient j a m a i s


9. T e x : J'adore tes y e u x T a m m y . Et toi, tu a i m e s

. (theirs)

? (mine)

10. T e x : L'accent franais d ' E d o u a r d est sexy, mais

est plus sexy, (mine)

11. T e x et E d o u a r d : V o s a m i e s sont jolies, mais n o u s t r o u v o n s

plus jolies! (ours)

12. T a m m y et Bette : N o u s a v o n s eu nos notes. Et vous, v o u s a v e z eu

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

? (yours)

updated: 27 May 04

page: predl

relative pronouns: qui a n d q u e

1. forms and uses


2. agreement

forms and uses


A relative pronoun introduces a clause that explains or describes a previously mentioned noun, which is called the
antecedent. Relative pronouns are used to link two related ideas into a single sentence, thereby avoiding repetition.
d'S

Tex crit un roman. Le roman s'appelle

Tex is writing a novel. The novel is called

Guerre et

War and

amour.

Tex crit un roman qui s'appelle Guerre

et

amour.

Love.

Tex is writing a novel which is called War


and

Love.

In the above example, the relative pronoun qui introduces the subordinate clause, that is, the clause that adds additional
information about the novel. In French there are two main relative pronouns, qui and que. The choice between qui and
que in French depends solely on the grammatical role, subject or direct object, that the relative pronoun plays in the
subordinate clause.

qui
Qui functions as the subject of the subordinate clause.

Tex interviewe Paw-Paw qui a combattu

Tex interviews Paw-Paw w h o fought during

pendant la deuxime guerre mondiale.

World War II.

Paw-Paw: Oui, j'tais avec des Amricains

Paw-Paw: Yes, I was with Americans w h o

qui ont libr Paris.

liberated Paris.

On a clbr notre victoire dans le quartier

We celebrated our victory in the Latin

latin qui dbordait de jolies Parisiennes.

Quarter which was overflowing with pretty


Parisian girls.

que
Que functions as the direct object of the subordinate clause. Remember that que becomes qu' before a word beginning
with a vowel.
Paw-Paw: Une jolie Parisienne que j'ai

Paw-Paw: A pretty Parisian w h o m I met

connue est devenue ta grand-mre, Tex!

became your grandmother, Tex!

Tex: Ma grand-mre! Une hrone de la

Tex: My grandmother! A heroine of the

Rsistance franaise? Tiens, le livre que

French Resistance? Say, the book that I'm

j'cris c'est l'histoire de deux hros de la

writing is the story of two heroes from the

Resistance. It is not entirely a coincidence!

Rsistance. Ce n'est pas une pure


concidence!

agreement
A l t h o u g h qui a n d que are invariable, they a s s u m e the g e n d e r and n u m b e r of the a n t e c e d e n t . Que f u n c t i o n s as a direct
object preceding the verb. T h e r e f o r e , w h e n the v e r b of the subordinate clause is in the pass c o m p o s , or a n y other
c o m p o u n d tense, the past participle a g r e e s in n u m b e r a n d g e n d e r w i t h que. T h e past participle also a g r e e s in n u m b e r
and g e n d e r w i t h qui if the verb f o r m s its pass c o m p o s w i t h 'tre'.

d'S

T e x : M a r i e - T a m m y et J e a n - T e x sont les

T e x : M a r i e - T a m m y and J e a n - T e x are the

d e u x hros que j'ai v u s d a n s un rve.

t w o heroes w h o m I s a w in a d r e a m .

Ce sont d e u x e s p i o n s qui se sont

T h e y are t w o spies w h o met on a mission.

r e n c o n t r s en mission.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct relative pronoun, either qui or que.
1. T e x aime la tarte
2. Bette ne sait pas
3. T e x ,

T a m m y a faite.
est le g r a n d - p r e de T e x .

a crit plusieurs livres, est un a u t e u r clbre.

4. T a m m y aime les r o m a n s
5. E d o u a r d est un escargot

parlent d ' a m o u r .
je c o n n a i s bien.

6. T a m m y va voir un film

vient de sortir.

7. Bette est une tudiante

Tex a embrasse.

8. Bette est une tudiante

a e m b r a s s Tex.

9. P a w - P a w est un ancien c o m b a t t a n t

T e x admire b e a u c o u p .

10. T a m m y adore les posies rotiques


11. J o e - B o b aime les noix (nuts)

T e x a crites.
v i e n n e n t du Brsil.

12. T e x aime les nouvelles lunettes de soleil

T a m m y a achetes.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: pror2

relative pronouns: ce qui, ce que

1. ce qui
2. ce que

Ce qui and ce que are relative pronouns like qui and que; that is, they introduce a subordinate clause. However, ce qui
and ce que are used in sentences in which there is no expressed antecedent. They do not refer to a specific noun, but
rather to an idea or an entire statement, which may or may not have been previously expressed: they refer to
something unstated and unspecified.
The choice between ce qui and ce que depends solely on the grammatical role, subject or direct object, that the
relative pronoun plays in the subordinate clause.

ce qui
Ce qui (what, that, which) functions as the subject of the subordinate clause.

T a m m y : Edouard, tu as lu le roman de Tex

T a m m y : Edouard, have you read Tex's

sur la deuxime guerre mondiale?

novel on W W I I ?

Edouard: A h oui! Ce qui est fascinant, c'est

Edouard: Ah, yes I have! What's fascinating

sa description de l'poque.

is his description of the period.

J'adore tout ce qui se rapporte la

I love everything that is related to the

Rsistance!

Resistance!

Et puis, il y a une intrigue amoureuse, ce

A n d there's also a love interest, which does

qui ne m'tonne pas puisque l'hrone du

not surprise me since the book's heroine is

livre s'appelle Marie-Tammy!

called Marie-Tammy!

Ce qui is often used for emphasis followed by c'est. Note how the sentence 'Ce qui est fascinant, c'est sa description de
l'poque.' is more emphatic than saying simply 'Sa description de l'poque est fascinante.'

ce que
Ce que (what, that, which) functions as the direct object of the subordinate clause. Ce que becomes ce qu' before a
word beginning with a vowel.

T a m m y : Tout ce que Tex cre est tellement

T a m m y : Everything that Tex creates is so

original!

original!

Moi, j'aime ce qu' il crit propos de la

Personally, I like what he writes about

France dans les annes 1940.

France in the 1940s.

Ce que je n'aime pas, c'est la fin du livre.

What I don't like is the end of the book.

Le h r o s meurt. Il n'pouse donc pas

T h e hero dies. So he d o e s not m a r r y M a r i e -

M a r i e - T a m m y , ce que je t r o u v e trs

T a m m y , w h i c h I think is s u c h a pity.

dommage.

Note h o w the s e n t e n c e 'Ce que j e n'aime pas, c'est la fin du livre.' is m o r e e m p h a t i c t h a n saying s i m p l y 'Je n'aime pas la
fin du livre.'
Note that ce qui a n d ce que are also used in indirect discourse (see reported s p e e c h ) .

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct relative pronoun, either ce qui or ce que/ce qu'.
1. T e x aime tout
2.

T a m m y fait.
est incroyable, c'est la rencontre de T e x et T a m m y .

3. T e x ,

j e n'aime pas c h e z toi, c'est ton s n o b i s m e !

4. Bette ne sait pas

a Tammy.

5. J o e - B o b ne c o m p r e n d pas
6. Je ne sais pas
7. V o u s s a v e z
8.

T e x et T a m m y disent.

rend C o r e y si triste.
on va faire ce s o i r ?

me surprend, c'est q u e T e x soit amricain.

9. P a w - P a w a c o m b a t t u d a n s la s e c o n d e guerre mondiale,
10. T a m m y adore

Tex admire beaucoup.

T e x a crit.

11.

est d o m m a g e , c'est que P a w - P a w habite si loin.

12.

T e x regrette, c'est q u e P a w - P a w t l p h o n e tout le t e m p s .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

^Jj^jj-Tjjrjj^y

page: pro 3

relative pronouns: dont, o, etc. present t e n s e

1. dont, o, lequel
2. ce dont, ce + preposition + quoi

A relative pronoun introduces a clause that explains or describes a previously mentioned noun. In instances where
the relative pronoun is the object of a preposition, relative pronouns other than qui and que must be used. De is the
most common of these prepositions, and dont is the relative pronoun representing both the preposition de + its object.

dont, o, lequel: relative pronouns with antecedent


dont
Use dont if the subordinate clause needs an object introduced by de/d'. Such clauses
may indicate possession or they may contain verbs which are followed by the preposition
de. Some of these verbs include 'parler de' (to talk about); 'avoir besoin de' (to need);
'avoir peur de' (to be afraid of); 'tenir de' (to take after).
4>)

Tex: Le livre dont je suis l'auteur

Tex: The book of which I'm the

est un roman historique.

author is an historical novel.

Dont often indicates possession; 'whose' is its English equivalent.


Edouard, parlant du livre de Tex: Tex, dont

Edouard, speaking about Tex' book: Tex,

le grand-pre a combattu en France, en 40,

w h o s e grandfather fought in France in '40,

a ddi ce livre Paw-Paw.

dedicated this book to Paw-Paw.

' ou
The relative pronoun oU means 'where, in which, on which.' Use oU if the subordinate clause needs an object indicating
location introduced by dans, , sur, sous. When used after adverbs of time, oU means 'when.'
Paris, oU l'histoire commence, va tre libr

Paris, w h e r e the story starts, is going to

par les Amricains.

be liberated by the Americans.

P a w - P a w tait Paris le jour oU les

P a w - P a w was in Paris the day [when] the

Amricains sont entrs dans la ville.

Americans entered the city.

preposition + lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelles


The relative pronouns lequel, laquelle, lesquels, and lesquelles (which) are used when the relative clause is introduced
by a preposition other than de/d'. These pronouns make the usual contractions with the prepositions and de. Note
that the preoposition in French must always be placed immediately in front of the relative pronoun.

Ce roman, dans lequel Tex utilise les

This novel, in which Tex uses Paw-Paw's

souvenirs de guerre de Paw-Paw, est trs

war memories, is very realistic.

raliste.

Ses personnages, auxquels Tex s'identifie,

His characters, with w h o m Tex identifies,

sont des hros de la Rsistance.

are heros of the Resistance.

L'homme ct duquel Marie-Tammy est

The man next to w h o m Marie-Tammy is

assise est un officier nazi.

seated is a nazi officer.

Les hommes parmi lesquels Marie-Tammy

The men a m o n g w h o m Marie-Tammy

se trouve sont tous des nazis.

finds herself are all nazis.

Les deux femmes entre lesquelles l'officier

The two w o m e n between w h o m the

se trouve font partie de la Rsistance.

officer is seated are part of the Resistance.

Note: The form dont is generally used in spoken French instead of the forms duquel, de laquelle, desquels, and
desquelles; however, these latter forms may also be found, especially in written texts. Dont may be substituted only for
the simple preposition de and its object, but a form of lequel must be used when de is part of a t w o - or three-word
preposition, such as ' propos de, prs de, loin de, ct de.'

ce dont, ce + preposition + quoi : relative pronouns with no antecedent


In all the preceding examples, the relative pronouns have an antecedent; in other words, a specific word in the sentence
for which the relative pronoun stands. Just as the forms ce qui and ce que are used when there is no explicit
antecedent, so the forms ce dont and ce + preposition + quoi refer to something unstated and unspecified.
Use ce dont if the subordinate clause needs an object introduced by de.
On comprend trs bien ce dont les Parisiens
avaient peur pendant l'Occupation.

One understands very well what the


Parisians were afraid of during the
Occupation.

Use ce + preposition + quoi when the subordinate clause needs an object introduced by a preposition other than de.
Remember that, unlike English, the preposition in French must always be placed immediately in front of the relative
pronoun.
4>)

Tout le monde va comprendre ce quoi Tex

Everybody's going to understand what Tex

fait allusion quand il dcrit Jean-Tex et

is alluding to when he describes Jean-Tex

Marie-Tammy--il s'agit bien de Tex et

and Marie-Tammy--it's indeed a matter of

T a m m y , nos tatous favoris!

Tex and T a m m y , our favorite armadillos!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct relative pronoun: dont, o, lequel, ce dont or ce quoi.
1. T a m m y : Lyon est la ville

Tex a grandi.

2. Joe-Bob : Je n'ai pas lu le livre


3. Tex : Le roman dans
4. Fiona : Le garon
5. Bette :

tu parles.
Marie-Tammy apparat s'appelle Guerre et amour.

Bette est amoureuse est ...Tex!


je parle n'a rien voir avec Tex.

6. T a m m y : Tex, tu sais
7. T a m m y : Voici l'endroit

je pense?
je veux me marier, Tex!

8. T a m m y : Tex, tu es le tatou avec


9. Paw-Paw est un ancien combattant,

je veux me marier!
Tex est trs fier.

10. T r e y : Les c h a n s o n s
11. T e x : T u me d e m a n d e s
12. T a m m y : Le bret

j e suis l'auteur sont au T O P 2 0 .


j e rflchis? A m o n prochain p o m e bien sr!
j'ai fait c a d e a u T e x est superbe.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page:

intro t o t e n s e , aspect, m o o d , v o i c e

tal

1. tense
2. aspect
3. m o o d
4. voice

tense
T e n s e is the g r a m m a t i c a l t e r m that refers to the time w h e n the action of the verb occurs: past, present, future. T h e
time f r a m e of an action is usually established by referring to the present m o m e n t ; for e x a m p l e , the pass
c o m p o s and the f u t u r e are respectively past and future in relation to the present.
H o w e v e r , s o m e tenses establish their time f r a m e by referring to other actions in the past or in the future. For
e x a m p l e , the p l u s - q u e - p a r f a i t tense indicates a past action that occurred prior to the the c o m p l e t i o n of another
past action. T h e f u t u r a n t r i e u r tense indicates a future action that will have o c c u r e d before a n o t h e r future action.
A c t i o n s that occur before a n o t h e r action are described as being anterior.
T e n s e s are also described by their n u m b e r of parts. For e x a m p l e , a tense with only o n e verb form is called a
s i m p l e t e n s e (ie, le pass simple). In contrast, a tense comprising t w o f o r m s , the auxiliary v e r b and the participle,
is referred to as a c o m p o u n d t e n s e (ie, le pass c o m p o s ) .

aspect
A s p e c t , unlike tense, is not c o n c e r n e d with placing events on a t i m e line. Rather, aspect is c o n c e r n e d with m a k i n g
distinctions about the kinds of actions that are described by verbs: progressive actions, punctual actions, habitual
actions, etc.
T h e most important aspectual distinction in French c o n c e r n s the difference b e t w e e n the two m o s t c o m m o n past
tenses: the i m p a r f a i t a n d the pass c o m p o s . While both tenses refer to actions in the past, t h e y are used for
v e r y different types of actions. T h e imparfait indicates an action that is o n g o i n g or habitual. A c t i o n s in the imparfait
m a y be s i m u l t a n e o u s or overlapping. T h e pass c o m p o s on the other hand, indicates an action that is in a strict
s e q u e n c e in relation to another action. In other w o r d s , an event in the pass c o m p o s m u s t be c o m p l e t e d before
another m a y be used in narration.
T h e s e aspectual differences are best understood in a n a r r a t i v e context w h e r e the imparfait is typically used to set
the scene of a story by giving b a c k g r o u n d information.
Install la terrasse du Cactus Cafe, T e x

S e a t e d on the terrace of the Cactus Cafe,

regardait les filles qui passaient. Il

T e x w a s w a t c h i n g the girls w h o w a l k e d

savourait une tasse de caf, mais quelque

by. He w a s e n j o y i n g a cup of coffee, but

chose manquait . . . une cigarette!

s o m e t h i n g w a s m i s s i n g . . . a cigarette!

T h e pass compos is used for the f o r e g r o u n d , that is, the plot line events. Note that plot line events are
sequential, that is, an event m u s t be c o m p l e t e d before another event begins.
T e x a sorti une cigarette de son paquet. Il

T e x t o o k out a cigarette from his pack.

l'a allume et il a tir une grande bouffe.

He lit it and t o o k a long drag. M m m ...

M m m ... extase!

ecstasy!

mood
M o o d is a g r a m m a t i c a l c a t e g o r y distinguishing v e r b tenses. T h e r e are
four m o o d s in French: i n d i c a t i v e , s u b j u n c t i v e , c o n d i t i o n a l , a n d
i m p e r a t i v e . All of these m o o d s , e x c e p t the imperative, m a y be
c o n j u g a t e d in different tenses. Each of these m o o d s has a different
function.

JL

T h e i n d i c a t i v e m o o d is t h e m o s t c o m m o n a n d is u s e d to relate f a c t s
and objective

statements.

T a m m y se rveille t t le m a t i n .

T a m m y g e t s up

(present tense of the indicative

e a r l y in t h e

mood)

morning.

Ju
Q O E
T*

e a r
Ufc*
T C X

p A / C ^ I
SoxCNTT

m g 4 T 5

T h e s u b j u n c t i v e m o o d is u s e d m o r e c o m m o n l y in F r e n c h t h a n in E n g l i s h . It is u s e d to e x p r e s s o p i n i o n s a n d
feelings (subjective thoughts).
Il est d o m m a g e q u e les p a r e n t s d e T e x

It is t o o b a d t h a t T e x ' s p a r e n t s a r e d e a d .

soient m o r t s . ( p r e s e n t t e n s e o f t h e
subjunctive

mood)

T h e c o n d i t i o n a l m o o d is u s e d to e x p r e s s h y p o t h e t i c a l or c o n t r a r y - t o - f a c t

statements.

Si C o r e y t a i t b e a u , il aurait u n e c o p i n e .

If C o r e y w e r e h a n d s o m e , he w o u l d

(present tense of the conditional

a girlfriend.

have

mood)

T h e i m p e r a t i v e m o o d is u s e d to g i v e d i r e c t o r d e r s or c o m m a n d s .
T e x , rveille-toi !

T e x , g e t up!

voi ce
V o i c e is a g r a m m a t i c a l c a t e g o r y d e s c r i b i n g t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n a v e r b a n d its s u b j e c t . V o i c e is e i t h e r a c t i v e or
p a s s i v e . A c t i v e v o i c e r e f e r s to t h e s i t u a t i o n w h e r e t h e s u b j e c t of t h e s e n t e n c e p e r f o r m s t h e a c t i o n of t h e v e r b .
Les a u t o r i t s ont expuls T e x d e F r a n c e .

The authorities expelled T e x from

France.

O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , p a s s i v e v o i c e r e f e r s to t h e s i t u a t i o n w h e r e t h e s u b j e c t r e c e i v e s t h e a c t i o n of t h e v e r b .
T e x a t expuls d e F r a n c e (par les

T e x w a s expelled from France (by the

autorits).

authorities).

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

2 Feb 05

page: taci

1. formation
2. pronunciation
3. irregular stems
4. uses

The conditional is used to refer to hypothetical events. It occurs in polite requests and most frequently with if clauses. In
French, it is called le conditionnel and is most often translated by would in English.

formation
The stem used to form the conditional is the same as the stem of the future (usually the infinitive). The conditional
endings are -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient (These are also the imperfect endings).

jouer 'to play'


je jouerais, I would play

nous jouerions, we would play

tu jouerais, you would play

vous joueriez, you would play

il, elle / on jouerait,

ils / elles joueraient, they would play

he, she (it) /would play

The above formation works for - e r verbs (aimer, j'aimerais), -ir verbs (finir, je finirais) and - r e verbs (vendre, je
vendrais). Remember to drop the final e from the infinitive stem of - r e verbs .

pronunciation
The r in the stem is representative of the conditional, as well as the future. Only the difference in the pronunciation of
the endings distinguishes the two. The difference between the je forms is subtle. Can you hear the differences? Note also
how the e of the infinitive of - e r verbs changes in the future and conditional forms.

regarder 'to look at'


future

conditional

je regarderai

je regarderais

tu regarderas

tu regarderais

il / elle regardera

il / elle regarderait

nous regarderons

nous regarderions

vous regarderez

vous regarderiez

ils / elles regarderont

ils / elles regarderaient

irregular stems
Verbs with irregular future stems use the same irregular stems in the conditional. Here is a list of the most common
irregular stems:
infinitive

stem

conditional

translation

aller

ir-

j'irais

I would go

avoir

aur-

j'aurais

I would run

courir

courr-

je courrais

I would run

devoir

devr-

je devrais

I would be obliged to

envoyer

enverr-

j'enverrais

I would send

tre

ser-

je serais

I would be

faire

fer-

je ferais

I would do

falloir

faudr-

il faudrait

it would be necessary

mourir

mourr-

je mourrais

I would die

obtenir

obtiendr-

j'obtiendrais

Iwould obtain

pleuvoir

pleuvr-

il pleuvrait

it would rain

pouvoir

pourr-

je pourrais

I would be able

recevoir

recevr-

je recevrais

I would receive

savoir

saur-

je saurais

I would know

tenir

tiendr-

je tiendrais

I would hold

venir

vi endr-

je viendrais

I would come

voir

verr-

je verrais

I would see

vouloir

voudr-

je voudrais

I would want

verbs with spelling changes


Some verbs with spelling changes in the present form their future/conditional stem regularly. These include verbs like
prfrer, esprer, manger, and commencer.

infinitive

stem

conditional

translation

prfrer

prfrer-

je prfrerais

I would prefer

esprer

esprer-

j'esprerais

I would hope

manger

manger-

je mangerais

I would eat

commencer

commencer-

je commencerais

I would start

Verbs with spelling changes like appeler, employer and acheter add -r to the present of the je form to create their future
stem.

present tense

stem

conditional

translation

j'appelle

appeller-

j'appellerais

I would call

j'emploie

emploier-

j'emploierais

I would use

j'achte

achter-

j'achterais

I would buy

uses
wishes or requests
The conditional expresses potentiality. It is used to express a wish or a
suggestion, to make a request, or to accept or extend invitations. It is less
direct and more polite than the imperative. The verbs 'pouvoir', 'vouloir',
and 'devoir' are often found in the conditional to diminish the strength of a
command. In most cases, the conditional is translated as meaning w o u l d

in English. However, je pourrais means 'I could', je devrais means 'I should'
and je voudrais means 'I would like'. Also do not confuse 'would' in English
meaning 'used to' which should be translated as an imparfait in French,
and NOT as the conditional: A Paris, Joe-Bob allait au MacDo tous les jours.
(In Paris, Joe-Bob would/used to go to McDonald's everyday).
Joe-Bob et T a m m y se trouvent au

Joe-Bob and T a m m y are at the restaurant

restaurant o Edouard travaille comme

where Edouard works as a waiter.

serveur.
Edouard: Bonsoir Madame, Monsieur.

Edouard: Good evening, would you like to

Aimeriez-vous commander un apritif pour

order drinks to start?

commencer?
T a m m y : Oh oui! Pourrions-nous avoir un

T a m m y : Oh yes, could we have one Ricard

Ricard et un Perrier? Ensuite, je voudrais

and one Perrier? Then I would like a green

une salade verte, s'il vous plat.

salad, please.

Joe-Bob: Je veux un hamburger.

Joe-Bob: I want a hamburger.

Edouard: Monsieur, vous devriez tre plus

Edouard: Sir, you should be more polite in

poli dans ce restaurant, sinon, je pourrais

this resaurant, or else I could forget your

oublier votre commande!

order!

hypothetical action
The conditional is used when making statements which are contrary to present facts. It expresses a hypothethical result
which depends on (stated or implied) circumstances which do not exist. In order for the action expressed by the
conditional to occur, something else must take place first. Note that the condition in the si or if clause, is always stated
in the imparfait. (See 'si' clauses for further examples.)
4>)

Tex et Joe-Bob regardent la tl. 'Le gros

Tex and Joe-Bob are watching television.

lot se monte 30 millions de dollars. Que

'The Lottery is at 30 million dollars. What

feriez-vous si vous gagniez?'

would you do if you won?'

Tex: Moi, j'crirais sans cesse des livres de

Tex: I would write philosophy books non-

philosophie.

stop.

Joe-Bob: Moi j'achterais mon diplme

Joe-Bob: I would buy my university

d'universit.

diploma.

possibility or uncertainty
The conditional is also used to give information whose accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Journalists often use it to report
events which are not known to be true.
T a m m y et Bette regardent la tl. Soudain,

T a m m y and Bette are watching television.

leur programme prfr est interrompu et

Suddenly, their favorite program is

un commentateur annonce:

interrupted and a commentator announces:

'Une tornade vient de s'abattre sur

'A tornado just struck in Hubbard, Texas.

Hubbard, Texas. Il y aurait plusieurs

Allegedly, there are several casualties. A n

victimes. Un tatou et un cureuil seraient

armadillo and a squirrel seem to be

gravement blesss. Restez avec nous, nous

seriously wounded. Stay with us, we should

devrions avoir plus de dtails d'ici quelques

have more details in a few seconds ...'

secondes ... '


Presque immdiatement, le tlphone

Almost immediately, the phone rings.

sonne. T a m m y rpond: A ..., All?'

T a m m y answers: 'He ..., Hello?'

A l'autre bout, Tex dit: 'Tammy, c'est moi,

At the other end, Tex says: 'Tammy, it's

Tex. Ne t'inquite pas, on va trs bien. Je

me Tex. Don't worry we're fine. I'll be

rentrerai bientt.'

home soon.'

reported speech (indirect discourse)


In addition, the conditional is used to represent the future in relation to a narration in the past w h e n reported s p e e c h is
used to tell w h a t s o m e o n e said.

4>)

T e x a dit qu'il rentrerait bientt.

T e x said he w o u l d be h o m e soon.

fill in the blanks

Give the conditional of the verb indicated in p a r e n t h e s e s .


1. T e x : Je

un caf, s'il v o u s plat, (vouloir)

2. T e x : E d o u a r d et moi, n o u s
3. Bette: Si a ne te fais rien, j e

bien envie d'une petite liqueur, (avoir)


aller a u concert, (prfrer)

4. T a m m y : T e x , c'est l'anniversaire de Fiona. T u


5. T a m m y : Il

v r a i m e n t que T e x travaille, (falloir)

6. Bette: O n

b e a u c o u p rencontrer T e x . (aimer)

7. J o e - B o b :
8. T e x : J'

lui offir un cadeau, (devoir)

- v o u s me prter de l'argent? (pouvoir)


b e a u c o u p d e s excuses, (apprcier)

9. E d o u a r d : V o u s

aimable de f e r m e r la porte, (tre)

10. T r e y : T e x , tu
faire plus de sport, (devoir)
2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin
11. T e x : V o u s
intrt faire attention, (avoir)
12. T a m m y et Bette

vivre en France, (aimer)

updated: 27 May 04

page: pro2

past conditional

1. formation
2. uses

The past conditional represents, as its name implies, the past of the present conditional mood. In French, the past
conditional is called le pass du conditionnel or le conditionnel antrieur. Both the present and past conditional
express hypothetical situations or conditions.

formation
The past conditional is a compound tense, i.e. it has two parts, an auxiliary and the past participle. The past conditional
is formed with the conditional of the auxiliary (either avoir or tre) and the past participle of the main verb.
Past conditional

= auxiliary

in the conditional

+ past

participle

49

dire 'to say'


j'aurais dit, I would have said

nous aurions dit, we would have said

tu aurais dit, you would have said

vous auriez dit, you would have said

il / elle / on aurait dit,

ils / elles auraient dit,

he, she (it) / one would have said

they would have said

In the past conditional (as with the pass compos), you have to choose between avoir and tre as the auxiliary. While
most verbs use avoir as an auxiliary, pronominal verbs and verbs of movement generally use tre (see the A l a m o of
tre). Just as for the pass compos with tre, in the past conditional with tre, the past participle agrees in gender and
in number with the subject.

49

partir 'to leave'


je serais parti(e), I would have left

nous serions parti(e)s, we would have left

tu serais parti(e), you would have left

vous seriez parti(s), you would have left

il / elle / on serait parti/partie,

ils / elles seraient partis/parties,

he, she (it) / one would have left

they would have left

uses
Like the present conditional, the past conditional is used for hypotheses.
Unlike the present conditional, however, it is used to describe or imagine
events and actions which failed to happen. This is why it is often used to
express regret about events which did not occur. In most cases, the past
conditional is translated as meaning would have as in English. However,
j'aurais pu means 'I could have'; j'aurais d means 'I should have', and
j'aurais voulu means 'I would have liked'.
4j)

Tex: J'aurais aim tre

Tex: I would have liked to

artiste.

be an artist.

Corey: J'aurais voulu tre

Corey: I would have liked

beau.

to be handsome.

T a m m y : Je n'aurais pas d

T a m m y : I should not have

couter Bette.

listened to Bette.

Edouard: J'aurais pu tre

Edouard: I could have

un chef clbre!

been a famous chef!

The past conditional is found in si clauses with the pluperfect. This is because si clauses with the pluperfect also describe
events that did not occur, or rather conditions which were not fulfilled so that the event in the past conditional could
occur. In the dialogue below, all the verbs in the past conditional describe events that would have happened had the
original condition been fulfilled. Note that the unfulfilled condition is implied in each occurrence of the past conditional.
Tex et Edouard discutent de la vie en

Tex and Edouard are discussing life in

Amrique.

America.

Edouard: Si tu n'avais pas vendu de T -

Edouard: If you hadn't sold t-shirts to

shirts aux touristes, qu'est-ce qui serait

tourists, what would have happened?

arri v?
Tex: Ben, d'un ct, je serais rest en

Tex: Well, on the one hand, I would have

France, bien sr. Mais, de l'autre, je

stayed in France, of course. But on the

n'aurais pas connu le Texas et je ne serais

other hand, I would not have seen Texas

pas devenu ami avec T a m m y . Et tous mes

and I would not have become friends with

copains ici auraient perdu l'occasion de

T a m m y . A n d all my friends here would


have lost the opportunity to know a

connatre un philosophe distingu!

distinguished philosopher!

possibility or uncertainty
The past conditional, like the present conditional, gives information on a past event about which the accuracy cannot be
guaranteed. It is used by journalists and reporters.
T a m m y et Bette regardent la tl. Soudain,

T a m m y and Bette are watching television.

leur programme prfr est interrompu et

Suddenly, their favorite program is

un commentateur annonce:

interrupted and a commentator announces:

'Une tornade vient de s'abattre sur

'A tornado just struck in Hubbard, Texas. It

Hubbard, Texas. Elle aurait fait plusieurs

is said to have caused several casualties.

victimes. Un tatou et un cureuil auraient t

A n armadillo and a squirrel seem to have

gravement blesss ... '

been seriously wounded ... '

Presque immdiatement, le tlphone

Almost immediately, the phone rings.

sonne. T a m m y rpond 'A ... , All?' A

T a m m y answers, 'He ... , Hello?' At the

l'autre bout, Tex dit 'Tammy, c'est moi,

other end, Tex says, 'Tammy, it's me Tex.

Tex. Ne t'inquite pas, on va trs bien. Je

Don't worry we're fine. I'll be home soon.'

rentrerai bientt.'

reported speech (indirect discourse)


Just as the conditional represents the future in a past time narration, the past conditional represents the future perfect
(futur antrieur) in a past time narration to tell what someone would have done.
Tex a dit qu'il serait rentr plus tt, si

Tex said he would have been home sooner,

l'orage n'avait pas clat.

if it had not stormed.

fill in the blanks


Give the past conditional of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Tex et T a m m y
2. Tex
3. Edouard: Je
4. Rita: J'

en France, s'ils avaient pu. (rester)

honte de ses parents, s'il les avait connus, (avoir)


en avance, si j'avais pu! (arriver)
plus tt mon mari, si j'avais pu. (quitter)

5. T a m m y : Fiona et moi, n o u s

le concours, si n o u s a v i o n s jou, (gagner)

6. T a m m y : T e x et J o e - B o b , v o u s
7. Rita: T e x , tu

(aimer)

au T e x a s , si t u ne t'tais pas perdu, (grandir)

8. T a m m y

infirmire, si elle n'avait pas fait du franais, (devenir)

9. J o e - B o b

A & M, s'il avait pu. (aller)

10. T a m m y : Edouard, t u
11. C o r e y

ma tarte aux p o m m e s ,

de ketchup, si tu tais rest en France, (ne pas servir)

s a n s insecticide. Il adore l'insecticide, (mourir)

12. T a m m y et Bette

t o u t e la soire, si Bette avait t l. (se disputer)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: pro 3

1. si + prsent
2. si + imparfait
3. si + plus-que-parfait

Si clauses (if clauses in English) indicate possibilities, which may or may not become reality. They refer to the present,
past, and future. These conditional sentences have two parts: the condition, or si clause, and the main or result clause
which indicates what will happen if the condition of the si clause is met.
The tense of the result clause depends on the tense of the si clause. In other words, the tense of the two clauses follow
a prescribed sequence.

si + present (prsent)
si clause

result clause
present
or

si + present

future

(possible condition)

or
imperative

This first type of si clause is used in cases where the condition may be fulfilled and thus the consequence is seen as
possible. In the following dialogue, you will hear si clauses in the present followed by result clauses in the present, in
the future and in the imperative:
4>)

T a m m y est en train de lire un petit quizz

T a m m y is reading a little quiz about

sur la personnalit et l'amour dans un

personality and love in a magazine.

magazine.
T a m m y : Si tu veux, tu peux rpondre aux

T a m m y : If you want, you can answer the

questions, Tex.

questions, Tex.

Tex: D'accord. Mais si tu peux, choisis les

Tex: OK, but choose the juiciest questions

questions les plus croustillantes!

if you can!

T a m m y : Entendu. Premire question:

T a m m y : OK. First question: What will you

Qu'est-ce que vous ferez demain ... si vous

do tomorrow ... if you find the love of your

trouvez l'amour de votre vie?

life?

Tex: Si je rencontre l'amour de ma vie, je

Tex: If I meet the love of my life, I will

l'pouserai, bien sr!

marry her, of course!

Note that either the si clause or the result clause may begin a sentence, but the same tenses remain specific to each
clause ('Qu'est-ce que vous ferez demain si vous trouvez l'amour de votre vie?' is the same as 'Si vous trouvez l'amour
de votre vie, qu'est-ce que vous ferez?')

si + imperfect (imparfait)
si clause
si + imperfect
(contrary to current facts)

result clause
conditional

This second type of si clause is contrary to fact in the present. The consequence is thus seen as impossible. Note that
in French, the imperfect is used in the si clause, never the conditional.

Le quizz continue.

The quiz continues.

T a m m y : Si vous tiez une voiture, que

If you were a car, what would you be?

seriez-vous?
Tex: Si j'tais une voiture, je serais la

Tex: If I were a car, I would be the

lgendaire 2CV.

legendary 2CV.

T a m m y : Si vous tiez un fruit, lequel

T a m m y : If you were a fruit, which one

choisiriez-vous?

would you choose?

Tex: Si j'tais un fruit, je choisirais le

Tex: If I were a fruit, I would choose

raisin pour pouvoir me transformer en vin.

grapes, so that I could be transformed into


wine.

T a m m y : Si vous tiez une femme, que

T a m m y : If you were a woman, what would

feri ez-vous?

you do?

Tex: Si j'tais une femme, je ne lirais pas

Tex: If I were a woman, I would not read

les quiz dans les magazines.

the quizzes in magazines.

si + pluperfect (plus-que-parfait)
si clause
si + pluperfect
(contrary to past facts)

result clause
past conditional

This last type of si clause is used for situations that are contrary to past fact. The result clause thus expresses an
unrealized past possibility.
4>)

Et le quizz continue.

A n d the quiz continues.

T a m m y : Qu'est-ce que vous auriez fait, si

T a m m y : What would you have done, if you

vous tiez n College Station?

had been born in College Station?

Tex: Si j'tais n College Station, j'aurais

Tex: If I had been born in College Station, I

prfr Texas A & M UT. Quelle horreur!

would have preferred Texas A & M over UT!


