French Designers / Les couturiers

Right up there with Milan, London, and New York, Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Many world-famous designers are French, and you probably have heard of most of them. Their impact on the world of fashion has been immense. They have brought us the world of "haute couture," or high fashion. There are many French designers; here are the some of most recognizable:

The Chanel line of apparel, handbags, shoes, accessories, makeup, and fragrance, was founded by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. She is credited with inventing the "tailleur," the female pantsuit. Among her other famous creations are her No. 5 fragrance and her classic pairing of black and white. Chanel pieces are timeless and last just as long.

Christian Dior's line of apparel, handbags, shoes, accessories, makeup, and fragrance, is very feminine (except Dior Homme of course!), and his "cannage" quilting is a signature mark of his haute couture. Much of the Dior look today is designed by Italian couturier John Galliano. Yves Saint Laurent (see below) was in charge of the Dior house of fashion.

Louis Vuitton
The Louis Vuitton label of handbags, luggage, shoes, and accessories, is one of the most exclusive brands in the world. It is only available in Louis Vuitton stores and at eLuxury, and items never go on sale. The Louis Vuitton logo, the LV pictured at left, is easily recognizable and very often counterfeited (not unlike Chanel and Hermès). Louis Vuitton is famous for their brown canvas purses, refashioned each season with new shapes and details.

Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent is not as well known as its predecessors, but it is no less fashionable. The line of clothing, shoes, accessories, makeup, and fragrance, is known for funky shapes and textures that still maintain an "haute couture" status. The house of Yves Saint Laurent is no longer open (it closed in 2002) but the brand is still alive under Gucci, its Italian parent brand.

French tennis player René Lacoste started this line, which originally started out as the famed polo shirt with a crocodile logo, and has now expanded into both casual and athletic wear, handbags (from sporty to almost dressy), shoes, accessories, and fragrance. Lacoste is one of the first luxury brands to recognize casual clothing as high fashion. Today, the Lacoste brand is very involved in professional tennis.

Hermès' line of handbags, fragrance, and accessories is extremely prestigious and pricey. While canvas handbags can be found on sale for several hundred dollars, the line's most coveted items, the "Kelly" bag, named for Princess Grace Kelly, and the "Birkin" bag, named for French actress Jane Birkin, require a waiting list and cost several thousand dollars. Each handbag is handcrafted individually, ensuring the finest quality for that top dollar.

Although the Givenchy label includes clothing and accessories (Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy were two of many famous wearers), today it is best known for its fragrance and makeup. Hubert de Givenchy, a very well-to-do Frenchman of Italian descent, founded the line in 1952, and it has been a staple of Western fashion ever since.

Jean-Paul Gaultier
Jean-Paul Gaultier's fashion line includes clothing, handbags, accessories, and fragrance. Gaultier is not a typical fashion designer. He did not attend fashion school, and he was essentially "discovered" by submitting his sketches to haute couture designers. His designs are very modern and edgy, in contrast to his more classic, old-fashioned predecessors.

Guerlain is a high quality line of makeup and fragrance. It is one of the oldest perfume houses in the world, dating back to the early 1800s. It was a family brand from its inception. The brand's legacy lives on today, even though the house was taken over by Louis Vuitton's parent company in the 1990s. Members of the Guerlain family still take part in the design process.

An Interview with Laura K. Lawless

Laura K. Lawless runs a website called LawlessFrench (previously She runs the entire French site by herself, a valuable resource for all students. I recently interviewed her about learning French, her site, and more. Here's what she had to say:

How did you get interested in learning French?
It all started with a calendar I got when I was about 9 or 10, with the numbers 1-10 written in a different language for each month: German, French, Japanese, etc. I was fascinated by this and tried to learn them all. At that time, my older brother was studying French in high school, and one day he helped me with the French 1-10, and then taught me 11-20. And that was that - I loved it and chose French as my foreign language when I got to high school.

Why do you think it is important to learn a second or third language, especially French?
There are so many reasons - understanding the world, getting to know other people and different points of view, being able to watch movies and read books in the original language (I don't like reading translations and I absolutely hate dubbed movies), better job opportunities... I could go on and on. For me personally, the most important reason is being able to communicate in foreign countries. I love traveling, and it's a lot more fun when I speak the language. I can't tell you how many times I've met people in France or Costa Rica or Morocco who were happily surprised, even delighted that I speak their language. It shows them that I respect their language and culture, and they in turn respect me. On the other hand, I felt like a complete jerk in Italy, and I always feel bad when the other person switches to English for my sake. (I know sometimes they're happy to do it, because it's an opportunity for them to practice, but it makes me feel like I should have done more.)
As for learning French in particular, aside from the fact that it's a beautiful language, it has had an enormous impact on English, so if you are at all interested in English linguistics, you can learn a lot from French. Plus it's an official or administrative language in dozens of countries, and an official language in many international organizations.

What advice can you give students new to foreign language about the challenges of learning French, or any new language?
Be patient and don't be afraid to make mistakes. When I started teaching adult ed French, I had one student who was afraid to open her mouth, and another who thought he'd be fluent by the end of the 10-week course. Learning a language isn't just about memorization - you have to use it. Being able to conjugate avoir and knowing how to count won't do you any good if you don't get out there and speak. And it will take a long time to learn, especially if you're not immersed. No one would ever think they could "master" chemistry or calculus in a few months, but for some reason people often think perfect language will just magically start coming out of their mouths. It's hard work, but it's worth it, especially if you fall in love with the language along the way.

What does your job at About entail?
I'm the French language Guide at, which means that I am the person behind the French language site. (Many people refer to the site as the French guide, but it's not - I am.) I write all of the lessons and quizzes, record the short sound files, send two newsletters a week, oversee 4 forums, maintain links to dictionaries and other tools/information I can't provide myself, answer hundreds of emails a week, and constantly think of new lessons to write and old features to revamp. (My to do list never gets any shorter, because for every lesson I write, I think of at least 1 or 2 more.) I get a lot of emails thanking me and my "staff" for the great site, when in fact it's just me (other than my two forum hosts and a couple of friends who proofread certain features). I've been working on it full-time for the last 8 years.

How do you keep your French fluent when you're not in a French-speaking country?
It's not easy. Working on my site helps, because it keeps my thinking in and about French all the time. My husband and I usually chat in French a couple times a week, and I also read in French and listen to the radio or an audiomagazine once in a while. The truth, though, is that I do start losing a bit after a while, but as soon as I go to France I get it back almost immediately.

Do you have any memorization tricks that really helped you?
Well, for verb conjugations I just kept writing them out and saying them out loud until they were mine. When I can't remember the gender of a particular word, or whether it has an accent, or how to spell it, I write it on a post-it and leave it on my computer until I do (usually takes a couple of weeks, and then I never have trouble with it again). For the longest time, I had to keep looking up "to be part of" because I couldn't remember if it was "faire parti" or "faire partie," so I finally wrote faire partiE on a post-it and that finally did the trick.

What's an aspect of French culture that you really enjoy that's missing in North America?
Aside from the language and the great conversation that goes along with it, which is what I really long for, I miss the food: fresh bread several times a day - hot croissants in the morning, freshly-baked bread at lunch and dinner. Bakeries in the US always seem to close by noon, and the bread isn't as good anyway. I also miss the coffee - very few restaurants serve really good coffee in the US, and I can't stand Starbucks. And the wine and cheese, and the outdoor marchés, and the crême fraîche with berries, and the butter on toasted brioche.... And the French appreciation and knowledge of good food is delightful - everyone knows about pairing wine and cheese, they love to eat and drink good food. It's such a great way to live.

