Presentatives

French presentatives
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Présentatifs

French presentatives are words or short expressions that introduce something and draw attention to it at the same time. Presentatives do not constitute a single part of speech, but rather a category of terms including prepositions, verb conjugations, and expressions used in this particular way.

 All French presentatives are invariable in gender and most are also invariable in number. The four presentatives that include a conjugation of être are exceptions, as you’ll see below.

À

The French preposition à is used to invite or order people to a place or situation.

À table !   To the table! (Dinner time!)
Aux armes !   To arms! (Get your weapons!)

 Note that à contracts with the definite article as usual: à + les armes –> aux armes.

À bas

À bas calls for something to be removed or avoided:

À bas les tyrans !   Down with tyrants!
À bas les armes nucléaires !   No nukes!

C’est  |  Ce sont

C’est and ce sont mean "this / that is" and "these are," respectively.

C’est une bonne idée.   That’s a good idea.
Ce sont mes parents.   These are my parents.

Dire que

Dire que means "to think / imagine that":

Dire qu’il aurait pu le faire !   To think that he could have done it!
Et dire que c’était un mensonge depuis le début !   And to think that it was a lie all along!

Disons que

Disons que is the nous imperative of dire and means "let’s say / imagine":

Disons qu’il a raison …   Let’s say he’s right ….
Disons que tu peux le faire …   Let’s say you can do it ….

Étant donné (que)

Étant is the present participle of être, donné is the past participle of donner. Together in front of a noun, they mean "given" or "considering":

Étant donné la situation ….   Given the situation ….
Étant donné les circonstances ….   Considering the circumstances ….

Que must be added in front of a clause:

Étant donné qu’il est en retard ….   Given that he’s late ….
Étant donné que nous n’avons pas de voiture  ….   Considering that we don’t have a car ….

Il y a

Il y a means "there is / are":

Il y a un problème.   There’s a problem.
Il y a beaucoup de livres.   There are a lot of books.

Soit  |  Soient

Soit and soient, the third person singular and plural, respectively, subjunctive of être are used in math to mean "let there be" or "given":

Soit un rectangle ….   Let there be a rectangle …
Soient deux cercles ….   Given two circles ….

Vive

Vive is the third person singular subjunctive of vivre and means "long live" or "hurray for":

Vive la France !   Long live France!
Vive les vacances !   Hurray for vacation !

Voici

Voici, from the phrase (tu) vois ici (literally, "you see here"), means "here is / are":

Voici ma voiture.   Here is my car.
Les voici.   Here they are.

Voilà

Voilà from the phrase (tu) vois là ("you see there"), means "there is / are," but is also commonly used in place of voici.

Voilà ma voiture.   There / Here is my car.
Les voilà.   There / Here they are.

Vu (que)

Vu is the past participle of voir and is used like étant donné: "given, considering, in view of":

Vu la situation ….   Given the situation ….
Vu les circonstances ….   In view of the circumstances ….

Again, que must be added in front of a clause:

Vu qu’il est en retard ….   Given / Seeing that he’s late ….
Vu que nous n’avons pas de voiture  ….   Considering that we don’t have a car ….

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French presentatives
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