How terrible!

T a m m y : Si vous n'aviez pas connu Tammy,

T a m m y : If you hadn't met Tammy, what

qu'est-ce que vous auriez fait?

would you have done?

Tex: Je n'aurais jamais rpondu un tel

Tex: I would never have taken such a quiz,

quizz, si je n'avais pas connu Tammy!

if I hadn't met T a m m y !

Distinguish b e t w e e n si c l a u s e s (if-clauses) and q u e s t i o n s that are reported in indirect s p e e c h . O b s e r v e the difference


b e t w e e n these t w o s e n t e n c e s :
Q u e s t i o n in i n d i r e c t
speech

Si c l a u s e

T e x d e m a n d e si T a m m y est

T e x is a s k i n g if T a m m y is

prte.

ready.

T e x : T a m m y , si t u es prte,

T e x : T a m m y , if y o u are

on peut partir tout de suite.

ready, w e can leave right


now.

fill i n the bl anks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. Si T e x invite T a m m y au restaurant, elle
2. T e x
3. La police

. (accepter)

a v e c Bette s'il l'aimait, (se marier)


T e x , s'il n'avait pas v e n d u d e s t - s h i r t s d a n s le mtro, (ne pas arrter)

4. E d o u a r d T e x : 'Appelle-moi si t u
5. Si j'ai le t e m p s , je

prendre un verre ce soir, (vouloir)

au frisbee le w e e k e n d . (joue)

Si les n o n n e s n'avaient pas t r o u v T e x l'aroport, il


T e x n'aurait pas aim T a m m y si son nez
T r e y : T a m m y , si tu veux, on

11. T r e y
12. Si n o u s

plus petit (tre)

aller au cinma, (pouvoir)

9. Si Rita vient chez n o u s ce w e e k e n d , n o u s


10. Si E d o u a r d

clochard ('bum'). (devenir)

c e r t a i n e m e n t au parc, (aller)

plus rapide, il g a g n e r a i t plus de pourboires, (tre)


trs h e u r e u x s'il avait une petite amie, (tre)
. en France, n o u s irions Lyon. (tre)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: ta pri

reported speech in t h e present

1. reporting statements
2. reporting questions
3. reporting orders
4. reporting answers

reporting statements
To report what someone else says or thinks, link the main clause (il dit, il pense, etc.) and the subordinate clause with
que (qu' in front of a word beginning with a vowel):
d'S

Tex et T a m m y ont une querelle

Tex and T a m m y are having a lovers' tiff.

d'amoureux. Fiona essaie de les

Fiona is trying to patch things up.

raccommoder.
T a m m y : T u ne m'coutes jamais!

T a m m y : You never listen to me!

Tex (devant la tl): Je n'ai pas entendu.

Tex (in front of the TV): I did not hear.

Fiona: Elle dit que tu ne l'coutes jamais.

Fiona: She is saying that you never listen


to her.

reporting questions
To report simple yes/no questions, use si. Note that si changes to s' in front of a word beginning with an i (s'il ), but
does not change before other vowels (si elle, si on).
d'S

T a m m y : Est-ce que tu vas faire un effort?

T a m m y : Are you going to make an effort?

Tex (toujours devant la tl): Quoi?

Tex (still in front of the TV): What?

Fiona: Elle te demande si tu vas faire un

Fiona: She is asking you if you are going to

effort.

make an effort.

Tex: Bien sr, mais aprs le match de foot.

Tex: Sure, but after the soccer game.

To report an information question use the interrogative word quand, comment, o, etc.
T a m m y : O tais-tu hier soir? Comment

T a m m y : Where were you last night? How

as-tu rencontr cette grande blonde?

did you meet that tall blonde? When does

Quand finit ce match?

this game finish?

Tex: Comment?

Tex: Excuse-me?

Fiona: Elle te demande o tu tais hier soir,

Fiona: She is asking you where you were

comment tu as rencontr cette grande

last night, how you met that tall blonde and

blonde et quand ce match finit.

when this game finishes.

To report questions starting with que, q u ' e s t - c e que, and q u ' e s t - c e qui, use ce que and ce qui. Note that the
inverted subject and verb return to normal order when reporting a que question:

Tex: Je ne comprends pas! Qu'est-ce qu'elle

Tex: I don't understand! What does she

veut dire? Qu'est-ce qui se passe?

mean? What's going on?

Fiona: Tammy, Tex ne comprend pas ce que

Fiona: Tammy, Tex does not understand

tu veux dire. Il ne comprend pas ce qui se

what you mean. He does not understand

passe.

what's going on.

T a m m y : Que faisait-

avec cette grande

T a m m y : What was he doing with that tall

blonde?

blonde?

Fiona: Tex, Tammy veut savoi r ce que tu

Fiona: Tex, T a m m y wants to know what

faisais avec cette grande blonde.

you were doing with that tall blonde.

reporting orders
To report an order, replace the imperative by de (d') + infinitive:
4>)

T a m m y : Tex, teins tout de suite cette

T a m m y : Tex, turn this T V off immediately!

tlvision! Ecoute-moi! Ne fais pas l'idiot!

Listen to me! Don't be stupid!

Tex: Pardon?

Tex: Excuse m e ?

Fiona: Tammy t'ordonne d'teindre tout de

Fiona: T a m m y is ordering you to turn this

suite cette tlvision. En plus, elle te dit de

T V off immediately. And she is telling you

l'couter. Elle te demande de ne pas faire

to listen to her. She is asking you not to be

l'idiot.

stupid.

reporting answers
To report yes and no answers, use que:
4>)

Plus tard, Fiona raconte la fin de l'histoire

Later, Fiona tells the end of the story to her

ses amis.

friends.

Fiona: . . . et soudain, T a m m y demande

Fiona: . . . and suddenly, T a m m y asks Tex

Tex s'il peut teindre la tl et il lui rpond

if he can turn off the T V and he answers

que NON.

NO.

fill in the blanks


Complete the sentences to report what T a m m y and Tex are saying.
1. Tex : Que veut Bette?<br> = > Tex demande

Bette veut.

2. T a m m y : Regarde-moi Tex!<br> = > T a m m y dit Tex


3. Tex : Je suis fatigu.<br> = > Tex dit

.
fatigu.

4. Tex : O vit Bette?<br> = > Tex demande

Bette vit.

5. T a m m y : Est-ce que tu vas au cinma?<br> = > T a m m y demande

. tu vas au cinma.

6. T a m m y : Quand est-ce que Tex rentre?<br> = > T a m m y veut savoir


7. Tex : Qu'est-ce qui se passe?<br> = > Tex demande

Tex rentre.

se passe.

8. T a m m y : Qu'est-ce que tu fais ce week-end?<br> = > T a m m y demande


9. T a m m y : Tex, arrte de faire l'idiot!<br> = > T a m m y dit Tex
10. Tex : J'adore fumer!<br> = > Tex dclare

tu fais ce week-end.
de faire l'idiot

adore fumer.

11. Tex : Qui vient dner ce soir?<br> = > Tex veut s a v o i r .

vient dner ce soir.

12. T a m m y : C h a n t e la Marseillaise T e x ! < b r > = > T a m m y d e m a n d e T e x

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

la Marseillaise.

updated: 27 May 04

page: tad2

reported speech in t h e past

1. reporting statements
2. what tense in the subordinate clause?
3. reporting questions
4. reporting orders
5. reporting answers

reporting statements
To report what has been said or thought in the past, link the main clause introduced by 'il a dit', 'je pensais', etc. and
the subordinate clause with que /qu'. The tense of the verb in the subordinate clause also changes.
T r e y : Je suis amoureux de toi T a m m y !

Trey: I am in love with you T a m m y .

T a m m y : Comment? Tex m'a dit que tu avais

T a m m y : What? Tex told me you had a

une petite amie!

girlfriend!

what tense in the subordinate clause?


When the main clause is in the past, the subordinate clause must also be in the past tense.
They belong to the same time frame. This rule is known in French as the 'concordance des
temps,' the agreement or concordance of the tenses. Look at these examples:

do)

quote
present

reported speech
= > imparfait

T a m m y : H Tex, j'aime beaucoup ton frre

Elle a dit qu'elle aimait beaucoup Trey. (She

Trey. (Hey Tex, I really like your brother

said that she really liked Trey.)

Trey.

passe c o m p o s e

= > plus-que-parfait

T a m m y : Trey est devenu sexy. (Trey has

Elle a dit que Trey tait devenu sexy. (She

become sexy.)

said that Trey had become sexy.)

future

= > conditional

T a m m y : Nous louerons la vido 'Les

Elle a dit qu'ils loueraient la vido ... (She

Liaisons dangereuses.' (We'll rent the video

said that they would rent the video ... )

'Dangerous Liaisons.')

reporting questions
To report yes/no questions, use si. Note that si changes to s' in front of a word beginning with an i (s'il ), but does not
change before other vowels (si elle, sion).
d1')

T a m m y : T u aimes les films rotiques?

T a m m y : Do you like erotic films?

Trey: Qu'est-ce que tu as dit?

Trey: What did you say?

T a m m y : Je t'ai demand si tu aimais les

T a m m y : I asked if you liked erotic films.

films rotiques.

To report an information question use the interrogative word quand, comment, o, etc.
d'D

Trey: Quand vas-tu quitter mon frre?

Trey: When are you going to leave my


brother?

T a m m y : Qu'est-ce que tu disais?

T a m m y : What were you saying?

Trey: Je te demandais quand tu allais quitter

Trey: I was asking you when you were

mon frre.

going to leave my brother.

To report questions starting with que, q u ' e s t - c e que, and q u ' e s t - c e qui, use ceque (cequ') and ce qui :
4>)

Tex: Trey, qu'est-ce que tu vas faire ce soir

Tex: Trey, what are you going to do tonight

avec T a m m y ?

with T a m m y ?

Trey: Qu'est-ce que tu as dit?

Trey: What did you say?

Tex: Je te demandais ce que tu allais faire

Tex: I was asking what you were goint to

ce soir avec Tammy.

do with T a m m y tonight.

reporting orders
To report an order, replace the imperative by de/d' + infinitive:
4>)

Tex: Sois poli avec Tammy! Ne flirte pas

Tex: Be polite with Tammy! Don't flirt with

avec elle!

her!

Trey: Hein?

Trey: H u h ?

Corey: Tex t'a dit d'tre poli avec T a m m y et

Corey: Tex told you to be polite with

de ne pas flirter avec elle!

T a m m y and not to flirt with her!

reporting answers
Note that to report yes/no sentences, use que:
Trey: T a m m y , tu veux m'pouser?

Trey: T a m m y , do you want to marry m e ?

T a m m y : Non.

T a m m y : No.

Trey: Qu'as-tu dit?

Trey: What did you say?

T a m m y : Je t'ai dit que non. C'est Tex que

T a m m y : I told you no. It is Tex I love.

j'aime!

Listen to this dialogue:


4>)

Fiona et Bette ont entendu dire que Trey a

Fiona and Bette have heard rumors that

demand T a m m y de l'pouser.

Trey has proposed to T a m m y .

Fiona: Je t'assure Bette, Trey m'a racont

Fiona: Really Bette, Trey told me that he

qu'il avait achet une grosse bague en

had bought a big diamond ring for Tammy.

diamants pour T a m m y .
Bette: Et moi qui croyait que Trey tait

Bette: And I thought that Trey was in love

amoureux de moi! Quelle dception!

with me! What a disappointment!

Fiona: Mais je n'ai pas su si T a m m y avait

Fiona: But I did not find out if T a m m y had

racont l'histoire Tex ou si elle avait gard

told the story to Tex or if she had kept it

le secret! Alors chut!

secret ... So shush!

fill in the blanks


Complete the sentences in order to report what T a m m y and Tex said yesterday.

1. T a m m y : Q u a n d est-ce que tu v a s aller c h e z P a w - P a w ? < b r > = > Hier, T a m m y a d e m a n d T e x


aller c h e z P a w - P a w .
2. T e x : T a m m y , Bette a t l p h o n . < b r > = > Hier, T e x a dit T a m m y

3. T e x : A l l o n s a u M e x i q u e ! < b r > = > Hier, T e x a propos T a m m y

au Mexique.

4. T e x : Je v i e n s de finir un r o m a n ! < b r > = > Hier, T e x a a n n o n c

un roman.

5. T a m m y : Nous n o u s m a r i e r o n s en F r a n c e . < b r > = > Hier, T a m m y a dit qu'

en France.

6. T e x : Qu'est ce qui s'est p a s s ? < b r > = > Hier, T e x a d e m a n d

7. T a m m y : A i m e s - t u les films d'horreur T e x ? < b r > = > T a m m y a d e m a n d T e x

les f i l m s

d'horreur.
8. T e x : Rita a d m n a g . < b r > = > Hier, T e x a dit que Rita

9. T a m m y : Tex, tu a eu t o r t . < b r > = > Hier T a m m y a dit T e x


10. T e x : J'adore f u m e r ! < b r > = > Hier, T e x a dclar
11. T e x : Qui va v e n i r ? < b r > = > Hier, T e x voulait savoir

tort.
fumer.
venir.

12. T a m m y : Tex, q u ' e s t - c e q u e tu v e u x pour t o n a n n i v e r s a i r e ? < b r > = > Hier T a m m y a d e m a n d T e x


pour son anniversaire.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: ta pri

futur proche

1. formation
2. uses
3. aller in the imperfect + infinitive

formation
There are two future tenses in French, the simple future and the near future (le futur proche). The futur proche is
usually translated into English as going + infinitive (e.g., going to eat, going to drink, going to talk). The futur proche is
characteristic of spoken French but may be used in informal writing. It is formed with the verb aller (to go) conjugated in
the present tense followed by an infinitive.

nager 'to swim'


je vais nager, I am going to swim

nous allons nager, we are going to swim

tu vas nager, you are going to swim

vous allez nager, you are going to swim

il, elle / on va nager, he, she (it) / one is

ils / elles vont nager, they are going to swim

going to swim

To negate the futur proche, place ne ... pas around the conjugated form of aller: Je ne vais pas nager. (I am not going to
swim).
Corey: Je vais aller Barton Springs.

Corey: I am going to go to Barton Springs.

J'adore l'eau. Je vais nager. Tu viens avec

I love water. I am going to swim. Are you

moi, Bette?

coming with me, Bette?

Bette: Tu es fou! Il fait trop froid! Je ne vais

Bette: Are you crazy? It is too cold! I am

pas nager!

not going to swim!

uses
The futur proche is used to refer to most future events in informal conversation. For details on usage see future: usage.
4>)

Corey: Tex! T a m m y ! Nous allons aller

Corey: Tex! T a m m y ! We are going to go to

Barton Springs.

Barton Springs.

Bette: Mais il y a de gros nuages gris, il va

Bette: But there are big gray clouds. It's

pleuvoir.

going to rain.

Corey: Chouette! Je vais nager sous la

Corey: Great! I am going to swim in the

pluie.

rain.

aller in the imperfect + infinitive


T h e construction aller + infinitive is also f o u n d w i t h the verb aller in the imperfect (l'imparfait) to indicate w h a t s o m e o n e
w a s g o i n g to d o . For e x a m p l e :
4>)

Les copains allaient partir pour B a r t o n

T h e friends w e r e g o i n g t o l e a v e for

Springs, q u a n d ils ont v u un clair.

B a r t o n Springs, w h e n they s a w lightening.

Bette: Corey, tu vas te faire lectrocuter!

Bette: Corey, y o u are going to get yourself

Moi, j e vais faire du s h o p p i n g . Qui va venir

electrocuted! I'm going to do s o m e

avec moi?

s h o p p i n g . W h o ' s going to c o m e w i t h m e ?

fill in the blanks


Give 'futur proche' of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. C o r e y : Je ne sors pas ce soir. Je

la maison, (rester)

2. T a m m y : N o u s a v o n s un e x a m e n d e m a i n . N o u s
3. T e x et T a m m y

ce soir, (tudier)

en France cet t. (voyager)

4. Fiona: J'ai besoin d'argent. Je

. cet a u t o m n e . (travailler)

5. J o e - B o b : J'ai faim. Est-ce q u ' o n

bientt? ( m a n g e r )

6. Il y a du soleil. Il

chaud, (faire)

7. T a m m y est en short, elle

au tennis, (jouer)

8. T e x et T a m m y v o n t la c a m p a g n e . Eduard
9. C'est la Saint Valentin, et T e x .
10. T e x : A u j o u r d - ' h u i , n o u s

un p i q u e - n i q u e pour ses amis, (prparer)


. d'acheter une carte pour T a m m y . (ne pas oublier)

. d a n s la G u a d e l o u p e , N e w Braunfels. (nager)

11. Fiona: J o e - B o b et Corey, il y a une fte c h e z T a m m y d i m a n c h e . E s t - c e que v o u s ,

des amis?

(emmener)
12. Fiona: Tex, pourquoi est-ce q u e tu

en France cet t ? (voyager)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tad2

simple future: regular

1. formation
2. uses

formation
The 'simple' future (le futur) is so-named because it is a one-word tense. In other words, its formation is simple
because there is no auxiliary.
The endings for the simple future are: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont. The future stem for - e r and -ir verbs is the infinitive.
For regular - r e verbs, the stem is the infinitive minus the final e. In all cases, the future stem ends in -r : this sound
characterizes the future and the conditional.The French simple future tense is generally translated into English with the
modal auxiliary 'will.'
Listen carefully to the future conjugation of regular -er verbs, where the e of the infinitive changes in pronunciation.

nager 'to swim'


je nagerai, I will swim

nous nagerons, we will swim

tu nageras, you will swim

vous nagerez, you will swim

il, elle / on nagera,

ils / elles nageront, they will swim

he, she (it) / one will swim

Some - e r verbs with spelling changes in the present form their future regularly, that is, their future stem is the
infinitive. These include verbs like prfrer (je prfrerai), manger (je mangerai) and commener (je commencerai). Other
-er verbs with spelling changes in the present (appeler, employer, acheter) have irregular future stems.
do)

rflchir 'to think'


je rflchirai, I will think

nous rflchirons, we will think

tu rflchiras, you will think

vous rflchirez, you will think

il, elle / on rflchira, he, she (it) / one will

ils / elles rflchiront, they will think

think

do)

rendre 'to give back'


je rendrai, I will give back

nous rendrons, we will give back

tu rendras, you will give back

vous rendrez, you will give back

il, elle / on rendra, he, she (it) / one will give

ils / elles rendront, they will give back

back

Many verbs which are irregular in the present tense have regular formations in the future. Their future stems are the
infinitive or the infinitive minus the final e. Such verbs include sortir (je sortirai), partir (je partirai), dormir (je dormirai),
boire (je boirai), dire (je dirai), crire (j'crirai), lire (je lirai), mettre (je mettrai),

(je prendrai), and

(je

suivrai).

uses
The simple future is used to refer to future events, that is, to make predictions. It is more formal than the immediate
future, although both tenses may be used in most contexts. For further details, see future: usage.

4>)

T a m m y imagine sa lune de miel avec Tex.

T a m m y i m a g i n e s her h o n e y m o o n w i t h T e x .

T a m m y : N o u s prendrons le C o n c o r d e

T a m m y : W e will take the C o n c o r d e to

Paris, bien sr. O n restera d a n s un htel

Paris, of course. W e will stay in a t h r e e -

trois toiles et n o u s mangerons d a n s d e s

star hotel and w e will eat in chic

restaurants chics. N o u s flnerons a u long

restaurants. W e will stroll along the

d e s C h a m p s - E l y s e s bras dessus, bras

C h a m p s - E l y s e s a r m in a r m and y o u will

d e s s o u s et tu m'offriras du p a r f u m et d e s
fleurs. La nuit n o u s descendrons la Seine en
b a t e a u m o u c h e . Ah, la vie conjugale, un

give me p e r f u m e a n d flowers. At night w e


will go d o w n the Seine on a sightseeing
boat. A h , married life, paradise on earth.

paradis terrestre.

fill in the blanks


Give the futur simple of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. T e x et T a m m y
2. T a m m y
3. T a m m y : J'
4. T a m m y : Je

e n s e m b l e , (partir)
ses tudes, (finir)
un livre, (crire)
les h a b i t u d e s de T e x . ( c o m p r e n d r e )

5. T a m m y : T e x et moi, n o u s
6. T e x : Mes neveux, v o u s
7. T a m m y : T e x , tu
8. T a m m y
9. J o e - B o b

12. T a m m y et Bette

(voyager)

la philosophie! (aimer)
la table, n'est-ce p a s ? (mettre)

s a n s cesse, (chanter)
d e s c o u r s faciles, (suivre)

10. T e x : Bette, est-ce q u e tu


11. J o e - B o b

beaucoup,

T a m m y ? (respecter)

p e n d a n t quatre jours, (dormir)


(se t l p h o n e r )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

18 Oct 04

page: tap 3

simple future: irregular

1. irregular future stems


2. future stems of verbs with spelling changes
3. uses

The 'simple' future is so-named because it is a one-word tense. In other words, its formation is simple because there is
no auxiliary. The stem of the simple future always ends with the letterr, which is the characteristic sound of the future
and conditional tenses.
For a list of irregular verbs which form their future in the same way as regular verbs do, see future: regular.

irregular future stems


Some irregular verbs also have irregular future stems. Nevertheless, the future endings are the same for all verbs: -ai,
as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont. The future stem for the verb tre is ser- and the future stem for the verb avoir is aur-.

tre 'to be'


je serai, I will be

nous serons, we will be

tu seras, you will be

vous serez, you will be

il, elle / on sera, he, she (it) / one will be

ils / elles seront, they will be

do)

avoir 'to have'


j'aurai, I will have

nous aurons, we will have

tu auras, you will have

vous aurez, you will have

il, elle / on aura, he, she (it) / one will have

ils / elles auront, they will have

Here are the most common verbs that have irregular future stems:
do)

infinitive

stem

future

translation

aller

ir-

j'irai

I will go

courir

courr-

je courrai

I will run

devoir

devr-

je devrai

I will be obliged to

envoyer

enverr-

j'enverrai

I will send

faire

fer-

je ferai

I will do

falloir

faudr-

il faudra

it will be necessary

mourir

mourr-

je mourrai

I will die

obtenir

obtiendr-

j'obtiendrai

I will obtain

pleuvoir

pleuvr-

il pleuvra

it will rain

pouvoir

pourr-

je pourrai

I will be able

recevoir

recevr-

je recevrai

I will receive

savoir

saur-

je saurai

I will know

tenir

tiendr-

je tiendrai

I will hold

il

i|_

iL

venir

viendr-

je viendrai

I will come

voir

verr-

je verrai

I will see

vouloir

voudr-

je voudrai

I will want

future stems of verbs with spelling changes


Verbs with spelling changes like appeler, employer, and acheter add -r to the present tense je form to create their future
stems:

present tense

stem

future

translation

j'appelle

appeller-

j'appellerai

I will call

j'emploie

empl oier-

j'emploierai

I will use

j'achte

achter-

j'achterai

I will buy

Other -er verbs verbs with spelling changes including prfrer, manger, and commener have regular future stems.

uses
The simple future is used to refer to future events, that is, to make predictions. It is more formal than the immediate
future, although both tenses may be used in most contexts. For further details, see future: usage.

T a m m y est en train d'crire un livre de

T a m m y is writing a science-fiction book:

science-fiction:
En l'an 3000, il ne pleuvra plus sur la

In the year 3000, it will not rain any longer

plante Terre. Tout le monde aura trs peur

on the planet Earth. Everybody will be very

et des centaines de personnes mourront. Le

afraid and hundreds of people will die. The

sol deviendra strile. Certains iront vivre sur

soil will become sterile. Some people will

la Lune. Les autres devront habiter sur

go to live on the Moon. Others will have to

Mars. Les villes terrestres seront totalement


vides. Personne ne voudra croire
qu'autrefois la vie sur la Terre tait

live on Mars. The cities on the Earth will be


totally empty. No one will believe that once
upon a time life on earth was wonderful.

merveilleuse.
Alors, Tex, tu aimes mon livre?

So, Tex, do you like my book?

Tex: Ah, ma pauvre Tammy, tu n'es pas

Tex: Ah, my poor T a m m y , you are not

doue ... C'est nul!

talented ... It's hopeless!

Give the futur simple of the verb indicated in parentheses.


1. T e x et T a m m y

la T o u r Eiffel, (voir)

2. T a m m y

t o u i o u r s la cuisine, (fairel

3. P a w - P a w : Je
4. T e x : J'

tout seul O p e l o u s a s . (mourir)


b e a u c o u p d'amirateurs. (avoir)

5. T a m m y : T e x et moi, n o u s
6. T e x : Mes neveux, v o u s
7. T e x : T a m m y , tu
8. T a m m y

en France, n'est-ce p a s ? (aller)


trop de v t e m e n t s ,

(acheter)

d e s c a d e a u x aux n e v e u x de Tex. (envoyer)

9. J o e - B o b

son diplome, (ne pas obtenir)

10. T a m m y : T e x , est-ce que tu


11. Bette

trs contents, ( t r e l

m'crire s o u v e n t ? (pouvoir)

t o u s les secrets de T e x . (savoir)

12. T a m m y et Bette

d e s prix culinaires, (recevoir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: tap 4

1. futur proche vs. futur simple


2. differences between French and English

French has two future tenses -- the futur proche and the futur simple. The futur proche is formed with the auxiliary aller
which is followed by an infinitive (Je vais partir. 'I'm going to leave'). The futur simple doesn't have an auxiliary. Instead,
the infinitive form becomes the stem to which future endings are added (Je partirai. 'I will leave'). For more details on
the formation of these two future tenses, including irregular forms, see the related links: future: regular, future:
irregular, and futur proche.

futur proche vs. futur simple


The two tenses are virtually interachangeable in most contexts, especially in spoken French. So what is the difference? In
general, the two tenses differ in their level of formality; the future proche is used in more informal contexts and the
simple future in more formal contexts. Thus, the futur proche is primarily used in speech and less frequently in writing.
According to traditional grammars, the two tenses also differ in their relative distance to the present moment. The future
proche, also called the futur immdiat, typically refers to a time very close to the present moment, i.e, the near or
immediate future. The futur simple, on the other hand, is often used for events in the more distant future. Because the
futur simple is associated with distant future events, it often takes on a detached, objective quality making it the
preferred tense for future events that represent general truths.
Qui vivra, verra.

Whoever will live, will see.

L'homme sera toujours l'homme.

Man will always be man.


(Boys will be boys.)

The two tenses also indicate a difference in the speaker's perception of the future event. The futur proche indicates that
the speaker is relatively certain that the future event will actually happen. In contrast, the futur simple indicates that the
speaker is less certain of the future event coming to pass. Let's imagine a context to make this distinction more clear.
Suppose that a very disturbed man has just climbed out onto the ledge of a skyscraper. The man begins to lose his
balance. A horrified onlooker sees the man beginning to teeter and screams:
Il va t o m b e r !

He's going to fall!

Il tombera!

He will fall!

In this scenario, first sentence, the one in the near future, sounds more plausible in French and in English. W h y ? Because
when someone loses his balance, he will invariably fall. In this case, the tense indicates both the immediacy of the future
event as well as its inevitability in the mind of the speaker. Of course, speakers are usually more certain about the
immediate future and less certain about the distant future. Does this mean that certainty and distance to the present
always go together? Not exactly. One can be certain about events in the distant future too. For example, look at the
following sentences in French and in English and try to imagine the different contexts in which they would be
appropriate.
Je vais avoir un enfant!

I'm gonna have a baby!

J'aurai un enfant!

I will have a baby!

In the first sentence, the speaker is either pregnant or has just received confirmation from an adoption agency.
Whatever the case may be, the speaker knows for certain that she will become a parent and indicates the inevitability of
the future event via the futur proche. But note that even though the speaker is certain about the future event, the event
is not likely to happen immediately. In the second sentence, the speaker is stating her desire to either get pregnant or to
adopt a child of her own. In this sentence the time frame for the future event is left open--maybe she will get pregnant
tomorrow, maybe she won't. Now consider the following dialogue in which Tex's sister Rita discovers she's going to have
a baby. Can you explain the choice of future tense?
4>)

Rita, qui a dj plusieurs enfants, passe un

Rita, who already has several children,

test de grossesse pour savoir si elle est

takes a pregnancy test to find out if she is

enceinte. Elle sort de sa chambre.

pregnant. She comes out of her bedroom.

4>)

Rita: Oh ... Bon Dieu. Le test est positif. Je

Rita: Oh ... Good Lord. The test is positive.

vais encore avoir quatre enfants de plus!

I'm going to have four more babies!

Joe-Bob: Quatre?

Joe-Bob: Four?

Rita: Oui, quatre!! Tu sais bien, les tatous

Rita: Yes, four!! You know, armadillos give

accouchent de quatre enfants la fois!

birth to four babies at a time!

Rita et T a m m y se demandent comment les

Rita and T a m m y wonder how the babies are

bbs vont changer la vie de Rita.

going to change Rita's life.

Rita: Encore des enfants! Je ne vais pas

Rita: More children! I'm not going to hold

tenir le coup!

up!

T a m m y : Oh Rita, tu exagres. Aprs une

T a m m y : Oh Rita, you are exaggerating.

douzaine, quatre de plus ne feront aucune

After a dozen, four more won't make any

diffrence!

difference at all!

Rita: Aucune diffrence? HA! Je vais avoir

Rita: No difference at all? HA! I'm going to

des couches changer, des repas

have diapers to change, meals to prepare.

prparer. Et je ne vais plus pouvoir dormir

A n d I'm not going to be able to sleep at

la nuit.

night any more.

T a m m y : Oui, tu seras un peu fatigue peut-

T a m m y : Yes, you will be a little tired

tre, mais la joie te donnera de l'nergie, tu

maybe, but joy will give you energy. Y o u

verras.

will see.

Rita: Ma joie?! Je serai heureuse quand

Rita: My joy?! I will be happy when my

mon mari aura une vasectomie.

husband has a vasectomy.

differences between French and English


In general, the future tenses in French and in English are used similarly. However, there is one major difference in future
tense usage between the two languages. French requires the future tense after certain conjunctions where English usage
calls for the present tense.

Joe-Bob: Ds q u e Tex et T a m m y seront en

Joe-Bob: A s soon as Tex and T a m m y are

vacances, ils iront la Nouvelle-Orlans.

on vacation, they will go to New Orleans.

C o r e y : Mais ils n o u s tlphoneront a u s s i t t

C o r e y : But t h e y will call us a s s o o n as t h e y

q u ' ils arriveront la N o u v e l l e - O r l a n s .

a r r i v e in N e w Orleans.

J o e - B o b : L o r s q u e T e x et T a m m y

J o e - B o b : W h e n T e x and T a m m y c o m e

rentreront, ils passeront q u e l q u e s j o u r s

back, they will spend a f e w d a y s in

Opelousas.

Opelousas.

C o r e y : Et q u a n d ils reviendront Austin,

C o r e y : A n d w h e n t h e y return to Austin,

o n fera la fte!

we'll have a party!

In the French e x a m p l e s above, the s u b o r d i n a t e c l a u s e s starting w i t h d s q u e , a u s s i t t q u e , l o r s q u e , and q u a n d are


in the simple future b e c a u s e the main c l a u s e s are in the future. T h e action in the s u b o r d i n a t e clause implies future tense
since it will take place at a r o u n d the s a m e time a s the action in the main clause. Note the use of the present tense in the
subordinate clause of the English translations.

fill in the blanks


'Futur simple' or 'futur p r o c h e ' ? Fill in the blank w i t h the appropriate future tense of the v e r b indicated in
parentheses.
1. T e x : Q u a n d je serai riche, j e

, mais pas maintenant! (me marier)

2. T e x : J'ai une ide pour un p o m e : j e

tout de suite! (crire)

3. T e x : Je v e u x revoir la France. Je

un billet d'avion i m m d i a t e m e n t , (acheter)

4. T a m m y : Aujourd'hui, c'est les soldes! T e x et moi, n o u s


5. E d o u a r d : Je suis serveur. Mais, un jour, je

un chef cuisinier clbre, (devenir)

6. E d o u a r d : Q u a n d v o u s v o u s marierez, v o u s
7. T a m m y : Je/J'
8. Bette : Je

Dillards. (aller)

votre lune de miel Paris, (passer)

t o u j o u r s Tex. (aimer)
t o u j o u r s une f e m m e fatale! (tre)

9. T e x : Je suis en retard. T a m m y

contente! (ne pas tre)

10. T a m m y : Il fait b e a u aujourd'hui. N o u s


11. Rita : Je suis fatigue. Je

(faire) un picnic.

c o m m e un bb, (dormir)

12. C o r e y et J o e - B o b : L ' e x a m e n est d e m a i n ! N o u s

ce soir, (rviser)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

lij-'^dLrJ^LrJ

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: tap 5

futur antrieur

1. formation
2. usage
3. conjunctions

formation
The future perfect (futur antrieur) is formed with the simple future of the auxiliary (either tre or avoir), plus the past
participle of the main verb. The choice between tre and avoir as an auxiliary is the same as in the pass compos.
Future perfect

= auxiliary

in the future

+ past participle

of main

verb

finir 'to finish'


j'aurai fini, I will have finished

nous aurons fini, we will have finished

tu auras fini, you will have finished

vous aurez fini, you will have finished

il, elle / on aura fini,

ils / elles auront fini,

he, she (it) / one will have finished

they will have finished

do)

partir 'to leave'


je serai parti(e), I will have left

nous serons parti(e)s, we will have left

tu seras parti(e), you will have left

vous serez parti(e)(s), you will have left

il, elle / on sera parti(e),

ils / elles seront parti(e)s,

he, she (it) / one will have left

they will have left

Note that with the auxiliary tre, the past participle agrees in number and gender with the subject.

usage
The futur antrieur is used for an action that precedes, or will be completed before, another action in the future. While
the futur is expressed in English by 'will' + main verb (will finish), the futur antrieur is usually translated as 'will have'
+ past participle of verb (will have finished). For example:
do)

Corey et Joe-Bob n'auront pas appris le

Corey and Joe-Bob will not have learned

futur antrieur avant la fin du semestre.

the future perfect before the end of the


semester.

Negation is formed as usual by placing ne / n


do)

pas around the conjugated verb, which in this case is the auxiliary:

Corey et Joe-Bob n'auront certainement pas

Corey and Joe-Bob will not have

compris le futur antrieur avant la fin du

understood the future perfect before the

semestre.

end of the semester.

conjunctions
The futur antrieur is used similarly in French and English. However, French uses the future perfect after certain
conjunctions like quand and lorsque (when) or ds q u e and aussitt q u e (as soon as) where English would use the
present tense.
4>)

Quand T a m m y aura reu son diplme,Tex

When T a m m y gets her degree, she and Tex

et elle iront en France.

go to France.

Ds que Tex et T a m m y se seront maris, ils

A s soon as Tex and T a m m y get married,

auront beaucoup de petits tatous.

they will have lots of little armadillos.

In the examples above, the subordinate clauses starting with quand and ds q u e are in the future perfect because the
action of the subordinate clause will be performed prior to the action in the main clause.
Listen to the dialogue:

4>)

Tex et T a m m y sont une soire. Ils se

Tex and T a m m y are at a party. They are

disputent.

having a quarrel.

T a m m y : Tex, quand tu auras fini de

T a m m y : Tex, when you're done hitting on

draguer toutes mes copines, je voudrais te

all my girl-friends, I would like to have a

dire deux mots!

word with you!

Tex: Tammy, on parlera ds que tu te seras

Tex: Tammy, we'll talk when you've calmed

cal me !

down!

T a m m y : T u es insupportable! Je ne partirai

T a m m y : You are unbearable! I will not

que lorsque tu te seras excus!

leave until you've apologized!