Tour de France 2007

In honor of the Tour de France 2007, which is going on right now and is full of controversy (many riders have been accused of doping and thrown out of the race), I learned 10 new things about the cycling race:
1. The first man to win the Tour de France was, fittingly, a Frenchman: Maurice Garin in 1903.
2. The prologue and the first two stages take place in England and Belgium.
3. A polka-dot "king of the mountain" jersey is awarded to the cyclist who reaches the top of mountains the quickest.
4. The media have declared the "death" of the Tour de France this year, because several riders have been removed from the competition based on suspicion of drug use, while others shown positive were not removed.
5. The Live Tracker uses Google Maps technology to track the progress of the race.
6. No one really knows why the color yellow was picked for the most prestigious jersey.
7. Fans lining the course try to snag water bottles as the cyclists toss them when they are done.
8. L'étape du Tour is an event where amateur cyclists ride over the same course the professionals do. It is held during the Tour de France.
9. The "peloton" is the French word used to refer to the pack of riders.
10. L'avenue des Champs-Elysées rounds out the Tour, and it is especially challenging because it is cobbled.

Vélib' - An alternative to the métro

In an effort to make the city of lights a little "greener," la Mairie de Paris has recently launched a new program called Vélib' (a corruption of "vélo" and "liberté"), in which bicycles will be parked at different stations around town for tourists and locals alike to ride around town free of charge for the first 30 minutes. Just like the Métro, you can subscribe to Vélib' or pay per use. When you're done, leave the bike at another station closer to your destination. This reminds me of the campus cruisers that appear on my college campus during the spring, yellow bicycles which students can ride anywhere on campus. I guess I am just left wondering why the logo looks like a child drew it?

Bande-annonce Ratatouille

If there is one movie I am dying to see this is it!! Yes, I have been a little behind the ball in seeing this movie but judging by the trailer (here in French) it's going to be adorable and have tons of French cliché jokes in it for me to laugh at. All I know so far is that it is the story of Rémy, an adorable rat living in Paris who wants to be a chef. The official site has a lot of fun features, including a contest to win a trip to Paris! If you can't get enough of the movie, get your licensed merchandise at the Disney Store Online. Let me know what you thought of the movie!

French Comic Books

Comic books are much more mainstream in France than they are in the United States. Stateside, it's considered a hobby. Across the pond, it's just like picking up a book! There are a number of different types of comic books for different age groups, but some have more credibility than others. Here's a look at a few of my favorite French comic book series:

Visit The French Corner @ for even more comic books!

Be sure to click on the covers to purchase them at!
Astérix: Where to begin with Astérix? Firstly, one could argue that his series is the most educational since he is loosely based on the Gauls during the time of the Roman empire, though you'll have to overlook the humor to actually learn anything from these. His friend Obélix appears with him and also has his own comic book series. The series takes place during the Roman empire and characters are modeled after different cultures of the time. A number of animated and live action films have been made based on the series, as well as an amusement park.

Tintin: Tintin is definately my favorite comic book character! He is a young detective (licensed, I'm not so sure about) who always has a big adventure to go on in each book, and he brings along his adorable dog Milou! The products available from Tintin range from plush animals to small figurines, and of course movies and TV shows! You'll be rooting for Tintin when you pick up one of these books!

Star Academy: Star Academy is like American Idol in France, only better. The comic book series chronicles the lives of the finalists each season as the all live in a château together. Of course, the series is fictional, but it's a great way to cash in, combining a popular show with a popular pastime. It's amusing if you watch the show, otherwise, it's quite confusing.

Iznogoud: Iznogoud is a humorous series about a grand vizier (second to the caliph) living in Baghdad many years ago. All he wants to do is overthrow the caliph Haroun el Poussah, and he is, much to his chagrin, always unsuccessful. A couple years ago, Michael Youn starred in the live action adaptation of this series, which, aside from being quite humorous, also had an excellent soundtrack.

Titeuf: I first discovered Titeuf on a box of cookies I bought in France that were shaped like characters from the series. I decided to buy a book and I was pleasantly surprised. Titeuf is a young boy who, in his comic books and hybrid comic-text novels, discovers the world around him, from a young child's perspective. His inaccurate observations are quite humourous. Titeuf has, like so many before him, jumped the TV series bandwagon so if reading alone doesn't fill your desire, subscribe to French cable and toon in every day!

The CPE: Who, When, Where, Why

I have written about the anti-CPE riots because I was in Paris while the worst of them were taking place. The picture above is one that I took. Here is a brief history of how this political manifestation came to be:
Who: Young students from all over France protested the CPE (see below) for its unfairness, in hopes that prime minister Dominique de Villepin would withdraw the contract. Rioters had few inhibitions while exhibiting their anger: cars were set on fire (I had the interesting and somewhat frightening opportunity of watching one burn), tear gas was released (I also had the experience of inhaling some on two different occasions), streets were congested so bad that no traffic could move in some areas of Paris.

When: The riots took place during the third week of March, 2006.

Where: Rioters manifested themselves in many large cities in France, including Marseille, Lyon, and Strasbourg, but Paris saw the largest number of protesters (see graph below).

Why: The CPE (Contrat Première Embauche) allowed employers in France to terminate their workers' sessions without a valid reason if the employee was under 26 and had been working for the employer for less than two years. The purpose of this contract was to keep recycling older workers for younger ones in order to save money. The anti-CPE riots are reminiscent of the riots in Paris in May 1968 following the closing of one of the Sorbonne universities.

Now: A month later, the CPE was withdrawn on April 20, 2006 to be rewritten.

Additional Resources
Read the CPE (in French)
Dominique de Villepin's Biography

French Speaking Countries

French is a vast language: 113 million people around the world speak it! It is an official language in 25 countries! It is also the 11th most common first language spoken in the world. Très impressionnant ! These countries all have French as an official language (the ones in bold have French as their only official language).

Belgium (Belgique)
Burkina Faso
Cameroon (Cameroun)
Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)
Comoros (Comores)
Côte d'Ivoire
Haiti (Haïti)
Mauritius (Maurice)
Senegal (Sénégal)
Switzerland (Suisse)

Lexicon of French Geography

It is difficult enough to learn the geography of a foreign country, without foreign terms popping up everywhere. French geography is very particular, so here is a list of terms that might come in handy while exploring the different regions of France on this website.

Arrondissement - District; a division of a department.

Canton - A division of an arrondissement.

Capital - Capital city of a region or country.

COM - Collectivité d'Outre-Mer; a French "community" overseas.

Commune - A division of a canton; a city or town.

Département - A division of a region, similar to a county.

DOM - Département d'Outre-Mer; a French colonie overseas.

Municipal Arrondissement - A division of a large metropolitan city (only existant in Paris, Lyon, and Marseille).

POM - Pays d'Outre-Mer; a French "country" overseas.

Préfecture - Capital city of a department.

Région - Main divisions in France, similar to states but much smaller.

TOM - Térritoire d'Outre-Mer; a French territory overseas.

Useful Links for French Teachers & Students - This site has information about French film, literature, music, books, art, and more.

Embassy of France in the US - Just For Kids - A great way for young students to learn all about the French language, history, and culture in a fun and enjoyable fashion!

Federation of Alliances Françaises USA - An organization that promotes francophonie and education. Find links to great resources! - The official site of the city of Paris, this site has everything you ever wanted to know about the place on it, and lots of fun features and links to check out.

Teacher's Discovery - A French teacher's (or enthusiastic student's) haven. Find posters to decorate your classroom, videos and DVDs in French with study guides, rewards, and other great teaching tools. In addition, there are many Spanish teaching resources on this site.

