The grammatical term voice refers to the relationship between a verb and its subject: whether it is active, passive, or pronominal (reflexive).
is an interactive tool that will advise you on whether to use the subjunctive or indicative with more than 275 French verbs, expressions, and conjunctions.
Semi-auxiliary verbs are used with infinitives to influence their meaning, tense, mood, or aspect. Some French semi-auxiliaries are equivalent to English modal verbs, and most of the top 10 French verbs can or must be used as semi-auxiliaries.
The best-known passive construction is the passive voice, which has a verb performing on a subject (e.g., he is seen). But did you know that French has several other passive constructions that are just as important to recognize and use?
When writing about history, the tenses used in French and English aren't always the same. French prefers to use the present or even the future, while English tends to favor the past tense.
Compound modal verbs express perfect (in the grammatical sense of "completed") actions. These English constructions consist of a modal verb + have + past participle, while the French equivalent is usually a verb in a perfect tense or mood plus an infinitive.
You can explain what happened in the recent past with the construction venir de
+ infinitive; for example, Je viens de terminer ce puzzle
- "I (have) just finished this puzzle."
As its name so usefully suggests, the passive infinitive construction is used when the infinitive has a passive role, rather than an active one, as in livres à vendre
- "books for sale."
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 past subjunctive is the past tense of the subjunctive mood. The exact same verbs, expressions, and conjunctions that call for the subjunctive in the present require the past subjunctive in reference to subjectivity about something that happened in the past.