Tex: Mais je m'amuse bien! On parlera de

Tex: But I am having fun! We'll talk about

tout a quand la soire sera termine.

all this when the party is over.

T a m m y : Quand tu auras bien bu, ce sera

T a m m y : When you have drunk too much, it

trop tard.

will be too late.

Tex: Bon, d'accord, je viens.

Tex: OK, I am coming.

Give the 'futur antrieur' of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.


1. T e x : T a m m y , l'an prochain t u m'

d e p u i s 5 ans. (connatre)

2. T a m m y : D e m a i n , T e x

ses promesses,

3. T e x : J'espre que T a m m y
4. T a m m y : Q u a n d j'

(oublier)

son e x a m e n , (russir)
d e s enfants, j e ressemblerai Rita, (avoir)

5. J o e - B o b : Q u a n d est-ce que v o u s
6. T a m m y : Q u a n d T e x et E d o u a r d
7. T a m m y : Je travaillerai q u a n d v o u s

? (finir)
, o n pourra manger, (rentrer)
. (partir)

8. T a m m y : J'espre q u e T e x

Edouard, (tlphoner)

9. T e x : D a n s q u e l q u e s a n n e s , je

un pote clbre, (devenir)

10. T a m m y : L'an prochain, les b b s de Rita


11. T e x : D a n s une s e m a i n e , on
12. T a m m y : J'espre q u e T e x

. (grandir)
les cours, (terminer)
une bonne j o u r n e , (passer)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: ta pri

imperative m o o d

1. formation
2. irregular imperatives
3. imperative of pronomial verbs
4. negative commands
5. pronoun object with imperatives

The imperative, (l'impratif in French) is used to give commands, orders, or express wishes, like 'Stop!', 'Listen!' You
may recognize the imperative from commands such as 'Ecoutez' or 'Rptez'. It is one of four moods in the French
language. Unlike the other moods, the imperative is not divided into tenses. Keep in mind that the imperative is a very
direct way to give an order. It is often replaced with more polite alternatives like the conditional.

formation
There are three forms of the imperative: tu, nous and vous. For all verbs, the imperative is formed by taking the
corresponding forms of the present indicative, but without subject pronouns. The lack of a subject pronoun is what
identifies the imperative mood.

finir 'to finish'


present

imperative

translation

tu finis

finis

finish (you, familiar)

nous finissons

finissons

let's finish

vous finissez

finissez

finish

The tu form is used to give an order to a child or when the speaker is on familiar terms with the person addressed. The
vous form is used to give an order to a group of people or to address one person in the vous form. The nous form is
used to give an order that involves oneself as well as others, though it often expresses a suggestion as its translation
(Let's ... ) indicates.
Drop the final s in the tu forms of the imperative for - e r verbs, including aller, and -ir verbs like ouvrir and other verbs
whose present indicative form of tu ends in -es:

present

imperative

translation

tu regardes

regarde

look

tu ouvres

ouvre

open

tu vas

va

go

When these forms are followed by the pronoun y or en, the -s is reattached for pronunciation purposes. For example:

49

Corey: Bette, va au supermarch! Vas-y! Et

Corey: Bette, go to the supermarket! Go

achte de l'insecticide pour moi ... Tu

there! And buy some insecticide for me ...

m'entends? Achtes-en pour moi!

Do you hear m e ? Buy some for me!

Bette: Imbcile, l'insecticide est dangereux

Bette: Imbecile, insecticide is dangerous for

pour les cafards! Paf!

cockroaches! Pow!

Corey: Oh, Bette ... aide-moi me relever,

Corey: Oh, Bette, help me back up, please.

s'il te plat.
Bette: Tu es vraiment trop bte. Je m'en

Bette: You are really too stupid. I'm

vais.

leaving.

irregular imperatives
There are several verbs that have irregular imperative forms.

avoir

tre

savoir

vouloir

aie

sois

sache

veuille

ayons

soyons

sachons

veuillons

ayez

soyez

sachez

veuillez

imperative of pronominal verbs


For pronominal verbs, the subject pronoun is dropped and the object pronoun is placed after the verb and is attached
with a hyphen. Te becomes toi in this situation.

se souvenir 'to remember'


present

imperative

translation

tu te souviens

souviens-toi

remember

nous nous souvenons

souvenons-nous

let's remember

vous vous souvenez

souvenez-vous

remember

negative commands
The forms of the affirmative imperative (an order to do something) have been presented in the above charts. In
negative commands (an order not to do something), place the ne ... pas around the imperative, as in Ne regarde pas
('Don't look'). In negative commands for reflexive verbs, the object pronoun is placed in front of the verb.
d'S

Corey: Ne te moque pas de moi!

Corey: Don't make fun of me!

Joe-Bob: Ne nous moquons pas de Corey!

Joe-Bob: Let's not make fun of Corey!

ME TE

MOQ^
M o

PA I
t

pronoun object with imperatives


Other non-pronominal pronoun objects follow the same placement as objects of pronominal verbs. A s usual, the subject
pronoun is dropped. In the negative, the ne precedes the object pronoun and the verb. In the affirmative imperative, the
pronoun object follows the verb, and the forms moi and toi replace me and te.
Corey: Aidez-moi, aidez-moi! Je n'arrive pas

Corey: Help me, help me! I can't get back

me relever.

up.

Joe-Bob: Retournons-le! Allez, un, deux,

Joe-Bob: Let's turn him. Let's go, one, two,

trois ... Doucement, doucement. Ne le faites

three ... Slowly, slowly. Don't do it too fast!

pas trop vite!

Listen to the following dialogue:


4>)

Corey: Thanks, everybody. That's much

C o r e y : Merci, tout le m o n d e . a va
b e a u c o u p mieux. Allons Barton S p r i n g s

better. Let's go to B a r t o n S p r i n g s this

cet a p r s - m i d i .

afternoon.

J o e - B o b : D'accord, mais coute, d'abord je

T a m m y : O k a y , but listen, first I have to

dois mettre m o n maillot.

put on m y swimsuit.

C o r e y : Oui, bien sr, m a i s dpche-toi.

T e x : Yes, of course, but hurry.

J o e - B o b : J'arrive. N'oublions pas

J o e - B o b : I'm c o m i n g . Let's not forget the

l'insecticide. Il y a tant d'insectes

insecticide. T h e r e are so m a n y irritating

e m p o i s o n n a n t s en ce m o m e n t !

insects now.

C o r e y : Eh moi alors?

Corey: And m e ?

J o e - B o b : Oh, pas toi, Corey. T u n'es j a m a i s

J o e - B o b : Oh, not you, Corey. Y o u are

empoisonnant!

n e v e r irritating!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the imperative f o r m of the v e r b b e t w e e n parentheses.
1. T e x :

T a m m y ! O n taient si h e u r e u x Lyon! (se rappeler)

2. T a m m y : Tex,
3. T e x :

tes lgumes! (finir)


de n o u s disputer! (arrter)

4. T a m m y :

prtentieux, T e x ! (ne pas tre)

5. T e x et T a m m y :
Tammy

rester m o d e s t e s ! (savoir)
. c h e z le coiffeur T e x ! (aller)

Tammy

T u as envie d'aller chez Bette, T e x ?

Tammy

J'achte du v i n ? T e x : Oui,

9. T a m m y
10. T a m m y

Ta m a i s o n n'est pas propre Tex!


Edouard, Corey,

- e n plusieurs bouteilles! (acheter)


tes affaires! (ranger)
! V o u s allez tre en retard! (se d p c h e r )

11. T e x : Edouard, Corey, ceci est secret!


12. T e x : C h e r s amis,

_-y! (aller)

T a m m y ! (ne pas parler)

t o u s m o n anniversaire! (venir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: ta pri

recent past (venir de + infinitive)

When venir is conjugated in the present and followed by de + infinitive, it means 'to have just done something.' This is
called the recent past (le pass immdiat).
4>)

Tex et T a m m y viennent de regarder une

Tex et T a m m y have just finished watching

vido romantique. Et ils viennent de finir

a romantic video. A n d they have just

toute une bouteille de vin. Il n'en reste plus

finished a whole bottle of wine. There isn't

une goutte!

a drop left!

T a m m y : Oh chri, je t'aime de tout mon

T a m m y : Oh darling, I love you with all my

coeur.

heart.

Tex: Embrasse-moi, mon petit quadrupde!

Tex: Kiss me, my little quadruped!

[SMACK!]

[SMACK!]

When venir is conjugated in the imparfait followed by de +infinitive, it means 'had just done something:
Tex et T a m m y venaient de s'embrasser

Tex and T a m m y had just kissed when Bette

quand Bette est arrive.

arrived.

Bette: Oh, excusez-moi

Je vous

Bette: Oh, excuse me

A m I interrupting

interromps?

you?

T a m m y : En effet, nous passons une soire

T a m m y : Yes, you are. We are spending a

tranquille ...

quiet evening ...

Tex: Salut Bette, oh, c'est pas grave. On

Tex: Hi Bette. Oh, it's OK. We just saw a

vient de regarder une vido. Assieds-toi.

video. Sit down.

T a m m y : Mais Tex ...

T a m m y : But Tex ...

Bette ronronne.

Bette purrs.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with recent past ('venir' in present tense) of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Edouard

les clientes, (servir)

2. Corey et Joe-Bob
3. T a m m y : Je

un film, (regarder)
mes devoirs, (finir)

4. Bette: Tex, est-ce que tu


5. T a m m y et Bette

un pome? (crire)

. Sandra Bullock. (voir)

6. T e x et Edouard: N o u s

une bouteille de vin. (boire)

7. J o e - B o b et Corey: N o u s

. (manger)

8. E d o u a r d : Bette et T a m m y , est-ce q u e v o u s
9. Fiona

une tarte piquante,

10. T a m m y : Je
11. C o r e y

du s h o p p i n g ? (faire)

(prparer)

la cathdrale, (visiter)
la piscine, (nager)

12. T a m m y : T e x , est-ce que tu

avec Bette? (danser)

fill in the blanks, part 2


Fill in the blank w i t h the imperfect of the recent past ('venir' in imparfait) of the verb indicated in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x

le paquet, (ouvrir)

2. T a m m y

la lettre de Bette, (dcouvrir)

3. T a m m y et T e x : Nous

visite P a w - P a w . (rendre)

4. Fiona: J o e - B o b et Corey, v o u s
5. T a m m y : Bette, t u

T e x ! (voir)

6. T e x : T a m m y , tu

ma soeur, Rita, (rencontrer)

7. J o e - B o b et Corey: N o u s
8. E d o u a r d : Je

. (arriver)

un article choquant, (lire)

un repas, (prendre)

9. T a m m y et Bette

d e s c a d e a u x T e x . (offrir)

10. Rita et ses e n f a n t s

les jouets, (sortir)

11. Fiona: T e x et T a m m y , v o u s
12. T e x

du ski. (faire)

un v i n rouge, (choisir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

pass c o m p o s with avoir

page:

'

tap2

1. uses
2. f o r m a t i o n
3. negation

uses
T h e p a s s c o m p o s is the most c o m m o n l y used tense to refer to actions
c o m p l e t e d in the past. T h e pass c o m p o s m a y be t r a n s l a t e d into English in three
different w a y s d e p e n d i n g o n the context.
T e x ate all the meat!
T e x a mang t o u t e la viande!

T e x has e a t e n all the meat!


T e x did eat all the meat!

formation
T h i s tense is called the pass c o m p o s because it is c o m p o s e d of t w o e l e m e n t s : the present tense of an auxiliary verb
(either avoir or tre), f o l l o w e d by a past participle:
pass

compos

= present

tense

of auxiliary

+ past

participle

Note that in most instances the auxiliary verb is avoir, but s o m e v e r b s require tre as the auxiliary.
For regular v e r b s w i t h a n infinitive e n d i n g in -er, the past participle is f o r m e d by replacing the final -er of the infinitive
w i t h -. Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the pass c o m p o s of the verb 'parler'. T h e past participle (parl) is
p r o n o u n c e d the s a m e as the infinitive (parler), e v e n t h o u g h t h e y are spelled differently.

parler 'to talk'


j'ai parl, I (have) talked

n o u s avons parl, w e (have) talked

tu as parl, y o u (have) talked

v o u s avez parl, y o u (have) talked

il, elle / o n a parl, he, she (it) / one (has)

ils / elles ont parl, t h e y (have) talked

talked

T h e past participle of regular v e r b s w i t h an infinitive e n d i n g in - i r is f o r m e d by d r o p p i n g the final -r f r o m the infinitive.


For e x a m p l e , the past participle of finir is fini.

finir 'to finish'


j'ai fini, I (have) finished

n o u s avons fini, w e (have) finished

tu as fini, y o u (have) finished

v o u s avez fini, y o u (have) finished

il, elle / o n a fini, he, she (it) / one (has)

ils / elles ont fini, they (have) finished

finished

T h e past participle of regular v e r b s w i t h an infinitive e n d i n g in -re is f o r m e d by replacing the final -re of the infinitive w i t h
-u. For e x a m p l e , the past participle of perdre is perdu.

perdre 'to lose'


j'ai perdu, I (have) lost

n o u s avons perdu, w e (have) lost

tu as perdu, y o u (have) lost

v o u s avez perdu, y o u (have) lost

il,elle / on a perdu, he, she (it) / one (has)

ils / elles ont perdu, they (have) lost

lost

Note that many verbs, however, have irregular past participles. The past participles of many common irregular verbs
which have avoir as an auxiliary are listed below.

infinitive

translation

past participle

avoir

to have

eu

tre

to be

faire

to do

fait

ouvrir

to open

ouvert

prendre

to take

pris

mettre

to put

mis

suivre

to follow

suivi

boire

to drink

bu

croire

to believe

cru

voir

to see

vu

savoir

to know

su

connatre

to know

connu

dire

to say

dit

lire

to read

lu

crire

to write

crit

pouvoir

to be able to

pu

vouloir

to want

voulu

devoir

to have to

tenir

to hold

tenu

recevoir

to receive

reu

negation
Negation of the pass compos is formed by placing ne ... pas around the conjugated verb, which, in this case, is the
auxiliary avoir.
4>)

Oh, regardez! Tex a mang toute la viande!

Oh, look! Tex ate all the meat! Tammy, on

T a m m y , au contraire, n'a pas mang de

the other hand, did not eat any meat! She

viande! Elle est vgtarienne, comme la

is a vegetarian, like most armadillos.

plupart des tatous.

Listen to the following dialogue:


Joe-Bob arrive chez Tammy. Il meurt de

Joe-Bob arrives at Tammy's house. He is

faim. Mais il est trop tard.

dying of hunger. But it is too late.

Joe-Bob: Tammy, j'ai perdu ma collection

Joe-Bob: Tammy, I lost my nut collection.

C a n I have d i n n e r w i t h y ' a l l ?

de noix. E s t - c e que j e peux dner a v e c


vous?
T a m m y : Je suis dsole, J o e - B o b . T e x a fini

T a m m y : I a m sorry J o e - B o b . T e x finished

t o u t e la viande. A m o n avis, il a trop

all the meat. In my opinion, he ate t o o

mang.

much.

J o e - B o b : Ce n'est pas grave T a m m y . Je

J o e - B o b : It's okay T a m m y . I can find

p e u x t r o u v e r quelque chose d a n s la cuisine

s o m e t h i n g in the kitchen ... My god,

... M o n dieu, T a m m y ! Est-ce que t u as vu?

T a m m y ! H a v e y o u s e e n ? T e x t h r e w up

T e x a dgobill partout. C'est d g u e u l a s s e !

e v e r y w h e r e . It's disgusting!

T a m m y : a ne m ' t o n n e pas. Ce petit t a t o u

T a m m y : T h a t doesn't surprise me. T h a t

carnivore, il n'est pas aussi volu que moi!

little c a r n i v o r o u s armadillo. He is not a s


e n l i g h t e n e d a s I am!

fill in the blanks


Give the pass c o m p o s of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Fiona: Corey, est-ce que tu
2. T e x : J'

de n o u v e a u x pomes,

3. T e x et E d o u a r d

5. T a m m y

(crire)

_ le m a t c h de foot. (regarder)

4. T e x et T a m m y

6. T e x

de l'insecticide? (boire)

d e s a m i s hier soir. (rencontrer)


b e a u c o u p de c r p e s pour la fte, (prparer)

visite P a w - P a w . (rendre)

7. T a m m y et Bette

du s h o p p i n g hier, (faire)

8. T a m m y : C o r e y et J o e - B o b , est-ce que v o u s
9. T a m m y et Bette: N o u s

n'est-ce pas, T e x ? (mincir)

10. T a m m y : J o e - B o b , est-ce que tu


11. Les tudiants

m e s devoirs d a n s le f r i g o ? (voir)

la leon? ( c o m p r e n d r e )

T e x . (ne pas obir)

12. Fiona: Alors, est-ce q u ' o n

le f i l m ? (aimer)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

18 Oct 04

page: tap 3

pass c o m p o s with etre

1. uses
2. formation
3. the Alamo of tre
4. irregular past participles
5. agreement of past participle

uses
There are several past tenses in French, and each is used in very specific situations.
The pass c o m p o s is the most common past tense; it is used to relate actions or
events completed in the past. The pass compos may be translated into English in
three different ways depending on the context.
Tex went to the Alamo.
d'S

Tex est all l'Alamo.

Tex has gone to the Alamo.


Tex did go to the Alamo.

formation
The pass compos consists of two parts, the present tense of an auxiliary, or helping verb (either avoir or tre ), and a
past participle. In most instances the auxiliary verb used is avoir.
pass compos

= present

tense of auxiliary

+ past

participle

However, several intransitive verbs, like aller (to go), require the auxiliary tre instead. Note that the past participle
agrees with the subject in number and in gender.

aller 'to go'


je suis all(e), I went (have gone)

nous sommes all(e)s, we went (have gone)

tu es all(e), you went (have gone)

vous tes all(e)(s), you went (have gone)

il / on est all, he / one went (has gone)

ils sont alls, they went, (have gone)

elle est alle, she went (has gone)

elles sont alles, they went, (have gone)

The negation is formed by placing ne ... pas around the conjugated verb, which in this case, is the auxiliary tre : Je ne
suis pas all(e), T u n'es pas all(e), etc.

the Alamo of tre


Many intransitive verbs, that is, verbs not followed by a direct object, take tre in the pass compos. Many of these
verbs also indicate motion. They are verbs of coming and going. Even natre (to be born) and mourir (to die) can be
thought of as coming and going in metaphorical terms. The Alamo d'tre illustrates this group of verbs.

A few of these verbs of movement (monter, descendre, sortir, passer, retourner) may sometimes take a direct
object, thus becoming transitive. When they do, the auxiliary used is avoir, instead of tre. Example:
do)

Tex est sorti.

Tex went out.

Tex n'a pas sorti la poubelle.

Tex did not take out the garbage.

It is important to note that many intransitive verbs of movement, like courir and marcher, do not use tre but avoir.
The pronominal verbs form another important group of verbs which use tre as the auxiliary in the pass compos.

irregular past participles


The past participles of the verbs that use tre as an auxiliary are regular except for the following:
do)

infinitive

translation

past participle

venir

to come

venu

devenir

to become

devenu

revenir

to come back

revenu

natre

to be born

mourir

to die

mort

agreement of the past participle


The past participle of a verb which takes tre agrees in gender and number with the subject; that means an -e is added
to the past participle to agree with a feminine subject and an -s is added for a plural subject. If the subject is feminine
plural, -es is added.
do)

Joe-Bob: Tex, Corey et toi, vous tes

Joe-Bob: Tex, did you and Corey come

rentrs de l'Alamo?

back from the A l a m o ?

Tex: Oui. Mais T a m m y et Bette sont restes

Tex: Yes. But T a m m y and Bette stayed in

San Antonio pour faire des achats.

San Antonio to go shopping.

Corey: T u n'as pas entendu? Tout d'un

Corey: Didn't you hear? All of a sudden

coup T a m m y est devenue toute ple et elle

T a m m y turned very pale and she fell in the

est tombe dans la rivire!

river!

Joe-Bob: Mais, qu'est-ce qui s'est pass?

Joe-Bob: But, what happened?

Corey: Calme-toi. Elle n'est pas morte! Tex

Corey: Calm down. She didn't die! Tex and

et moi sommes arrivs pour la sauver!

I arrived to save her!

fill in the blanks


Give the pass c o m p o s of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. T a m m y

en France il y a un an. (aller)

2. E d o u a r d

en retard, c o m m e toujours, (arriver)

3. Hier T a m m y

d a n s le cours d'arobique 'step', (tomber)

4. Fiona: Moi, j e

la m a i s o n hier soir, (rester)

5. Fiona: C o r e y et J o e - B o b , v o u s
6. T a m m y et Bette

trs tard a p r s la fte, (rentrer)

e n s e m b l e , (venir)

7. Les e n f a n t s de Rita

en mai. (natre)

8. T a m m y : T e x , pourquoi est-ce que tu


9. T e x : Mes parents
10. T e x : Je

sur l'autoroute, (mourir)

une fois a v e c une fille qui s'appelle Marianne, (sortir)

11. A p r s la guerre, P a w - P a w
12. T e x et T a m m y

avec Bette? (partir)

hros, (devenir)

au r e z - d e - c h a u s s e ,

(descendre)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tap 4

pass c o m p o s of pronominal verbs

1. formation
2. past participle agreement
3. past participle agreement: exceptions
4. negation

A pronominal verb is a verb which has a reflexive pronoun, that is, a pronoun referring back to its subject. These verbs
are easily recognized by the pronoun se before the infinitive: se lever, se laver, se promener, etc.

formation
In the pass compos, pronominal verbs are conjugated with tre as their auxiliary. Past participles of pronominal
verbs are formed like nonpronominal past participles. Note that the reflexive pronoun (me, te, se, nous, vous, se)
precedes the auxiliary.

49

s'amuser 'to have fun'


je me suis amus(e), I had fun

nous nous sommes amus(e)s, we had fun

tu t'es amus(e), you had fun

vous vous tes amus(e)(s), you had fun

il / on s'est amus, he / one had fun

ils se sont amuss, they had fun

elle s'est amuse, she had fun

elles se sont amuses, they had fun

past participle agreement


It is important to note that, in most cases, the past participle of pronominal verbs agrees in gender and number with the
gender and number of the reflexive pronoun, that is, an e is added to the past participle to agree with a feminine subject
and an s is added for a plural subject.
49

T a m m y : Je me suis rveille trs tt ce

T a m m y : I got up really early this morning.

matin.
Tex: Moi, je me suis rveill trs tard!

Tex: I got up really late!

past participle agreement: exceptions


The past participle does not agree if there is a direct object following the verb which is a part of the body:
49

T a m m y : Je me suis lave.

T a m m y : I washed.

Et ensuite je me suis lav les cheveux.

A n d then, I washed my hair.

In the second example, the direct object les cheveux is placed after the verb, so there is no agreement.
Furthermore, in cases where the reflexive pronoun is an indirect object rather than a direct object, as in the verb se
parler (parler ), there is no agreement.
T a m m y : Puis, Bette et moi, nous nous
sommes parl .

T a m m y : Then, Bette and I talked to each


other.

negation
In the negative, the ne precedes the reflexive pronoun and the pas follows the auxiliary:
je ne me suis pas amus(e)

nous ne nous s o m m e s pas

amus(e)(s)
tu ne t'es pas a m u s ( e )

v o u s ne v o u s tes pas a m u s ( e ) ( s )

il / on ne s'est pas a m u s

ils ne se sont pas a m u s s

elle ne s'est pas a m u s e

elles ne se sont pas a m u s e s

Listen to the dialogue

T a m m y : B o n j o u r T e x ! O h l l! T u ne t'es

T a m m y : Hi T e x ! O h dear! Y o u did not

pas ras ce m a t i n ?

s h a v e this m o r n i n g ?

T e x : O h a va hein! M o n rveil n'a pas

T e x : O h that's e n o u g h , OK! M y a l a r m clock

sonn! Je me suis rveill trop tard. Et toi,

did not go off! I w o k e up too late. Did

t u t'es rase?

shave?

T a m m y : M o n s i e u r T e x s'est lev du pied

T a m m y : Mister T e x got up o n the w r o n g

g a u c h e aujourd'hui!

side of the bed today!

you

fill in the blanks


Give the pass c o m p o s of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. T a m m y : Hier soir, T e x et moi, n o u s
2. C o r e y

prs de la rivire, (se p r o m e n e r )

trs vite ce matin, (s'habiller)

3. J o e - B o b : J e

en classe aujourd'hui, (s'endormir)

4. Bette et T a m m y

a u g y m n a s e , (s'amuser)

5. Fiona: T e x et T a m m y , est-ce que v o u s


6. T e x : J o e - B o b , est-ce q u e tu
7. T a m m y

en c o u r s a u j o u r d ' h u i ? (s'ennuyer)

contre T e x la fte, (se fcher)

8. E d o u a r d et T e x

a p r s la course, (se reposer)

9. T a m m y : Q u ' e s t - c e qui
10. Bette

? (se marier)

l'arrt d ' a u t o b u s ? (se passer)

ct de T e x . (s'asseoir)

11. Bette: Je
12. J o e - B o b et C o r e y

cent fois ce matin, (se laver)


trs tard, (se c o u c h e r )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

1. stem
2. endings

The imperfect tense (l'imparfait), one of several past tenses in French, is used to describe states of being and habitual
actions in the past. It also has several idiomatic uses.

stem
The stem of the imparfait is the first person plural (nous) form of the present tense, minus the -ons. The imparfait
stem is regular for all verbs except tre:
verb

present tense

imparfait

'nous' form

stem

- e r verbs: parler

nous parlons

parl -

-ir verbs: finir

nous finissons

finiss-

- r e verbs: descendre

nous descendons

descend-

faire

nous faisons

fais-

prendre

nous prenons

pren-

partir

nous partons

part-

tre

nous sommes

t-

endings
To the stem, add the endings -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, and -aient. Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the verbs
danser, finir and tre in the imparfait tense. Note that -ais, -ais, -ait, and -aient are all pronounced alike. That means
that the singular forms and 3rd person plural (the boot) all sound the same!

Twe

13>t-

danser 'to dance'


je dansais

nous dansions

tu dansais

vous dansiez

il / elle / on dansait

ils / elles dansaient

finir 'to finish'


je finissais

nous finissions

tu finissais

vous finissiez

il / elle / on finissait

ils / elles finissaient

tre 'to be'


j'tais

nous tions

tu tais

vous tiez

il / elle / on tait

ils / elles taient

Stem changing verbs like voyager and commencer add an e or to maintain the soft g or s sound, before imparfait
endings which begin with a (je voyag eais, tu voyag e ais, il / elle / on voyage ait, ils / elles voyag eaient), in other words,
before all forms except nous and vous (nous voyagions, vous voyagiez).
The imparfait of pronominal verbs is regular, with the addition of the reflexive pronoun:

s'amuser 'to have fun'


je m'amusais

nous nous amusions

tu t'amusais

vous vous amusiez

il / elle / on s'amusait

ils / elles s'amusaient

The negation is formed as usual by placing ne ... pas around the conjugated verb: Je ne dansais pas (I wasn't dancing / I
didn't used to dance), T u ne t'amusais pas (You weren't having a good time / You didn't used to have a good time).
Listen to Tex describing his morning:
d'S

Tex: Je suis all chez T a m m y ce matin. Je

Tex: I went to T a m m y ' s this morning. I

voulais la voir, mais elle n'tait pas chez

wanted to see her, but she was not home.

elle. J'avais un cadeau lui donner. Je ne

I had a present to give her. I could not

pouvais quand mme pas le laisser devant

really leave it outside her door! So I gave

sa porte! Donc je l'ai offert Bette!

it to Bette! I hope she will like it.

J'espre qu'elle l'aimera.


Joe-Bob: Bravo! Quel tombeur tu fais!

JC
M M 5

Joe-Bob: Bravo! What a Casanova you are!

s/outAK
e U L f

CT AIT

PAS

fill in the blanks


Give the imparfait of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. T e x et T a m m y

la table q u a n d P a w - P a w a tlphon, (mettre)

2. T a m m y

la chimie avant la soire, (tudier)

3. J o e - B o b : Je

d e s noix q u a n d il a c o m m e n c pleuvoir . (ramasser)

4. Fiona: J'

la m u s i q u e franaise q u a n d J o e - B o b est arriv . (couter)

5. Fiona et Bette: N o u s
6. Fiona: Corey, tu

nos devoirs q u a n d le cours a c o m m e n c . (finir)


de l'insecticide t o u t e la s o i r e ? (boire)

7. T e x : J o e - B o b et Corey, v o u s
8. Bette

d e s voix m y s t r i e u s e s pendant le c o u r s ? (entendre)

l'amour de T e x q u a n d T a m m y est arrive . (rflchir)

9. E d o u a r d

le repas q u a n d le client a c o m m a n d du ketchup, (servir)

10. Fiona: T a m m y , est-ce que tu


11. J o e - B o b
12. T a m m y et Bette

du piano q u a n d j'ai a p p e l ? (jouer)

son ami C o r e y q u a n d il a rencontr une belle minette, (chercher)


du s h o p p i n g q u a n d T a m m y est t o m b e d a n s la rivire, (faire)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

u V ^ J ^ L r J

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: tap 6

imparfait: states of being, habitual actions

The imperfect tense (l'imparfait) has two primary uses: to describe on-going actions and states of being in the past,
and to state habitual actions in the past. The imparfait also has several idiomatic uses. The pass compos and imparfait
are each used quite differently in narration.

states of being or past description


The imparfait is used to describe people, places, conditions or situations in the past.
Some verbs occur more frequently in the imparfait when they are in the past since
they typically describe states of being: tre, avoir, vouloir, pouvoir. But these verbs
do sometimes occur in the pass compos.
Quand Edouard tait

When Edouard was a

adolescent, il n'avait qu'un

teenager, he had only one

rve - devenir un grand

dream - to become a great

cuisinier. Il voulait crer des

chef. He wanted to create

chefs-d'oeuvre culinaires.

culinary masterpieces. Our

Notre jeune escargot

young food-enthusiast snail,


who loved classical French

gourmand, qui adorait la

cooking, frequented the best

cuisine franaise classique,

Parisian restaurants.

frquentait les meilleures


tables de Paris.

habitual actions in the past


The imparfait is also used to state habitual actions in the past. These past habits are often translated as 'used to, or
'would.' Distinguish between the use of 'would' for habitual past actions (imparfait) and the use of 'would' for the
conditional. Note that the imparfait may also be translated by the simple past in English; however, the context, and often
adverbs, let you know the action is a past habit.
Listen to Edouard reminiscing:
Edouard: Tu te rappelles, en t Paris,

Edouard: Do you remember, in the summer

quand il faisait chaud? On allait toujours

in Paris, when the weather was hot? We

10 heures du soir chez Berthillon ... Oh, l,

always used to go to Berthillon's at

l, leurs glaces, leurs sorbets--fraise,

10 o'clock in the evening ... Oh, la, la, their

framboise, noisette, pistache, des parfums

ice cream, their sorbets--strawberry,

exotiques. Et puis, on se promenait le long


des quais, on voyait la Seine qui coulait, on
chantait, on se rcitait mme des vers. Ah,
Paris la nuit, Paris l-bas, mmm, en t.

raspberry, hazelnut, pistachio, exotic


flavors. And then, we would take walks
along the quays. We would see the Seine
which was flowing. We would sing, we
would even recite verses. Ah, Paris in the
night, Paris over there, mmm, in the
summer.

fill in the blanks


Give the imparfait of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. En France, T a m m y

du shopping tous les jours, (faire)

2. Chez les nonnes ('nuns'), Tex


3. Fiona: Joe-Bob, est-ce que tu
4. Tex: En France, je

la Bible chaque jour, (lire)


beaucoup dans ton enfance? (chanter)

dans le parc aprs la messe, (se promener)

5. Fiona: J o e - B o b et Corey, est-ce que v o u s


6. T e x : Rita, est-ce que n o u s
7. T a m m y et Bette
8. T e x et E d o u a r d
9. T a m m y : Bette

v o s parents? (obir)

e n s e m b l e avant m o n d p a r t ? (jouer)

une vie h e u r e u s e avec un h o m m e unique, (imaginer)


obtenir d e s ingrdients franais pour la recette, (ne pas penser)
de m a u v a i s e h u m e u r hier soir! (tre)

10. T a m m y : T e x et moi, n o u s
11. E d o u a r d : En France, j e
12. D a n s son enfance, J o e - B o b

trs c o n t e n t s Lyon, (tre)


! (ne j a m a i s grossir)
t o u j o u r s ses devoirs, (perdre)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tap 7

imparfait: idiomatic uses

1. suggestions
2. wishes

The imperfect tense (l'imparfait) has two primary uses: to describe on-going actions or states of being in the past, and
to state habitual actions in the past. The imparfait also has several idiomatic uses found in the following contexts:
suggestions
The imparfait is used to suggest an action in phrases beginning with Si on
?
T a m m y : Si on achetait

T a m m y : What if we

une grosse Suburban?

bought a big Suburban?


(note: 'on' is often used
in the sense of 'nous')

Tex: Si on achetait une

Tex: What about buying a

Harley Davidson?

Harley Davidson?

wishes
The imparfait is used to express wishes such as 'If only we didn't have a test this week!' The French equivalent
structure, si + imparfait, may, or may not, contain the adverb seulement:
49

Tex: Si (seulement) on avait plus d'argent!

Tex: If (only) we had more money!

T a m m y : Ah, si (seulement) mes parents

T a m m y : If only my parents would lend us

nous prtaient de l'argent!

some money!

Note that the question mark at the end of the sentence indicates a suggestion, and the exclamation mark a wish. In
spoken French, however, you have to rely on context and intonation to distinguish between wish and suggestion. Listen
to the difference in intonation between these two sentences:
49

T a m m y : Si je me faisais tatouer?

T a m m y : What if I got tattooed?

Tex: Si seulement je pouvais avoir une

Tex: If only I could have a motorcycle!

moto!

For other uses of si + imparfait, see si clauses + conditional. The imparfait also occurs in idiomatic uses with depuis and
venir de.

Formulate wishes by using 'si' plus the imparfait and the subject indicated in parentheses. Place an exclamation point
at the end of each sentence.
1. Regarder une vido (on)
2. Etre plus mince (je)
3. Etre dj en vacances (nous)
4. Venir danser avec moi (tu)
5. Penser moi (Tex)'

6. A v o i r plus de t e m p s (je)
7. Inviter d e s a m i s la m a i s o n (vous)
8. Se marier (on)
9. Aller Barton S p r i n g s (nous)
10. Se t r o u v e r plus prs d A u s t i n ( O p e l o u s a s )
11. Ne pas boire d'insecticide (Corey)
12. Ne pas tre s n o b (les tatous)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 Jan 05

page: tap 8

narration: p a s s c o m p o s vs. imparfait

T h e pass c o m p o s is used in French in a n s w e r the question 'What h a p p e n e d ? ' On the other hand, y o u will usually
put a v e r b in the imparfait if it a n s w e r s the question 'What w a s going on w h e n s o m e t h i n g else h a p p e n e d ? '
Generally, the pass c o m p o s is used to relate events while the imparfait is used to describe w h a t w a s going on in
the past, states of being in the past, or past habits.
All this takes on special i m p o r t a n c e in narration of past actions, w h e n both t e n s e s often occur in the s a m e story.
Narrating a story entails both describing a setting (habitual actions, a t m o s p h e r e , places and people) a n d recounting
a plot or a series of events, actions, c h a n g e s of feelings or thoughts. In general, all stories have a well delineated
plot line of events, the f o r e g r o u n d , a n d a b a c k g r o u n d of supporting details and description. S o m e literary texts
might subvert this rule but this is out of a conscious effort to surprise or unsettle their reader.
i m p a r f a i t (set s c e n e )

pass c o m p o s ( e v e n t )

A v a n t , T a m m y habitait Fort W o r t h ...

et puis un jour, elle a dmnag.