The National French Contest -Information on the national contest which is held every year in schools across the nation. A great opportunity to put your skills to the test!

American Association of Teachers of French - A widespread organization in America, the site contains some great resources on it. - A great resource for all kinds of materials: grammar lessons, links, and tons of fun stuff like gestures. Excellent for both teachers and students. Read my interview with guide Laura Lawless here.

Babiole's Shop - "Everything Eiffel" is its slogan - get tons of goodies sold in Paris! From watches to scarves to keychains and everything in between, it's all here. But be prepared to pay a hefty price for it!

TV5 - This is a great site to learn about French music because there is a full analysis of 100s of popular French songs on this site, with vocabulary, lyrical analysis, and comprehension questions. There are also videos, games, and a plethora of other fun things to look at. - A French social bookmarking site, like Read my interview with founder Bertrand Hardy here.

TeacherTube - It's like YouTube for teachers! Watch videos about French.

Fun Sites in French

A great way to practice your French is to spend some time at sites done completely in French.

  • Yahoo! France - The French version of Yahoo. This is a great way to find out news in French or find sites in French. In addition, you can get your email at - completely in French!
  • - The number one resource for all sorts of entertainment in French. Granted, the shipping price is a little hefty and you better know your French before you make a credit card transaction online here, but in the end it's worth it. Lots of French materials that aren't available in the States can be purchased here. Just a tip: don't buy any videos or DVDs, theytypically won't work in American players.
  • TF1 - A newsy variety site based on the French TV channel of the same name. This site furnishes the webcam of Paris, but it also has news, videos (some quite amusing), shopping, and other fun things on it.
  • - Another great entertainment online shopping center. This site won't ship outside of France, but there are more opportunities to sample the music than there are at
  • Académie Française - The official site of the Académie Française, which includes a list of new additions, and an opportunity to buy some of their dictionaries.
  • - The first place to look for lyrics to French songs. In addition, a great place to find ringtones for your cellphone (unfortunately, however, they are not polyphonic).
  • Le site officiel de la Tour Eiffel - This is a super page with everything you'll ever want to see and know about the Eiffel Tower, Paris' biggest and brightest monument. There's galleries, a 360-degree view, games, and practical information about it's inside accomodations.
  • Monum' - Monum' is the center of national monuments of France. You'll find information, pictures, games, and more, about your favorite châteaux and momuments all over France. It's all very nicely put together with your choice of a flash or HTML layout.
  • - This site refers to itself as the portal of French culture. If there's something in France you want to know about from architecture to zoos, it can all be found here.
  • TV5 - This is a great site to learn about French music because there is a full analysis of 100s of popular French songs on this site, with vocabulary, lyrical analysis, and comprehension questions. There are also videos, games, and a plethera of other fun things to look at.
  • Recoins de France - A great site with recipes and tourist information for every region of France! The adorable illustrations are great too!
  • Elysé - The official site of the French government, comparable to our Find out everything you ever wanted to know about President Nicolas Sarkozy and the French government straight from the source.
  • La bande à Sylvain et Lulu - A fun interactive site in French.

Verb Conjugations

Verbs in almost any language are conjugated. They have different forms depending on the subject. Sometimes this is a hard concept for anglophones to grasp because the verb forms in English don't vary much. But in most verbs, it is "I speak" but "he speaks. In French, the forms are more diverse. There are regular verbs and irregular verbs in French just as in English. The three classes of regular verbs are -er, -re, and -ir. The rest are all irregular. All verbs in French end in -er, -ir, -re, -oir, or -oire. Below you will learn how to conjugate regular verbs in the present tense, and some irregular verbs as well. To learn how these verbs work in other tenses, consult the tense topics at right.

regular -er verbs
Example verb: conjuguer, to conjugate

  • Drop the -er from the infinitive.
  • Add the following endings:
    • je: -e (je conjugue=I conjugate)
    • tu: -es (tu conjugues=you conjugate)
    • il/elle/on: -e (il conjugue=he conjugates)
    • nous: -ons (nous conjuguons=we conjugate)
    • vous: -ez (vous conjuguez=you conjugate)
    • ils: -ent (ils conjuguent=they conjugate)

regular -ir verbs

Example verb: choisir, to choose
  • Drop the -ir from the infinitive.
  • Add the following endings:
    • je: -is (je choisis=I choose)
    • tu: -is (tu choisis=you choose)
    • il/elle/on: -it (il choisit=he chooses)
    • nous: -issons (nous choisissons=we choose)
    • vous: -issez (vous choisissez=you choose)
    • ils: -issent (ils choisissent=they choose)

regular -re verbs
Example verb: rendre, to give back
  • Drop the -re from the infinitive.
  • Add the following endings:
    • je: -s (je rends=I give back)
    • tu: -s (tu rends=you give back)
    • il/elle/on: nothing (il rend=he gives back)
    • nous: -ons (nous rendons=we give back)
    • vous: -ez (vous rendez=you give back)
    • ils: -ent (ils rendent=they give back)

Some common irregular verbs

être - to be
je suis=I am
tu es=you are
il est=he is
nous sommes=we are
vous êtes=you are
ils sont=they are

avoir - to have
j'ai=I have
tu as=you have
il a=he has
nous avons=we have
vous avez=we have
ils ont=they have

aller - to go
je vais=I go
tu vas=you go
il va=he goes
nous allons=we go
vous allez=you go
ils vont=they go

faire - to do
je fais=I do
tu fais=you do
il fait=he does
nous faisons=we do
vous faites=you do
ils font=they do

pouvoir - to be able
je peux=I can
tu peux=you can
il peut=he can
nous pouvons=we can
vous pouvez=you can
ils peuvent=they can

mettre - to put (and its compounds)
je mets=I put
tu mets=you put
il met=he puts
nous mettons=we put
vous mettez=you put
ils mettent=they put

vouloir - to want
je veux=I want
tu veux=you want
il veut=he wants
nous voulons=we want
vous voulez=you want
ils veulent=they want

croire - to believe
je crois=I believe
tu crois=you believe
il croit=he believes
nous croyons=we believe
vous croyez=we believe
ils croient=they believe

boire - to drink
je bois=I drink
tu bois=you drink
il boit=he drinks
nous buvons=we drink
vous buvez=you drink
ils boivent=they drink

lire - to read (and its compounds)
je lis=I read
tu lis=you read
il lit=he reads
nous lisons=we read
vous lisez=you read
ils lisent=they read

dire - to say
je dis=I say
tu dis=you say
il dit=he says
nous disons=we say
vous dites=you say
ils disent=they say

voir - to see (and its compounds)
je vois=I see
tu vois=you see
il voit=he sees
nous voyons=we see
vous voyez=you see
ils voient=they see

conduire - to drive
je conduis=I drive
tu conduis=you drive
il conduit=he drives
nous conduisons=we drive
vous conduisez=you drive
ils conduisent=they drive

écrire - to write (and its compounds)
j'écris=I write
tu écris=you write
il écrit=he write
nous écrivons=we write
vous écrivez=we write
ils écrivent=they write

savoir - to know
je sais=I know
tu sais=you know
il sait=he knows
nous savons=we know
vous savez=you know
ils savent=they know

connaître - to know (a person)
je connais=I know
tu connais=you know
il connaît=he knows
nous connaissons=we know
vous connaissez=you know
ils connaissent=they know

prendre - to take (and its compounds)
je prends=I take
tu prends=you take
il prend=he takes
nous prenons=we take
vous prenez=you take
ils prennent=they take

venir - to come (and its compounds)
je viens=I come
tu viens=you come
il vient=he comes
nous venons=we come
vous venez=you come
ils viennent=they come

tenir - to hold (and its compounds)
je tiens=I hold
tu tiens=you hold
il tient=he holds
nous tenons=we hold
vous tenez=you hold
ils tiennent=they hold

