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I. General Rules

- In French, days of the week, months, and seasons are NOT capitalized
- With some exceptions, they are used WITHOUT the definite articles (le/la/l’/les)
- Weeks begin on Monday

II. Les jours de la semaine

Monday lundi Friday vendredi

Tuesday mardi Saturday samedi
Wednesday mercredi Sunday dimanche
Thursday jeudi

- What day is it today?

• Quel jour sommes-nous aujourd’hui? Nous sommes jeudi.
• C’est quel jour aujourd’hui? C’est jeudi

- Sample sentences:

Maman arrive samedi, et Sylvie, Dimanche. Mom arrives Saturday, and Sylvie, on Sunday.
Demain, c’est vendredi. Tomorrow’s Friday.

- NOTE: To say that you do the same activity regularly on a certain day, use the masculine
singular definite article le before the day. The day remains singular.

Le lundi, je suis au gymnase. On Mondays, I’m at the gym.

Les amis dînent ensemble le vendredi. The friends have dinner together every Friday.
Le mercredi, il y a un examen. Each Wednesday, there’s an exam.
Où est-ce que tu es le dimanche? Where are you on Sundays?

III. Les mois de l’anne

January janvier February février

March mars April avril
May mai June juin
July juillet August août
September septembre October octobre
November novembre December décembre

- The preposition en (in) is used in sentences before the names of months

- The phrase au mois de/d’ can also be used

- Sample sentences:

Quel mois sommes-nous? What month is it?

Nous sommes en janvier (c’est janvier) It is January.
Nöel est en décembre. Christmas is in December.
On a des vacances en août. We have vacation in August.
Les cours commencent en septembre. Classes begin in September.
Ils skient encore au mois d’avril. They are still skiing in April.
IV. Les saisons

summer l’été (m) winter l’hiver (m)

autumn/fall l’automne (m) spring le printemps

- Names of the seasons are used WITH the definite article, the preposition en, or with au
(but only with au printemps)

- Sample sentences:

L’hiver, c’est la saison froide. Winter is the cold season.

Arielle adore l’automne. Arielle loves autumn.
Moi, je passe l’été à la plage. Me, I’m spending the summer at the beach.
En été nous ne portons pas de manteau. In (the) summer we don’t wear coats.
Il est très occupé en automne. He’s very busy in the fall.
Au printemps, je porte toujours un chapeau. Are you in Montreal in (the) winter?

V. Les parties du jour

morning le matin evening le soir

afternoon l’après-midi night la nuit

- Parts of the day are used with the definite article for regular activities
- Or are used with words like demain (tomorrow), hier (yesterday)
- Or with ce/cet/cette (this); cette nuit means last night

- Sample sentences

Le soir, nous regardons la télé. In the evenings, we watch TV.

Demain matin, je retourne au travail. Tomorrow morning, I return to work.
Cet après-midi, on déjourne avec les parents. This afternoon, we’re having lunch with folks.
La nuit, les animaux sont dans leur lit. At night, the animals are in their beds.

I. General Rules

- French has three groups of verbs with regular conjugations:

1. -er verbs like parler (to speak)
2. -ir verbs like choisir (to choose)
3. -re verbs like attendre (to wait for)

- Regular French verbs are conjugated in person and number by adding SIX regular
endings to the verb root or stem

II. Conjugating Regular -ER Verbs

- All -er verbs are REGULAR

• Exception: aller (to go)

- Rules:

je [stem] + e
tu [stem] + es
il/elle [stem] + e
nous [stem] + ons
vous [stem] + ez
ils/elles [stem] + ent

- Some regular -er verbs:

parler to speak aimer to love, like

écouter to listen to adorer to love, adore
aimer mieux to prefer arriver to arrive
chercher to look for danser to dance
detester to hate, detest étudier to study
expliquer to explain fermer to close
habiter to live jouer to play
louer to rent regarder to look at
rêver (de) to dream (about) travailler to work
trouver to find utiliser to use
visiter to visit (a place)

III. Use of the Present Tense

1. The present tense in French has three (3) equivalents in English:

Je parle français. I speak French, I am speaking French; I do speak French

2. The present tense often conveys the meaning of near future.

Elles arrivent vers six heures ce soir. They will arrive around six this evening.
Tu cherches un employ cet été? Will you be looking for a job this summer?
3. When two verbs are used consecutively, the first is conjugated and the second is an

• Infinitive directly follows verbs such as aimer, aimer mieux, detester, preferer, with
no intervening preposition

• Other verbs require à or de before the infinitive

Vous détéstez regarder la téle? Pas vrai! You hate to watch TV? You’re kidding!
Oui, j’aime mieux travailler. Yes, I prefer working.
Je commence à travailler. I begin to work.
On refuse de continuer. They refuse to continue.