Before, T a m m y lived in Forth W o r t h ...

and then, o n e day, she m o v e d .

T h e following a d v e r b s are c o m m o n l y associated with each of the past tenses:


adverbs/imparfait

adverbs/pass

tous les jours, tous les matins ...

un jour, un matin, un soir ...

every day, e v e r y m o r n i n g

one day, one morning, one evening

chaque jour, chaque matin, chaque mois ...

soudain, brusquement, brutalement ...

each day, e a c h morning, each m o n t h

suddenly, abruptly, brusquely

en gnral, gnralement, d'habitude . . .

tout d'un coup, tout coup ...

in general, usually

all of a s u d d e n , s u d d e n l y

autrefois, l'poque ...

tout de suite, immdiatement ...

in the past, long ago, at the t i m e

right a w a y , i m m e d i a t e l y

toujours, souvent ...

d'abord, enfin ...

always, often

first of all, finally

rarement ...

puis, ensuite ...

rarely

then, next

compos

Usually, w h e n verbs like tre, avoir, pouvoir, vouloir, and savoir are in a past narration, t h e y will be in the
imparfait, since t h e y most likely describe a past state of being or c o n d i t i o n . H o w e v e r , w h e n these v e r b s (and
others like t h e m ) occur in the pass c o m p o s , t h e y indicate a c h a n g e of state or a c h a n g e of c o n d i t i o n .
C o m p a r e these e x a m p l e s :

T a m m y : Q u a n d j'avais 15 ans, j'habitais

T a m m y : W h e n I w a s 15, I used to live in

Fort Worth.
Q u a n d j'ai eu 18 ans, j'ai dmnag

W h e n I t u r n e d 18, I m o v e d to Austin.

Austin.

T h e pass c o m p o s is also generally used for activities that lasted for a p r e c i s e l e n g t h of t i m e , with a definite
beginning and end. On the other hand, the imparfait is used for i n d e f i n i t e l e n g t h s of t i m e . Look at these
examples:
do)

definite p e r i o d of t i m e :
De 1997 1998,
Pendant un an,

T e x a t v e n d e u r de T-shirts.

Entre dix-huit et d i x - n e u f ans,

indefinite p e r i o d of t i m e :
Avant,
Q u a n d il tait enfant,

T e x tait d a n s un c o u v e n t de Lyon.

A cette p o q u e - l ,

But ultimately it is the entire context that d e t e r m i n e s which of these t w o past t e n s e s to use a n d not a given adverb.
For e x a m p l e , in the s e n t e n c e s below, the s a m e adverb, un jour, is used with the imperfect or the pass c o m p o s
according to the context.
Un jour, T e x vendait des T-shirts Paris

O n e day, T e x w a s selling T-shirts in Paris

q u a n d il a t arrt pour activit illgale.

w h e n he w a s arrested for illegal activity.


(The imparfait sets the s c e n e to be
interrupted)

Un jour, les autorits franaises ont

O n e day, the French authorities d e p o r t e d

expuls Tex.

Tex. (Event)

In the following story, note h o w the narration o p e n s with an e x t e n d e d description of Tex' early childhood in the
imparfait, which serves as e x p l a n a t o r y b a c k g r o u n d to the plot-line events in the pass c o m p o s .
Q u a n d T e x tait tout petit, il habitait d a n s

W h e n T e x w a s very small, he lived in the

la banlieue de Houston avec sa famille. Ce

s u b u r b s of Houston with his family. This

petit tatou, curieux de nature, aimait

little armadillo, curious by nature, a l w a y s

toujours faire de longues p r o m e n a d e s

loved to take long w a l k s with his friends

avec ses amis pour explorer les coins et

to explore the nooks and crannies of the

recoins de la banlieue, surtout les

suburbs, a b o v e all the highways!

autoroutes!
Un jour, p e n d a n t une p r o m e n a d e , il s'est

O n e day, during a walk, he got lost.

perdu. H e u r e u s e m e n t , aprs des heures et

Fortunately, after hours and hours, he

des heures, il a trouv l'entre de

f o u n d the entrance to the Bush

aroport Bush International. Fascin par

International Airport. Fascinated by all the

le bruit et le m o u v e m e n t , il s'est prcipit

noise and motion, he rushed to the

vers les avions. T a n d i s qu'il examinait un


avion de plus prs, un h o m m e l'a
b r u s q u e m e n t pris et il l'a jet l'intrieur
avec les bagages. Huit heures plus tard,
l'avion est arriv Paris, o T e x
c o m m e n c e r a i t sa nouvelle vie franaise!
T e x a pass le reste de son e n f a n c e en

planes. A s he w a s e x a m i n i n g a plane
more closely, a m a n abruptly took him
and t h r e w him inside with the b a g g a g e .
Eight hours later, the plane arrived in
Paris, w h e r e T e x w o u l d start his n e w
French life!
T e x spent the rest of his childhood in

F r a n c e . En fait, il est devenu c e n t p o u r

F r a n c e . In f a c t , h e b e c a m e o n e

c e n t f r a n a i s . Q u a n d il tait a d o l e s c e n t , il

p e r c e n t F r e n c h . W h e n he w a s a n

se considrait c o m m e un d i s c i p l e d e

adolescent, he considered himself a

S a r t r e . Il ne connaissait rien a u b a s e b a l l
et dtestait t o u t ce qui tait a m r i c a i n .
M a i s e n 1 9 9 8 , t o u t d ' u n c o u p sa v i e a
chang q u a n d il a dcouvert q u e s e s
p a r e n t s taient ... a m r i c a i n s .

hundred

d i s c i p l e of S a r t r e . H e k n e w n o t h i n g a b o u t
b a s e b a l l a n d he d e t e s t e d e v e r y t h i n g
A m e r i c a n . B u t in 1 9 9 8 , all of a s u d d e n ,
his life c h a n g e d w h e n he d i s c o v e r e d t h a t
his p a r e n t s w e r e ... A m e r i c a n .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

page: tap 9

pi us-q ue-pa r fa it

1. formation
2. uses

formation
The pluperfect (le plus-que-parfait) is formed with the auxiliary in the imparfait followed by the past participle of the
verb. The choice of auxiliary, tre or avoir, is the same as for the pass compos (the Alamo of tre applies).
Plus-que-parfait

= auxiliary

in the imparfait

+ past participle

49

of verb

manger 'to eat'


j'avais mang, I had eaten

nous avions mang, we had eaten

tu avais mang, you had eaten

vous aviez mang, you had eaten

il, elle / on avait mang, he, she (it) / one

ils / elles avaient mang, they had eaten

had eaten

49

aller 'to go'


j'tais all(e), I had gone

nous tions all(e)s, we had gone

tu tais all(e), you had gone

vous tiez all(e)(s), you had gone

il, elle / on tait all(e), he, she (it) / one had

ils / elles taient all(e)s, they had gone

gone

The negation is formed in the usual manner by placing ne ... pas around the conjugated verb, which in this case is the
auxiliary: Je n'avais pas mang (I had not eaten), Je n'tais pas all (I had not gone), etc.

uses
In past narration, the plus-que-parfait is used to express an action which precedes another past action or moment.
In other words, the action in the plus-que-parfait is prior to another past action or moment. In English the plus-queparfait is indicated by had + past participle. In affirmative sentences in French, it is often, but not always,
accompanied by the adverb dj (already).

49

A l'ge de sept ans, Tex avait dj rdig

At the age of seven, Tex had already

dix pomes.

composed ten poems.

Quelques annes plus tard, il avait

A few years later, he had abandoned all

abandonn tout espoir de gloire littraire.

hope of literary fame. But he changed his

Mais il a chang d'avis quand il a lu les

mind when he read the poems to Tammy.

pomes Tammy.
Elle a ador les pomes innocents que Tex

She adored the innocent poems that Tex

avait crits pendant sa jeunesse.

had written during his youth.

Not all instances of had + past participle in English are translated into plus-que-parfait in French. For example, in
French depuis is usually used with the imperfect (not the pluperfect) and 'had just done something' is generally
translated by venir de in the imparfait.
49

Le public littraire attendait depuis des

The literary public had been waiting for

annes la nouvelle posie de Tex quand il a

years for new poetry from Tex when at last

enfin retrouv son inspiration.

he found his inspiration again.

En fait, Tex venait de commencer un

In fact, Tex had just started a new poem

nouveau pome quand son diteur a

when his editor called.

tlphon.

Contrast the plus-que-parfait in this sentence with the examples above:

49

Tex avait (dj) commenc son pome

Tex had begun his poem when his

quand son diteur a tlphon.

publisher called.

Remember that the opposite of dj is the negative expression pas encore, just as 'already' is replaced by 'yet' in English.
Tex n'avait pas (encore ) fini son pome

Tex had not (yet) finished his poem when

quand son diteur a tlphon.

his editor called.

In French and in English alike, the plus-que-parfait is also used to express wishes about the past, as in this example:
49

Editeur: Si seulement tu avais fini ton

Editor: If only you had finished your new

nouveau pome!

poem! (but you haven't)

The plus-que-parfait is also commonly used in si clauses followed by the past conditional. For example:
Tex son diteur: Imbcile! Si vous ne

Tex to his editor: Imbecile! If you had not

m'aviez pas interrompu, j'aurais pu finir

interrupted me, I would have been able to

mon nouveau pome. A cause de vous, je

finish my new poem. Because of you, I'm

sens que je perds nouveau mon

losing my inspiration again.

inspiration.
Editeur: Mon Dieu, si j'avais su combien les

Editor: My God. If I had known how difficult

artistes taient difficiles, je serais devenu

artists were, I'd have become an

comptable!

accountant!

fill in the blanks


Give the plus-que-parfait of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Corey: J'
2. Tammy: Bette

mon film prfr l'ge de 10 ans. (choisir)


avec Tex avant la fin de mes cours, (sortir)

3. J o e - B o b : Tex, tu

l'anglais avant t o n arrive Austin, n'est-ce p a s ? (apprendre)

4. Les parents de T e x
5. P a w - P a w

sur l'autoroute p e n d a n t son absence, (mourir)

a m o u r e u x avant la fin de la guerre, (tomber)

6. Fiona: C o r e y et J o e - B o b , v o u s
7. A la rentre, T a m m y et Fiona
8. Ds 1990, T e x

t o u s les livres scolaires, (acheter)

les g r a n d e s o e u v r e s de la littrature franaise, (lire)

9. T a m m y : T e x et moi, n o u s
10. Bette: Hier soir, j'
11. Trey, avant l'ge de 8 ans
12. Fiona

d e u x e x a m e n s au dbut du s e m e s t r e ? (rater)

le b u s avant l'clat d e s orages, (prendre)


T e x avant l'arrive de T a m m y . ( d r a g u e r )
le bras plusieurs fois, (se casser)

tant d'tudiants avant son arrive UT. (ne pas voir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tap 10

pass simple

1. regular infinitives in -er, -ir, & -re


2. irregular verbs: avoir, tre, faire
3. other irregular verbs

The pass simple is a past tense reserved primarily for written discourse. It may, however, be used in very formal
spoken language, such as presidential addresses, sermons, or news broadcasting. It has traditionally been used only for
events completed in the distant, historical past; however, twentieth century writers sometimes use it for stylistic effect.
The pass simple will generally be translated into English by a preterit, that is, the simple past: 'I talked'. But like the
pass compos, the pass simple is used in French only to mention changes and events, while the imparfait remains the
tense used for describing the setting, the atmosphere, an ongoing state of mind, or the general situation.

regular infinitives ending in -er, -ir & -re


For all regular -er, -ir, and -re verbs, the pass simple is formed by dropping the infinitive ending, the final two letters
of the infinitive, and replacing them with the the following endings. There is no auxiliary and this is the reason why it is
called a 'simple' tense: it is a one-word tense (unlike the two-word pass compos). Many verbs, such as aller, sortir,
and suivre, which are irregular in the present indicative follow the paradigm of regular verbs in their pass simple
forms.

endings for -er verbs

endings for -ir & -re verbs

-ai

-mes

-is

-mes

-as

-tes

-is

-tes

-a

-rent

-it

-i rent

do)

parler 'to speak'


je parl ai

nous parl mes

tu parl as

vous parl tes

il / elle / on parla

ils / elles parl rent

do)

finir 'to finish'


je finis

nous finmes

tu finis

vous fintes

il / elle / on finit

ils / elles finirent

perdre 'to lose'


je perdis

nous perdmes

tu perdis

vous perdtes

il / elle / on perdit

ils / elles perdirent

irregular verbs: avoir, tre, faire


These verbs are irregular in the pass simple.

avoir 'to have'


j'eus

nous emes

tu eus

vous etes

il / elle / on eut

ils / elles eurent

tre 'to be'


je fus

nous fmes

tu fus

vous ftes

il / elle / on fut

ils / elles furent

faire 'to do'


je fis

nous fmes

tu fis

vous ftes

il / elle / on fit

ils / elles firent

other irregular verbs


There are two sets of endings for the pass simple of irregular verbs

endings in -i-

endings in -u-

-is

-mes

-us

-mes

-is

-tes

-us

-tes

-it

-i rent

-ut

-urent

Irregular verbs generally have irregular stems for the pass simple. In some cases, the stems are the same as the past
participle of the verb. Stems of a few other verbs, marked with an *, are completely irregular (such as natre, mourir,
voir). The endings are regular, however, except for venir and tenir which have irregular plural forms.

infinitive

past participle

boire

bu

pass simple
je bus, tu bus, il but, nous bmes, vous btes, ils
burent

connatre

connu

je connus, tu connus, il connut, nous connmes,


vous conntes, ils connurent

croire

cru

je crus, tu crus, il crut, nous crmes, vous crtes, ils


crurent

devoir

je dus, tu dus, il dut, nous dmes, vous dtes, ils


durent

dire

dit

crire

crit

je dis, tu dis, il dit, nous dmes, vous dtes, ils dirent


j'crivis, tu crivis, il crivit, nous crivmes, vous
cri vtes, ils cri vi rent

falloir

fallu

lire

lu

mettre

mis

il fallut
je lus, tu lus, il lut, nous lmes, vous ltes, ils lurent
je mis, tu mis, il mit, nous mmes, vous mtes, ils
mi rent

mourir *

mort

je mourus, tu mourus, il mourut, nous mourmes,


vous mourtes, ils moururent

natre *

je naquis, tu naquis, il naquit, nous naqumes, vous


naqutes, ils naquirent

ouvrir

ouvert

j'ouvris, tu ouvris, il ouvrit, nous ouvrmes, vous


ouvrtes, ils ouvrirent

pleuvoir

plu

il plut

pouvoir

pu

je pus, tu pus, il put, nous pmes, vous ptes, ils


purent

prendre

pris

je pris, tu pris, il prit, nous prmes, vous prtes, ils


pri rent

recevoir

reu

je reus, tu reus, il reut, nous remes, vous


retes, ils reurent

rire

ri

savoir

su

je ris, tu ris, il rit, nous rmes, vous rtes, ils rirent


je sus, tu sus, il sut, nous smes, vous stes, ils
surent

tenir *

tenu

je tins, tu tins, il tint, nous tnmes, vous tntes, ils


tinrent

venir *

venu

je vins, tu vins, il vint, nous vnmes, vous vntes, ils


vinrent

vivre

vcu

je vcus, tu vcus, il vcut, nous vcmes, vous


vctes, ils vcurent

voir *

vu

vouloir

voulu

je vis, tu vis, il vit, nous vmes, vous vtes, ils virent


je voulus, tu voulus, il voulut, nous voulmes, vous
voultes, ils voulurent

See the conjugation reference for the conjugation of other irregular verbs in the pass simple.

4>)

Rita: Allez les enfants, c'est l'heure d'aller

Rita: Let's go, children. It's time to go to

se coucher!

bed!

Les enfants: O o h ! Maman, maman, lis-nous

Children: Ooh! Mommy, mommy, read us a

une histoire! Oui, une histoire ...

story! Yes, a story ...

Rita: Bon, d'accord. Installez-vous. Je

Rita: Oh, OK. Get settled. Here we go ...

commence . . . "Il tait une fois une

"Once upon a time there was a beautfil

ravissante jeune fille du nom de Cendrillon.

young girl named Cinderella. To make her

Pour lui faire plaisir, son pre pousa en

happy, her (widowed) father married for a

seconde noce une veuve qui avait deux

second time a widow who had two girls,

filles, Anastasia et Javotte. Mais hlas, le


brave homme mourut peu aprs. Tout
changea alors pour la fillette. Sa belle-mre
lui confia les tches les plus rudes et la
fora coucher au grenier. Un jour, le roi
organisa un grand bal pour marier son fils.
La famille de Cendrillon fut invite.

Anastasia and Javotte. But, alas, the good


man died soon after. Everything changed
for the young girl. Her stepmother gave her
the hardest chores and forced her to sleep
in the attic. One day, the king organized a
grand ball to marry his son. Cinderella's
family was invited. Anastasia and Javotte
and their mother went to the ball, but they

Anastasia, Javotte et leur mre se rendirent

forbade Cinderella to go with them. Once

au bal mais dfendirent Cendrillon de les

alone, Cinderella started to cry. Suddenly,

accompagner. Une fois seule, Cendrillon se

Cinderella heard a voice, the voice of her

mit pleurer. Soudain, Cendrillon entendit

fairy godmother ... "

une voix, la voix de sa marraine la Fe ..."


Rita: A h ... ils se sont endormis!

Rita: A h ... they have fallen asleep!

fill in the blanks


Give the pass simple of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Des nonnes franaises
2. Tex: Je
3. Tex

Tex l'aroport, (trouver)

Houston, (natre)
en France, (vivre)

4. Paw-Paw: Nous

___ honte des soldats infidles. (avoir)

5. Paw-Paw: Nous

les premiers soldats amricains Paris, (tre)

Paw-Paw et ses copains


7. Tex et les nonnes

la musique franaise, (aimer)


l'abbeye. (finir)

8. T a m m y

Fort Worth, (grandir)

9. Tex: Je

les oeuvres de Sartre l'ge de 7 ans. (lire)

10. Rita et sa famille

Tex l'aroport, (perdre)

11. Rita: Mes parents

sur l'autroute. (mourir)

12. Tex

un avion Paris, (prendre)

page: tapri

1. formation
2. uses

Like the 'pass simple', the pass antrieur is a literary tense. They are often found together in the same text. The
pass antrieur is used in literature, in formal writing, and in very formal speeches, when speaking of past events which
are prior to other past actions; it is the literary equivalent of the plus-que-parfait. In other words, it is used for a past
action that was completed before another action in the past (usually expressed in the pass simple).

formation
The pass antrieur is formed with the pass simple of the appropriate auxiliary (avoir or tre) plus the past participle of
the main verb.
Pass antror

= auxiliary

in the literary past

+ past participle

49

of main

verb

parler 'to speak'


j'eus parl, I had spoken

nous emes parl, we had spoken

tu eus parl, you had spoken

vous etes parl, you had spoken

il / elle / on eut parl, he / she / it had

ils / elles eurent parl, they had spoken

spoken

49

aller 'to go'


je fus all(e), I had gone

nous fmes all(e)s, we had gone

tu fus all(e), you had gone

vous ftes all(e)(s), you had gone

il / elle / on fut all(e), he / she / it had gone

ils / elles furent all(e)s, they had gone

For a list of verbs that use tre as an auxiliary, like aller, see the Alamo of tre. Remember that all pronominal verbs
require tre as the auxiliary verb.

se coucher 'to go to bed'


je me fus couch(e), I had gone to bed

nous nous fmes couch(e)s, we had gone to


bed

tu te fus couch(e), you had gone to bed

vous vous ftes couch(e)(s), you had gone


to bed

il / elle / on se fut couch(e), he / she / it

ils / elles se furent couch(e)s, they had gone

had gone to bed

to bed

uses
The pass antrieur occurs most often in subordinate clauses; it is introduced by conjunctions such as aprs (after),
aussitt que or dsque (as soon as). Note that, in this case, the main clause is always in the pass simple. The English
equivalent is usually (but not always) had + past participle.

prior action in the past


(pass antrieur)
i

action in the past


(pass simple)
i

Aussitt qu'il fut n,

Tex commena parler.

A s soon as he was born,

Tex began to speak.

Aprs qu'il eut vcu quelques annes Paris,

Tex retourna dans son pays d'origine

After he had lived several years in Paris,

Tex returned to his native land.

Quand il eut publi son premier recueil de

il y eut un grand scandale.

pomes rotiques,
When he had published his first collection of

there was a big scandal.

erotic poems,

With quand and lorsque (when), the choice of tense depends on the meaning of each clause, as to which action occurs
first. In the last example, Tex published his poems first (pass antrieur in the dependent clause) and then there was a
scandal. However, the pass antrieur may also occur in the main clause, and the pass simple in the dependent
clause: Quand il arriva au Texas, Tex eut dj fait la connaissance de T a m m y .

49

Les enfants: Maman, maman, raconte-nous

Children: Mommy, mommy, tell us the rest

la suite de l'histoire de Cendrillon!

of the story of Cinderella!

Rita: Bon, d'accord. "On dfendit

Rita: Oh, OK. "Cinderella was forbidden to

Cendrillon d'aller au bal du roi et on lui

go to the king's ball and was ordered to

ordonna de faire le mnage dans toute la

clean the house from top to bottom. Once

maison. Une fois seule, Cendrillon se mit au

alone, Cinderella started to work ... When

travail ... Quand elle eut fini de nettoyer les

she had finished cleaning the windows, she

fentres, elle fit les lits. Lorsque les

made the beds. When the bedrooms were

chambres furent propres, elle fit la

clean, she did the dishes. Finally, after she

vaisselle. Enfin, aprs qu'elle eut rang toute

had tidied up the whole house, she broke

la maison, elle clata en sanglots ... . Alors

into sobs ... . Then her fairy godmother

sa marraine la Fe apparut ... "

appeared ..."

On entend les enfants ronfler.

Sound of the children snoring.

fill in the blanks


Give the pass antrieur of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Les nonnes franaises
2. Tex
3. Rita: T u

au Texas, (voyager)

les oeuvres de Sartre, (tudier)


tout seul. (partir)

4. T e x : J'

ma profession l'ae de 6 ans. (choisir)

5. Rita: N o u s

s a n s T e x . (ne pas s'amuser)

6. T e x : Rita et Trey, v o u s

votre frre! (oublier)

7. Les parents de T e x

a m o u r e u x Houston. (tomber)

8. La mre suprieure

Lyon p e n d a n t la guerre. (venir)

9. La mre suprieure

_ _ plusieurs orphelins. (lver)

10. P a w - P a w

la f e m m e de sa vie Paris, (connatre)

11. P a w - P a w

hros de la auerre. (devenir)

12. Les parents de T e x

sur l'autoroute. (mourir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

10 Dec 04

page: ta pri

present tense

The present tense indicates an action that is either actually occurring at the time of speaking, or a general truth, a socalled 'eternal verity.' The French present may be translated in three different ways in English depending on the intended
meaning.
Tex is drinking coffee. (right now, progressive action)
OR

Tex boit du caf.

Tex drinks coffee (in general, habitual action)


OR
Tex does drink coffee. (emphatic or contrastive)

While a French present tense utterance may be translated by three different English
sentences, the specific meaning is recoverable from context. In fact, French indicates the
different nuances of the English progressive, habitual, or emphatic forms by adding elements
to clarify the context.
Note the following examples:
Tex oublie toujours de prendre un bon petit

Tex always forgets to have a good

djeuner.

breakfast. (habit)

T a m m y : Tex, il faut manger au petit

T a m m y : Tex, you have to eat breakfast.

djeuner. C'est le repas le plus important

It's the most important meal of the day.

de la journe.
Tex: Oh, ma chrie, tu t'inquites trop.

Tex, Oh, my darling, you worry too much.

Regarde, je mange un beignet.

Look, I'm eating a doughnut. (right now,


progressive action)

T a m m y : Un beignet!? Tu rigoles? Mais, a

T a m m y : Un doughnut!? Are you joking?

ne compte pas!

That doesn't count!

Tex: Mais si, a compte. Du sucre et du

Tex: But yes, it does count. (emphatic)

beurre me font du bien le matin ... et

Sugar and butter do me good in the

ensuite une cigarette.

morning ... and then a cigarette.

In addition, the present tense is sometimes used in place of the past or future in informal narration:
La vie de Tex est toute une histoire ... En

Tex's life is quite a story ... In 1975, just a

1975, alors bb, Tex se perd l'aroport

baby, Tex gets lost at Bush International

Bush International Houston. On le met par

Airport in Houston. He is put by accident

erreur avec les bagages dans un avion

with the baggage in a plane headed for

destination de la France. A Paris, il

France. In Paris he meets some nuns who

rencontre des nonnes qui viennent de faire


un voyage aux Etats-Unis. Elles ont piti de
ce pauvre tatou gar et elles l'amnent au
couvent Lyon. Tex passe son enfance en
France. Un jour, on dcouvre que Tex n'a
pas de papiers--pas de passeport, pas de
visa. Alors, il retourne au Texas.
Malheureusement, il ne se sent pas chez lui
au Texas. La vie amricaine n'est pas facile
pour un tatou francis.

have just taken a trip to the United States.


They take pity on this poor, lost armadillo
and they take him to their convent in Lyon.
Tex spends his childhood in France. One
day, it is discovered that Tex has no
papers--no passport, no visa. So he returns
to Texas. Unfortunately, he doesn't feel at
home in Texas. American life is not easy for
a Frenchified armadillo!

fill in the blanks


Give the present tense of the verb indicated in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x et E d o u a r d
2. E d o u a r d

a u x checs, (jouer)
le repas, (servir)

3. T a m m y : Je
4. J o e - B o b

un peu en t. (mincir)
souvent sa collection de noix, (perdre)

5. T a m m y : T e x et moi, n o u s

O p e l o u s a s . (s'amuser)

6. Fiona: J o e - B o b et Corey, est-ce que v o u s


7. T a m m y et Bette

de l'arobique e n s e m b l e , (faire)

8. T a m m y : Edouard, est-ce que tu


9. T e x : Alors, est-ce q u e tout le m o n d e
10. T a m m y

Jester? (aimer)

les bouteilles de vin au r e s t u a r a n t ? (ouvrir)


la leon? ( c o m p r e n d r e )

les footballeurs au g y m n a s e , (voir)

11. T a m m y : T e x , t u ne
12. Les e n f a n t s de Rita

j a m a i s la table! (mettre)
leurs j o u e t s partout, (laisser)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: ta pri

regular subjunctive

1. -er, -re, and -ir verbs


2. irregular verbs with regular subjunctive forms (dormir, etc.)
3. stem changing verbs

The subjunctive is one of four moods in French (indicative, imperative, subjunctive and conditional). A mood is a
grammatical term which helps categorize verb tenses. The subjunctive mood is used more frequently in French than in
English. It has two tenses: present and past. It expresses several concepts, such as a wish, hope, or doubt, as well as
an obligation or a necessity. One such expression which is always followed by the subjunctive is il faut que (it is
necessary that ...).

-er, -re, and -i r verbs


The subjunctive endings are the same for all verbs: -e, -es, -e, -ions, -iez, -ent. For most verbs, the subjunctive mood is
formed by dropping the -ent ending from the third person plural of the present indicative and adding the subjunctive
endings. Note the similarities between the present indicative and the present subjunctive of - e r verbs. This is due to the
fact that the same stem is used for the subjunctive and the present indicative; the endings are also identical except for
the nous and vous forms. This means that the 'boot' forms of the subjunctive of regular -er verbs look and sound
exactly like the present indicative.
Because the subjunctive occurs in subordinate clauses, the subordinating conjunction que is usually included as part of
the paradigm for the subjunctive forms.

parler 'to speak'


... que je parle

... que nous parlions

... que tu parles

... que vous parliez

... qu'il/elle/on parle

... qu'ils/elles parlent

finir 'to finish'


... que je finisse

... que nous finissions

... que tu finisses

... que vous finissiez

... qu'il/elle/on finisse

... qu'ils/elles finissent

attendre 'to wait for'


... que j'attende

... que nous attendions

... que tu attendes

... que vous attendiez

... qu'il/elle/on attende

... qu'ils/elles attendent

In the singular for - r e and -ir verbs, the subjunctive looks and sounds different from the present indicative since the
stem is different for the two moods. Listen:
4D

present indicative

present subjunctive

je finis

... que je finisse

j'attends

... que j'attende

Note that, for all conjugations, the third person plural of the present subjunctive always looks and sounds like the
present indicative since the stem for the subjunctive comes from the third person plural.
4D

present indicative

present subjunctive

ils parlent

... qu'ils parl ent

ils finissent

... qu'ils fi ni ssent

ils attendent

... qu'ils attendent

irregular verbs with regular subjunctive forms (dormir, etc.)


Many verbs that are irregular in the present indicative are regular in forming the subjunctive. In other words, the stem is
formed by removing the -ent ending from the third person plural of the present indicative and then the endings -e, -es, e, -ions, -iez, -ent are added. Following are some irregular verbs, with the corresponding regular subjunctive forms.

dormir

to sleep

... que je dorme

sortir

to go out

... que je sorte

partir

to leave

... que je parte

lire

to read

... que je l i se

sourire

to smile

... que je sourie

dire

to say

... que je dise

crire

to write

... que j'crive

mettre

to put

... que je mette

connatre

to know

... que je connaisse

stem changing verbs


Verbs with stem changes in the present indicative have one stem for the subjunctive of the 'nous' and 'vous' forms and
another stem for the 'boot' forms. These verbs, such as acheter, appeler, manger, commencer, use the same two changes
in the present subjunctive.
4>)

4>)

Tex: Il faut que j'appelle Paw-Paw ce soir.

Tex: I have to call Paw-Paw tonight.

T a m m y : D'accord. A quelle heure est-ce

T a m m y : Okay. What time do we have to

qu'il faut que nous appelions P a w - P a w ?

call P a w - P a w ?

Tex explique les rgles ses tudiants:

Tex explains the rules to his students:

Il faut que vous parliez clairement; pas de

Y o u must speak clearly; no chewing gum!

chewing-gum!
Bien sr, il faut qu'on finisse avant midi. Le

Of course, we must end before meal times.

djeuner, c'est sacr!

Lunch is sacred!

Joe-Bob, il faut que tu attendes la fin du

Joe-Bob, you must wait until the end of

cours avant de dormir.

class before sleeping.

Et il faut q u e n o u s sortions e n s e m b l e aprs

W e must go out t o g e t h e r after the review

le c o u r s de rvision pour prendre un verre.

to have a drink.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the subjunctive of the verb in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x : Il faut q u e j'

P a w - P a w . (crire)

2. Bette : Il faut que T e x m'


3. T e x : Il faut q u e n o u s
4. P a w - P a w : Il faut que T e x m'

m i e u x que T a m m y ! (aimer)
en vacances, (partir)
plus souvent, (appeler)

5. T e x : Il faut q u e v o u s

d a v a n t a g e , (travailler)

6. T a m m y : Il faut que T e x

moins, (sortir)

7. Fiona : Il faut que j e

un cours intressant, (choisir)

8. T a m m y : T e x prfre q u e je

le couvert, (mettre)

9. T a m m y : T e x veut que n o u s

q u e l q u e s a n n e s avant le mariage, (attendre)

10. E d o u a r d : Il faut que n o u s


11. T a m m y : Il ne faut pas que v o u s
12. T e x : Il faut q u e T a m m y

d a n s un bon restaurant, (manger)


en m a n g e a n t ('while eating')! (parler)
m e s p o m e s ! (lire)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

1. verbs with two stems


2. irregular verbs: avoir and tre
3. irregular verbs: faire, savoir, pouvoir

The subjunctive is one of four moods in French (indicative, imperative, subjunctive and conditional). A mood is a
grammatical term which helps categorize verb tenses. The subjunctive is used more frequently in French than in English.
One important use of the subjunctive is after the expression il faut que, indicating necessity. The subjunctive also
expresses a feeling or emotion such as a wish, hope, or doubt.
For most verbs, the subjunctive mood is formed by dropping the -ent ending from the third person plural of the present
indicative and adding the endings: -e, -es, -e, -ions, -iez, -ent. This is known as the regular formation of the subjunctive.

verbs with two stems


There are several categories of irregular subjunctive formations. The first of these categories concerns verbs with two
stems in the subjunctive. These verbs have a similar two-stem irregularity in the present indicative (for example, 'ils
vienn ent' BUT 'nous venons'). The boot stem (for the forms je, tu, il / elle, ils / elles) is the third person plural of the
present indicative, the very same as the stem for regular formation of the subjunctive. The first person plural of the
present indicative provides the second stem for the 'nous' and 'vous' forms of the subjunctive. The regular subjunctive
endings are added to these two stems.

venir 'to come'

m
que je vienne

que nous venions

que tu viennes

que vous veniez

qu'il / elle / on vienne

qu'ils / elles viennent

In addition to venir, here is a list of the most frequent verbs with two stems in the subjunctive:
do)

boot stem, for:

2nd stem, for:

je, tu, il/elle/on, ils/elles

nous, vous

aller (to go)

que j' ai l l e

que nous allions

infinitive

boire (to drink)

que je boive

que nous buvions

croire (to believe)

que je croi e

que nous croyi ons

devoir (to have to)

que je doive

que nous devi ons

mourir (to die)

que je meure

que nous mouri ons

prendre (to take)

que je prenne

que nous prenions

recevoir (to receive)

que je reoive

que nous recevi ons

tenir (to hold)

que je ti enne

que nous tenions

voir (to see)

que je voi e

que nous voyi ons

vouloir (to want)

que je veuille

que nous voulions

irregular verbs: avoir and tre


Avoir and tre are highly irregular in the subjunctive and must be memorized. Note that the 'nous' and 'vous' forms are
spelled with the letter y (instead of the i characteristic of the regular subjunctive endings). Note in particular the
pronunciation of the subjunctive forms of avoir, which have the same vowel sound as found in j'ai (I have), the first
person singular in the present indicative.

avoir 'to have'

que j'aie

que nous ayons

que tu aies

que vous ayez

qu'il / elle / on ait

qu'ils / elles aient

tre 'to be'


que je sois

que nous soyons

que tu sois

que vous soyez

qu'il / elle / on soit

qu'ils / elles soient

Note the similarity of the subjunctive forms of the verbs tre and avoir to their respective imperative forms.

irregular verbs: faire, savoir, pouvoir


The verbs faire, savoir and pouvoir have completely irregular stems. The endings, however, are regular.
do)

faire 'to do'


que je fasse

que nous fassions

que tu fasses

que vous fassiez

qu'il / elle / on fasse

qu'ils / elles fassent

infinitive

first person present subjunctive

savoir (to know)

que je sache

pouvoir (to be able)

que je puisse

Note the similarity between the subjunctive and imperative forms of the verb savoir. Listen to the dialogue:

do)

P a w - P a w donne des conseils son petit-

P a w - P a w is giving advice to his grandson

fils, Tex.

Tex.

Paw-Paw: Tex, mon cher, il faut que tu

Paw-Paw: Tex, my dear, you have to know

saches que la vie est courte. T a m m y est

that life is short. T a m m y is a fabulous

une tatou formidable. Tu ne vas pas trouver

armadillo. You are not going to find a

une meilleure femme. Il ne faut pas que

better wife. You and T a m m y must not be

T a m m y et toi ayez peur de vous marier.

afraid to get married. Hurry up! A s I said

D p c h e z - v o u s ! C o m m e j e l'ai dit . . . la

. . . life is short. A s for me, I only w a n t

vie est courte. Moi, je v e u x s e u l e m e n t que

y o u to be happy. A n d a n o t h e r thing. A f t e r

v o u s soyez heureux. Et une autre chose:

y o u r marriage, y o u must c o m e see me. I

a p r s votre mariage, il faut q u e v o u s veniez


me voir. Je suis tout seul en Louisiane et la
famille me m a n q u e . Il faut que n o u s

a m all alone in Louisiana and I miss m y


family. W e have to do more t h i n g s
together. I've got to have more c o m p a n y .

fassions plus de c h o s e s e n s e m b l e . Il faut


q u e j'aie plus de c o m p a g n i e .