Le passé simple / Simple Past

This tense is somewhat rare. Only advanced students should attempt mastering this tense. It is translated just like the passé composé. It is called the passé simple because there is no helping verb. Sometimes it is referred to as the past historic. This tense takes the place of the passé composé in some literature, but it is never used in spoken French. To form it for any regular verbs, drop the -er, -ir, or -re, and the endings are as follows:

regular -er verbs

  • je: -ai
  • tu: -as
  • il/elle/on: -a
  • nous: -ames
  • vous: -âtes
  • ils/elles: -èrent

regular -re and -ir verbs
  • je: -is
  • tu: -is
  • il/elle/on: -it
  • nous: -imes
  • vous: -îtes
  • ils/elles: -irent
For irregular verbs, often times you will take the past participle that you used for the passé composé, and you will have your stem. If the past participle ends in a consonant, drop the final consonant so that the stem ends in a vowel (for example, drop the "t" off of "dit," the past participle of "dire" to get "di" as your stem). Add the following endings:
  • je: -s
  • tu: -s
  • il/elle/on: -t
  • nous: -^mes
  • vous: -^tes
  • ils/elles: -rent
And for those times when the past participle is not the stem, here are some irregular stems for you to memorize (use the same endings for irregular verbs):
  • venir (to come) --> vin-
  • faire (to do) --> fi-
  • mourir (to die) --> mouru-
  • naître (to be born) --> naqui-
  • être (to be) --> fu-
  • voir (to see) --> vi-
  • écrire (to write) --> écrivi-
  • craindre (to fear) --> craigni-
  • ouvrir (to open) --> ouvri-
  • joindre (to join) --> joigni-
  • peindre (to paint) --> peigni-
  • construire (to construct) --> construisi-
  • joindre (to join) --> joigni-
  • vaincre (to conquer) --> vainqui-
  • traduire (to translate) --> traduisi-
  • tenir (to hold) --> tin-
  • souffrir (to suffer) --> souffr-
Here are a few examples of verbs conjugated in the passé simple:

chercher (to look for, to seek)
je cherchai=I sought
tu cherchas=you sought
il chercha=he sought
nous cherchames=we sought
vous cherchâtes=you sought
ils/elles cherchèrent=they sought

attendre (to wait)
j'attendis=I waited
tu attendis=you waited
il/elle/on attendit=he/she/one waited
nous attendimes=we waited
vous attendîtes=you waited
ils/elles attendirent=they waited

tenir (to hold)
je tins=I held
tu tins=you held
il/elle/on tint=he/she/one held
nous tînmes=we held
vous tîntes=you held
ils/elles tinrent=they held

NB: You may see these irregular stems and endings spelled various ways in different text books or sites because there are many different methods of describing them, so just be consistent in adding the adding the endings to the stems the way each individual text or site describes so you conjugate correctly.

Le subjonctif du présent / Present Subjunctive

This is a very hard tense because the subjunctive mood is almost non-existant in English. It is used in French to express doubt or emotion. Here are the most common uses:

  • Informal commands, requests, or recommendations. Examples: He wants that she study (He wants her to study), I recommend that we leave, She ordered that he stay.
  • Talking about something that doesn't exist. Example: I am looking for a person who can answer my question.
  • Expressing doubt or denial. Example: I doubt that they come (I doubt they will come).
  • Expressing emotion. Example: I am happy that you accompany us; my friend is disappointed that he can't join us too.
  • Impersonal expressions. Example: It's important that we avoid this area, It's interesting that he speaks Swahili.
  • There are certain conjunctions or phrases that take the subjunctive after them (see below). A verb in the subjunctive will never appear in a clause without a conjunction unless it is a command (which are not covered on this site).
Most verbs get their subjunctive stem from taking the ils form of the verb and dropping the -ent. For regular -er verbs there is no visible difference between this and the present indicative except in the nous and vous forms. Some verbs, however, have irregular stems, and some verbs conjugate irregularly. Below are the endings that you attach to the stem, followed by some verbs fully conjugated in the present subjunctive, and some stems which stay the same all throughout.
  • je: -e
  • tu: -es
  • il/elle/on: -e
  • nous: -ions
  • vous: -iez
  • ils/elles: -ent
Verbs that conjugate irregularly

prendre - to take (and its compounds)
je prenne, tu prennes, il/elle prenne, nous prenions, vous preniez, ils prennent

être - to be
je sois, tu sois, il soit, nous soyons, vous soyez, ils soient

croire - to believe
je croie, tu croies, il croie, nous croyions, vous croyiez, ils croient

voir - to see
je voie, tu voies, il voie, nous voyions, vous voyiez, ils voient

aller - to go
j'ailles, tu ailles, il ailles, nous allions, vous alliez, ils aillent

avoir - to have
j'aie, tu aies, il ait, nous ayons, vous ayez, ils aient

venir - to come (tenir - to hold done same way)
je vienne, tu viennes, il vienne, nous venions, vous veniez, ils viennent

boire - to drink
je boive, tu boives, il boive, nous buvions, vous buviez, ils boivent

vouloir - to want
je veuille, tu veuilles, il veuille, nous voulions, vous vouliez, ils veuillent

Irregular stems
falloir (to be able) --> il faille (only conjugated in this form)
pouvoir (to be able) --> puiss-
savoir (to know) --> sach-
faire (to make) --> fass-

Conjunctions/phrases that take the subjunctive:
  • quoique (although)
  • falloir que (to be necessary that)
  • bien que (even though)
  • quoi que (whatever)
  • qui que (whoever)
  • avant que (before)
  • afin que (in order that)
  • jusqu'à ce que (until)
Some sentences illustrating common uses of the subjunctive

Je veux que tu viennes avec moi.
I want you to come with me. [lit. I want that you come with me.]

Avant que tu ne fasses ça, viens ici.
Before you do that, come here. [lit. translation]

Qui que tu sois...
Whoever you are... [lit. Who that you be]

J'ai besoin que tu achètes ça.
I need you to buy that. [lit. I need that you buy that]

Je cherche une calculatrice qui marche bien.
I'm looking for a calculator that performs well.

Je regrette que nous ne puissions pas vous accompagner.
I am sorry that we cannot come with you.

Elle doute qu'il entende.
She doubts that he hears.

C'est intéressant qu'il parle Swahili.
It's interesting that he speaks Swahili.

Le conditionnel / Conditional

This tense basically describes and action that would happen, given certain condition. A clause beginning with if followed by a verb in the imperfect usually precedes the clause with the conditional verb. An example in English:

  • If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion.
This tense is very easy to form. You take the future stem of the verb and add the imperfect endings this time. Consult those two pages for help. Here is an example of a verb conjugated in the conditional:

parler (to talk)
je parlerais=I would talk
tu parlerais=you would talk
il/elle/on parlerait=he/she/one would talk
nous parlerions=we would talk
vous parleriez=you would talk
ils/elles parleraient=they would talk

Here's how it can be translated:
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they would [verb].

