As you might guess from their name, adverbial pronouns are caught between two worlds: they are pronouns in the sense that they replace nouns, and at the same time they are adverbs representing a place, a quantity, or the object of a proposition. French has two adverbial pronouns: en and y.
French has two words for each of the following: year, day, morning, and evening, and they cause no end of difficulties for non-native speakers. Why is it that English can get away with one word for each of these temporal markers when French needs two? The answer lies in how you look at them.
Two or more words often join to create a conjunctive phrase, which just means a series of words that acts like a conjunction. Most French conjunctive phrases end in que and all are subordinating conjunctions.
Determiners are a category of grammatical terms that includes articles, numbers, and non-qualifying adjectives. Unlike qualifying adjectives, determiners serve two functions: they introduce and modify nouns at the same time.
Devoir and falloir are fairly synonymous, but these two French verbs are not interchangeable. Their meanings are slightly different, and they each have additional meanings, depending on how they're used.
Sometimes one pronoun just isn't enough. A sentence might need both a direct and indirect object, or a reflexive pronoun as well as an adverbial. When this happens, word order becomes an issue: how do you know which pronoun to place first? It's actually pretty easy, once you learn the rules.
The causative is a grammatical construction with a lazy subject who, rather than performing some action himself, is making someone or something else do it: to make something happen, to have something done.
In both French and English, there's a lot of overlap between fractions and ordinals: the vast majority of these two types of numbers share the same word. In English, they are identical from "third" on up, while in French they're the same starting with cinquième.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could plan a perfect future? Too bad that's not what the future perfect tense does. The grammatical term "perfect" means "completed," so the future perfect is used to talk about something that will have happened or will have been completed at some point in the future.
There are around 60 irregular -ir verbs, but that doesn't mean you have to memorize 60 different verb conjugation tables. Thanks to patterns in the conjugations of most of these verbs, you only need to learn 21.
Adjectives comprise one of the eight French parts of speech, but certain members of other grammatical categories can sometimes be used as adjectives. These "non-adjectives" are invariable: there's no gender/number agreement with the nouns they modify.
The trickiest aspect of the two most important French past tenses is that they often work together, juxtaposed not only throughout stories, but even within individual sentences. Understanding the contrasting relationship between the passé composé and imparfait is essential to communicating in French.
When talking about the past in French, there are two different tenses that work together: the passé composé and the imparfait. Although English has verb forms that appear to be exact equivalents for each of these, they don't quite match up in the two languages. This video will help you understand when, why, and how to use each French tense.
The passé simple is a single-word past tense, equivalent to English's simple past. However, the passé simple is a literary tense and is thus limited to formal writing, such as literature (including children's books), journalism, and historical accounts.
As seen in this sentence, the passive voice is used to indicate that something is being done to a subject by an agent. It's passive because the subject is being acted upon, rather than acting as in the active voice.
The past perfect, also called the pluperfect, is a verb tense that distinguishes between two related things that happened in the past, indicating which one occurred before the other. The use of the past perfect is very similar in French and English.
When one thing leads to another, you can use the French perfect participle (e.g., ayant mangé, étant parti) to talk about the first action. In English, this construction is very stilted, so it's usually loosely translated into more idiomatic phrasing.
Personal pronouns have different forms to match the different grammatical persons they replace. There are five kinds of French personal pronouns, some of which are identical, which can make it tricky to grasp which is which.
Relative pronouns are connectors - they link relative clauses to main clauses so that you don't have to repeat subjects and objects. There are five French relative pronouns: dont, lequel, où, que, and qui, which are equivalent to seven English relative pronouns and adverbs: that, when, where, which, who, whom, and whose.
Si clauses, also known as conditionals or conditional sentences, are if-then constructions that express a condition to be met in order for a certain result. They are divided into three types, depending on whether the condition is likely, unlikely, or impossible.
The first conditional is an if-then proposition that talks about a likely situation: if something happens (the condition), then something else happens (the result). The first conditional is constructed similarly in French and English and can be further divided into three subcategories.
The second conditional is an if-then proposition that expresses an unlikely situation: if something happened (the condition), then something else would happen (the result). The condition is expressed with the imperfect, and the potential result is indicated with the conditional.
Impersonal expressions use an impersonal subject: "it" in English, and il or ce in French. The meaning of the two French pronouns is identical, but ce is a bit informal and therefore more common when speaking, whereas il is more common in writing.
Many French verbs require a specific preposition in front of a noun or infinitive. The choice of preposition depends on the verb before it, not whatever comes after, and there's no shortcut or trick to learning these - you just have to memorize each list.