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the subjunctive of the verb in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x : Il faut q u e j'

c h e z P a w - P a w . (aller)

2. Rita : Il faut que T e x

fidle T a m m y ! (devenir)

3. T e x : Il faut q u e n o u s

un petit voyage, (faire)

4. P a w - P a w : Il faut que T e x

moins, (boire)

5. T e x : Il faut q u e v o u s

la vrit. (savoir)

T a m m y : Il faut que T e x .

rflchir. (pouvoir)

C o r e y : Il faut que je

un psychiatre, (voir)

T a m m y : T e x ne veut pas que n o u s


9. T a m m y : Il faut que j e
10. E d o u a r d : Il faut que n o u s
11. T e x : Il faut q u e je
12. T a m m y : Il faut que v o u s .

d e s enfants! (avoir)

. c o u r a g e u s e . (tre)
au restaurant. (aller)
le prix G o n c o u r t ! (recevoir)
n o u s voir! (venir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

D J z J j j J j j X j

page: tas3b

subjunctive usage: obligation

The subjunctive is required after impersonal expressions of necessity and obligation. A n impersonal expression is any
expression introduced by the impersonal pronoun il, usually translated into English by 'it'. One of the most frequent is il
faut que (it is necessary to). When the main clause uses il faut que, the verb of the dependent clause which follows must
be in the subjunctive. Note that there are always two different subjects in the two clauses.
Paw-Paw: Tex, il faut que tu choisisses le

PawPaw: Tex, it is necessary that you

vin.

choose the wine.

Note that the expression il faut que is stronger and more emphatic than the verb 'devoir' (which is followed by an
infinitive): Tex doit choisir le vin (Tex must / is supposed to choose the wine).
Below are other common impersonal expressions of obligation and necessity. Note that they are all followed by the
conjunction que which introduces a subordinate clause with a verb in the subjunctive:
d'j)

il est important que, it is important that


il est ncessaire que, it is necessary that
il est essentiel que, it is essential that
il est invitable que, it is unavoidable that
il vaut mieux que, it is better that
il est prfrable que, it is preferable that
il est indispensable que, it is indispensible that

Listen to the dialogue:

I l

T'ACWfcTt
49

T *

U H TABUfift \

Paw-Paw: Peut-tre que ce ne sont pas

Paw-Paw: Maybe, it's none of my business,

mes affaires, mais. . . j'ai remarqu que

but ... I noticed that T a m m y chose the

T a m m y a choisi le vin ta place. Ecoute,

wine instead of you. Listen, my dear, it's

mon cher, il est prfrable que les hommes

better that men choose the wine and that

choississent le vin et que les femmes fassent

w o m e n do the cooking.

la cuisine.
Tex: Merci pour les conseils, PawPaw, mais

Tex: Thanks for the advice, PawPaw, but it

il est important que vous compreniez que les

is important that you understand that times

temps changent. Aujourd'hui les f e m m e s

are changing. Now women do a lot of things

font beaucoup de choses qu'elles ne

that they used to not be able to do.

pouvaient pas faire autrefois.


Paw-Paw: Ah, je comprends! C'est T a m m y

Paw-Paw: Oh, I understand. It's T a m m y

qui porte la culotte et pas toi! Alors il faut

who wears the pants, not you! Well now, I'll

que je t'achte un tablier, ma petite.

have to buy you an apron, my little girl.

fill in the blanks


C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the present subjunctive of the v e r b in parentheses.
1. T e x : II est vital que j e
2. Bette : Il faut que T e x
3. T e x : Il vaut m i e u x que j e

un g r a n d pote, (devenir)
la vrit, (savoir)
la vrit T a m m y . (dire)

4. P a w - P a w : Il est important q u e T e x

sa famille, (connatre)

5. L'diteur : T e x , il faut que tu

un p o m e par mois, (crire)

6. T a m m y : Il est essentiel q u e m e s t u d i a n t s
7. Fiona : Il faut que n o u s

tous les jours! (tudier)

srieux, (tre)

8. T a m m y : T e x prfre q u e je

la cuisine. (faire)

9. T a m m y : Il faut que n o u s

plus s o u v e n t G r e g o r y G y m ! (aller)

10. E d o u a r d : Il est prfrable que v o u s .


11. T e x : Il est ncessaire que T a m m y et moi
12. T e x : Il vaut m i e u x que T a m m y et Bette

m o i n s de ketchup! ( m a n g e r )
d e s v a c a n c e s en France! (passer)
bien. (s'entendre)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tas3b

subjunctive usage: doubt

1. expressions of doubt and uncertainty


2. interrogatives and negatives
3. relative clauses
4. superlatives

The choice of mood indicates the speaker's degree of uncertainty: subjunctive implies the speaker doubts the existence
or possibility of what is being described; indicative implies the speaker believes or is certain that what is being described
is possible or does exist.

expressions of doubt and uncertainty


The subjunctive occurs in dependent clauses introduced by verbs and expressions of doubt or uncertainty whenever
there are two different subjects in the two clauses linked by the subordinating conjunction que.
do)

il est possible que, it is possible that


il est impossible que, it is impossible that
il est incroyable que, it is unbelievable that
il est douteux que, it is doubtful that
douter que, to doubt that

O est Edouard? Chez MacDo?

Where is Edouard? At MacDonald's?

Oh non! Il est impossible qu'Edouard soit

Oh no! It is impossible that Edouard be at

chez MacDo!

MacDonald's!

interrogatives and negatives


Doubt is commonly expressed by questioning or negating a statement.
d'S

Crois-tu que Corey soit chez MacDo?

Do you believe that Corey is at


MacDonald's?

Oui, je crois que Corey est chez MacDo.

I believe Corey is at MacDonald's.

Mais Edouard? Non, je ne crois pas

But Edouard? No, I don't believe that

qu'Edouard soit chez MacDo.

Edouard is at MacDonald's.

The following expressions imply certainty, so when they are used in affirmative statements, they are followed by the
indicative.
m

croire que, to believe that


penser que,to think that
tre sr que, to be sure that
trouver que, to find that
se douter que, to suspect that
supposer que, to suppose that
avoir l'impression que, to have the impression that
il est vrai que, it is true that
il parat que, it appears that
il est probable que, it is probable that
il (me) semble que, it seems (to me) that
il est clair que, it is clear that

il est vident que, it is evident that


il est certain que, it is certain that

However, when these expressions are used in either the interrogative or the negative, doubt is introduced.
Consequently, in the subordinate clause, the subjunctive is used. On the other hand, when expressions of doubt are
negated, they indicate certainty and thus are followed by the indicative: Je ne doute pas qu'Edouard est un escargot
distingu (I do not doubt that Edouard is a distinguished snail = I am certain that ...)
In the following dialogue, the subjunctive is highlighted in blue and the indicative in orange.

49

T a m m y : Je suppose que nous allons nous

T a m m y : I suppose that we are going to get

marier. Il est clair que tu m'aimes.

married. It is clear that you love me.

Tex: Mais Tammy, euh, je ne crois pas que

Tex: But, Tammy, uh, I don't think that you

tu sois prte pour le mariage. Et puis, je ne

are ready for marriage. And then, I am not

suis pas sr que tes parents soient

sure your parents would approve. No, no,

d'accord. Non, non, vraiment, je ne trouve

really, I don't think this is a good idea.

pas que ce soit une bonne ide.


T a m m y : Te semble-t-il que je sois trop

T a m m y : Does it seem to you that I am too

jeune? Tu n'es pas certain que je sois la

young? You're not sure that I am the

femme de ta vie?

w o m a n of your life?

Tex: Oh, chrie, je ne doute pas que tu es

Tex: Oh, my dear, I do not doubt that you

la femme de ma vie. Mais il est vident que

are the w o m a n of my life. But it is obvious

nous sommes trop jeunes pour le moment.

that we are too young right now. Also, it is

En plus, il est certain que je n'ai pas encore

certain that I don't have enough money

assez d'argent.

yet.

relative clauses
When relative clauses express uncertainty, they also trigger the use of the subjunctive. If the existence of the
antecedent, or referent, is not certain, then the subjunctive is used to highlight this uncertainty. On the other hand, if
the existence or possibility of the antecedent is likely and/or definite, then the doubt is removed and the indicative is

In the following dialogue, the subjunctive is highlighted in blue and the indicative in orange.
49

T a m m y : Je cherche un tatou qui est

T a m m y : I am looking for an armadillo who

intelligent, bilingue et intressant. Mais

is intelligent, bilingual and interesting. But,

vrai dire, je l'ai dj trouv!

actually, I have already found him!

Tex: Existe-t-il une seule fille qui ne soit

Tex: Is there one girl who is not obsessed

pas obsde par le mariage? N'y a-t-il rien

with marriage? Isn't there anything that

qui puisse la dtourner?

can divert her?

T a m m y : Y-a-t-

T a m m y : Is there anything that might

le convaincre?

quelque chose qui puisse

convince him?

superlatives
T h e use of a superlative can influences the choice b e t w e e n the subjunctive a n d the indicative. T h e subjunctive is used
after superlative e x p r e s s i o n s that contain a s u b j e c t i v e opinion. O n the other hand, if the superlative e x p r e s s i o n
contains a fact or a c o m p l e t e l y o b j e c t i v e opinion, t h e n the indicative is used since the idea is devoid of any sort of
doubt.
T h e following list contains a g r o u p of c o m m o n e x p r e s s i o n s that are superlative-like in their use.
4j)

le seul, the only


l'unique, the only
il n'y a que, there is only
le dernier, the last
le premier, the first
le meilleur, the best

In the following dialogue, the subjunctive is highlighted in blue a n d the indicative in orange.
4>)

T e x : T a m m y est la plus belle t a t o u que j e

T e x : T a m m y is the prettiest armadillo that I

connaisse. Mais q u a n d m m e , j'ai, j'ai peur

k n o w . But e v e n so, I'm, I'm afraid of

du mariage.

marriage.

T a m m y : T e x est le seul t a t o u franais que

T a m m y : T e x is the only French armadillo

j e connais. Il est v r a i m e n t unique.

that I know. He is truly unique.

fill in the blanks


C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h either the present subjunctive or the present indicative of the v e r b s in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x est certain q u e ses p o m e s
2. II est impossible que Bette
3. Bette croit que T e x

excellent, (tre)
h o n n t e avec T a m m y . ( t r e )

quitter T a m m y . (vouloir)

4. Ne p e n s e z - v o u s pas que T a m m y
5. C o r e y est-il le seul cafard qui

un peu n a v e ? (tre)
le f r a n a i s ? ( c o m p r e n d r e )

6. C o r e y : 'Au secours! Y a-t-il q u e l q u ' u n qui


7. Il est vident q u ' E d o u a r d
8. T e x trouve que T a m m y le
9. Je ne crois pas q u e J o e - B o b

m ' a i d e r ? (pouvoir)

bien cuisiner, (savoir)


bien, (connatre)
prter sa voiture T e x . (vouloir)

10. Il est possible que J o e - B o b

d e s difficults, (avoir)

11. Bette a l'impression que T e x

de plus en plus beau, (devenir)

12. Sais-tu que le fleuve le plus long du m o n d e

(tre) l ' A m a z o n e ?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tas4

subjunctive usage: will, emotion, desire

1. will and desire


2. emotion
3. opinion
4. one subject

will and desire


The subjunctive is used in dependent clauses after expressions of will and desire whenever there are two different
subjects in the two clauses linked by the subordinating conjunction que. Here is a list of common verbs expressing will
and desire:
do)

aimer que, to like that ...

prfrer que, to prefer that ...

aimer mieux que, to prefer that ...

souhaiter que, to hope that ...

attendre que, to wait, expect that ...

vouloir que, to want that ...

dsirer que, to desire that ...

vouloir bien que, to be willing that

exiger que, to require that ...

Tex veut qu'Edouard fasse la cuisine ce soir.

Tex wants Edouard to cook this evening.

Note however that esprer (to hope) is an exception and is followed by the indicative: 'Tex espre qu'Edouard prparera
du couscous ce soir' (Tex hopes that Edouard will prepare couscous this evening). Remember that when there is only
one subject, the conjugated verb is followed by an infinitive: 'Edouard ne veut pas faire la cuisine' (Edouard does not
want to cook).

emoti on
The subjunctive is used after expressions of emotion and opinion. Remember that the subjunctive is found in the
subordinate clause of sentences that contain a change of subject from the main clause to the subordinate clause. Here is
a list of common expressions of emotion with which the subjunctive is found in the subordinate clause:
do)

tre content(e) que, to be happy that

tre impatient(e) que, to be impatient that

tre heureux(/se) que, to be happy that

tre dsol(e) que, to be sorry that

tre ravi(e) que, to delighted that

regretter que, to regret that

tre tonn(e) que, to be surprised that

se rjouir que, to rejoice, celebrate that

tre mcontent(e) que,

craindre que, to fear that

to be unhappy that
tre mal heureux(/se) que,

redouter que, to fear that

to be unhappy that
tre triste que, to be sad that

avoir peur que, to fear that

tre surpris(e) que, to be surprised that

T a m m y est ravie que nous venions dner

T a m m y is delighted that we are coming to

chez elle ce soir.

dinner at her house this evening


OR
T a m m y ' s delighted that we will come to
dinner at her house this evening.

Fiona craint qu' on mette un pesticide autour

Fiona is afraid that they're putting

de l'immeuble de Tammy.

pesticides around T a m m y ' s apartment


building.
OR
Fiona is afraid that they willl put pesticides

around Tammy's apartment building.

FiefrJA
U M

C f l A l M T

<au'N

P S T I C I K

M C T T C
t

C iM^eyQwe

ve

T m m i

Notice how there are two ways of translating these two sentences. Because the subjunctive is the tense for hypotheses
and potentialities, it sometimes has a future meaning. Only the context will determine if the action in the subjunctive
refers to the present or future time.

opinion
Here is a list of common impersonal expressions of opinion; there are many more such expressions since any adjective
may be used. Remember that impersonal expressions always have 'il' as the subject. These expressions are followed by
a dependent clause in the subjunctive.
4j)

il est bon que, it is good that

il est utile que, it is useful that

il est juste que, it is fair that

il est urgent que, it is urgent that

il est dommage que, it is unfortunate that

il est logique que, it is logical that

one subject
If expressions of emotion or opinion have only one subject throughout the sentence, then the preposition de + infinitive
replaces que + subjunctive (See ways to avoid the subjunctive). Contrast the previous examples with these sentences:
m

T a m m y est ravie de recevoir des

T a m m y is delighted to have friends over.


OR

amis.

T a m m y is delighted she's going to have friends over.


Fiona craint de ne pas pouvoir

Fiona is afraid she cannot come.


OR

venir.

Fiona is afraid she won't be able to come.


Il est bon de pouvoir s'amuser

It is good to be able to have fun with one's friends.

avec ses amis.

Listen to the dialogue. Verbs in blue are in the subjunctive.


Tex et T a m m y organisent un repas pour

Tex and T a m m y are preparing a meal for

leurs copains ce soir.

their friends tonight.

T a m m y : Tex, je voudrais que tu choisisses

T a m m y : Tex, I would like you to pick a

un bon vin. Mais je prfre que ce soit un

good wine. But I would prefer a red wine

rouge s'il te plat. Il serait dommage que

please. It would be a pity to drink a white

nous buvions du vin blanc avec du boeuf.

wine with beef.

Tex rflchit un moment, puis il choisit un

Tex reflects a moment and then he chooses

vin californien.

a Californian wine.

T a m m y : Mais enfin Tex, pas un vin

T a m m y : Tex! Not an American wine! It

amricain! Il serait prfrable que n o u s

w o u l d be better if w e o p e n e d a bottle of

ouvrions une bouteille de B o r d e a u x ou de

B o r d e a u x or B u r g u n d y !

Bourgogne!
T e x : Ma chre T a m m y , j'ai bien peur que

T e x : My dear T a m m y , I a m afraid we're out

n o u s n'ayons plus de v i n s franais en

of French wines!

rserve!
T a m m y : T u es s r ? Je suis t o n n e qu'il n'y

T a m m y : A r e y o u sure? I'm really surprised

ait plus de vin franais.

that there isn't a n y more French wine.

fill in the blanks


C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h either the present subjunctive or the present indicative of the v e r b s in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T a m m y ne veut pas que T e x

un vin californien.(choisir)

2. T a m m y est ravie que leurs a m i s


3. Bette a peur que T e x
4. Fiona craint qu'il y

dner c h e z elle, (venir)

v r a i m e n t a m o u r e u x de T a m m y . ( t r e )
de l'Amdro sur le c a m p u s . ( a v o i r )

5. T e x exige que ses t u d i a n t s

en France pour les vacances.(aller)

6. T r e y a envie que T a m m y

. du s k a t e - b o a r d avec lui.(faire)

7. Il est bon que T e x


8. Bette espre que T e x

le Daily T e x a n t o u s les jours.(lire)


a m o u r e u x d'elle.(tomber)

9. T a m m y est surprise q u a n d T r e y
10. Rita exige que ses e n f a n t s
11. T r e y voudrait que T a m m y
12. Il est essentiel q u e les tudiants

qu'il v e u t sortir avec elle.(dire)


leurs devoirs.(faire)
j o u e r du rap.(pouvoir)
c o n j u g u e r le subjonctif.(savoir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tas5

conjunctions t h a t take t h e subjunctive

1. conjunctions expressing intention


2. conjunctions expressing fear
3. conjunctions expressing time
4. conjunctions expressing obstacles or restrictions
5. conjunctions expressing a condition
6. conjoining clauses which have the same subject

When the following conjunctions introduce a subordinate clause with a new subject, they always trigger the subjunctive.
Remember that the subjects of the subordinate clause and of the main clause are different. In the examples below, the
verb in the subjunctive is underlined.

conjunctions expressing intention: pour que, afin que, de sorte que (in order that, so that)
4>)

Bette drague Tex pour qu' il lui donne de

Bette is hitting on Tex so that he will give

bonnes notes.

her good grades.

Bette drague Tex afin que Tammy soit

Bette is hitting on Tex so that Tammy will

jalouse.

be jealous.

Bette drague Tex de sorte que Tammy et

Bette is hitting on Tex so that Tammy and

Tex se disputent.

Tex will fight.

Conjunctions expressing fear: de crainte que, de peur que (for fear that, lest)
d'S

Mais Tex n'a rien dit Tammy de crainte

But Tex hasn't said anything to Tammy for

qu'elle (ne)* se fche.

fear that [lest] she be angry.

Il ne veut pas en parler de peur que Tammy

He doesn't want to bring it up for fear that

soit blesse.

[lest] Tammy be hurt.

* ne is optional. It is sometimes added to certain subjunctive clauses for stylistic purposes, in these cases it does not
negate the verb.
conjunctions expressing time: avant que (before), en attendant que (while waiting for), jusqu' ce que (until)
d'S

Pourtant, il doit faire quelque chose avant

Yet he must do something before Tammy

que Tammy (ne) se rende compte de ce qui

realizes what's going on!

se passe!
Tex prend un caf en attendant que Tammy

Tex is having a cup of coffee while waiting

le rejoigne.

for Tammy to join him.

Il va rflchir au problme jusqu' ce qu' elle


arr

ive.

He's going to think about this problem until


she arrives.

Conjunctions expressing obstacles or restrictions: bien que, quoi que (although), moins que (unless)
d'S

T a m m y a du mal croire l'histoire de Tex,

T a m m y finds it difficult to believe Tex's

bien qu' il ait l'air sincre.

story, although he looks sincere.

T a m m y : Alors Bette n'est pas une vraie

T a m m y : So Bette is not a true friend,

amie, moins que ce (ne) soit toi qui la

unless it is you who has been hitting on

drague.

her.

conjunctions expressing a condition: condition que (on the condition that),


pourvu que (provided that), sans que (without)
T a m m y : Ecoute, Tex, je veux bien te faire

T a m m y : Listen Tex, I'm willing to trust

confiance, condition que tu me promettes

you, if you promise that you will tell me

de tout me dire.

everything.

Je veux bien pardonner aussi Bette,

I am also willing to forgive Bette, provided

pourvu qu'elle ne recommence pas.

that she never does it again.

T a m m y aime Tex bien qu' elle le trouve

T a m m y loves Tex although she finds him

puril par moments.

childish at times.

Quoi que T a m m y soit sre de vouloir

Although T a m m y is certain she wants to

pouser Tex, elle ne veut pas prcipiter les

marry Tex, she does not want to rush

choses.

things.

Tex veut attendre jusqu' ce qu' il se sente

Tex wants to wait until he feels ready.

prt.
T a m m y veut bien patienter un peu pourvu

T a m m y is happy to wait a bit more

que Tex n'attende pas trop longtemps.

provided that Tex doesn't wait too much


longer.

C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the present subjunctive or the present indicative of the v e r b s in parentheses,


according to the c o n j u n c t i o n in the s u b o r d i n a t e clause.
1. Q u o i q u e Bette

l'air gentille, T a m m y ne lui fait pas confiance, (avoir)

2. T e x attend j u s q u ' ce que E d o u a r d

prt, (tre)

3. C o r e y ne boit j a m a i s d ' e a u parce qu'il


4. Bien que J o e - B o b ne
5. Pendant q u ' E d o u a r d

peur qu'il s'ytrouve d e s pesticides.(avoir)

pas bien le franais, il adore c o u t e r T e x et T a m m y .

(comprendre)

la salade, les clients discutent, (servir)

6. C o r e y entre par la fentre s a n s q u ' E d o u a r d le


7. En a t t e n d a n t que T e x

. (voir)

une dcision, T a m m y sort, (prendre)

8. T a m m y aime T e x puisqu'elle le

partout, (suivre)

9. Bette se maquille parce qu'elle

tre r e m a r q u e ,

10. N o u s allons O p e l o u s a s pour que T e x

(vouloir)

fter l'anniversaire de son grand-pre, (pouvoir)

11. T r e y ne lit j a m a i s les livres de Sartre de peur q u e sa philosophie


12. E d o u a r d veut bien faire la cuisine p o u r v u que q u e l q u ' u n d'autre

trop morose, (tre)


la vaisselle, (faire)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tas3b

past subjunctive

1. formation
2. uses

formation
The past subjunctive resembles the pass compos in that it is formed with the present subjunctive of the appropriate
auxiliary verb (avoir or tre) and the past participle of the main verb.

49

rire 'to laugh'


que j'aie ri

que nous ayons ri

que tu aies ri

que vous ayez ri

qu'il / elle / on ait ri

qu'ils / elles aient ri

sortir 'to go out'


que je sois sorti(e)

que nous soyons sorti(e)s

que tu sois sorti(e)

que vous soyez sorti(e)(s)

qu'il / elle / on soit sorti(e)

qu'ils / elles soient sorti(e)s

uses
The past subjunctive is normally used in dependent clauses that describe an action which precedes the action of the
main clause. The past subjunctive is introduced by the same kinds of clauses that introduce the present subjunctive (See
subjunctive of obligation, doubt, will, emotion, desire and conjunctions that take the subjunctive). Note the past tense
meaning of the event encoded in the past subjunctive. The present subjunctive, on the other hand, indicates a
simultaneous action or a future action. Compare these sentences (present subjunctive in orange, past subjunctive in
blue):
49

T a m m y : Je suis surprise que tu crives ce

T a m m y : I am surprised that you are

livre.

writing this book.

Tex: Je suis surpris que tu aies lu ce livre.

Tex: I am surprised that you have read this


book.

T a m m y : J'ai t surprise que tu crives ce

T a m m y : I was surprised that you were

livre.

writing this book.

Tex: J'ai t surpris que tu aies lu ce livre.

Tex: I was surprised that you had read this


book.

Note that the tense of the verb in the main clause in French does not predict the tense of the subjunctive in the
dependent clause. The choice between the present and past subjunctives depends on the chronological relationship
between the two clauses.

Listen to the following dialogue.


4>)

T a m m y : T e x est content que la France ait

T a m m y : T e x is h a p p y that France w o n the

gagn la C o u p e du M o n d e en 98.

1998 W o r l d Cup.

Mais j e doute qu'il soit sorti aprs la finale

But, I doubt that he w e n t out after the final

parce qu'il avait trop bu.

g a m e b e c a u s e he had d r u n k too m u c h .

Ma mre n'tait pas sre que T e x ait aim

M y m o m w a s n ' t sure that T e x had liked the

le vin qu'elle avait envoy.

w i n e that she sent for the g a m e .

Mais j'ai peur que T e x et E d o u a r d l'aient

But, I'm afraid that T e x a n d E d o u a r d liked

trop aim !

it t o o well!

fill in the blanks


C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the past subjunctive of the v e r b s in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. Bien que C o r e y

la fac, il ne va j a m a i s en classe.(s'inscrire)

2. T a m m y est furieuse que T e x

s a n s elle.(partir)

3. Bette, T a m m y et Fiona sont trs c o n t e n t e s q u e les A m r i c a i n e s


4. Q u o i q u e T e x

au T e x a s , il a grandi en France.(natre)

5. Bette doute q u e T e x .

l'amour a v e c T a m m y . ( f a i r e )

6. T e x s'tonne que T a m m y
7. Il est possible que C o r e y
8. Quel d o m m a g e qu'il

la C o u p e du M o n d e . ( g a g n e r )

Ricky Williams.(rencontrer)
. (se perdre).
hierl(pleuvoir)

9. Il est peu probable que les n o n n e s


10. P a w - P a w - L o u i s : 'Je suis ravi que v o u s

une carte postale de T e x . ( r e c e v o i r )


le t e m p s de v e n i r O p e l o u s a s . ( p r e n d r e )

11. C o r e y : A h Paris! C'est la plus belle ville q u e je/j'


12. T e x est surpris q u e P a w - P a w - L o u i s

.(visiter)

. Tammy.(tlphoner)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tas7

subjunctive s u m m a r y
WEDDINGS is a mnemonic device that can help you recall the main points
concerning the subjunctive. What are some of the essential components of
a wedding?
First, there are always two people who get married at a wedding. A n d just
like a wedding, the subjunctive requires two different subjects in two
different clauses.
Second, a ring is often used to symbolize the couple's union at a wedding.
And just like the ring, the subordinating conjunction que is essential in
joining together the two clauses.
Remember that there are also certain other conjunctions which always require the subjunctive.

And finally, the wedding party (the bride and groom and parents and friends) often run the gamut of emotions during the
marriage ceremony: doubt, happiness, sadness, desire. Similarly, the subjunctive is a mood that indicates a
speaker's attitude or opinion about the events expressed. The use of the subjunctive is often triggered by an expression
of emotion.
In summary, remember that a wedding always contains the following: two different people (subjects) joined by a
ring (que) in an e m o t i o n - l a d e n context! The different categories that describe the contexts for the subjunctive spell
out weddings:

WILL

Moi, je veux seulement que vous soyez heureux.

EMOTION

Je suis heureuse que tu veuilles m'pouser, Tex!


Mais Tammy, euh, je ne crois pas que tu sois prte pour le

DOUBT

mariage.

DESIRE

Je dsire que tu m'pouses, Tex!


Existe-t-il une seule fille qui ne soit pas obsde par le

INTERROGATIVES

mariage?
Je n'ai pas l'impression que T a m m y soit la femme de ta

NEGATIVES

vie, Tex!

G E N E R A L STATEMENTS

Tex, mon cher, il faut que tu saches que la vie est courte.

SUPERLATIVES

T a m m y est la plus belle tatou que je connaisse!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with either the present subjunctive or the present indicative of the verb in parentheses.
1. Tex : Je voudrais que T a m m y
2. Bette : Je sais que Tex

habiter avec moi. (venir)


un gnie, (tre)

3. T a m m y : Je ne pense pas que Bette


4. Paw-Paw : Je suis triste que tu
5. Tex : Y a-t-il un pote qui
6. T a m m y : Je ne suis pas sre que Tex

beaucoup d'amis, (avoir)


partir, Tex. (devoir)
plus fin que moi? (tre)
faire la cuisine, (savoir)

7. Fiona : II est important que tu


8. T a m m y : T e x trouve que n o u s
9. T a m m y : T e x pense qu'il
10. E d o u a r d : Je suis ravi que v o u s
11. T a m m y : J'exige que t u
12. T e x : Je crois que T a m m y

un c o u r s intressant. (choisir)
heureux. (tre)
attendre avant le mariage. (falloir)
ma recette. (aimer)
te raser, Tex! (aller)
_ _ m ' p o u s e r . (vouloir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: tas8

ways to avoid t h e subjunctive

1. impersonal expressions with infinitive clauses


2. conjunction replaced by preposition + infinitive
3. conjunction replaced by preposition + object
4. other structural transformations

Although the subjunctive is commonly used in French, many alternative turns of phrase
are often used to avoid the subjunctive.

impersonal expressions with infinitive clauses


Many impersonal expressions which take the subjunctive can be modified and
completed with infinitive clauses instead. Note that the infinitive construction eliminates
the subject of the original dependent clause.
d'S

infinitive

subjunctive
Il est important que tu

Il est important de boire du

boives du vin. (It is

vin. (It is important to drink

important that you drink

wine.)

wine.)
Il est prfrable que tu sois

Il est prfrable d'tre poli.(It

poli. (It is preferable /

is preferable / better to be

advisable that you be polite.)

polite.)

Il est essentiel que tu lises

Il est essentiel de lire les

les journaux. (It is essential

journaux. (It is essential to

that you read the papers.)

read the papers.)

Il est dommage que tu f u m e s

Il est dommage de fumer

autant. (It is a pity that you

autant. (It is a pity to smoke

smoke so much.)

so much.)

conjunction replaced by preposition + infinitive


Some conjunctions which are normally followed by the subjunctive have corresponding prepositions, so the sentence can
often be rephrased using o n e subject, with an infinitive following the preposition.
m

conjunction +

preposition +

translation

subjunctive

infinitive

condition que

on the condition (that)

condition de

afin que

so that, in order to

afin de

moins que

unless

moins de

avant que

before

avant de

de crainte que

for fear that (of), lest

de crainte de

de peur que

for fear that (of), lest

de peur de

en attendant que

while waiting for (to)

en attendant de

pour que

in order that (to)

pour

sans que

without

sans

Using the infinitive involves a restatement of the content so there is only one grammatical subject in the sentence. For

example:
4>)

conjunction + subjunctive

preposition + infinitive

(2 subjects)

(1 subject)

Bette drague Tex pour que T a m m y soit

Bette drague Tex pour rendre T a m m y

jalouse. Tex est victime de harclement

jalouse. Tex est victime de harclement

sexuel! (Bette is hitting on Tex in order that

sexuel! (Bette is hitting on Tex in order to

T a m m y be jealous. Tex is a victim of sexual

make T a m m y jealous. Tex is a victim of

harrassment!)

sexual harrassment!)

Tex ne dit rien T a m m y de peur qu'elle se

Tex ne dit rien T a m m y de peur

mette en colre. (Tex does not say anything

de la mettre en colre. (Tex does not say

to T a m m y for fear that she get angry.)

anything to T a m m y for fear of making her


angry.)

conjunction replaced by preposition + object


Some conjunctions, like jusqu' ce que and bien que, which introduce the subjunctive, may be restated using prepositions
followed by a noun:
conjunction + subjunctive

preposition + noun

Jusqu' ce que T a m m y arrive, Tex est trs

Jusqu' l'arrive de T a m m y , Tex est trs

pensif. (Until T a m m y arrives, Tex is very

pensif. (Until T a m m y ' s arrival, Tex is very

pensive.)

pensive.)

Quand elle arrive, il lui sourit, bien qu'il ait

Quand elle arrive, il lui sourit, malgr ses

des soucis. (When she arrives, he smiles at

soucis. (When she arrives, he smiles to her

her, although he is worried.)

despite his worries.)

other structural transformations


The following pairs of sentences will give you still more ways to avoid the subjunctive.

subjunctive

avoiding the subjunctive

T a m m y : Je ne suis pas sre que tu sois prt

Tex: Je ne sais pas si je suis prt pour le

pour le mariage. (I am not sure that you are

mariage. (I don't know if I am ready for

ready for marriage.)

marriage.)

T a m m y : Il est possible que tu sois l'homme

Tex: Je suis peut-tre l'homme de ta vie.

de ma vie. (It is possible that you may be

(Maybe I am the man of your life.)

the man of my life.)


Bette: Je n'ai pas l'impression que T a m m y

T a m m y : J'ai l'impression que Bette n'est pas

soit la femme de ta vie, Tex. (I don't think

la femme de ta vie, Tex. (I think that Bette

that T a m m y is the woman of your life.)

is not the w o m a n of your life.)

Tex: Tammy, j'ai besoin que tu viennes me

Bette: Viens me voir chez moi, Tex. J'ai

voir. (Tammy, I need you to come and see

besoin de te voir. (Come and see me, Tex. I

me.)

need to see you.)

fill in the blanks


R e p h r a s e the e x p r e s s i o n b e t w e e n brackets so as to avoid the subjunctive w i t h o u t c h a n g i n g the m e a n i n g of the
sentence.
1. T a m m y : J'aime T e x [bien qu'il ait] ses dfauts.
2. T a m m y : Il est important [qu'on soit] honnte.
3. T e x : [Pour que je finisse] m o n p o m e , il me faut de l'inspiration.
4. P a w - P a w : Il est indispensable pour T e x [qu'il c o n n a i s s e ] sa famille.
5. T e x : Il est essentiel [que n o u s lisions] de la posie.
6. T a m m y : A condition [que n o u s arrivions] tt, n o u s a u r o n s d e s places.
7. Fiona : Il faut travailler afin [que n o u s russissions] nos e x a m e n s .
8. T a m m y : [Bien q u e je fasse] de g r o s efforts, j e ne c o m p r e n d pas Sartre.
9. T a m m y : Il est ncessaire [que n o u s fassions] du sport rgulirement!
10. E d o u a r d : A v a n t [que je v i e n n e ] Austin, j e ne parlais pas anglais.
11. T a m m y : Il est essentiel [qu'on soit] poli ('polite').
12. T e x : Je v e u x m a n g e r avant [que n o u s allions] au cinma!

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: tavi

1. formation
2. uses
3. ways to avoid the passive

'Voice' refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb in a sentence. A sentence is said to be in the active
voice if the subject is performing the action of the verb. For example, 'Tex is calling Tammy.' In this sentence, the
subject (Tex) performs the action of calling Tammy. Active subjects are called 'agents'.
The passive voice, on the other hand, refers to a sentence in which the subject receives the action. In other words, the
subject is passive, or acted upon by the agent. For example: 'Tammy is being called by Tex.' In this sentence, Tammy
receives the action performed by Tex, the agent.

formation
= conjugated form of tre + past participle of main verb (+ par + agent)
Note that the past participle always agrees in number and gender with the
subject.
d'>)

Les Aggies sont battus

The Aggies are beaten

(par les Longhorns).

(by the Longhorns).

Les Aggies ont t battus

The Aggies were beaten

(par les Longhorns).

(by the Longhorns).

Les Aggies seront battus

The Aggies will be beaten

(par les Longhorns).

(by the Longhorns).

The agent, when mentioned, is usually preceded by par. However, with the
verbs aimer, connatre, and respecter, the agent is introduced by de instead.
d'j)

Tammy est aime de Tex.

Tammy is loved by Tex.

Tex est bien connu de toutes les tudiantes

Tex is well-known to all the female students

et respect de tous les professeurs.

and respected by all the professors.

uses
The passive voice places the focus on the object of the verb rather than the
subject:
do)

Tex a crit le livre Guerre

Tex wrote the book War

et Amour.

and Love.

