Adverbial Pronouns / Pronominal Adverbs

French adverbial pronounsAs 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.

   

Adverbs

French adverbsFrench adverbs are descriptors: they can modify several different parts of speech, including themselves. Virtually every French word that ends in -ment is an adverb, equivalent to -ly in English.

   

   

Adverbs of Manner

French adverbsAdverbs of manner express how the action of a verb occurs. In English, the vast majority of adverbs of manner end in -ly, whereas in French, they mostly end in -ment. They are created from adjectives.

   

   

   

   

Agreement

French agreementGrammatical agreement is a vast topic - and one of the banes of French students. While in English we have a few pronouns and adjectives that indicate gender and number (e.g., he/him/his and she/her/hers), in French, agreement is found in 5 of the 8 parts of speech.

   

   

Agreement with Direct Objects

French agreement with direct objectsMost French verbs are conjugated with avoir as their auxiliary verb in compound tenses and moods, and therefore do not require agreement with their subjects. But avoir verbs do need agreement in a very specific construction: the past participle must agree with the direct object when it precedes the verb.

   

Agreement with Pronominal Verbs

French agreement with pronominal verbsAll pronominal verbs are être verbs in compound tenses and moods like the passé composé, which means that the past participles must agree with their subjects - at least in theory. In fact, it's not quite so straightforward.

   

Agreement with Subjects

French agreement with subjectsThe three French verb constructions which include some form of être plus a past participle usually require grammatical agreement of the past participle with the subject.

   

   

Aimer – to like, to love

Aimer - French verbThe regular -er verb aimer is ubiquitous and very useful, but somehow means both "to like" and "to love." In some contexts, this can make a world of difference as you certainly don't want to tell someone you love them when you're just friends, so how can you make it clear how you feel?

   

Aller – Near Future

French near futureYou can explain what will happen in the near future with the construction aller + infinitive; for example, L'avion va atterrir ici - "The plane is going to land here."