Le plus-que-parfait de l'indicatif / Pluperfect Indicative

Pluperfect indicative tense is used to express an action that had happened. An example in English:

  • He had gone out.
To form it, you need to be familiar with the imperfect and the passé composé, which you can review on this site. That said, you take the imperfect indicative form of your helping verb (avoir or être), conjugate it to fit your subject, and add the past participle. It's very much like the passé composé, only the helping verb is conjugated in the imperfect instead of the present. Here are some verbs conjugated in the pluperfect indicative:

venir (to come)
j'étais venu=I had come
tu étais venu=you had come
il était venu=he had come
nous étions venus=we had come
vous étiez venus=you had come
ils étaient venus=they had come

se laver (to wash oneself)
je m'étais lavé=I had washed myself
tu t'étais lavé=you had washed yourself
il s'était lavé=he had washed himself
nous nous étions lavés=we had washed ourselves
vous vous étiez lavés=you had washed yourselves
ils s'étaient lavés=they had washed themselves

avoir (to have)
j'avais eu=I had had
tu avais eu=you had had
il avait eu=he had had
nous avions eu=we had had
vous aviez eu=you had had
ils avaient eu=they had had

Here's how it can be translated:
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they had [verb]ed

Le passé composé de l'indicatif / Passé Composé Indicative

The passé composé (literally, the composite past) is used in French to express a completed action. When you are studying other languages, it is sometimes referred to as the perfect tense or the present perfect tense. Some examples in English:

  • I went shopping on Saturday.
  • I have been to France.
  • I did like that movie.
However, now there is a fork in the road as to how to form it. We must now discuss helping verbs and past participles. To form the passé composé in French, you must always have a helping verb, which is not always necessary in English. Most verbs use the helping verb "avoir" (to have). However, verbs having to do with coming and going, as well as reflexive verbs (verbs where the subject and the object are the same) take the verb "être" (to be, but it will not be translated as such when used as a helping verb). A helpful way to remember the most common coming and going verbs that take "être" is DR. & MRS. VANDERTRAMP. Each letter stands for a verb:

  • D: devenir=to become
  • R: rentrer=to return
  • M: mourir=to die
  • R: revenir=to come back
  • S: sortir=to go out
  • V: venir=to come
  • A: aller=to go
  • N: naître=to be born
  • D: descendre=to go down
  • E: entrer=to enter
  • R: retourner=to return
  • T: tomber=to fall
  • R: rester=to stay
  • A: arriver=to arrive
  • M: monter=to go up
  • P: partir=to leave

*Exception: DR. & MRS. VANDERTRAMP take avoir when they have a DIRECT OBJECT after them (not an indirect object).

Now what's a past participle? It's the word that usually means ___ed in English. For regular -er verbs, you drop the -er and add -é (example: passer goes to passé). For regular -ir verbs, you drop the -ir and add -i (example: finir goes to fini). For regular -re verbs, you drop the -re and add -u (example: rendre goes to rendu). For irregular verbs, you just have to memorize them. Here are the most common:
  • aller (to go) --> allé (went, gone) - appears regular
  • apparaître (appear) --> apparu (appeared)
  • atteindre (to reach) --> atteint (reached)
  • avoir (to have) --> eu (had)
  • boire (to drink) --> bu (drank, drinken)
  • conduire (to drive) --> conduit (drove, driven)
  • connaître (to know) --> connu (knew, known)
  • courir (to run) --> couru (ran)
  • couvrir (to cover) --> couvert (covered)
  • croire (to believe) --> cru (believed)
  • découvrir (to discover) --> découvert (discovered)
  • devoir (to have to, to owe) --> dû (had to, owed)
  • dire (to say) --> dit (said)
  • disparaître (to disappear) --> disparu (disappeared)
  • écrire (to write) --> écrit (wrote, written)
  • être (to be) --> été (was, been)
  • faire (to do, to make) --> fait (did, made)
  • joindre (to join) --> joint (joined)
  • lire (to read) --> lu (read)
  • mettre (to put) --> mis (put)
  • mourir (to die) --> mort (died, dead)
  • naître (to be born) --> né (born)
  • offrir (to offer) --> offert (offered)
  • ouvrir (to open) --> ouvert (opened)
  • paraître (to seem, to appear) --> paru (seemed, appeared)
  • prendre (to take) --> pris (took, taken)
  • plaire (to please) --> plu (pleased)
  • pleuvoir (to rain) --> plu (rained)
  • pouvoir (to be able) --> pu (could)
  • reconnaître (to recognize) --> reconnu (recognized)
  • rire (to laugh) --> ri (laughed)
  • savoir (to know) --> su (knew, known)
  • souffrir (to suffer) --> souffert (suffered)
  • sourire (to smile) --> souri (smiled)
  • tenir (to hold) --> tenu (held)
  • valoir (to value) --> valu (valued)
  • venir (to come) --> venu (came)
  • vivre (to live) --> vécu (lived)
  • voir (to see) --> vu (saw, seen)
  • vouloir (to want) --> voulu (wanted)
Now, to form it, you conjugate your helping verb (either avoir or être, depending on the verb), and add the past participle. If the helping verb is être, the past participle acts like an adjective, so it must modify its noun correctly. If it is a girl, add an e. If it is plural girls, add es. If it is plural guys, add s. Here are some examples of verbs conjugated in the passé composé:

venir (to come)
je suis venu=I came
tu es venu=you came
il est venu=he came
nous sommes venus=we came
vous êtes venus=you came
ils sont venus=they came

se laver (to wash oneself)
je me suis lavé=I washed myself
tu t'es lavé=you washed yourself
il s'est lavé=he washed himself
nous nous sommes lavés=we washed ourselves
vous vous êtes lavés=you washed yourselves
ils se sont lavés=they washed themselves

avoir (to have)
j'ai eu=I had
tu as eu=you had
il a eu=he had
nous avons eu=we had
vous avez eu=you had
ils ont eu=they had

Here's how it can be translated:
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they have [verb]ed.
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they [verb]ed.
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they did [verb].
Note: Sometimes the passé composé and the imparfait are both translated the same way, but they are in different contexts. See the imperfect for information.

Le futur / Future

The future tense is used to express an idea that will happen. It's generally a little later in the future than the futur proche, but you shouldn't have trouble with it because it's used just like in English. An example in English:

  • I will do my homework on Sunday.
It is formed by taking the future stem (which we will get to in a moment) and adding the following endings:
  • je: -ai
  • tu: -as
  • il/elle/on: -a
  • nous: -ons
  • vous: -ez
  • ils/elles: -ont
Now, what's the future stem? It is the part of the verb that tells you that it is in the future tense. It is just the infinitive of regular -er and -ir verbs. For regular -re verbs, it is the infinitive without the e on the end. Many other irregular verbs use their infinitive as a future stem, but there is also a plethera of irregular stems. Here are the most common irregular stems. You will notice that all future stems end in r.
  • aller (to go): ir-
  • avoir (to have): aur-
  • devoir (to have to, to owe): devr-
  • être (to be): ser-
  • faire (to do, to make): fer-
  • falloir (to be necessary): faudr-
  • mourir (to die): mourr-
  • pleuvoir (to rain): pleuvr-
  • pouvoir (to be able): pourr-
  • savoir (to know): saur-
  • valoir (to be worth): vaudr-
  • voir (to see): verr-
  • vouloir (to want): voudr-
Here is an example of a verb conjugated in the future tense:

être (to be)
je serai=I will be
tu seras=you will be
il/elle/on sera=he/she/one (we) will be
nous serons=we will be
vous serez=you will be
ils/elles seront=they will be

Here's how it can be translated:
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they will [verb].
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they shall [verb].