Le livre Guerre et

The book War and Love

Amour

was written by Tex.

a t crit par Tex.

The passive voice draws attention to an event without necessarily mentioning


who is responsible for it:
d'))

Oh, Corey et Fiona ont t

Oh, Corey and Fiona were

enlevs!

abducted!

The passive voice is often used for inventions, laws, and, logically enough, for events that one falls victim to:
d'j)

Les parents de Tex ont t crass.

Tex' parents were run over.

La loi SOS-tatou a t vote.

The SOS-armadillo law has been passed.

Un nouveau genre de grammaire a t cr.

A new kind of grammar was created.

ways to avoid the passive


The passive voice is used more frequently in English than in French. Thus, in French, when the agent of the verb can be
identified, it is better to use the active voice and make the agent the subject of the verb.
A common way to avoid the passive in French is to use the active voice with on as the subject. For example, 'I was told
that Tex loves Tammy' would be translated as 'Onm'adit que Tex aimait Tammy'.
When making general statements about known facts, pronominal verbs are often used:

4D

Le football amricain se joue onze.

Football is played with 11 players.

Le vin rouge se boit temprature

Red wine is drunk at room temperature.

ambiante.
Les frites se mangent avec du ketchup.

Fries are eaten with ketchup.

Le franais se parle en Louisiane.

French is spoken in Louisiana.

Listen to the dialogue:


d'S

T a m m y et Tex regardent les informations

T a m m y and Tex are watching the news on

la tl. Le journaliste dclare:

TV. The journalist states:

Aujourd'hui, l'quipe des Aggies a t battue

Today, the team of the Aggies was

et le moral des joueurs est profondment

defeated and the morale of the players is

affect par cette dfaite, la dixime fois de

deeply affected by this defeat, the tenth

suite cette saison. Par contre, les Longhorns

time in a row this season. In contrast, the

ont beaucoup de succs. Depuis que le

Longhorns are having a lot of success.

trophe Heisman a t remport par le

Since the Heisman trophy was won by the

lgendaire Ricky Williams, rien ne les


arrte.

lengendary Ricky Williams, nothing can stop


them.

Fill in the blank with the passive form of the verb between parentheses. Conjugate the verb in the tense given in
parentheses.
1. Tex : Ce p l a t .
2. T a m m y : Cette tarte
3. Tex : La danse country

en France. (apprcier, PRESENT)


par Edouard. (faire, PASSE COMPOSE)
par les Texans. (inventer, PASSE COMPOSE)

4. Le r o m a n de T e x
5. T e x

d e s millions d'exemplaires, (vendre, F U T U R I


par d e s nonnes, (lever, P A S S E C O M P O S E )

6. Les p o m e s r o t i q u e s de T e x

. (censurer, P A S S E C O M P O S E )

7. T e x , J o e - B o b et E d o u a r d
8. T e x
9. T e x et T a m m y
10. Monsieur, le caf

chez T a m m y ce soir, (inviter, P R E S E N T )

par Bette, (poursuivre/'to chase', P R E S E N T )


c h a l e u r e u s e m e n t par P a w - P a w . (accueillir, P R E S E N T )
! (servir, P R E S E N T )

11. Rita : Je ne p e u x pas v e n i r ce soir, ie


12. T e x : E s t - c e ie

! (prendre, P R E S E N T )

de m o n public? (aimer, F U T U R )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page:

introduction to verbs

vi

A verb m a y be defined as the 'action w o r d of the sentence'. T o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r a w o r d is a verb or not, consider


its role in the sentence. H o w is the w o r d 'access' used in the following s e n t e n c e s ?
Never give strangers a c c e s s to y o u r bank account.
If y o u can't a c c e s s the w e b p a g e s during peak hours, try again.
In the first sentence, 'access' is a thing (a noun) that y o u can give to s o m e b o d y . In the s e c o n d sentence, 'access' is
s o m e t h i n g y o u do (a verb) with y o u r c o m p u t e r . T h e point is that w h e t h e r a w o r d is considered a noun or a verb
d e p e n d s on h o w it is used in the sentence.

infinitives and conjugations


W h e n y o u study verbs, y o u will need to k n o w the difference b e t w e e n the infinitive form of the verb and the finite
f o r m s , or c o n j u g a t e d forms. English infinitives are preceded by the w o r d 'to'.
to eat, to drink, to sleep
T h e s e verbs are called infinitives because, like the c o n c e p t of infinity, t h e y are not bound by time. From the
infinitive, w e derive the c o n j u g a t e d f o r m s of the verb, also k n o w n as the finite f o r m s of the verb. T h e y are called
finite because t h e y refer to events a n c h o r e d in time, that is, to events that have a particular tense: past, present,
future. Note the c o n j u g a t e d f o r m s of the infinitive 'to study'.
I studied French

past

tense

conjugation

in high school.
I am studying French

present

tense

conjugation

in college this semester.


I will study French

future

tense

conjugation

next y e a r overseas.

V e r b c o n j u g a t i o n s are traditionally presented in t e x t b o o k s according to


p a r a d i g m s , a g r a m m a t i c a l t e r m for pattern. A paradigm a l w a y s
includes the infinitive f o l l o w e d by the conjugations a c c o r d i n g to p e r s o n
w h i c h is divided into first, s e c o n d and third, as well as n u m b e r , which is
the distinction b e t w e e n singular and plural.

Here is the paradigm for the present tense of the French v e r b parler, 'to speak'.
parler
singular

plural

1st person

je parle (I s p e a k )

nous parlons (we s p e a k )

2nd person

tu parles (you s p e a k )

vous parlez (you s p e a k )

3rd person

il/elle/on parle (he/she/it

ils/elles parlent (they s p e a k )

speaks)

Regular French v e r b s fall into three classes based on the last t w o letters of the verb. Each class has a particular
pattern of conjugation. T h e s e classes of verbs are generally referred to as first conjugation, s e c o n d conjugation and

third conjugation.
first conjugation (-er verbs)
danser

to dance

regarder

to w a t c h

second conjugation (-ir verbs)


finir

to finish

obir

to o b e y

third conjugation (-re verbs)


vendre

to sell

entendre

to listen

parti ci pl es
A participle is a special v e r b form that is derived from the infinitive but is not conjugated. In other w o r d s , while
conjugations c o m e in p a r a d i g m s of six f o r m s according to six different persons, participles have only t w o f o r m s ,
n a m e d according to their uses: the present participle and the past participle.
A present participle in French e n d s in -ant and is f r e q u e n t l y used as an adjective. French present participles are
usually translated by the -ing form of the English verb. Note that the adjectival form of the present participle must
agree in n u m b e r and g e n d e r with the noun it modifies. In the e x a m p l e , the participle is m a d e to agree with the
plural noun (les a n i m a u x ) by adding - s .
Les tatous sont des a n i m a u x fascinants.

A r m a d i l l o s are fascinating animals.

A past participle in French is used to form c o m p o u n d tenses, such as the 'pass compos'. A past participle can also
be used as an adjective in certain contexts. W h e n used as an adjective, the participle a g r e e s in n u m b e r and g e n d e r
with the noun it qualifies.
T e x a perdu une lettre d ' a m o u r de

T e x lost a love letter from Bette.

Bette.
Et T a m m y a trouv la lettre perdue!

A n d T a m m y f o u n d the lost letter!

In the first e x a m p l e , the participle 'perdu' c o m b i n e s with the auxiliary v e r b to form the past tense of p e r d r e (to
lose). In the s e c o n d e x a m p l e , the participle is used as an adjective to m o d i f y the noun 'la lettre'. Note h o w the final
- e on the participle indicates a g r e e m e n t with the f e m i n i n e noun.

common auxiliaries and modals


Auxiliaries, often called 'helping verbs', are verbs that c o m b i n e with the main v e r b to form a v e r b phrase. T h e r e are
two g r o u p s of auxiliary verbs: c o m m o n auxiliaries and modals. T h e two c o m m o n auxiliary verbs in French, avoir (to
have) and tre (to be) are used to form m a n y tenses. A tense that has only a main verb and no auxiliary is called a
simple tense. A verb tense that is c o m p o s e d of a main verb and its auxiliary is called a c o m p o u n d tense.
J o e - B o b coute de la m u s i q u e country.

J o e - B o b listens to c o u n t r y music.

J o e - B o b a cout de la m u s i q u e

J o e - B o b has listened to country music.

country.

In t h e first e x a m p l e , t h e m a i n v e r b ' c o u t e r ' is in t h e s i m p l e p r e s e n t t e n s e . In t h e s e c o n d e x a m p l e , t h e v e r b is in t h e


c o m p o u n d p a s t t e n s e , a t e n s e w h i c h c o m b i n e s t h e a u x i l i a r y v e r b 'avoir' w i t h t h e p a s t p a r t i c i p l e of ' c o u t e r ' .

M o d a l s a r e s p e c i a l a u x i l i a r y v e r b s t h a t e x p r e s s t h e a t t i t u d e of t h e s p e a k e r . In
s h o r t , m o d a l v e r b s a r e ' m o o d y v e r b s ' . For e x a m p l e , m o d a l v e r b s i n d i c a t e s u b t l e
s h a d e s of m e a n i n g c o n c e r n i n g s u c h t h i n g s a s t h e l i k e l i h o o d of a n e v e n t or t h e
m o r a l o b l i g a t i o n of a n e v e n t . T h e m o s t f r e q u e n t m o d a l v e r b s in E n g l i s h a r e t h e
f o l l o w i n g : s h o u l d , c o u l d , m a y , m i g h t , o u g h t to, m u s t .
N o t e h o w t h e f o l l o w i n g m o d a l v e r b s in F r e n c h a n d E n g l i s h c o n v e y a n a t t i t u d e of
increased urgency.
T e x peut q u i t t e r la F r a n c e .

T e x can leave France.

T e x devrait q u i t t e r la F r a n c e !

T e x should leave France!

T e x doit q u i t t e r la F r a n c e ! !

T e x must leave France!!

transitive vs. intransitive verbs


T r a n s i t i v e v e r b s r e q u i r e a d i r e c t o b j e c t w h i l e i n t r a n s i t i v e v e r b s d o n o t p e r m i t a n o b j e c t . A d i r e c t o b j e c t is u s u a l l y
d e f i n e d a s t h e p a r t y w h i c h d i r e c t l y r e c e i v e s t h e a c t i o n d e s i g n a t e d b y t h e v e r b . T h e t e r m s 'transitive' a n d
' i n t r a n s i t i v e ' a r e d e r i v e d f r o m t h e g r a m m a t i c a l t e r m t r a n s i t i v i t y w h i c h r e f e r s to t h e t r a n s f e r of a n a c t i o n f r o m t h e
s u b j e c t (S) to t h e d i r e c t o b j e c t ( D O ) .
Transitive

T e x (S) crit un p o m e ( D O ) .

T e x writes a poem.

Intransitive

T e x (S) sort.

T e x g o e s out.

French vs. English verbs


T h e r e is o n e i m p o r t a n t d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n F r e n c h a n d E n g l i s h v e r b s t h a t o f t e n c a u s e s t r o u b l e f o r b e g i n n i n g
l a n g u a g e l e a r n e r s . T h e r e is a high f r e q u e n c y of E n g l i s h v e r b s w h i c h c o m b i n e w i t h a p a r t i c l e ( t y p i c a l l y a p r e p o s i t i o n )
to e x p r e s s i d i o m a t i c m e a n i n g s . E n g l i s h s p e a k e r s c a n c o m p l e t e l y c h a n g e t h e m e a n i n g of t h e v e r b b y c h a n g i n g t h e
particle. C o n s i d e r t h e e x t r e m e l y v e r s a t i l e E n g l i s h v e r b 'to get'.

G E T + particle

meaning

french

equivalent

to g e t a b o u t

to m o v e a r o u n d

se dplacer

to g e t b e t t e r

to r e c o v e r

se remettre

to g e t o u t

to l e a v e

sortir, descendre

to g e t up

to g e t o u t of b e d

se lever

In o r d e r to c o n v e y t h e d i f f e r e n c e s in m e a n i n g of t h e 'get + particle' c o n s t r u c t i o n s , n o t e h o w F r e n c h m a k e s u s e of
c o m p l e t e l y d i f f e r e n t v e r b s . A s a c o n s e q u e n c e , w h e n y o u t r a n s l a t e s u c h v e r b s f r o m E n g l i s h into F r e n c h , y o u m u s t
n e v e r t r a n s l a t e w o r d - f o r - w o r d (i.e. t r a n s l a t i n g t h e v e r b a n d p a r t i c l e s e p a r a t e l y ) . S i n c e t h e v e r b a n d p a r t i c l e 'go
t o g e t h e r ' in E n g l i s h , t h e y m u s t be t r a n s l a t e d a s a unit in F r e n c h .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated:

27 May 04

y f j i s i r X f i

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: verl

-er verbs (regular) present tense


There are three major groups of regular verbs in French: verbs with infinitives ending in -er,
verbs with infinitives ending in -ir, and verbs with infinitives ending in -re. Since -er verbs
are the most numerous, they are considered the first conjugation. To conjugate these verbs,
drop the -er from the infinitive to form the stem. Next, add the -erendings to the stem.
Different tenses have different endings.
The endings given below (-e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent) are for forming the present tense. The
endings (-e, -es, -e, and -ent) are all silent. The only endings that are pronounced are the
nous (-ons) and the vous (-ez) endings. The four silent endings form a boot shape in the
verb conjugation.

parler 'to speak'


je parle

nous parlons

tu parles

vous parlez

il/elle/on parle

ils/elles parlent
past participle: parl

Listen carefully to the following sentences. Note that the pronunciation of each of the verbs is the same even though the
conjugations are spelled differently.
49

Tex, il parle franais? Mais c'est un tatou.

Tex speaks French? But he's an armadillo.

Tex: Bien sr jeparle franais etTammy, elle

Tex: Of course, I speak French and

aussi, elle parle franais.

Tammy,too, she speaks French.

Eh bien dis donc, mme les tatousparlent

Well, I'll be, even the armadillos speak

franais au Texas?

French in Texas?

Here is a list of common -er verbs:


adorer, to adore

habiter, to live

aimer, to like

jouer, to play

aimermieux, to prefer

montrer, to show

chanter, to sing

prsenter, tointroduce

chercher,to look for

regarder, to watch

danser, to dance

rencontrer, to meet (by chance)

demander,to ask

rester, to stay,remain

dtester,to hate, to detest

tlphoner,to telephone

donner,to give

travailler, to work

couter, to listen to

trouver, to find

tudier, to study

Je changes to j' before a verb starting with a vowel or a silent h (ex. j'adore, j'habite). This
phenomenon is known as lision. Listen to the following sentences. Can you hear the lision
in the first two examples?
Tex: J'adore la musique rap et
j'coute souvent de la musique
dans les clubs.

I love rap music and I often


listen to music in clubs.

Je chante et je danse aussi.

I sing and I dance, too.

Note also that the s in plural pronouns (nous, vous, and ils/elles) is usually silent except when it is followed by a verb
that begins with a vowel sound. In such a case the silent s is pronounced as a /z/ and links the pronoun to the verb. This
phenomenon is called liaison ('linking') and is very characteristic of French. Listen carefully to the sentences below.
Which sentences contain examples of liaison?

49

Tex et Tammy, ils coutent

Tex and Tammy, they listen

de la musique cadienne avec

to Cajun music with Paw-

Paw-Paw!

Paw!

Tammy: Nous adorons

Tammy: We love to dance.

danser.
Tex: Oui, oui, c'est vrai.

Tex: Yes, yes, that's true.

Nous dansonsbeaucoup.

We dance a lot.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Tex et Tammy, ils
2. Tammy
3. Je
4. J'

Austin, (habiter)

le franais, (tudier)
un peu. (chanter)
la musique franaise, (adorer)

5. Nous

au foot, (jouer)

6. Vous

la musique texane? (aimer)

7. Quelle sorte de musique est-ce que tu


8. Tammy

? (aimer)

les sports, (dtester)

9. Joe-Bob

de la guitare, (jouer)

10. Est-ce que tu


11. Joe-Bob

du piano? (jouer)
son ami Corey, (chercher)

12. Tammy et Bette

la tlvision, (regarder)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following sentences and decide if they refer to Tex (singular), Tex and Tammy (plural) -- or if it's
impossible to tell. Hint: Pay close attention to liaison between subject pronoun and verb.

49

i.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

49

2.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

49

3.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

49

4.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

49

5.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

49

6.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

49

7.

Tex

Tex et Tammy

impossible distinguer

8.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

impossible distinguer

do)

9.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

impossible distinguer

do)

10.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

impossible distinguer

do)

11.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

impossible distinguer

do)

12.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

impossible distinguer

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

-er verbs (stem changing) present tense

Spelling changes occur in the stems of several groups of -er verbs in the present tense. These spelling changes reflect
the pronunciation of the present tense forms.
You may have already noticed the spelling change in the verb s'appeler (Je m'appelle ..., My name is ...). For verbs like
appeler (to call), rappeler (to call back) and jeter (to throw), the consonant -l or -t in the the stem doubles in all forms of
the present tense, except in the first and second person plural (nous and vous). This follows the traditional boot pattern
of -er verb conjugations in the present tense.

appeler 'to call'


j'appelle

nous appelons

tu appelles

vous appelez

il/elle/on appelle

ils/elles appellent
past participle : appel

This same "boot" pattern is repeated in spelling change verbs like prfrer (to prefer). In these verbs the in the last
syllable of the stem changes to an , except in the first and second person plural (nous and vous). Listen carefully to the
different pronunciations of and in the conjugations below.

prfrer 'to prefer'


je prfre

nous prfrons

tu prfres

vous prfrez

il/elle/on prfre

ils/elles prfrent
past participle : prfr

Verbs conjugated like prfrer include:


do)

considrer, to consider
esprer, to hope
rgler, to regulate, pay, settle, adjust
rpter,to repeat
scher, to dry, skip (a class)

In verbs which are conjugated like acheter (to buy), the e in the last syllable of the stem also changes to an , again
with the exception of the first and second person plural forms.

acheter 'to buy'


j'achte

nous achetons

tu achtes

vous achetez

il/elle/on achte

ils/elles achtent
past participle : achet

Verbs conjugated like acheter include:

amener, to bring somebody (along)


emmener, to take somebody (along)
lever, to lift, raise
mener, to take, lead
peser, to weigh

Another group of stem-changing verbs include those ending in -ayer, including essayer (to try) and payer (to pay). In
these verbs the y changes to i in all persons except the first and second person plural (nous and vous).

49

essayer 'to try'


j'essaie

nous essayons

tu essaies

vous essayez

il/elle/on essaie

ils/elles essaient
past participle : essay

Finally, verbs ending in -ger like voyager (to travel) add an e after the g in the nous form of the present tense, so that
the g is pronounced as a soft sound before the -ons ending (i.e. nous voyageons). Similarly, in verbs ending in -cer,
commencer (to start), for example, the c in the nous form changes to to keep the soft c sound (nous commenons).

49

voyager 'to travel


je voyage

nous voyageons

tu voyages

vous voyagez

il/elle/on voyage

ils/elles voyagent
past participle: voyag

Other verbs in this category include:

49

corriger, to correct
exiger, to demand, require
manger, to eat
nager, to swim
partager, to share
ranger, to tidy up, arrange
rdiger, to write, compose
songer, to dream, reflect

49

Quelle activit est-ce que vous prfrez

What activitiy do you prefer in the

en t?

summer?

Rita: J'emmne mes enfants la


piscine.
Ses enfants: Nous nageons et nous

Rita: I take my children to the pool.


Her children: We swim and we eat ice

mangeons de la glace.

cream.

T a m m y : Moi, je prfre faire du


s h o p p i n g . J'achte b e a u c o u p et papa
paie tout.

T a m m y : Me, I prefer s h o p p i n g . I buy


lots and d a d d y pays for everything.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. T e x : Je

parler franais, (prfrer)

2. T a m m y ,

- v o u s le prof de franais ou le prof d'italien? (prfrer)

3. J o e - B o b : C o r e y et moi, n o u s
4. T e x : M o n amie

T a m m y . (s'appeler)

5. J o e - B o b

faire de la planche voile d e m a i n , (esprer)

6. T a m m y

b e a u c o u p au mail, (acheter)

7. Bette: Fiona et moi, n o u s

a u M e x i q u e en t. (voyager)

8. J o e - B o b et C o r e y
9. T e x : J'

a d o r e r le franais, ( c o m m e n c e r )

B a r t o n Springs, (nager)

T a m m y au c i n m a ce soir, ( a m e n e r )

10. T a m m y : T e x et moi, n o u s

un ordinateur, (partager)

11. T e x : Mes chers tudiants,

, s'il v o u s plat, (rpter)

12. Rita, est-ce q u e tes e n f a n t s

de parler f r a n a i s ? (essayer)

listening comprehension fill in the blanks


Y o u will hear a series of s e n t e n c e s w i t h s t e m - c h a n g i n g verbs. C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the correct f o r m of the
verb that y o u hear.
m

1. Edouard, tu

do)

2. II

Tex.

cio)

3. T u

. d ' a p p r e n d r e le f r a n a i s ?

No)

4. N o u s

do)

5. T e x

do)

6. T e x ne

do)

7. E s t - c e que n o u s

do)

8.

Joe-Bob

do)

9.

Vous
Tammy

les b a g u e t t e s ou le W o n d e r b r e a d ?

souvent.
t o u j o u r s ses q u e s t i o n s a u x tudiants.
pas de cuisine de grenouilles.
notre c h a m b r e ?
ses devoirs la poubelle.
_ la cuisine franaise, n'est-ce p a s ?
un g t e a u pour T e x .

d<D

10.

d'))

11. C o r e y et J o e - B o b

do)

12. N o u s

un d r a p e a u t e x a n pour T e x .

l'avenir.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

impersonal verbs & expressions: TI faut, il est i m p o r t a n t . . .

P 9

'

1. weather expressions
2. falloir (il faut ...)
3. impersonal expressions with 'tre'
4. other common impersonal expressions

The impersonal pronoun il ('it') is used in French when an action has no agent, that is, when
there is no person or animate being responsible for the action. The conjugated verb is always in
the third person singular, no matter what tense the impersonal verb takes.
d'S

Tex: Tiens, il pleut trs fort!

Tex: Wow, it is raining really hard!

The action of the verb (pleut, 'is raining') is an impersonal, natural force. The impersonal
pronoun il is often referred to as a 'dummy subject' because it fills the syntactic position of
subject but doesn't have any real meaning.

weather expressions
Weather expressions in both French and English require impersonal subjects. The infinitive of 'weather verbs' can only be
conjugated in the third person singular form (the il form).
pleuvoir, to rain

Il pleut.

It's raining.

neiger, to snow

Il neige.

It's snowing

grler, to sleet

Il grle.

It's sleeting.

geler, to freeze

Il gle.

It's freezing

bruiner, to drizzle

Il bruine.

It's drizzling

Weather conditions are also expressed in French using the verb faire followed by an adjective or noun. Of course, when
the verb faire is used impersonally in such weather expressions, it can only be conjugated in the third person singular
form (il fait). See faire expressions for a more complete list of weather expressions.
4>)

Il fait chaud.

It's hot.

Il fait du vent.

It's windy.

Il fait beau.

It's beautiful.

falloir (il faut ...) 'to be necessary'


The verb falloir only exists in the impersonal form (il faut). It always expresses the notion of necessity or obligation
which is translated into English in various ways ('must,' 'should,' 'have to'). Falloir may be followed by an infinitive as in
(d), by a noun as in (c), or by a subordinate clause introduced by que as in (a); note that the verb in the subordinate
clause in (a) requires the subjunctive mood. Finally, it may be preceded by a pronoun acting as an indirect object as in
(b), a way to avoid the subjunctive.
do)

Comme la majorit des

Like the majority of the

Franais, Tex ne voit pas

French, Tex does not see the

l'intrt du scandale

point of the Lewinsky scandal.

Lewinsky.
T a m m y (shocked):
T a m m y (scandalise):
(a) Il faut que nous sachions
la vrit.

[faut que + clause]

It is necessary that we know


the truth. We should/must
know the truth.

(b) Il nous faut des preuves.

[indirect object +

We need evidence.

faut]
(c) Il faut une enqute.

[faut + noun]

A n investigation is necessary.

Tex: Mais tu sais bien ce qui

Tex: But you know what

s'est pass!

happened!

(d) Il faut te calmer.

[faut + infinitive]

It is necessary that you calm


down. You have to calm
down.

impersonal expressions with 'tre' + [adjective]


The impersonal subject il may appear with the verb tre followed by an adjective and an
infinitive. Note that the infinitive is always introduced by the prepostion de in such impersonal
expressions:
II est + [adjective]

+ de +

[Infinitive]

Tex: Il est amusant de lire les

Tex: It's fun to read American

journaux amricains!

newspapers!

T a m m y : Il est difficile de

T a m m y : It is difficult to understand

comprendre ton humour.

your sense of humor.

other common impersonal expressions


Il y a, there is, there are
il est + clock time (Il est deux heures, It's two o'clock.)
Il s'agit de, to be about, to be a matter of, to be a question of
Il vaut mieux, to be better, to be advisable

Listen to the dialogue:


49

T a m m y : Il est 18 h. Regardons

T a m m y : It's 6 o'clock. Let's

le journal tlvis. Il y a un

watch the news. There's a

reportage sur l'infidlit.

report on infidelity.

Tex: A h non, a alors. Il s'agit

Tex: Oh, no, not that. It's

seulement de tourmenter les

only about tormenting

prsidents et les tatous! Il vaut

presidents and armadillos!

mieux changer de chane!

It's better to change the


channel!

fill in the blanks


Complete with one of the following impersonal expressions: 'il fait', 'il neige', 'il pleut', 'il gle', 'il est','il faut', 'il y a'.
1. T a m m y : En t, au Texas,
2. Tex : Oh!

trs chaud.

du vent. Mon bret s'est envol!

3. T a m m y : J'aime quand

Nol. J'adore les Nols blancs.

4. Edouard : Les escargots et les canards aiment l'eau. Ils aiment quand
5. T a m m y : Quand
6. T a m m y : Quand

au Colorado, je vais skier.


, on fait du patin glace sur le lac.

7. Bette : T u as l'heure? Oh, non,


8. J o e - B o b :

visiter l'Alamo une fois d a n s sa vie!

9. T a m m y : A UT,

environ 50 0 0 0 tudiants.

10. T e x : Oh, c'est tard,


11. T a m m y : Regarde,
12. T a m m y :

dj 8 heures!

rentrer. T a m m y ne va pas tre contente.


jour, le soleil se lve!

difficile de c o m p r e n d r e T e x .

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

y f j i s i r X f i

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page:

infinitive constructions

vinfl

1. as a noun
2. as an imperative
3. after verbs
4. negation of infinitives
5. past infinitive constructions

The infinitive expresses the idea or concept of a verb's meaning, without specifying a
specific subject or point in time (tense). In most cases, use of the infinitive in French
corresponds to the English. Infinitive constructions may be categorized according to
the following uses:

as a noun
The infinitive may sometimes function as a noun. For example, it may be the subject
of a sentence. Note that the French infinitive is often translated as a gerund (the 'ing' form of the verb) in English.
4>)

Joe-Bob: Etudier n'est pas

Joe-Bob: Studying is not

facile!

easy!

as an imperative (command)
The infinitive may be used to give a written order when there is no specific addressee. You will often see this form on
signs.
4>)

Ne pas marcher sur l'herbe.

Do not walk on the grass.

after verbs
The infinitive is often used directly after these conjugated verbs:
Verbs of movement: (In this category, the

aller, descendre, partir, rentrer, retourner,

infinitive indicates purpose.)

revenir, sortir, venir, etc.

Verbs of preference:

adorer, aimer, dsirer, dtester, prfrer,


vouloir
compter, croire, esprer, nier, penser, valoir

Verbs of opinion:

Verbs of perception:
Verbs of ability, obligation and necessity:

mieux (impersonal: il vaut mieux)


couter, entendre, regarder, sentir, voir
avoir beau (to do something in vain),
devoir, faillir (to almost do something),
falloir (impersonal: il faut ) pouvoir, savoir

Tex et ses amis sortent dner.

Tex and his friends are going out to have


dinner.

Tex compte savourer un bon dner franais,

Tex is counting on enjoying a good French

mais Joe-Bob veut manger un hamburger.

dinner, but Joe-Bob wants to eat a


hamburger.

Edouard les coute discuter un moment et

Edouard listens to them discuss for a

puis il dit: J'ai failli manger un hamburger

moment and then he says: I almost ate a

une fois. Non, je ne peux pas faire a, tout

hamburger once. No, I really can't do that.

de mme. Il faut trouver un vrai restaurant

We have to find a real French restaurant.

franais.

after preposi ti ons


The infinitive is the verb form generally used after a preposition in French. The infinitive expresses purpose when it is
used after pour or afin de. In the case of avant de and sans, the English translation is often a conjugated verb (Before
they left), or a present participle (Before leaving), rather than the English infinitive. The infinitive follows the preposition
par after the verbs commencer and finir.
pour or afin de

avant de and sans

T a m m y arrive pour sortir avec

T a m m y arrives [in order] to go

Tex et ses amis.

out with Tex and his friends.

Avant de partir, ils lui

Before leaving, they ask her to

demandent de choisir un

choose a restaurant. She starts

restaurant. Elle commence par

by suggesting the new Thai

suggrer le nouveau restaurant

restaurant. Tex and his friends

tha. Tex et ses copains parlent

talk without listening to Tammy.

sans couter T a m m y .
par

Elle finit par comprendre que

She finally understands that

choisir un restaurant tait

choosing a restaurant was

impossible.

impossible.

Note that the preposition en is followed by a present participle, not the infinitive. (En sortant, Joe-Bob a dit au revoir. On
leaving, Joe-Bob said good-bye.)
The infinitive may be used to complete the sense of an adjective or a pronoun. Generally infinitives following a noun or
adjective are preceded by the preposition de. (Edouard ne serait pas content de manger un hamburger. Edouard would
not be happy to eat a hamburger.) However, adjectives and nouns are followed by the preposition + infinitive to
indicate a passive sense or a function: C'est bon manger. (It's good to eat.), une salle manger (dining room), de
l'eau boire (drinking water).

verbs followed by '' before an infinitive


When the following verbs are followed by an infinitive, the preposition is required:
4>)

aider , to help to

s'habituer , to get used to

s'amuser , to have fun at

hsiter , to hesitate to

apprendre , to learn to

inviter , to invite to

arriver , to succeed in, to manage to

se mettre , to start to

s'attendre , to expect to

se prparer , to prepare to

chercher , to try to, to attempt to

renoncer , to give up

commencer , to start to

russir , to succeed at

se dcider , to make up one's mind to

servir , to be used for

encourager , to encourage to

tenir , to be anxious to, to be eager to

verbs followed by 'de' before an infinitive:


When the following verbs are followed by an infinitive, the preposition de is required:
(s')arrter de, to stop

permettre ( quelqu'un) de, to permit


someone to

conseiller de, to advise to

persuader de, to persuade to

se contenter de, to content oneself with

se presser de, to hurry to

dcider de, to decide to

promettre de, to promise to

s'efforcer de to try hard to, to endeavor to

proposer de, to propose to

essayer de, to try to

refuser de, to refuse to

s'excuser de, to apologize for

rver de to dream of

finir de, to finish

se soucier de, to care about

mriter de, to deserve, to be worth

se souvenir de, to remember to

oublier de, to forget to

to avoid the subjunctive


The infinitive is often used in impersonal expressions to avoid the subjunctive when a specific subject is not necessary.
4>)

Edouard: Il est tout fait barbare de manger

Edouard: It is completely uncivilized to eat

des hamburgers!

hamburgers!

in an interrogative or exclamatory phrase


The infinitive may be used in an interrogative phrase or exclamatory phrases to
express a dilemma.
Tex se demande: Quel
restaurant choisir? O aller?

Tex wonders: Which


restaurant to choose? Where
to go?

Oh! Etre en France! Boire un

Oh, to be in France! To drink

bon vin rouge!

a good red wine!

negation of infinitives
Ne pas, ne plus, ne rien, or ne jamais are placed side by side before the infinitive to make it negative. Ne personne,
however, straddles the verb.
4>)

T a m m y demande aux autres de ne pas se

T a m m y asks the others not to fight.

disputer.
Tex promet de ne se battre avec personne.

Tex promises not to fight with anyone.

Pas is sometimes omitted in the negative with an infinitive after the verbs savoir, pouvoir, oser and cesser.

4>)

T e x et ses a m i s ne savent que faire

T e x and his friends don't k n o w w h a t to do

et T a m m y n'ose parler.

a n d T a m m y doesn't dare speak.

past infinitive constructions


T h e infinitive of avoir or tre plus the past participle of a v e r b is used after the preposition aprs to describe a preceding
action in the past. Note the past participle a g r e e m e n t in past constructions w i t h tre.
d'S

Aprs avoir suggr plusieurs restaurants,

A f t e r having s u g g e s t e d several restaurants,

ils choisissent un restaurant franais.

t h e y c h o o s e a French restaurant.

Aprs tre arrivs au restaurant, J o e - B o b et

A f t e r arriving at the restaurant, J o e - B o b

C o r e y c o m m a n d e n t d e s h a m b u r g e r s . Ils

a n d C o r e y order h a m b u r g e r s . T h e y are

sont ttus!

stubborn!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct t r a n s l a t i o n s of the English indicated in parentheses.
1. T e x adore
2.

a u caf, (going)

est bon pour le c o e u r et la ligne, (dancing)

3. Prire de

. (do not enter)

4. Ce soir les a m i s sortent pour


5. T e x coute

. (to have dinner)

Serge G a i n s b o u r g . (singing)

6. T r e y espre

une petite a m i e bientt, (to find)

7. V o u s d e v e z vrifiez votre argent avant de


8. C o m m e n o n s par

un h o r s - d ' o e u v r e , (ordering)

9. O n ne fte pas son anniversaire s a n s


10. Edouard! N'oublie pas d'
11. A p r s
12. Q u e

. (ordering)

un m o r c e a u de gteau, (having)

le ketchup, (to bring)

le dner, n o u s irons danser, (having finished)


? (to do)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: vinfl

-ir verbs {regular) present tense

Verbs with infinitives ending in -ir form a second group of regular verbs in French, often called 'second conjugation'
verbs. To conjugate these verbs, drop the -ir from the infinitive and add the second conjugation present tense endings:
is, -is, -it, -issons, -issez, -issent. The singular and plural forms of the third person are clearly distinguishable (finit
vs.finissent ). Listen to the difference.

finir 'to finish'

m
je finis

nous finissons

tu finis

vous finissez

il/elle/on finit

ils/elles finissent
past participle : fini

Here is a list of other common -ir verbs:


d'S

choisir, to choose

maigrir, to lose weight

tablir, to establish

mincir, to get slimmer

rflchir, to think, reflect


runir, to get together,
assemble

grandir, to grow (up)

obir ( quelqu'un), to obey


russir (), to succeed (at)

(someone)
grossir, to gain weight

ragir, to react
vieillir, to grow old
Not all verbs ending in -ir follow this pattern,however. Irregular -ir
verbs include ouvrir, partir, sortir, and dormir.
Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the verbs in the following
dialogue. In particular, note the difference in the pronunciation of
one s (pronounced as /z/) and two ss (pronounced as /s/) in the
verb 'choisir.'

4D

Tex et T a m m y runissent des copains ce soir.

Tex and T a m m y are getting friends together


this evening.

T a m m y : Quel vin tu choisis, T e x ?

T a m m y : What wine do you choose, Tex?

Tex rflchit un moment, et puis il choisit un

Tex reflects a moment and then he chooses a

bon vin rouge.

good red wine.