4. The simple negation of verbs (in all tenses) is made with ne … pas.

Nous fermons la porte. We close the door.

Nous ne fermons pas la porte. We don’t close the door.

• Ne becomes n’ (i.e. it elides) before a vowel sound or a silent H

Jacqueline habite ici. Jacqueline lives here.

Jérôme n’habite pas ici. Jerome does not live here.
Elle écoute la radio. She listens to the radio.
Il n’écoute pas la radio. He does not listen to the radio.

• If a verb is followed by an infinitive, ne/n’ and pas usually surround the conjugated
verb form.

Nous aimons discuter. We like to discuss (issues).

Vous n’aimez pas discuter. You do not like to discuss (issues).

• When the infinitive is negated, the combination ne pas precedes the infinitive

Je demande au professeur de ne pas donner d’examen.

I ask the teacher not to give a test.

Ils aiment mieux ne pas danser samedi soir.

They prefer not to dance Saturday night.

• As with avoir, in negative sentences (except for those with être), the indefinite article
(un/une/des) changes to de/d’ after ne…pas. The noun following de/d’ can be
singular or plural

Le dimanche, on visite un musée. On Sundays, we visit a museum.

Le dimanche, on ne visite pas de musée. On Sundays, we don’t visit a(any) museum(s).
Je cherche des oranges. I am looking for oranges.
Tu ne trouves pas d’oranges? Aren’t you finding (any) oranges?

I. Yes/No Questions

A. Yes/No Questions with NO Change in Word Order

1. Questions with rising intonation

➢ Pitch of the voice rises at the end of a sentence to create a vocal question mark
➢ Subject-verb order remains unchanged.

Vous êtes d’ici? Are you from around here?

On a du temps pour un café? Do we have time for a coffee?

2. Tag questions using n’est-ce pas

➢ The invariable tag n’est-ce pas is added to the end of a sentence
➢ Speaker generally expects an agreement or confirmation
➢ Subject-verb order does not change

Tu es allemande, n’est-ce pas? You’re German, aren’t you?

En été on a des vacances, n’est-ce pas? We’ll have vacation in the summer, won’t we?

3. Questions starting with est-ce que…

➢ In this form, the entire statement is preceded by est-ce que
➢ Subject-verb order does not change
➢ Before a vowel, it takes the form: Est-ce qu’(il/s)(elle/s)

Est-ce que nous sommes déjà en ville? Are we already in the city?
Est-ce qu’elle a une opinion? Does she have an opinion?

B. Yes/No Questions with Change in Word Order

1. In questions with pronoun subjects, inversion

➢ Subject pronoun and verb are inverted
➢ Hyphen connects the subject pronoun to the verb

Êtes-vous déjà en retard? Are you already late?

Avons-nous assez d’argent? Do we have enough money?
Sont-elles au travail? Are they at work?

2. In negative questions with inversion

➢ ne/n’ precedes conjugated verb and
➢ pas follows the inverted subject pronoun

N’as-tu pas envie de manger? Don’t you want to eat?

Ne sommes-nous pas à la gare? Aren’t we at the train station?
N’ont-ils pas soif? Aren’t they thirsty?

3. The subject pronoun je is almost never inverted with the verb

➢ Use est ce que… instead

Est-ce que je suis à l’heure? Am I on time?

➢ However, several irregular verbs may invert the first person singular je
o Être suis-je…? Am I…
o Pouvoir puis-je…? May I…
o Devoir dois-je…? Must I…
4. In an inverted question, when a third-person singular (il/elle/on) verb form ends in a

➢ The letter -t- surrounded by hyphens, is inserted between the verb and the
pronoun to aid in pronounciation.

A-t-on l’adresse de Marianne? Do we have Marianne’s address?

➢ Note the inverted question form of the expression il y a (there is/are), in the
affirmative: Y a-t-il…? Is/Are There…?

Y a-t-il des devoirs? Is there any homework?

➢ Des becomes de/d’ in the negative form of the question:

N’y a-t-il pas de…? Isn’t there…? Aren’t there…?

N’y a-t-il pas de bons films? Aren’t there any good movies?
N’y a-t-il pas d’eau? Isn’t there any water?