Le futur proche / Near Future

Click here for printable version (older edition)

The near future is used to express when you are going to do something (not "will," that is the regular future tense). Do not confuse it with going to a location. You will know it is the futur proche if there is a form of the verb "aller" (to go) in the present tense, followed directly by an infinitive. An example in English:

  • I'm going to watch a movie.
To form it, you take the form of "aller" (to go) that corresponds to your subject (person doing the action), and add an infinitive.
  • je: vais + infinitif
  • tu: vas + infinitif
  • il/elle/on: va + infinitif
  • nous: allons + infinitif
  • vous: allez + infinitif
  • ils/elles: vont + infinitif
Here's how it can be translated:
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they am/are/is going to [verb].
Here is an example of a verb conjugated in the near future:

chanter (to sing)
je vais chanter=I am going to sing
tu vas chanter=you are going to sing
il/elle/on va chanter=he/she/one is going to sing
nous allons chanter=we are going to sing
vous allez chanter=you are going to sing
ils/elles vont chanter=they are going to sing

Note: Another way to express something that is about to happen in both French and English is to use "être sur le point de" (to be about to). Just use the present form of "être" (see verb conjugations) which corresponds to your subject and add "sur le point de" and then an infinitive directly after it. It's very much like the "aller" construction. Constructions expressing the idea of the near future are called peraphrastics.

L'indicatif de l'imparfait / Imperfect Indicative

Click here for printable version (older edition)

Imperfect indicative tense is used to express a repeated action in the past or an interrupted action in the past. Examples in English:

  • I used to play soccer [repeated]
  • I was sleeping when it happened. [interrupted; referring to first verb]
All you do to form it is take the "nous" form of the verb in the present indicative (see verb conjugations) and add the following endings (for être, the only irregular verb in the imperfect, use ét- as the stem)
  • je: -ais
  • tu: -ais
  • il/elle/on: -ait
  • nous: -ions
  • vous: -iez
  • ils/elles: -aient
Here's how it can be translated (sometimes it depends on context):
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they were [verb]ing
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they used to [verb]
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they [verb]ed
There are a few others, but they are very rare. These two are the most common, especially the first one. Do not confuse the last one with the passé composé. Although they are sometimes translated the same into English, they mean two different things.

Here is an example of a verb conjugated in the imperfect:

finir (to finish)
je finissais=I was finishing
tu finissais=you were finishing
il/elle/on finissait=he/she/one was finishing
nous finissions=we were finishing
vous finissiez=you were finishing
ils/elles finissaient=they were finishing

L'indicatif du présent / Present Indicative

Click here for printable version (older edition)

Present indicative tense is used to express an action that happens on a habitual basis or that is happening now. Examples in English:

  • I walk my dog every day [habitual]
  • I'm walking my dog right now. [happening right now]
All the verb conjugations on this site are conjugated in the present indicative tense, so you can refer to Verb Conjugations to see how it is formed. The translations in English are as follows:
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they [verb]
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they are [verb]ing
  • I/you/he/she/it/we/they do [verb]
However, for the second one, a more accurate way to say it is with using en train de plus the infinitive in place of a conjugated verb.

  • Je parle=I talk or I do talk
  • Je suis en train de parler=I am talking

Les fêtes / Holidays

Click here for printable version

Adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form

Vocab Words
Heureuses fêtes=Happy holidays
Joyeuses fêtes=Happy holidays
un jour congé=a day off
un jour férié=a holiday (i.e. a federal holiday, etc.)
La veille de Noël=Christmas Eve
Joyeux Noël=Merry Christmas
le Père Noël=Santa Claus
la cheminée=the chimney
un bonhomme de neige=a snowman
une boule de neige=a snowball
neiger=to snow
il neige=it's snowing
la neige=snow
une bûche de Noël=a yule log
offrir un cadeau à=to give a gift to
recevoir un cadeau de=to receive a gift from
fêter=to celebrate
orner=to decorate
un traîneau=a sleigh
une luge=a sled
être sage=to be good
être méchant=to be naughty
une renne=a reindeer
un daim=a reindeer
le gui=mistletoe
les guirlandes de Noël=tinsel
les lumières=lights
une promenade en traîneau=a sleigh ride
la Carême=Lent
Une carte de voeux=a greeting card
Joyeuse Pâque=Happy Passover
Joyeuses Pâques=Happy Easter
La veille de Toussaint=Halloween (le Halloween can be used as well)
Toussaint=All Saint's Day (also a common last name)
La fête des grâces=Thanksgiving (only celebrated in Canada)
Fête Nationale=Bastille Day (7/14)
Saint Valentin=Valentine's Day
un anniversaire=a birthday
la semaine du français=French week

Useful Expressions

Moi, je reçois des minutes gratuites pour mon portable pendant tous le jours fériés !
I get free cellphone minutes on all federal holidays!

Qu'est-ce que tu as abandonné pour la Carême ?
What did you give up for lent?

Par-dessus la rivière et à travers les bois, c'est vers chez Grand-mère qu'on cingle.
Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go!

Les rennes, savent-elles véritablement voler ?
Do reindeer really know how to fly?

Chaque veille de Noël, les enfants attendent que Père Noël descende la cheminée.
Each Christmas eve, the children wait for Santa to come down the chimney.

Allez, le temps c'est beau pour un tour en traineau avec toi !
Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride (together) with you!

On est allés à Paris pour fêter la Fête Nationale.
We went to Paris to celebrate Bastille Day.

Les heures / Telling Time

Click here for printable version

Note: military time is most often used in Europe. The times from 1:00 PM on are literally 13-24, not 1-12. The time is given how it's said with an English eqivalent, and then how it's written with an English equivalent. In French, the written way is read just as the spoken way.

Vocab Words
une heure=one o'clock (AM)
1h00=1:00 (AM)
deux heures=two o'clock (AM)
2h00=2:00 (AM)
trois heures=three o'clock (AM)
3h00=3:00 (AM)
quatre heures=four o'clock (AM)
4h00=4:00 (AM)
cinq heures=five o'clock (AM)
5h00=5:00 (AM)
six heures=six o'clock (AM)
6h00=6:00 (AM)
sept heures=sept o'clock (AM)
7h00=7:00 (AM)
huit heures=eight o'clock (AM)
8h00=8:00 (AM)
neuf heures=nine o'clock (AM)
9h00=9:00 (AM)
dix heures=ten o'clock (AM)
10h00=10:00 (AM)
onze heures=eleven o'clock (AM)
11h00=11:00 (AM)
douze heures=twelve o'clock (PM)
12h00=12:00 (PM)
treize heures=one o'clock (PM)
13h00=1:00 (PM)
quatorze heures=two o'clock (PM)
14h00=2:00 (PM)
quinze heures=three o'clock (PM)
15h00=3:00 (PM)
seize heures=four o'clock (PM)
16h00=4:00 (PM)
dix-sept heures=five o'clock (PM)
17h00=5:00 (PM)
dix-huit heures=six o'clock (PM)
18h00=6:00 (PM)
dix-neuf heures=seven o'clock (PM)
19h00=7:00 (PM)
vingt heures=eight o'clock (PM)
20h00=8:00 (PM)
vingt et une heures=nine o'clock (PM)
21h00=9:00 (PM)
vingt deux heures=ten o'clock (PM)
22h00=10:00 (PM)
vingt trois heures=eleven o'clock (PM)
23h00=11:00 (PM)
x heures et demi=x:30
onze heures cinq=11:05 AM
quinze heures moins le quart=quarter of three
six heures du matin=6 o'clock in the morning
se lever le matin=to get up in the morning
se coucher la nuit=to go to bed at night
dîner le soir=to have dinner in the evening
quelle heure est-il=what time is it
donner l'heure=to give the time
une minuterie=a timer
une minute=one minute
en retard=late
x minutes de retard=x minutes late
un horloge=a clock
une montre=a watch
le futur=the future
le passé=the past
le présent=the present
l'heure=the hour, the time
A quelle heure=At what time

Useful Expressions

A quelle heure t'es-tu levé ?
What time did you get up?