Tex: Nous choisissons toujours du rouge. C'est

Tex: We always choose red (wine). It's good

bon pour la sant.

for (one's) health.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Tex

beaucoup, (rflchir)

2. Les e n f a n t s de Rita
3. T a m m y : Je

. (grandir)
en hiver, (grossir)

4. C o r e y : Je

d e s a m i s pour m a n g e r une pizza, (runir)

5. Les e n f a n t s de Rita: N o u s
6. J o e - B o b et C o r e y
7. Fiona, tu
8. Bette

notre mre, (obir)


t o u j o u r s leurs pizzas, (finir)

trop! (rflchir)
parce qu'elle m a n g e peu. (maigrir)

9. T e x ne

pas P a w - P a w . (obir)

10. J o e - B o b , pourquoi est-ce que tu ne


11. Edouard, v o u s ne

pas tes d e v o i r s ? (finir)

pas. (maigrir)

12. Fiona et T a m m y , v o u s

t o u j o u r s du vin blanc, (choisir)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T e x (singular) or J o e - B o b and C o r e y (plural).
49

1.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

2.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

3.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

4.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

5.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

6.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

7.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

8.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

9.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

10.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

11.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

49

12.

Tex

J o e - B o b et C o r e y

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

i f J ^ j J s i s J

- D J Z J J J J j i X S

page: vir2

-ir verbs (irregular) like ouvrir present tense

A very limited group of verbs with infinitives ending in -ir are irregular, that is, they do not follow the pattern of regular
ir verbs like finir. Verbs like ouvrir are conjugated instead like regular -er verbs.

49

ouvrir 'to open'


j'ouvre

nous ouvrons

tu ouvres

vous ouvrez

il/elle/on ouvre

ils/elles ouvrent
past participle: ouvert

Verbs conjugated like ouvrir include


couvrir, to cover

49

dcouvrir, to discover
offrir, to offer, to give (a gift)
souffrir, to suffer

Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the verbs in the following sentences.


Note, too, that there is no s in the imperative 'tu' form of the second
sentence, since it is conjugated like a regular -er verb in the imperative.

49

Bette offre un cadeau


Tex. C'est son anniversaire
aujourd'hui!

Bette is giving Tex a gift.


It's his birthday today!

Bette: Ouvre le paquet,

Bette: Open the package,

Tex!

Tex!

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Tex

la musique cadienne. (dcouvrir)

2. T a m m y : T u
3. T a m m y

un cadeau Tex, Bette? (offrir)


les yeux pendant les films d'horreur, (couvrir)

4. Fiona et Corey

d'un complexe, (souffrir)

5. Tex dit aux tudiants:


6. Fiona dit ses amis: V o u s
7. T a m m y : Je

vos livres, s'il vous plat! (ouvrir)


Sixth Street, moi j'tudie! (dcouvrir)

tes intentions, Bette! (dcouvrir)

8. Tex: Tammy, pourquoi est-ce que tu


9. Corey: Je

de jalousie? Je t'aime, (souffrir)

d'un mal de tte, (souffrir)

10. Edouard: Chez moi vous allez

la bonne cuisine franaise. (dcouvrir)

11. Les tudiants de T e x


12. T e x

leurs livres, (ouvrir)

ses e x c u s e s T a m m y q u a n d il arrive en retard, ('offrir')

fill in the blanks, part 2


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of offrir, ouvrir, dcouvrir, or souffrir.
1. Les tudiants de T e x

la culture franaise.

2. Bette

un c a d e a u T e x . C'est sa fte a u i o u r d ' h u i .

3. N o u s

souvent d'alleraies Austin.

4. Les e n f a n t s de Rita lui


5. Fiona: Je
6. T e x
7. N o u s
8. Bette:
9. Rita

d e s fleurs pour la fte d e s mres.

d'une miaraine.
la porte pour T a m m y .
le m o n d e de T e x .
ton cadeau, Tex!
ses e n f a n t s q u a n d il fait froid.

10. J o e - B o b : Il fait trop chaud. Je v a i s


11. Edouard, est-ce que v o u s
12. Bette: Tex, tu m'

la fentre.

une bouteille de c h a m p a a e ?
du chocolat?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

page: vir3

-ir verbs (irregular) partir, sortir, a n d dormir

The verbs partir, sortir, and dormir are irregular in the present tense, that is, they are not conjugated like regular -ir
verbs. Listen carefully to the pronunciation of these verbs, noting especially the pronunciation of the consonant sound in
the plural forms. Can you hear the difference between the singular and the plural forms in the third person?

partir 'to leave'


je pars

nous partons

tu pars

vous partez

il/elle/on part

ils/elles partent
past participle : parti

do)

sortir 'to exit, go out'


je sors

nous sortons

tu sors

vous sortez

il/elle/on sort

ils/elles sortent
past participle : sorti

do)

dormir 'to sleep'


je dors

nous dormons

tu dors

vous dormez

il/elle/on dort

ils/elles dorment
past participle :dormi

do)

Bette: Tammy, tu pars ce w e e k - e n d ?

Bette: Tammy, are you leaving this


weekend?

T a m m y : Oui, je pars pour la Louisiane avec

T a m m y : Yes, I'm going to Louisianna with

Tex. Nous allons rendre visite Paw-Paw.

Tex. We're going to visit Paw-Paw. We're

Samedi soir nous sortons danser et manger

going out Saturday night to dance and eat

de la cuisine cadienne.

some Cajun food.

Bette: Et Paw-Paw, il sort avec vous?

Bette: And does Paw-Paw go out with y o u ?

T a m m y : Non, il prfre rester la maison

T a m m y : No, he prefers to stay at home and

pour dormir.

sleep.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. P a w - P a w ne
2. N o u s

pas parce qu'il aime rester la maison, (sortir)


b e a u c o u p le w e e k - e n d . (dormir)

3. Bette et T a m m y aiment
4. C o r e y ne

avec leurs amis, (sortir)

pas b e a u c o u p parce qu'il prfre regarder la tl, (dormir)

5. J o e - B o b , est-ce que tu

ce w e e k - e n d ? (partir)

6. Rita et les enfants, v o u s

ce s o i r ? (sortir)

7. J o s h et T e x

pour le film sept heures, (partir)

8. T a m m y : Je

b e a u c o u p a p r s un e x a m e n , (dormir)

9. T a m m y et T e x : Nous

pour les cours 10 heures, (partir)

10. Fiona, pourquoi est-ce que tu ne


11. E d o u a r d

pas avec n o u s ? (sortir)

pour son travail cinq heures, (partir)

12. J o e - B o b et C o r e y ne

pas s o u v e n t de Jester, (sortir)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T a m m y (singular) or T a m m y and Bette (plural).
m

1.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

2.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

3.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

4.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

5.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

6.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

7.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

No)

8.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

9.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

10.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

11.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

12.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

tre 'to be'

The verb tre is an irregular verb in the present tense. Listen carefully to its forms in the present. Do you hear the
liaison or linking in the pronunciation of the -s in the vous f o r m ? It is pronounced as a /z/ to link with the vowel in

tre 'to be'


je suis
tu es

'I am'

nous sommes

'you are'

vous tes

il/elle/on est 'he/she/one is'

ils/elles sont

'we are'

'you are'
'they are'

past participle: t

4>)

Edouard: Mais non, Joe-Bob, tu n'es pas un

Edouard: But no, Joe-Bob, you are not an

tatou!

armadillo!

T e x est un tatou. Tex et T a m m y sont des

Tex is an armadillo. Tex and T a m m y are

tatous.

armadillos.

Toi et moi, nous ne sommes pas des tatous.

You and I, we are not armadillos.

Toi, tu es un cureuil et moi, je suis un

You are a squirrel and I am a snail, a French

escargot, un escargot franais.

snail.

C'est (plural Ce sont) is a common expression used to describe and introduce people or things. See c'est vs. il/elle est for
more information. Etre is also used as an auxiliary in compound tenses (pass compos with tre, pass compos of
pronominal verbs, plus-que-parfait, etc.)

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct form of tre.
1. Edouard

un escargot franais.

2. Tex et T a m m y

des tatous.

3. Les tudiants de Tex: Nous ne


4. T a m m y : Je

pas franais.

tudiante l'universit du Texas.

5. Joe-Bob demande: Tu

amricain?

6. T e x , v o u s

professeur?

7. J o e - B o b : T u
8. T e x : Je

d'o?
intelligent.

9. J o e - B o b et Corey, v o u s n'
10. J o e - B o b et C o r e y
11. J o e - B o b

pas d e s dentistes!
amricains.

de College Station.

12. Rita: Je ne

pas coiffeuse.

listening comprehension fill in the blanks


Y o u will hear a series of s e n t e n c e s w i t h the verb tre. C o m p l e t e e a c h sentence w i t h the subject p r o n o u n (je, tu, il,
elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles) and c o r r e s p o n d i n g f o r m of tre that y o u hear.

4j)

4j)

4))

4j)

4j)

1.

professeur.

2.

tudiants.

3.

trs intelligents.

4.

tudiante.

5.

franais?

6.

du T e x a s ?

7.

d'o?

8.

de Dallas.

9.

franais?

10.

amricaines.

11-

active, n'est-ce p a s ?

12.

trs contents.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

y f j i s i r X f i

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page: virrlO

avoir t o have'

The verb avoir is irregular in the present tense. Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the -s in the plural pronouns
nous, vous, and ils/elles. This -s is pronounced as a /z/ to link with the vowel sound in the plural forms of avoir. This
liaison, or linking, is especially important in distinguishing ilsont (they have) from the third person plural of tre ilssont
(they are).

avoir 'to have'


j'ai

nousavons

tu as

vousavez

il/elle/on a

ils/elles ont
past participle: eu

Avoir is also used as an auxiliary in compound tenses (pass compos with avoir, plus-que-parfait, futur antrieur, etc.)
Besides ownership, the verb avoir expresses age in French, unlike the English equivalent, which uses the verb 'to be.'
d'S

Tex, tu as des frres et des

Tex, do you have brothers and

soeurs?

sisters?

Tex: Oui, j'ai une soeur et un

Tex: Yes, I have a sister and a

frre.

brother.

Quel ge ont-ils?

H o w old are they?

Tex: Ma soeur Rita a 30 ans et

Tex: My sister Rita is 30 and

mon frre Trey a 16 ans.

my brother Trey is 16.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb avoir.
1. Tex

une soeur et un frre.

2. Tex et T a m m y

beaucoup d'amis.

3. Bette: Tex, quel ge


4. Tex: J'

-tu?

26 ans.

5. Rita, est-ce que vous _

des enfants? Oui, j'en ai 4.

6. T a m m y : Tex, nous
7. Tex

besoin d'tudier ce soir.

une petite amie, T a m m y

8. Joe-Bob et Corey

envie de regarder la tl.

9. Corey: Tex, est-ce que tu


10. Tex: J'

une tlvision?

rendez-vous avec Tammy.

11. Bette: Tex et Tammy, vous


12. T a m m y et Bette tudient: Nous

de la chance ('luck').
beaucoup de devoirs.

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T e x (singular) or T e x a n d T a m m y (plural).

i.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

2.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

3.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

4.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

5.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

6.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

7.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

8.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

9.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

10.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

11.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

do)

12.

Tex

T e x et T a m m y

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

avoir expressions

Avoir is used in the impersonal expression ily a, which means either 'there is' or 'there are.' Il y a is used to express the
existence of a person or a thing, or to make a list or inventory of persons or things. The indefinite article (un, une, des)
is usually used with il y a.
4>)

Tex: A Paris il y a une tour, la Tour Eiffel.

Tex: In Paris there is a tower, the Eiffel


Tower.

En France il y a des cathdrales, des

In France there are cathedrals, castles,

chteaux, des monuments anciens ...

ancient monuments ...

The negative of il y a is il n'y a pas. The indefinite article (un une, des) becomes de or d' after this negative expression.
This corresponds to the English word 'any.'
4>)

Tex: A u Texas il n'y pas de cathdrales, il n'y

Tex: In Texas, there aren't any cathedrals,

pas de chteaux, il n'y pas de monuments

there aren't any castles, there aren't any

anciens,

ancient monuments,

T a m m y : Mais il y a une tour l'Universit du

T a m m y : But there is a tower at the

Texas Austin.

University of Texas at Austin!

Avoir is used in many idiomatic expressions. Note that the English translation often uses the verb 'to be' rather than 'to
have.'

avoi r besoi n de
avoir envie de

to need
to want (to do something), to feel like
(doing something)

avoir l'intention de

to intend to (do something)

avoi r fai m

to be hungry

avoir soif

to be thirsty

avoi r chaud

to be hot

avoi r froi d

to be cold

avoi r honte (de)

to be ashamed (of)

avoir mal ( la tte, la gorge, aux yeux)

to hurt (to have a headache, to have a sore


throat, to have sore eyes)

avoir raison

to be right

avoi r tort

to be wrong

avoi r sommei l

to be sleepy

Bette: Tex, j'ai faim.

Bette: Tex, I'm hungry.

T e x : Il y a un caf ct. A l l o n s prendre un

T e x : T h e r e ' s a caf next door. Let's go have

sandwich.

a sandwich.

T a m m y : Mais, Tex. Bette et moi, n o u s avons

T a m m y : But, Tex. Bette a n d I have a test

un e x a m e n d e m a i n . J'ai envie de v o u s

t o m o r r o w . I'd like to go w i t h you, b u t w e

a c c o m p a g n e r , mais n o u s avons besoin

need to study. A N D , I'm a l w a y s cold in that

d'tudier. En plus, j'ai t o u j o u r s froid d a n s ce

cafe.

caf.
Bette: T u as raison,Tammy. Toi, tu as besoin

Bette: You're, right, T a m m y . Y o u do need to

d'tudier, mais pas moi. J'ai l'intention de

study, b u t not me. I intend to eat. Ciao.

m a n g e r . Ciao. Miau.

Meow.

fill in the blanks


C h o o s e the correct e x p r e s s i o n indicated in parentheses.
1. T a m m y met un pull et un m a n t e a u parce qu'elle
2. T e x et E d o u a r d p r e n n e n t de l'aspirine parce qu'ils
3. E d o u a r d se c o u c h e parce qu'il
4. Bette ne nage pas parce qu'elle
5. T e x n'a j a m a i s tort donc il
6. T a m m y : Bette, t u
7. T e x : Quelquefois, j'
8. T e x et E d o u a r d
9.

Joe-Bob

10. Bette: Nous

. (a c h a u d / a froid)
la tte, (ont soif/ont mal)

. (a s o m m e i l / a raison)
de l'eau, (a peur/a s o m m e i l )
. (a c h a u d / a raison)

de d r a g u e r T e x la s o i r e ? (as l'intention/as froid)


. de m o n frre, Trey. (ai raison/ai honte)
d o n c ils ouvrent une bouteille de vin. (ont soif/ont besoin)

d o n c il trouve d e s noix. (a l'air/a faim)


de d a n s e r ce soir, ( a v o n s e n v i e / a v o n s soif)

11. Bette: T a m m y , est-ce que tu

de faire t e s devoirs, (as c h a u d / a s besoin)

12. C o r e y : Je vais s o u v e n t Barton S p r i n g s q u a n d j'

. (ai l'air/ai chaud)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

aller 'to go'

The verb aller is irregular in the present tense. Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the -s in the plural forms nous
andvous forms. This -s is pronounced as a /z/ to link with the vowel sound in the plural forms allons and allez.
Clo)

aller 'to go'


je vais

nous allons

tu vas

vous allez

il/elle/on va

ils/elles vont
past participle : all

Aller literally means 'to go', but is used figuratively in salutations to say how one is doing.

Corey: Salut, Joe-Bob , o vas -tu?

Corey: Hey, Joe-Bob, where are you going?

Joe-Bob: Je vais au caf.

Joe-Bob: I'm going to a coffee shop.

Corey: Mais, tu as cours maintenant.

Corey: But, you have class right now.

Joe-Bob: Oui, mais le prof est horrible,

Joe-Bob: Yes but, the prof is horrible, really

vraiment horrible!

horrible.

Corey: Attention! Il arrive!

Corey: Watch out! He's coming!

Joe-Bob: Ah, bonjour monsieur le

Joe-Bob: Oh, hello, professor. How are you

professeur. Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui?

today?

Aller is also used to talk about the near future, what one is 'going to do.

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank with the correct form of aller.
1. Joe-Bob

au parc pour jouer au foot.

2. Joe-Bob et Corey: Nous n'

pas en classe aujourd'hui.

3. Joe-Bob dit au professeur: Comment


4. Tex et Tammy, est-ce que vous
5. Rita, est-ce que tu

-vous?
au restaurant ce soir?

souvent Wal-Mart?

6. Corey, pourquoi est-ce que t u ne


7. Q u a n d T a m m y chante, Bette ne
8. T e x et E d o u a r d

pas en c l a s s e ?
pas bien.

s o u v e n t au caf Q u a c k e n b u s h ' s .

9. T a m m y : O n

au c i n m a ce s o i r ?

10. J o e - B o b : Salut, T a m m y , c o m m e n t
11. T e x : Je ne

-tu?

j a m a i s M a c D o ('MacDonald's')!

12. Les e n f a n t s de Rita: N o u s a d o r o n s

c h e z P a w - P a w en Louisiane.

listening comprehension fill in the blanks


Y o u will hear a series of s e n t e n c e s w i t h the verb aller. C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the subject p r o n o u n (je, tu, il,
elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles) and c o r r e s p o n d i n g f o r m of aller that y o u hear.

4j)

4D

1.

t o u j o u r s en classe.

2.

au caf.

3.

la bibliothque.

4.

au restaurant ce w e e k - e n d .

5.

bien?

6. C o m m e n t

4D

7.

bien, merci.

8.

Dallas.

9. O est-ce que
4j)

10.

la fte ce s o i r ?

11.

au c i n m a .

12.

en classe.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

faire 'to do, to make'


The verb faire is irregular in the present tense.

faire 'to do, to make'


je fais

nous faisons

tu fais

vous faites

il/elle/on fait

ils/elles font
past participle : fait

Note the vous form faites. It is unusual because it does not end in -ez. Faire is one of only three verbs where this is the
case (The others are tre : vous tes, and dire : vous dites ). You may notice, too, the similarity in the third person plural
forms of aller, tre, and faire:
d'S

ils vont (they go),


ils sont (they are), and
ils font (they do/make).

Listen carefully to the following sentences. Although faire is often used in a


question, it does not automatically have to be used in the response.
do)

Tex: Salut tout le monde.

Tex: Hey everyone. What's

Qu'est-ce qu'on fait?

everybody doing?

Corey: Pas grand-chose.

Corey: Not much.

Fiona: Nous ne faisons rien,

Fiona: We're not doing

absolument rien.

anything, absolutely nothing.

Faire is used in many expressions, including weather, sports, and household tasks.
\1

Ue\
fill in the blanks
Fill in the blank with the correct form of faire.
1. Tex ne

pas de sport.

2. T a m m y et Bette, elles

des cours ensemble.

3. Corey, est-ce que tu


4. Fiona: Je ne

_ _ tes devoirs?
rien!

5. Corey: Joe-Bob et moi, nous


Edouard, vous
Joe-Bob: Je

une promenade?
du ski nautique au lac Travis.

Rita et ses enfants, ils


9. Joe-Bob, il ne

de la planche voile!

des randonnes.
pas ses devoirs!

10. Tex et Tammy, est-ce que vous

du ski?

11. J o e - B o b , q u ' e s t - c e que tu

UT?

12. Les e n f a n t s de Rita: N o u s a d o r o n s

du vlo.

listening comprehension fill in the blanks


Y o u will hear a series of s e n t e n c e s w i t h the verb faire. C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the subject p r o n o u n (je, tu, il,
elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles) and c o r r e s p o n d i n g f o r m of faire that y o u hear.
do)

1.

du vlo.

do)

2.

des p r o m e n a d e s T o w n Lake.

do)

3. Q u ' e s t - c e que

do)

4. E s t - c e que

do)

5.

de la planche voile.

do)

6.

du ski.

do)

7.

des r a n d o n n e s .

do)

8.

t o u j o u r s nos devoirs.

do)

9.

du s p o r t ?

?
t o u j o u r s tes d e v o i r s ?

do)

10. Q u ' e s t - c e que

do)

11.

de la voile.

do)

12.

du ski nautique.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

faire expressions
The verb faire is used in many impersonal weather expressions.
Quel temps fait-il? What's the weather like?
Il fait beau. It's beautiful.
Il fait chaud. It's hot.
Il fait du brouillard. It's foggy.
Il fait du soleil. It's sunny.
Il fait du vent. It's windy.
Il fait frais. It's cool.
Il fait froid. It's cold.
Il fait mauvais. It's bad.

Other weather expressions which do not use faire include:

Il y a des nuages. It's cloudy.


Il y a des orages. There are storms.
Il y a de l'orage. It's stormy.
Il pleut. It's raining.
Il neige. It's snowing.

Faire is also used to talk about sports and leisure activities. Here is a list of common expressions.
do)

faire de la bicyclette, to go bicycle riding


faire du bateau, to go boating
faire de la lecture, to read
faire de la planche voile, to go windsurfing
faire des randonnes, to go hiking
faire du ski, to go skiing
faire du vlo, to go bicycle riding, cycling
faire de la voile, to go sailing
faire une promenade, to take a walk

Faire is also used in many expressions dealing with household chores.


do)

faire des achats (du shopping), to go shopping


faire la cuisine, to do the cooking
faire des courses, to run errands
faire la lessive, to the laundry
faire le lit, to make the bed
faire le march, to do the grocery shopping
faire le mnage, to do the housework
faire la vaisselle, to do the dishes

d1')

Quand il fait du soleil, Tex

When it's sunny, Tex and

et T a m m y font une
park.

p r o m e n a d e d a n s le parc.
Q u a n d il fait mauvais, T e x

W h e n the w e a t h e r ' s bad,

fait le m n a g e et T a m m y

T e x d o e s the h o u s e w o r k

fait de la lecture.

a n d T a m m y reads.

ft M
il

Te*

er

m r TU
Tn^Mt

fill in the blanks


C h o o s e the correct e x p r e s s i o n indicated in parentheses.
1. C o r e y : Je
2. T a m m y

parce q u e m e s v t e m e n t s sont sales, (fais la lessive/fais la vaisselle)


parce que T e x a faim, (fait la cuisine/fait le m n a g e )

3. A u dsert, C o r e y et J o e - B o b
4. Fiona: T a m m y , est-ce que tu

. (font de la planche voile/font d e s r a n d o n n e s )


la bibliothque, (fais du ski/fais tes devoirs)

5. J o e - B o b : Nous r a n g e o n s notre c h a m b r e . Donc, n o u s


6. T a m m y c h e r c h e une nouvelle robe. Donc, elle
7. E d o u a r d c h e r c h e d e s provisions. Donc, il

. (fait du shopping/fait du bateau)


. (fait le march/fait de la voile)

8. Fiona ne peut pas voir clairement la t o u r parce qu'il


9. C o r e y met son maillot de bain parce qu'il
10. E d o u a r d prend son parapluie parce qu'il
11. T a m m y met des g a n t s parce qu'il
12. Bette met d e s bottes parce qu'il

. (faisons du v l o / f a i s o n s le lit)

. (fait beau/fait du brouillard)

. (fait chaud/fait m a u v a i s )
. (fait frais/pleut)
. (fait chaud/fait froid)
. (fait du v e n t / n e i g e )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

causative faire

1. objects in causative faire constructions


2. pronouns
3. se faire' + infinitive

The causative faire construction (faire + infinitif) indicates that the subject 'causes' an action to be done by someone or
something else. Contrast the following sentences:
4>)

Tex rpare sa voiture? Mais non, Tex ne sait

Tex is fixing his car? (himself) But no, Tex

pas rparer les voitures.

doesn't know how to fix cars.

Tex fait rparer sa voiture au garage.

Tex is having his car fixed at a garage. (by


a mechanic)

In causative constructions the verb faire may be conjugated in any tense, for example the periphrastic future (futur
proche) or the pass compos (Tex va faire rparer sa voiture. Tex a fait rparer sa voiture. etc.)

objects in causative faire constructions


The causative faire construction is often followed by noun or pronoun objects. If there is one object, it is a direct object
(sa voiture in the example above, or Tammy in the first sentence below). In the case of two objects, as in the second
sentence below, one will be direct (la Marseillaise ) and the other indirect (Tammy).
4>)

Tex fait chanter Tammy.

Tex makes T a m m y sing.

Tex fait chanter la Marseillaise Tammy.

Tex makes T a m m y sing the Marseillaise.

pronouns
Object pronouns precede faire, except in the affirmative imperative. Note the position of the pronouns in the following
examples.
4>)

Tex la fait rparer.

Tex is having it fixed. (his car)

Tex la fait chanter.

Tex makes her sing. (Tammy)

Corey: Fais-la chanter!

Corey: Have her sing!

T a m m y : Allons, enfants de la patrie ...

T a m m y : Allons, enfants de la patrie ...

Joe-Bob: Ne la fais pas chanter!

Joe-Bob: Don't have her sing!

'se faire' + infinitive


Another causative construction involves the use of se faire + infinitive to indicate something a person or thing has done
to himself.
Rita s'est fait faire une robe

Rita had a black dress made

noire pour l'enterrement de

(for herself) for the funeral

ses parents.

of her parents.

H o w e v e r , s o m e t i m e s this construction m a y be used to describe actions that h a p p e n


inadvertently, despite the w i s h e s of the subject. T e x explains w h a t h a p p e n e d :
4>)

T e x : Mes parents se sont fait


craser par un camion.

T e x : M y parents w e r e killed
by a truck. (They got
t h e m s e l v e s run over by a
truck.)

Note that the past participle fait is a l w a y s invariable in the causative construction.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. M e s parents

une m a i s o n la c a m p a g n e , (faire c o n s t r u i r e - p r e s e n t )

2. T e x

les v e r b e s aux tudiants, (faire tudier-present)

3. Rita

la c h a m b r e a u x enfants, (faire r a n g e r - p a s s c o m p o s )

4. N o u s

d e s fleurs Fiona, (faire e n v o y e r - f u t u r e )

5. Rita et ses e n f a n t s

leur maison, (faire v e n d r e - f u t u r proche)

6. Bette et T a m m y ,

tout de suite les valises! (faire d e s c e n d r e - i m p e r a t i v e )

7. C o r e y est trs m a l a d e . Donc, il


8. J o e - B o b , est-ce que tu
9. Je

les c h e v e u x ? (se faire c o u p e r - f u t u r proche)

une robe pour T a m m y . (faire f a i r e - p r e s e n t )

10. T a m m y

d e s c h a n s o n s a c a d i e n n e s P a w - P a w . (faire chanter-future)

11. Pauvre Tex, il


12. Rita

. (faire v e n i r - p r e s e n t )

en France, (se faire a r r t e r - p a s s c o m p o s )

une lettre aux e n f a n t s pour l'anniversaire de P a w - P a w . (faire c r i r e - p a s s c o m p o s )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

venir 'ta came'

The verb venir is irregular in the present tense. Listen carefully to the pronunciation of the third person singular (vient)
and the third person plural (viennent). Can you hear the difference? The vowel is nasal in the singular, but not in the
plural.

venir 'to come'


je viens

nous venons

tu viens

vous venez

il/elle/on vient

ils/elles viennent
past participle : venu

Verbs conjugated like venir include:

devenir, to become
revenir, to come back
tenir, to hold, keep
tenir , to value, care about, (+ infinitive, to be anxious to)

Bette: Tiens, Tammy, qu'est-ce que tu

Bette: Hey, T a m m y , what have you been

devi ens?

up t o ? (literally, what have you become)

T a m m y : Oh, je prpare une grande fte

T a m m y : Oh, I'm preparing a big party for

pour l'anniversaire de Tex. Corey et Joe-

Tex's birthday. Corey and Joe-Bob, they're

Bob, ils viennent. Tout le monde vient, bien

coming. Everyone's coming, of course,

sr, sauf Fiona. Elle n'est pas trs sociable.

except Fiona She's not very sociable.

Bette: Une fte ... Eh bien moi, je suis trs

Bette: A party ..

sociable. Miaou ...

sociable. Miaow

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Paw-Paw

de Louisiane, (venir)

2. Tex et Edouard

de France? (venir)

3. T a m m y , tu

d'o? (venir)

4. Joe-Bob: Je

de College Station, (venir)

5. Bette, qu'est-ce que tu


6. Trey va

? (devenir)

psychologue, (devenir)

7. Corey, toi et Joe-Bob, vous


8. Tex et T a m m y : Nous
9. Rita et ses enfants

ce soir, n'est-ce pas? (revenir)


habiter en France un jour. (tenir)

. de H.E.B. (revenir)

hmm. Well, I am very

10. J o e - B o b et C o r e y ne
11. T o u t le m o n d e

pas t o u j o u r s en classe, (venir)


c h e z T a m m y ce soir, (venir)

12. T a m m y : T e x , tu

m o n sac un instant? (tenir)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T e x (singular) or C o r e y a n d J o e - B o b (plural).

i.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

Hi

2.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

49

3.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

4.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

5.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

6.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

7.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

8.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

9.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

10.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

11.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

do)

12.

Tex

C o r e y et Joe -Bob

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

boire, croire, v o i r

The irregular verbs boire, croire, and voir have similar conjugations. Listen carefully to their forms in the present tense.

boire 'to drink'


je bois

nous buvons

tu bois

vous buvez

il/elle/on boit

ils/elles boivent
past participle : bu

do)

croire 'to believe'


je crois

nous croyons

tu crois

vous croyez

il/elle/on croit

ils/elles croient
past participle : cru

do)

voir 'to see'


je vois

nous voyons

tu vois

vous voyez

il/elle/on voit

ils/elles voient
past participle : vu

do)

Fiona: Corey, tu as l'air malade! Mais

Fiona: Corey, you look sick! What are you

qu'est-ce que tu bois? H, tu m'entends?

drinking? Hey, do you hear me? Do you see

Tu me vois? Oh, l, l, je crois qu'il va

me? Omigod, I think he's gonna croak!

crever!

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.

1. Joe Bob et C o r e y
2. T e x

b e a u c o u p de bire. Cboirel

qu'il est franais, ( c r o i r e l

3. Fiona dit Corey: Je ne te


4. N o u s

que C o r e y est fou. ( c r o i r e l

5. Fiona ne

i a m a i s d'alcool. Cboirel

6. E d o u a r d et T e x
7. V o u s

que Bette est aentille. f c r o i r e l

T e x et T a m m y d a n s e r ? (voir)

8. T e x , est-ce que tu
9. T u
10. A UT o n

pas! f c r o i r e l

du caf? Cboirel

que Fiona a i m e C o r e y ? ( c r o i r e l
d e s t a t o u s qui parlent franais, (voir)

11. Bette et T a m m y , v o u s

trop de vin blanc! Cboirel

12. Les e n f a n t s de Rita ne

pas souvent leur pre, (voir)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

y f j i s i r X f i

^JjLrtjJiwJsXr'

page:

savoir vs. connatre present tense

The irregular verbs savoir and connatre both mean 'to know. Listen first to the pronunciation of their forms in the
present.

savoir 'to know (a fact)'


je sais

nous savons

tu sais

vous savez

il/elle/on sait

ils/elles savent
past participle : su

cio)

connatre 'to know, to be acquainted with'


je connais

nous connaissons

tu connais

vous connaissez

il/elle/on connat

ils/elles connaissent
past participle : connu

Savoir and connatre are used in different


contexts or to describe different degrees of
knowledge. Savoir is used for facts, things
known by heart, or abilities.When followed by
an infinitive, savoir indicates knowing how to
do something.(Je sais jouer de laguitare. )
Connatreis used for people and places and
represents a personal acquaintance or
familiarity.

do)

Joe-Bob: Tex, explique-moi la diffrence

Joe-Bob: Tex, explain the difference

entre savoir et connatre. Je ne comprends

between savoir and connatre to me. I don't

pas.

understand.

Tex: C'est trs simple, Joe-Bob. On sait des

Tex: It's very simple, Joe-Bob. One knows

faits mais on connat des gens et des

(with savoir) facts, but one knows (with

endroits. Par exemple, je connais Tammy, la

connatre) people and places. For example, I

France et la Tour Eiffel.

know T a m m y , France, the Eiffel Tower.

Joe-Bob: Oh, OK, et moi, je sais jouer de la

Joe-Bob: Oh, OK, and I know how to play

guitare et je sais o se trouvel'universit du

the guitar and I know where the University

Texas.

of Texas is located.

Tex: Mais enfin, Joe-Bob, tu n'es pas aussi

Tex: Well, Joe-Bob. You aren't as stupid as

stupide qu'on le pense.

they think.

virrlO

fill in the blanks


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. E d o u a r d

cuisiner, (savoir)

2. J o e - B o b

College Station, (connatre)

3. J o e - B o b d e m a n d e T e x : E s t - c e que t u
4. Bette d e m a n d e Fiona: T u
5. T a m m y et Bette

le prsident de la Rpublique f r a n a i s e ? (connatre)

o habite le g r a n d - p r e de T e x ? (savoir)

T e x . (connatre)

6. T e x et E d o u a r d

parler franais, (savoir)

7. J o e - B o b et Corey: N o u s

que T e x est un tatou, (savoir)

8. E d o u a r d et T e x : M a l h e u r e u s e m e n t , n o u s
9. Fiona: Est-ce que v o u s

si C o r e y est m a l a d e ? (savoir)

10. E d o u a r d : V o u s ne

pas un bon r e s t a u r a n t ? V e n e z avec moi. (connatre)

11. J o e - B o b : Je ne
12. T a m m y : Je

bien le Texas, (connatre)

j a m a i s la rponse, (savoir, a l t h o u g h both v e r b s are possible here)


Ricky Williams. Il est d a n s m o n s c o u r s de psychologie, (connatre)

fill in the blanks, part 2


Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of savoir or connatre.
1. Je

T e x et T a m m y .

2. Je ne

pas si T e x va v e n i r la fte.

3. T e x , est-ce qu'il
4. J o e - B o b ne

son g r a n d - p r e ?
pas o se trouve Paris.

5. Bette, est-ce que tu

parler f r a n a i s ?

6. T a m m y , est-ce q u e tu

Rita, la s o e u r de T e x ?

7. N o u s

T e x et ses amis.

8. N o u s

que T e x n'est pas trs optimiste.

9. T a m m y et Bette, est-ce qu'elles


10. Rita et ses e n f a n t s ne
11. V o u s

cuisiner?

pas Paris.

faire du s k i ?

12. E s t - c e que v o u s

Opelousas?

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

dire, lire, crire present tense

p g

'

The irregular verbs dire, lire, and crire have similar conjugations. Listen carefully to the forms of these verbs in the
present tense.

dire 'to say'


je dis

nous disons

tu dis

vous dites

il/elle/on dit

ils/elles disent
past participle : dit

You may have already seen the verb dire in phrases like Comment dit-on ... ? (How do you say ... ?) and Qu'est-ce que a
veutdire? (What does that mean?) Diremeans 'to say' (to say something or to tell someone something) while parler
means 'to speak' (to speak to someone about something, or to speak a language). Dire is often used to start a phrase or
to get someone's attention (Dis,Tex, tu viens ?, Hey, Tex, are you coming?).
Note the vous form dites. It is unusual because it does not end in -ez. Dire is one of only three verbs where this is the
case (The others are tre: vous tes, and faire: vous faites).
The verb conduire (to drive) is conjugated like dire (je conduis, tu conduis, etc.) except that its past participle is
conduit.

49

lire 'to read'


je lis

nous lisons

tu lis

vous lisez

il/elle/on lit

ils/elles lisent
past participle : lu

49

crire 'to write'


j'cris

nous crivons

tu cris

vous crivez

il/elle/on crit

ils/elles crivent
past participle : crit

Other verbs conjugated like crire include dcrire (to describe) and s'inscrire (to register).
49

T a m m y : Dis, Tex, qu'est-ce

T a m m y : Say, Tex, what are

que tu lis?

you reading?

