French for Beginners

Français pour débutants

French for beginners
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If you want to start learning French from the bottom up, you’ve come to the right place! Lawless French for Beginners is a self-study course divided into 30 loosely themed units consisting of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation lessons; cultural tips; and assorted listening exercises and quizzes along the way. Keep reading for some info and advice on making the most of this course, or go straight to the lessons.

How to Learn French

Each unit is in the form of a checklist with links to online lessons and other resources. I recommend spending at least a week but no more than a month on each unit: study/practice each item in the list and then go back through them again more quickly to cement your learning before moving on to the next unit. And of course you can go back to an earlier unit any time you like.

You can save a printable pdf copy of each checklist to your computer or you can create a Checklist account to save a dynamic version online. Both options are completely free, so it’s up to you!

More tips: How to learn French online

Offline Alternative

Take a look at my new book French Workbook for Dummies, filled with lessons and practice exercises.

Are you really a beginner?

If you’re not an absolute beginner, I recommend you take at least one of these free proficiency tests in order to figure out where you are:

  • French proficiency test (CEFR levels A1 and A2)
    The answers page includes a link to the relevant lesson for each question.
  • Progress with Lawless French (all levels)
    After taking the placement test, you’ll receive a level assessment and personalized study plan.

Also try Frantastique – this fun program uses comics and videos to tell the story of a pair of aliens who bring Victor Hugo back to life and help him navigate this strange new world.

Lawless French for Beginners

Units: These checklists take a moment to load, please be patient! 🙂

  1. Greetings, introductions, nouns, verbs, alphabet
  2. Politeness, social niceties, definite articles, subject pronouns, –er verbs, vowels
  3. Essential French, tu vs vous, present tense, the letter I
  4. Numbers, il y a, avoir (to have), the letters A and O
  5. Telling time, c’est / il est, indefinite articles, the letter E
  6. Calendar, être (to be), –ir verbs, the letter U
  7. Dates, good-bye, aller (to go), accents
  8. Weather, faire (to do, make), adjectives, the letter H
  9. Food, partitive articles, pouvoir (to be able to), nasal vowels
  10. Feelings, easy questions (est-ce que), negation, consonants
  11. Family, drinks, preposition de, recent past (venir de), the letters B and D
  12. Body, toiletries, reflexive verbs, the letter C
  13. Clothes, colors, hard questions (inversion), the letters F and P
  14. Descriptions, à, stem-changing verbs, the letter G
  15. Home and furniture, possessive adjectives, vouloir (to want), the letter K
  16. School, office, adverbs, devoir (to have to), the letter J
  17. Transportation, questions, savoir vs connaître (to know), the letter Q
  18. Directions, demonstrative adjectives, –re verbs, the letter L
  19. Personality, prepositions, dormir, partir, sortir, the letters M and N
  20. Professions, passé composé, auxiliary verbs, the letter R
  21. Ordinal numbers, coordinating conjunctions, imperfect, the letters S and T
  22. Fractions, passé composé vs imparfait, the letters V and W
  23. Hobbies, direct objects, dire, écrire, lire, the letter Y
  24. Shopping, shops and businesses, indirect objects, imperative, the letter Z
  25. Weights and measures, adverbial pronoun y, future tense, silent letters
  26. Restaurant, adverbial pronoun en, conditional, liaisons
  27. Nationalities, subordinating conjunctions, past perfect, enchaînement
  28. Languages, à vs de, infinitive, e instable
  29. On the phone, stressed pronouns, present participles, elisions
  30. Dishes/silverware, comparatives, superlatives, contractions

Et voilà ! Follow the above for a thorough grounding in beginning French, then use the links below to continue your studies. Bonne continuation !

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6 Responses

  1. Eman 18 November 2018 / 11:07

    Hello! Please I want to know if the french lessons here are the french of streets and nowadays informal french? or it’s newspapers and books formal french?

  2. Shafi Sayeed 23 July 2018 / 11:12

    Laura, it is just by chance I found this website. the course content is just designed as I wanted and the website layout is very nice and encouraging. I like overall the content and the graphics and the course material. Thank you for creating such a good source for us to learn french for free. God Bless you and keep up the good work.

  3. Sarah 23 June 2018 / 13:57

    Hi, I’m finding your resources incredibly helpful to brush up on my French, thank you so much!! I was just wondering, does this list of 30 units cover only A1 material or also A2?

    • lkl 24 June 2018 / 7:10

      Bonjour Sarah,

      That’s great to hear – you’re very welcome!

      These units don’t strictly follow CEFR guidelines, but they’re mainly A1 with some incursions into A2.

      Bonne continuation !

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