Je me suis couché à vingt deux heures vingt.
I went to bed at 10:20.

Les horloges étaient vingt minutes de retard.
The clocks were twenty minutes late.

Il était quatre heures du matin...
It was 4 o'clock in the morning... (lyrics to a Céline Dion song in French)

Je suis arrivé en classe en retard.
I arrived to class late.

L'horloge a donné les vingt heures.
The clock struck 8.

A minuit, la calèche se retransforma en une citrouille.
At midnight, the carriage turned itself back into a pumpkin.

Ma montre me dit qu'il est une heure depuis quelques jours !
My watch has been telling me it's one o'clock for several days!

Les temps et les saisons / Weather & the Seasons

Click here for printable version

Adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form

Vocab Words
en hiver=in winter
le printemps=spring
au printemps=in spring
en été=in summer
en automne=in autumn
quel temps fait-il=what's the weather like
faire beau=to be nice out
faire mauvais=to be bad out
pleuvoir=to rain
il pleut=it's raining
neiger=to snow
il neige=it's snowing
grêler=to hail
il grêle=it's hailing
grésiller=to sleet
il grésille=it's sleeting
tomber comme des clous=to be raining cats and dogs (Québec)
la pluie=rain
la neige=snow
le soleil=the sun, sunshine
le vent=the wind
faire du vent=to be windy
faire du soleil=to be sunny
faire gris=to be gloomy out
faire chaud=to be hot out
faire frais=to be cool out
faire froid=to be cold out
éclaircir=to clear up
obscurcir=to get dark
un bonhomme de neige=a snowman
une feuille=a leaf
une boule de neige=a snowball
une congère=a snowbank
geler=to be freezing
il gèle=it's freezing
la température=the temperature
le brouillard=the fog
un orage=a storm
une tempête=a storm
le météo=the weather forecast
les prévisions=the predictions

Useful Expressions

Il neige en hiver.
It snows in winter.

Ma saison préférée, c'est le printemps.
My favorite season is spring.

Il faisait chaud hier.
It was hot out yesterday.

Il pleuvra probablement demain.
It will probably rain tomorrow.

Tu as vu les prévisions ? Qu'est-ce qu'on a dit ?
Did you see the predictions? What did they say?

Je regarde le météo à 18h chaque soir.
I watch the weather forecast at 6 o'clock every night.

Vive le vent d'hiver !
Hooray for the winter wind! (French Christmas song to the tune of "Jingle Bells")

La température se mesure en Celcius en France.
The temperature is measured in Celcius in France.

Enfin, il a éclairci un peu.
At last, it cleared up a bit.

Les sports et le loisir / Sports & Leisure

Click here for printable version

Adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form

Vocab Words
s'amuser=to have fun
le divertissement=entertainment
jouer à un sport=to play a sport
faire du jogging=to go jogging
faire du body-building=to work out
patiner=to skate
la patinoire=the skating rink
pratiquer un sport=to take part in a sport
courir=to run
nager=to swim
faire de la natation=to go swimming, to do swimming
ramer=to row
faire de l'aviron=to do crew
le basket-ball=basketball
le base-ball=baseball
le foot=soccer (they also say "le football")
le football américain=football
marquer un but=to score a goal
la foule=the crowd
un/une athlète=an athlete
le tennis=tennis
des baskets=sneakers
le hockey=hockey
le hockey sur gazon=field hockey
le hockey sur glace=ice hockey
gagner=to win
un gagnant=a winner
perdre=to lose
une course=a race
siffler=to whistle
pratiquer=to practice
danser=to dance
voltiger=to do acrobatics
un match=a game
assister à= to attend

Useful Epxressions

Ce week-end j'ai assisté à un match de hockey.
This weeked I went to a hockey game.

La foule s'est passionnée quand le joueur a marqué un but.
The crowd got excited when the player scored a goal.

Ils ont fait du jogging ce matin pour user de l'énergie.
They went jogging this morning to use up some energy.

Tu t'amuses quand tu pratiques ton sport préféré ?
Do you have fun when you play your favorite sport?

Ma soeur est athlète, elle est très sportive.
My sister's an athlete, she's very athletic.

Qui a gagné la course ?
Who won the race?

Ça me plaît de faire de la natation.
I love going swimming.

Elle est tombée sur la patinoire.
She fell on the ice rink.

La politique et le gouvernement / Politics & Government

All adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form.

Vocab Words
la politique = politics
le président = president
le premier ministre = prime minister
voter = to vote
une manifestation = a riot, a protest
l'économie = economy
la guerre = war
la paix = peace
le poste = the office, the position
les affaires étrangers = foreign affairs
le gouvernement = the government
la loi = the law
conservatif/conservative = conservative
libéral/libérale = liberal
le socialisme = socialism
le capitalisme = capitalism
le communisme = communism
la démocratie = democracie
les Nations unies = the United Nations
l'Union européenne = the European Union
la République = the republic
le parlement = the parliament
les élections = the elections (f.)
élire = to elect
l'armée = the army
la marine = the navy
l'armée de l'air = the air force
la cinquième république = the 5th republic (the French government)
le sénat = the senate
la législature = the legislature
soutenir = to support
un parti = a party (political)
une administration = an administration
un débat = a debate
le budget = the budget
actuel/actuelle = current
fiscal/fiscale = fiscal
social/sociale = social
un candidate/une candidate = a candidate
une campagne politique = a political campaign

Useful expressions

Nicolas Sarkozy est le président actuel de la République française.
Nicolas Sarkozy is the current president of the French Republic.

Ségolène Royal était le candidat socialiste pour la présidencie française en 2006.
Ségolène Royal was the socialist candidate for the French presidency in 2006.

Quel parti politique est-ce que tu soutiens ?
What political party do you support?

L'âge de voter est dix-huit ans en France et aux Etats-Unis.
The voting age is 18 in France and in the United States.

François Fillon est le premier ministre actuel de la cinquième république.
François Fillon is the current prime minister of the fifth republic.

On a annoncé les résultats de l'élection.
They have announced the results of the election.

Dominique de Villepin était le premier ministre de la France pendant les manifestations du CPE.
Dominique de Villepin was the French prime minister during the CPE riots.

Le langage des affaires / Business Lingo

All adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form.

Vocab Words
un homme d'affaires = a businessman
une femme d'affaires = a businesswoman
le bureau = the office, the desk
un collègue = a colleague
une société = a company
une réunion = a meeting
un chèque = a check
l'argent = money
endosser = to endorse
l'économie = economy
un entrepreneur = an entrepreneur
en vrac = in bulk
un créancier = a creditor
les affaires = business
investir = to invest
payer = to pay
rembourser = to refund, to reimburse
un réseau = a network
l'ordinateur = the computer
un client/une cliente = a customer
une échéance = an expiry
un associé/une associée = a partner
le propriétaire = the owner
expédier = to ship
la Bourse = the stock market
prendre la direction = to take over
une facture = an invoice
le salaire = the salary, the wage
un comptable = an accountant
l'actif = assets
le passif = liabilities
une fusion = a merger
fusionner = to merge
un bilan = a balance sheet
la comptabilité = bookkeeping
le consomatteur = the consumer
le patron = the boss
un rabais = a rebate
les frais = fees

Useful Expressions

Cingular et AT&T ont fusionné.
Cingular and AT&T have merged.