Tex: Je lis de la posie. Les

Tex: Oh, I'm reading poetry.

potes disent toujours la

Poets always tell the truth. I

vrit. J'cris aussi des

also write poems. Tammy,

pomes.Et toi, Tammy,

what do you like to read?

qu'est-ce que tu aimes lire?


T a m m y : Chri, tu sais bien.

T a m m y : You know

J'aime lire des romans

sweetheart. I like to read

rotiques.

erotic novels.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. E s t - c e que tu

le Daily T e x a n ? (lire)

2. Q u ' e s t - c e que v o u s
3. Bette

? (dire)

sa famille T e x . (dcrire)

4. E d o u a r d

un j o u r n a l parisien, (lire)

5. J o e - B o b et C o r e y ne

rien, (lire)

6. Bette et T a m m y

a u revoir T e x . (dire)

7. T e x et moi, n o u s
8. Je

d e s cartes postales, (crire)

au club franais, (s'inscrire)

9. J o e - B o b

mal. (conduire)

10. Q u ' e s t - c e que tu a i m e s


11. Fiona ne
12. J'

? (lire)

pas beaucoup, (dire)


d e s m e s s a g e s lectroniques.(crire)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T a m m y (singular) or T a m m y and Bette (plural). Hint:
Pay close attention to verb f o r m as well as liaison b e t w e e n subject p r o n o u n a n d verb.

i.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

Cl'

2.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

cio)

3.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

Cio)

4.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

5.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

6.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

7.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

8.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

9.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

10.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

11.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

do)

12.

Tammy

T a m m y et Bette

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: virrlO

partir, sortir, quitter, laisser

The verbs partir, sortir, quitter and laisser all mean 'to leave' in English, but they have distinguishing nuances and uses
in French. A n important distinction among these verbs is the idea of transitivity. Partir and sortir are intransitive in
this context; they do not take a direct object (but may be followed by a prepositional phrase). On the other hand, quitter
and laisser are transitive; they take a direct object in a sentence.

partir
Partir is an irregular -ir verb that conveys the particular meaning of 'leaving with the intention of going somewhere.' It is
often followed by the preposition pour.

Joe-Bob: Je pars pour College Station.

Joe-Bob: I am leaving for College Station.

sorti r
Sortir is an irregular -ir verb that conveys the particular meaning of 'going out or to exit from an enclosed space.' It is
often followed by the preposition de.
Bette: Je vais sortir ce soir.

Bette: I'm going to go out tonight.

Corey sort de sa chambre sans fermer la

Corey goes out of his room without locking

porte.

the door.

quitter
Quitter is a regular -er verb that is used when 'leaving someone or someplace.'
4>)

T a m m y quitte la maison 8 heures chaque

T a m m y leaves the house at 8 o'clock every

matin.

morning.

Rita quitte son mari.

Rita is leaving her husband.

Note that quitter is a transitive verb, that is, it always takes a direct object: son mari or la maison in the examples
above. Sortir is usually intransitive (no object), and needs the preposition de to express the idea of leaving from
somewhere.

laisser
Laisser is a regular - e r verb that m e a n s 'to leave s o m e t h i n g or s o m e o n e behind.'
4>)

Rita: Les g o s s e s laissent leurs j o u e t s

Rita: T h e k i d s leave their toys e v e r y w h e r e .

partout.
Et toi, bon rien, laisse-moi tranquille.

A n d you, g o o d - f o r - n o t h i n g , leave me

Quelle vie de chien!

alone! W h a t a d o g ' s life!

C o n s i d e r the following dialogue:


4>)

T a m m y fait un c a u c h e m a r :

T a m m y has a n i g h t m a r e :

T e x : T a m m y , j e pars m a i n t e n a n t pour la

T e x : T a m m y , I'm leaving n o w for France.

France. Je rentre Lyon.

I'm going back to Lyon.

T a m m y : T u me quittes m o n chri?

T a m m y : Y o u ' r e leaving me, d a r l i n g ?

T e x : Oui, T a m m y c'est fini.

T e x : Yes, T a m m y , it's over.

T a m m y : Mais non!

T a m m y : B u t , no!

T e x sort de l ' a p p a r t e m e n t de T a m m y . Mais

T e x leaves T a m m y ' s a p a r t m e n t , but he

il revient un m o m e n t plus tard.

c o m e s back a minute later.

T e x : J'ai laiss m e s cigarettes d a n s la


cuisine.
Puis il quitte l'appartement pour toujours.

T e x : I left m y cigarettes in the kitchen.

T h e n he leaves the a p a r t m e n t forever.

Fill in the blank w i t h the correct f o r m of 'quitter', 'partir', 'sortir' or 'laisser'. Use either the infinitive, the present
tense, the imperative or the past participle.
1. Rita son mari: '

! Je ne t'aime plus.'

2. Rita son e x - m a r i : '

-moi seule.'

3. T e x tait triste de
4. T e x

la France.

s o u v e n t avec T a m m y .

5. C o r e y ne

j a m a i s de sa c h a m b r e p e n d a n t la j o u r n e .

6. T e x et ses a m i s
7. J o e - B o b

pour O p e l o u s a s .
souvent ses devoirs la maison.

8. O n se d e m a n d e si Rita va
9. T e x T r e y : 'O a s - t u
10. Les parents de T e x ont
11. Les chattes

son mari.
mon monuscrit?
_ cette vie aprs un accident sur l'autoroute.

la nuit.

12. T e x : Le dernier a u t o b u s est dj

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: vml

modal verbs vouloir, pouvoir, devoir

Vouloir, pouvoir and devoir are called modal verbs. When used with
infinitives, they act as auxiliary verbs or semi-auxiliaries.

vouloir
Vouloir expresses a strong will or desire; in the present tense it has the
same feeling as a command. It is an irregular verb in the present tense.
Note how the present tense forms a "boot"; the stems (in this case the
vowels) change only in the nous and vous forms.

vouloir 'to wish, want, will'


je veux

nous voulons

tu veux

vous voulez

il/elle/on veut

ils/elles veulent
past participle: voulu

Vouloir may be followed by an infinitive or a noun (Je veux du calme, I want some quiet. Je veux dormir, I want to
sleep). This verb is also often paired with the adverb bien to express the meaning "to be willing"(Je veux bien! ).

pouvoi r
Pouvoir expresses the physical ability or permission to do something ie possibility. It is also an irregular verb with
formation similar to vouloir. The "boot" formation is also evident.

pouvoir 'to be able, be permitted to'


je peux

nous pouvons

tu peux

vous pouvez

il/elle/on peut

ils/elles peuvent
past participle: pu

Pouvoir may be followed by an infinitive construction or may stand alone.


A s in English, pouvoir is used to give or to ask permission translated by the English "may" (Est-ce queje peux m'asseoir?,
May I sit down?)
It is important not to confuse the roles of pouvoir and savoir in French. Savoir expresses "to know how" whereas pouvoir
expresses "to be able to."

devoi r
Devoir expresses obligation, probability and supposition but if followed by a noun, expresses the idea "to owe". This verb
is irregular in its present form. Once again, the "boot" formation is seen with this verb; the stem changes in the 1st and
2nd person plural conjugations.

devoir 'to have to, be supposed to/ to owe'


je dois
i

nousdevons
i

dois

devez

il/elle/ondoit

ils/ellesdoivent
past participle:d

Devoir m a y be f o l l o w e d by an infinitive or m a y stand alone to have the m e a n i n g "to have to" (Je doispartir, I must
leave.) W h e n f o l l o w e d by a noun, devoir m e a n s "to o w e " (Je dois lOdollars).
All three v e r b s are often f o u n d in the conditional in order to be m o r e polite in r e q u e s t s a n d c o m m a n d s .

T a m m y : Je veux faire du shopping. T e x , t u

T a m m y : I w a n t to go shopping. T e x , do y o u

veux venir avec moi?

w a n t to c o m e w i t h m e ?

Bette: Mais T e x , tu ne peux pas. T e s


t u d i a n t s doivent rviser pour l ' e x a m e n de
franais.

Bette: But T e x , y o u can't. Y o u r s t u d e n t s have


to study for the French e x a m .

T e x : Oui, c'est vrai. T a m m y , est-ce que t u

T e x : Y e s , that's right. T a m m y , can y o u help

peux m ' a i d e r ?

me?

T a m m y : Mais T e x , je dois a b s o l u m e n t

T a m m y : But T e x , I absolutely must buy a

a c h e t e r une nouvelle robe pour le w e e k - e n d .

n e w d r e s s for t h e w e e k e n d .

Bette: V a s - y T a m m y . T e x et moi, n o u s

Bette: G o a h e a d T a m m y . T e x a n d I can help

pouvons aider les t u d i a n t s e n s e m b l e .

the s t u d e n t s t o g e t h e r !

fill in the blanks


C o m p l e t e e a c h s e n t e n c e w i t h the present indicative of either 'devoir', 'vouloir', or 'pouvoir'.
1. T e x
2. Bette
3. J o e - B o b

une cigarette.
sortir a v e c T e x .
b e a u c o u p d'argent la banque.

4. E d o u a r d ne

pas courir trs vite.

5. Les tudiants
6. T e x

c o m p r e n d r e le franais de T e x .
crire une carte postale aux n o n n e s ('nuns') de Lyon.

7. C o r e y et Fiona ne

pas vivre s o u s l'eau.

8. C o r e y

v o l e r mais pas Fiona.

9. N o u s

respecter les a n i m a u x .

10. Les a m i s

aller la plage t o u s les w e e k - e n d s .

11. E d o u a r d : Eh, les copains! Q u ' e s t - c e que v o u s


12. T e x n'est pas en classe aujoud'hui; il

faire ce s o i r ?
tre malade.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

' i ^ i r k i

O^irAdLrj

Jj^Jj-rJ-f-Ti^J,

page: vppl

present participle

The present participle is formed by dropping the -ons ending from the nous form in the present tense and adding -ant.
Present participles are invariable.
do)

regular formation
chanter (nous chantons)

chantant

finir (nous finissons)

fi ni ssant

lire (nous lisons)

lisant

boire (nous buvons)

buvant

suivre (nous suivons)

suivant

commencer (nous commenons)

commenant

manger (nous mangeons)

mangeant

se laver (nous nous lavons)

se lavant

Only three verbs, tre, avoir and savoir, have irregular present participles.
do)

irregular present participles


tre: tant
avoir: ayant
savoir: sachant

The present participle can be used to modify a noun, similar in meaning to either a relative clause with qui +
conjugated verb or a relative clause with puisque.
do)

Tex: Les tatous ayant une voiture ont

Armadillos who have a car are very

beaucoup de succs avec les filles.

successful with girls.

(Les tatous qui ont une voiture ont


beaucoup de succs avec les filles.)
Tex: Tammy tant absente, je peux

Since T a m m y is not here, I can take you on

t'emmener faire une balade envoiture,

a ride in my car, Bette.

Bette.
(Puisque T a m m y est absente, je peux
t'emmener faire une balade en voiture,
Bette.)

En + present participle, commonly known as the gerund form, is used to


indicate that two actions are simultaneously performed by the same subject.
This corresponds to the English 'while', 'upon', or 'by'.
do)

Tex drague les filles en

Tex hits on girls by

conduisant sa

driving his convertible.

dcapotable.
Tex conduit en coutant la

Tex drives while listening

radio.

to the radio.

Tout en + present participle is used to stress that two actions are simultaneous (and sometimes contradictory).
Remember to make the liaison between tout and en.
do)

Tex siffle tout en conduisant.

Tex whistles and drives at the same time.

T e x d r a g u e Bette tout en pensant T a m m y .

T e x hits o n Bette, all the while thinking of


Tammy.

Note that the English - i n g f o r m s are usually t r a n s l a t e d by an infinitive construction in French rather t h a n a present
participle. For e x a m p l e :
d'S

B e f o r e c o m i n g to T e x a s , T e x did not like

Avant de venir au T e x a s , T e x n'aimait pas

kitties.

les minettes.

But T e x is c h a n g i n g his mind.

Mais T e x est en train de changer d'avis.

fill in the blanks


Give the present participle of the verb indicated in p a r e n t h e s e s .
1. T e x m a n g e en

la posie, (crire)

2. T a m m y c h a n t e en

d a n s le parc, (se p r o m e n e r )

3. T e x et E d o u a r d boivent en

le m a t c h de foot, (regarder)

4. Fiona c o u t e de la m u s i q u e en

ses devoirs, (faire)

5. C o r e y et J o e - B o b regarde la tl en
6. J o e - B o b siffle en

de la guitare, (jouer)

7. E d o u a r d parle a u x clients en
8. Bette e m b r a s s e T e x en
9. T e x rflchit en
10. T a m m y lit en

. (tudier)

les repas, (servir)


. (sortir)

la bouteille de vin. (ouvrir)


l'escalier, (descendre)

11. C o r e y t r e m b l e en

la vrit, (dire)

12. Bette se f c h e en

Tammy.

(entendre)

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04

A pronominal verb is a verb that is accompanied by a reflexive pronoun. Pronominal verbs fall into three major classes
based on their meaning: reflexive, idiomatic, and reciprocal. You have probably already seen the pronominal verb
s'appeler (Comment t'appelles-tu? What is your name?). To conjugate pronominal verbs in the present tense, you need to
pay attention to both the pronoun and the verb form. Listen carefully to the conjugation of the following pronominal
verb. The verb is conjugated normally (here an -er verb) with addition of the reflexive pronouns me, te, se, nous, vous,

se raser 'to shave oneself'


je me rase

nous nous rasons

tu te rases

vous vous rasez

il/elle/on se rase

ils/elles se rasent

reflexive verbs
Pronominal verbs often express reflexive actions, that is, the subject performs the action on itself. If the subject performs
the action on someone else, the verb is not reflexive. Here is a list of common reflexive verbs:
c^O)

s'asseoir, to sit (down)


s'appeler, to be called
s'arrter, to stop
se brosser, to brush
se coucher, to go to bed
s'habiller, to get dressed
se laver, to wash
se lever, to get up
se promener, to take a walk
se rveiller, to wake up

Compare the difference in meaning between se raser and raser in the following sentences.
Note that English does not usually indicate reflexive meaning explicitly since it can be
inferred from the context. However, if reflexive meaning is intended in French, then it
must be explicitly stated by using a reflexive pronoun.
Est-ce que Tex se rase? Mais

D o e s Tex shave? Why no, Tex

non, Tex, c'est un tatou. Il n'a

is an armadillo. He has no

pas de cheveux.

hair.

Qu'est-ce qu'il fait, Tex, avec

What's Tex doing with the

le rasoir? Il rase Joe-Bob pour

razor? He's shaving Joe-Bob

l't.

for the summer.

To negate pronominal verbs, place the ne before the reflexive pronoun and the pas after the verb. When used with an
auxiliary verb such as aimer (to like), the infinitive of a pronominal verb agrees with its subject. When pronominal verbs
are used with parts of the body, they take the definite article (le, la, les) rather than the possessive article as in English:
Tex se lave les mains. (Tex washes his hands.)
d'S

Joe Bob: Edouard, est-ce que tu te rases?

Joe Bob: Edouard, do you shave?

Edouard: Non, je ne me rase pas.

Edouard: No, I don't shave.

Les escargots ne se rasent pas. Pourtant,

Snails don't shave. However we do wash our

nous nous lavons le visage tous les jours.

faces every day.

Joe-Bob: Ah, tu as de la chance. Je dteste

Joe-Bob: Ah, you're lucky. I hate to shave.

me raser.

idiomatic verbs
Some pronominal verbs are idiomatic and do not represent reflexive actions per se. s'amuser (to have fun) and se
reposer (to rest) are examples of pronominal verbs with idiomatic meanings. The following list includes common
idiomatic pronominal verbs:
do)

s'amuser, to have fun


se dpcher, to hurry
s'endormir, to fall asleep
s'ennuyer, to be bored
s'entendre, to get along
se fcher, to get angry
se marier, to get married
se passer, to happen
se reposer, to rest
se sentir, to feel
se souvenir de, to remember
se taire, to be silent
se tromper, to make a mistake
se trouver, to be (situated)

reci procal verbs


A third category of pronominal verbs expresses a reciprocal action between more than one person, s'aimer or se parler,
for example. The English equivalent often uses the phrase 'each other' to represent this reciprocal action. Here is a list of
common reciprocal verbs:
do)

s'aimer, to love each other


se dtester, to hate each other
se disputer, to argue
s'embrasser, to kiss
se parler to talk to each other
se quitter, to leave each other
se regarder, to look at each other
se retrouver, to meet each other
se tlphoner, to telephone each other

To form the imperative of pronominal verbs, drop the subject pronoun and then attach the reflexive pronoun with a
hyphen to the right side of the verb. The reflexive pronoun te becomes toi when used in the imperative. Dpche-toi!
Hurry up!, Souvenons-nous. Let's remember., Amusez-vous! Have fun!.
4)

T a m m y dcrit ses rapports

T a m m y describes her

avec Tex.

relationship with Tex.

T a m m y : Nous nous

T a m m y : Usually we get

entendons trs bien, sauf

along very well except when

quand il se fche.

he gets angry.

Il me dit, Assieds-toi et

He tells me "Sit down and

tais-toi, ma petite.

shut up, little one!"

Mais n o u s nous aimons

But w e love e a c h other e v e n

m m e si n o u s nous disputons

if w e fight a little bit.

un p e u .

TftMwt

occur

^f^o^TS

N o u s allons nous marier un

We're going to get married

jour.

someday.

AVCt

ses
"HI.--

fill in the blanks


Give the correct f o r m of the v e r b indicated in parentheses.
1. T e x et T a m m y ne

pas avec leurs amis,

2. Fiona dit T e x : T u

, mais moi, j e vais travailler, (s'amuser)

3. T a m m y dit Fiona: tu ne v a s pas


4. T e x et T a m m y

? (se reposer)

Zilker Park, (se p r o m e n e r )

5. T e x : T a m m y ne
6. Bette

(s'ennuyer)

j a m a i s avec moi. (se fcher)

t o u j o u r s pour Tex. (se maquiller)

7. T e x : Je ne

pas. Je n'ai pas de cheveux, (se raser)

8. Bette d e m a n d e Fiona: E s t - c e que tu


9. C o r e y : Mes a m i s et moi, n o u s ne
10. Edouard, quelle heure est-ce q u e v o u s
11. C o r e y ne
12. E d o u a r d : Je ne

minuit? (se coucher)


j a m a i s les cheveux, (se brosser)
le w e e k - e n d ? (se lever)

j a m a i s avant midi, (se rveiller)


pas. Je suis un escargot, (se d p c h e r )

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page: vrel

-re verbs (regular)

Verbs with infinitives ending in -re form a third group of regular verbs, often called 'third conjugation' verbs. To form the
present tense conjugations of these verbs, drop the -re from the infinitive and add the third conjugation endings (-s, -s,
-, -ons, -ez, -ent) to the resulting stem. A s you listen, note especially that the final -d and -ds in the singular forms are
silent. In the third person plural the 'd' consonant sound of the stem is pronounced because of the -ent ending. Can you
hear the difference in the pronunciation of the singular and plural forms of the third person? (il vs. ils)

descendre 'to go down'


je descends

nous descendons

tu descends

vous descendez

il/elle/on descend

ils/elles descendent
past participle: descendu

Here is a list of common regular -re verbs

attendre, to wait for

rendre, to hand in, give back

dpendre de, to depend (on)

rendre visite quelqu'un, to visit someone

entendre, to hear

rpondre, to answer, respond

pendre, to hang

vendre, to sell

perdre, to lose

Not all verbs ending in -re follow this pattern, however. Irregular -re verbs include prendre, mettre, suivre and vivre.

Un flic descend la rue. Tex panique et file.

A cop is coming down the street. Tex panics


and runs off.

Agent de police: Attendez! Attendez ...

Policeman: Wait! Wait...Sir, are you selling

Monsieur, vous vendez des T-shirts?

t-shirts?

Tex rpond: Euh, oui, monsieur l'agent.

Tex answers, "Yes, sir."

Agent de police: V o u s n'avez pas de

Policeman: You do not have a permit. Hey,

permis. H, h, vous tes dport.

hey, you are deported.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.

1. C o r e y

son v l o pour avoir de l'argent, (vendre)

2. Fiona, tu

la m u s i q u e ? (entendre)

3. J o e - B o b d e m a n d e a u prof: E s t - c e que v o u s
4. T e x

nos e x a m e n s a u j o u r d ' h u i ? (rendre)

la rue G u a d a l u p e , (descendre)

5. J o e - B o b et C o r e y

souvent leurs devoirs, (perdre)

6. T e x et T a m m y v o n t
7. T e x : J'

visite P a w - P a w . (rendre)

m e s tudiants Quacks, (attendre)

8. C o r e y T e x : N o u s

visite J o e - B o b . T u v i e n s ? (rendre)

9. J o e - B o b et Corey: N o u s

le w e e k - e n d avec impatience,

10. Corey, pourquoi est-ce que t u ne


11. J o e - B o b ne

(attendre)

p a s ? (rpondre)

j a m a i s a u x q u e s t i o n s du prof, (rpondre)

12. T e x et T a m m y , v o u s

? (entendre)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T a m m y (singular) or Fiona a n d Bette (plural).

i.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

Cl'

2.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

cio)

3.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

Cio)

4.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

5.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

6.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

7.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

8.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

9.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

10.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

11.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

do)

12.

Tammy

Fiona et Bette

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

-re verbs (irregular) like prendre

vir2

Verbs like prendre are conjugated like regular -re verbs in the singular, but not in the plural. Note the difference in the
stem in the plural forms.

prendre 'to take'


je prends

nous prenons

tu prends

vous prenez

il/elle/on prend

ils/elles prennent
past participle: pris

Verbs conjugated like prendre include:


do)

apprendre, to learn
comprendre, to understand
surprendre, to surprise

4>)

Edouard et T a m m y surprennent Tex.

Edouard and T a m m y surprise Tex.

T a m m y : Qu'est-ce que tu fais, Tex? T u vas

T a m m y : What are you doing, Tex? Where are

o? Pourquoi tu prends un taxi?

you going? Why are you taking a taxi?

Tex: Uhh, je suis en retard. Uhh, je vais en

Tex: Uhh, I'm late. Uhh, I'm going to class.

classe. Aujourd'hui mes tudiants apprennent

Today my students are learning to sing the

chanter la Marseillaise!

Marseillaise!

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Tex, tu

un grand caf? (prendre)

2. T a m m y et Bette, elles ne
3. Corey et Joe-Bob
4. Tex

le franais, (apprendre)

souvent Tammy, il aime faire des surprises, (surprendre)

5. Tex: T a m m y et moi, nous


6. T a m m y
7. Edouard ne

pas a. (comprendre)

souvent un taxi, (prendre)

faire du ski. (apprendre)


pas pourquoi les Amricains aiment le ketchup, (comprendre)

8. T r e y : Moi, je suis v r a i m e n t cool, et j'


9. Un jour, c'est sr, Bette va
10. C o r e y et J o e - B o b , v o u s
11. T a m m y : Je ne

T e x la vraie musique, (apprendre)

T a m m y ! (surprendre)
votre t e m p s , n'est-ce p a s ? (prendre)

pas pourquoi Bette est agressive! ( c o m p r e n d r e )

12. P a w - P a w T a m m y et T e x : V o u s .

. d e s b e i g n e t s ? Ils sont tout chauds. (reprendre)

listening comprehension
Listen to the f o l l o w i n g s e n t e n c e s and de

1.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

2.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

do)

3.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

4.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

cio)

5.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

cio)

6.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

7.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

8.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

9.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

10.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

11.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

Cio)

12.

Tex

Joe -Bob et C o r e y

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

-re verbs (irregular) like mettre


The verb mettre is irregular. Listen carefully to its forms in the present.

mettre 'to place, put'


je mets

nous mettons

tu mets

vous mettez

il/elle/on met

ils/elles mettent
past participle : mis

Mettre literally means 'to place, to put.' It is also used in the following expressions:
m

mettre la table (le couvert), to set the table


mettre + article of clothing, to put on
mettre + electrical item (radio, light), to turn on

Other verbs like mettre include:


m

, to admit
permettre, to permit
promettre, to promise
remettre, to turn in (a report), to postpone

d'S

T a m m y : Tex, tu mets la table pour la

T a m m y : Tex, are you going to set

soire?

the table for theparty?

Tex: Non, je n'ai pas envie.

Tex: No. I don't feel like it.

T a m m y : a alors. C'est toujours moi

T a m m y : Come on, I'm always the

qui mets la table.

one who sets the table.

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Joe-Bob

le rveil ('alarm'), mais il ne se lve pas. (mettre)

2. T a m m y : Tex, tu

la table pour dner? (mettre)

3. Rita dit ses enfants:


4. Les tudiants de Tex: Nous

vos pulls. Il fait froid, (mettre)


de faire nos devoirs, (promettre)

vir3

5. J o e - B o b et C o r e y

leurs santiags ( c o w b o y boots) pour aller danser, (mettre)

6. C o r e y : Je n'

pas inhaler d e s pesticides,

7. T a m m y et Fiona ne

j a m a i s leurs devoirs en retard, (remettre)

8. Les m e m b r e s de S i g m a Upsilon Eta: N o u s


9. Rita

(admettre)

T a m m y notre club, (admettre)

ses e n f a n t s de n a g e r Barton Springs, (permettre)

10. Rita: Trey,


11. Fiona

-moi de ne j a m a i s te percer la langue, (promettre)


un crime q u a n d elle pique (stings) les e n f a n t s de Rita, ( c o m m e t t r e )

12. P a w - P a w : Je

m e s bottes q u a n d j e vais d a n s un m a r c a g e (swamp), (mettre)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T e x (masculine singular), T a m m y (feminine singular) or
T e x a n d T a m m y (plural).

i.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

Hi

2.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

49

3.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

4.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

5.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

6.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

7.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

8.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

9.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

10.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

11.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

do)

12.

Tex

Tammy

T e x et T a m m y

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

page:

re verbs (irregular) like suivre, vivre

vir4

The verbs suivre (to follow), and vivre (to live) are irregular. Listen carefully to their forms in the present tense.

suivre 'to follow'


je suis

nous suivons

tu suis

vous suivez

il/elle/on suit

ils/elles suivent
past participle : suivi

Suivre is also used in the expression suivre un cours (to take a course).

vivre 'to live, to be alive'


je vis

nous vivons

tu vis

vous vivez

il/elle/on vit

ils/elles vivent
past participle : vcu

You may have seen the expression Vive ... (as in Vive la France!, Long live France!) and the noun la vie (life). Vivre
means 'to be alive,' as well as 'to live,' in contrast to the verb habiter which refers only to where one lives, one's place of
residence.
4S

Edouard accueille des clients au restaurant.

Edouard greets customers at the


restaurant.

Edouard: Bonsoir. Suivez-moi, s'il vous

Edouard: Good evening. Follow me, please.

plat.
Une heure plus tard, les clients attendent

One hour later the clients are still waiting.

toujours.
Client: Excusez, moi, mais le service est

Client: Excuse me, but the service is really

vraiment trs lent.

very slow.

Edouard: La qualit, a prend du temps,

Edouard: Quality takes time, monsieur. Fast

monsieur. Les fastfoods, quelle horreur.

food, how dreadful! Long live French

Vive la cuisine franaise!

cuisine!

fill in the blanks


Give the correct form of the verb indicated in parentheses.
1. Joe-Bob: Corey et moi, nous
2. Les clients au restaurant
3. Edouard ne

un cours de franais, (suivre)


Edouard, (suivre)

pas les matchs de football. Il n'aime pas les sports, (suivre)

4. T e x : Je

au T e x a s , mais je prfre la France, (vivre)

5. T e x d e m a n d e Edouard: Pourquoi est-ce que n o u s

au T e x a s ? (vivre)

6. T a m m y d e m a n d e Bette: Pourquoi est-ce q u e tu


7. T a m m y d e m a n d e P a w - P a w : E s t - c e que v o u s
8. P a w - P a w est vieux, mais il
9. C o r e y et J o e - B o b

T e x tout le t e m p s ? (suivre)
la politique c a d i e n n e ? (suivre)

toujours! (vivre)

les X - F i l e s avec passion, (suivre)

10. J o e - B o b , est-ce que tu


11. E d o u a r d : Je

d e s c o u r s A & M ? (suivre)

pour manger, (vivre)

12. Bette se d e m a n d e : E s t - c e que T e x et T a m m y

e n s e m b l e , (vivre)

listening comprehension
Listen to the following s e n t e n c e s and decide if t h e y refer to T e x (singular) or T e x a n d E d o u a r d (plural).

i.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

2.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

3.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

4.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

5.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

6.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

7.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

8.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

9.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

10.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

11.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

do)

12.

Tex

T e x et E d o u a r d

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 27 May 04

lij-'^dLrJ^LrJ - D z J j j J j j j z J S

page: vtil

1. definitions
2. transitive verbs
3. special cases
4. stated and implied objects
5. intransitive verbs
6. variable variance: transitive or intransitive
7. verbs with direct and indirect objects

definitions: transitive direct, transitive indirect, intransitive


Transitive verbs by definition have an object, either a direct object or an indirect object. Intransitive verbs never have
objects.
A transitive-direct

verb acts directly on its object. In the first sentence below, the telephone is the direct object. The

verb 'entendre' (to hear) always takes an object; one hears someone or something.
A transitive-indirect

verb acts to or for its object. Tex is the object of the preposition in the second sentence since Joe-

Bob is talking to him.


Intransitive

verbs, on the other hand, have no object at all. The verb dormir (to sleep) in the last example, does not need

any object to complete it. In fact, because the verb is intransitive, it cannot take an object. Intransitive verbs (as well as
transitive ones) may be modified by adverbs or prepositional phrases: 'Joe-Bob sleeps in the car; he sleeps all the time.'
4>)

Tex entend le tlphone.

transitive-direct

Tex hears the telephone.

Joe-Bob parle Tex.

transitive-indirect

Job-Bob is talking to Tex.

Joe-Bob dort souvent au volant.

intransitive

Joe-Bob often sleeps at the wheel.

For more examples and discussion, review the remarks on transitive vs intransitive verbs in the introduction.

transitive verbs
Because transitivity has to do with meaning, most English and French verbs usually maintain the same distinction. Thus,
verbs that are transitive in English are also transitive in French, and verbs that are intransitive in French are also
intransitive in English. The following examples are transitive in both French and English.
d'D

Tex mange un croissant et il boit du caf.

Tex is eating a croissant and drinking some


coffee.

Il finit son petit djeuner

He is finishing his breakfast

et il lit le journal. Dring, dring. C'est Joe-

and reading the newspaper. Ring, ring. It's

Bob au tlphone.

Joe-Bob on the telephone.

speci al cases
direct object in French / preposition + object in English
There are, however, special cases where the transitivity of French and English verbs contrast. There are several very
common verbs which take a direct object in French, while the English equivalent is followed by a preposition (at, to, for)
and object. REDCAP is an acronym for the most frequent verbs in this category: Regarder, Ecouter, Demander, Chercher,
Attendre, Payer.
Joe-Bob explains what happened:
4>)

Joe-Bob: Je roulais en voiture. Je regardais

Joe-Bob: I was driving along. I was looking

les filles.

at girls.

J'coutais de la musique country la radio.

I was listening to country music on the


radio.

Et puis, oh, l l. J'ai eu un accident de

A n d then, oh, la, la. I had an accident. The

voiture. La police est arrive et le flic m'a

police came and the cop asked for my

demand mes papiers.

papers.

J'ai cherch ma carte d'identit, mais je ne

I looked for my ID, but I didn't find it.

l'ai pas trouve.


Pas de chance! Je suis au commissariat et

No luck! I'm at the police station and I'm

j'attends mon avocat.

waiting for my lawyer.

Tex, j'espre que tu vas payer la

Tex, I hope that you will pay for the ticket.

contravention!

preposition + object in French / direct object in English


There are also several verbs which have a preposition and object in French, whereas the English equivalent takes a direct
object.
Joe-Bob tlphone Tex.

Joe-Bob telephones Tex.

Here are examples of such verbs. These are discussed more fully with indirect objects and indirect object pronouns.
do)

obir , to obey

rpondre , to answer

pardonner , to pardon, to forgive

rsister , to resist

rendre visite , to visit (someone)

ressembler , to resemble

renoncer , to give up, renounce

tlphoner , to telephone

stated and implied objects


For many transitive verbs, in both French and English, the object is sometimes implied or understood. Do not be
concerned about labelling these verbs, since the meaning will be clear from the context; and, like most verbs, they will
form their pass compos with avoir.

d'>)

transitive verb / implied object

transitive verb / stated object

En voiture, Joe-Bob chante toujours. (Joe-

En voiture, Joe-Bob chante toujours

Bob always sings in the car.)

Freebird. (Joe-Bob always sings Freebird in


the car.)

Il parle fort. (He talks loudly.)


Il rve. (He dreams.)

Il parle anglais. (He speaks English.)


Il rve de hamburgers et de filles. (He
dreams of hamburgers and girls.)

intransitive verbs

Il grignotte tout le temps. (He snacks all the

Il grignotte des cacahouettes. (He snacks on

time.)

peanuts.)

Perhaps you have already seen verbs which use tre to form the pass compos. These tre verbs (aller, arriver, partir,
sortir, etc.) are the most frequent intransitive verbs and they are summarized in the Alamo d'tre. Etre verbs are often
described as verbs of motion, but it's important to note that there are many other intransitive verbs of motion which use
the auxiliary avoir, for example, 'marcher' (to walk) and 'courir' (to run): 'Tex a march vite. Les enfants de Rita ont
couru.'

transitive or intransitive
Some verbs may be either transitive or intransitive. Contrast the following verbs. Note that the verb sortir uses the
auxiliary verb tre in the pass compos as an intransitive verb, but avoir in the pass compos when it is used
transitively.

intransitive / no object

transitive / used with an object

Le week-end pass, Joe-Bob est sorti. (Last

Le week-end pass, Joe-Bob a sorti son

weekend Joe-Bob went out.)

beau camion. (Last weekend Joe-Bob took


out his fine truck.)

A u commissariat, la tension de Joe-Bob

Joe-Bob monte l'escalier. (Joe-Bob goes up

monte. (At the police station Joe-Bob's

the stairs.)

blood pressure goes up.)

There are several cases where a verb which may be transitive or intransitive in English must be translated by two
different verbs in French: 'to return' (retourner, rendre), 'to leave' (partir, laisser, quitter).
verbs with direct and indirect objects
Many transitive verbs may have both a direct and an indirect object, for example:
Tex donne des conseils Joe-Bob.

Tex gives advice to Joe-Bob.

Here is a list of some common bivalent verbs:


acheter, to buy

expliquer, to explain

apporter, to bring

montrer, to show

apprendre, to learn

offrir, to offer (give)

demander, to ask

prter, to lend

donner, to give

promettre, to promise

crire, to write

rendre, to give back

emprunter, to borrow

servir, to serve

envoyer, to send

vendre, to sell

fill in the blanks


Indicate whether the verb in the sentence is transitive, 't' or intransitive, Y .
1. T a m m y lit un roman.
2. Tex crit un pome.
3. Tex et T a m m y partent ensemble.
4. Bette ronronne souvent.
5. Edouard arrive en retard.

6. C o r e y nage b e a u c o u p .
7. T e x prend un caf.
8. Fiona c o u t e la radio.
9. T a m m y achte une nouvelle robe.
10. C o r e y aime l'insecticide.
11. T e x rflchit souvent.
12. Les parents de T e x sont m o r t s sur l'autoroute.

2004 department of french & italian liberal arts ITS university of texas at austin

updated: 11 May 04