➢ Everyday language, however, asks the questions such as il y a des devoirs? And
il n’y a pas d’eau? With no inversion

➢ The added -t- between vowels in a third person singular inverted question is
found in all present tense verbs

Parle-t-il? Is he speaking?
Discute-t-elle? Does she argue?
Ne va-t-elle pas habiter à Paris? Isn’t she going to live in Paris?

II. Questions with Noun Subjects

- When an inverted question has a noun subject, BOTH the noun subject and the inverted
pronoun are used

Ce monsieur est-il français? Is that man French?

Simon a-t-il une moto? Does Simon have a motorcycle?
Annick et Chantal n’ont-elles pas de logement?
Don’t Annick and Chantal have a place?

- Summary of Subject-Verb Inversion in Questions:


Statement Elle est professeur Renée est professeur
Question Est-elle professeur? Renée est-elle professeur?
Negative question N’est-elle pas professeur? Renée n’est-elle pas professeur?
III. Information Questions

- Information questions begin with an interrogative word or expression:

• Qu’est-ce que…? What?
• Quel(le)(s)…? Which?
• Comment…? How?

- Information questions may be expressed with the interrogative expression + subject-verb

inversion and also with est-ce que with no change in word order

A. Interrogative Subject of the Verb

1. Persons: Subject Long Form

➢ Qui est-ce qui (as subject) + verb Who?
Qui est-ce qui arrive? Who is arriving?

2. Persons: Subject Short Form (most common)

➢ Qui (as subject) + verb Who?
Qui arrive? Who is arriving?
Qui parle? Who is speaking?

3. Things: Subject Long Form

➢ Qu’est-ce qui (as subject) + verb What?
Qu’est-ce qui arrive? What’s happening?
Qu’est-ce qui est dans la rue? What’s (down there) in the street?

B. Interrogative Object of the Verb

1. Persons: Object Long Form

➢ Qui est-ce que/qu’ + subject + verb Whom?
Qui est-ce que tu invites? Whom are you inviting?
Qui est-ce que vous attendez? Whom are you waiting for?
Qui est-ce qu’elle aime? Whom does she love?

2. Persons: Object Short Form

➢ Qui (as object) + inverted verb/subject Whom?
Qui invitez-vous? Whom are you inviting?
Qui est-ce? Who is it? Who is that?
Qui aime-t-elle? Whom does she love?

3. Things: Object Long Form

➢ Qu’est-ce que/qu’ + subject + verb What?
Qu’est-ce que tu as? What do you have? What’s the matter?
Qu’est-ce que vous pensez? What do you think?

4. Things: Object Short Form

➢ Que/Qu’ + inverted verb/pronoun subject What?
Qu’a-t-il? What does he have? What’s the matter?
Que cherchez-vous? What are you looking for?

➢ Que/Qu’ + verb + inverted noun subject What?

Que regarde Iris? What’s Iris looking at?
Que cherche le prof? What’s the teacher looking for?
C. Interrogative Words (With Word Inversion or with est-ce que/qu’)

• Questions asking information other than what or who us specific question words

1. Comment…? How…? What…?

Comment vas-tu? How are you?

Comment est-il? What is he like?
Comment est-elle? What is she like?

2. Combien (de/d’)…? How much/many…?

Combien coûte-t-il? How much does it cost?

Combien est-ce que ça coûte? How much does it cost?
Combien d’heures travaillez-vous? How many hours are you working?
Combien dárgent as-tu? How much money do you have?

3. Où…? Where…?

Où vas-tu? Where are you going?

Où est-ce que tu vas? Where are you going?
Où allons-nous? Where are we going?

4. Quand…? When…?

Quand arrive-t-elle? When does she arrive?

Quand est-ce qu’elle arrive? When does she arrive?
Quand est-ce qu’on dîne? When are we (people) having dinner?
Quand dîne-t-on? When are we (people) having dinner?

5. Quel(le)(s) (as adjective) + noun + verb? What (which)…?

NB: Quel(le)(s) is an adjective that always agrees with its noun

Quelle heure est-il? What time is it?

Quel livre aimes-tu? Which book do you like?

6. Quel(le)(s) + être + noun

Que lest ton film préféré? What is your favorite movie?

Quelle est son adresse? What is his/her address?
Quelles sont vos opinions? What are your opinions?

7. Pourquoi…? Why…?

Pourquoi Gérard arrive-t-il si tard? Why is Gerard arriving so late?

Pourquoi est-ce que Gérard arrive si tard? Why is Gerard arriving so late?
Pourquoi es-tu en retard? Why are you late?

The conversational answer to a pourquoi question often begins with parce que (because)

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