J'ai envoyé mon coupon de rabais, mais je n'ai pas reçu le chèque.
I sent my rebate coupon, but I haven't reveived the check.

Il faut discuter de l'actif et du passif de ce client.
We must discuss the assets and liabilities of this client.

L'ordinateur a aidé à améliorer les affaires mondiaux.
The computer has helped improve global business.

Son patron va hausser son salaire.
Her boss is going to raise her salary.

Ma nouvelle collègue a pris la direction de la comptabilité.
My new colleague has taken over the bookkeeping.

La couture et le shopping / Fashion & Shopping

Whether you're trying to translate your Printemps pamphlet or you plan on making a French fashion excursion soon, these words are a must.
Click here for printable version

Adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form

Vocab Words
le centre commercial=the mall
une boutique=a store
une librairie=a bookstore
les vêtements=clothing
une chemise=a shirt
un chemisier=a blouse
un blouson=a jacket
des chaussures=shoes
des chaussettes=socks
une ceinture=a belt
un pantalon=pants
une cravate=a tie
un jean=jeans
des bottes (f.)=boots
une montre=a watch
acheter=to buy
un achat=a purchase
sauver = to save
en solde=on sale
une solde=a sale
faire du shopping en ligne=to go shopping online
un livre=a book
un CD=a CD
un DVD=a DVD
un lecteur CD=a CD player
un lecteur DVD=a DVD player
une vidéo=a video
une magnétoscope=a VCR
une revue=a magazine
la mode=style
la couture=fashion
un couturier=a fashion designer
un sac=a bag
le parfum=perfume
le prix=the price
un cadeau=a gift
une carte=a card
un jouet=a toy
une poupée=a doll
un client=a customer
des appareils=appliances
le reçu = the receipt

Useful Expressions

On est allées au centre commercial hier pour acheter des vêtements.
We went to the mall yesterday to buy clothes.

As-tu acheté l'édition actuelle de Vogue ?
Did you buy the current edition of Vogue?

J'ai choisi un cadeau de Noël pour mon père, c'est une cravate.
I chose a Christmas present for my dad, it's a tie.

Mon frère cadet a désiré chaque jouet qu'il a vu.
My little brother wanted every toy he saw.

Je lui ai acheté un CD pour son anniversaire.
I bought him a CD for his birthday. offrait la livraison gratuite pour les achats en ligne ! was offering free delivery for purchases online!

Les contes de fées / Fairy Tales

Click here for printable version

Adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form

Vocab Words
une fée=a fairy
une fée marraine=a fairy godmother
il était une fois=once upon a time
fin=the end
rêver=to dream
songer=to think, to dream
rêvasser=to daydream
une princesse=a princesse
un prince=a prince
un roi=a king
une reine=a queen
un royaume=a kingdom
un palais=a palace
un château=a castle
un monstre=a monster
un démon=a demon
un dragon= a dragon
une bête=a beast
une sorcière=a witch
jeter un sort=to cast a spell
un sortilège=a magic spell
tomber amoureux/amoureuse de=to fall in love with
une malédiction=a curse
un lutin=an imp
un nain=a dwarf
Blanche Neige=Snow White
La belle au bois dormant=Sleeping Beauty
La petite sirène=The Little Mermaid
La belle et la bête=Beauty and the Beast
la magie=magic
il y a longtemps=long ago

Useful Expressions

Belle est tombée amoureuse de la bête, et elle a cassé le sortilège.
Belle fell in love with the beast, and she broke the spell.

La sorcière maligne a jeté un sort à la jeune fille, et elle s'est endormie.
The evil witch cast a spell on the young girl, and she fell asleep.

Le dragon géant poursuivit les enfants autour du palais.
The giant dragon chased the children around the palace.

Cendrillon et son prince charmant se sont mariés et ils ont vécu heureusement pour toujours.
Cinderella and her prince charming got married and lived happily ever after.

Le domestique songeait d'échapper aux tâches quotidiennes horribles de sa vie.
The maid dreamed of escaping the horrible daily chores of her life.

Blanche Neige et sa belle-mère n'avait pas trop de bonnes relations !
Snow White and her stepmother didn't get along very well!

La petite sirène désirait devenir humaine pour être avec son amour, Eric.
The little mermaid wanted to become human to be with her love, Eric.

Dans une voiture / In a Car

Click here for printable version

Adjectives are given in masculine/feminine form

Vocab Words
une bagnole=car, whip (slang)
une portière=a (car) door
un rétroviseur=a driving mirror
un siège=a seat
une vitrine=a window
la radio=the radio
une borne=a milestone
un lecteur CD=a CD player
le siège arrière=the backseat
conduire=to drive
un permis de conduire=a driver's license
garer=to park
se stationner=to park
un parcomètre=a parking meter
une roue=a wheel
un pneu=a tire
une ceinture de sécurité=a seatbelt
une station service=a gas station
l'essence=the gas
un pompiste=a gas station attendant
changer de pneu=to change a tire
une bougie=a sparkplug (can also mean candle)
le coffre=the trunk (can also mean coffin)
s'arrêter=to stop
un arrêt=a stop
un feu=a traffic light (can also mean fire)
le parking=the parking lot
un motard=a motorcycle policeman
un flic=a cop
surveiller=to survey
l'autoroute=the highway
un chauffard=a speedster
du caoutchouc=rubber
la voie=the path
arriver=to arrive
voyager=to travel
en voiture=by car
le trafic=traffic
la circulation=traffic
la sens=direction
suivre=to follow
la route=the road
la limite de vitesse=the speed limit
un cendrier=an ashtray
un conducteur=a male driver
une conductrice=a female driver

Useful Expressions

Le flic a arrêté un chauffard sur la route.
The cop arrested the speedster on the road.

Il ne faut jamais dépasser la limite de vitesse !
One must never excede the speed limit!

On s'est stationnés au parking.
We parked in the parking lot.

C'est une bagnole branchée que tu viens d'acheter !
That's a hip car you just bought!

L'essence n'a pas suffi pour nous emmener à Paris.
The gas wasn't enough to get us to Paris.

On a mis "Cette vie nouvelle" de Priscilla dans le lecteur CD.
We put "Cette vie nouvelle" by Priscilla in the CD player.

Ferme la portière, s'il te plaît !
Close the door, please!

Malheureusement, notre parcomètre s'est épuisé.
Unfortunately, our parking meter expired.

Les animaux / Animals

Click here for printable version (Older edition)

Click on the speaker to here the word or phrase pronounced.

General Vocabulary
les animaux=animals
une mammifière=a mammal
ramper=to crawl
marcher=to walk
se faufiler=to sneak
filer=to scoot
grimper=to climb
se cacher=to hide

Les animaux de campagne / Pets
un chat=a cat
un chien=a dog
un poisson=a fish
un lapin=a rabbit
un bocal=a fish bowl
un chiot=a puppy
un chaton=a kitten
aboyer=to bark

Les animaux de la ferme / Farm Animals
une vache=a cow
un cochon=a pig
un cheval=a horse
un canard=a duck
le coin-coin=quack
cancaner=to quack

Les oiseaux /Birds
un hibou=an owl
une caille=a quail
un aigle=an eagle
un cygne=a swan
l'autruche (f)=ostrich

Les animaux sauvages / Wild Animals
un guépard=a cheetah
un renard=a fox
apprivoiser=to tame
féroce=fierce, ferocious
véloce=swift, fast
une giraffe=a giraffe
un tigre=a tiger
un ours=a bear
un lion=a lion
une lionne=a lionness
un ourson=a cub
un dindon=a turkey
une dinde=a turkey (female)
le glouglou=the gobbling sound of a turkey
une poule=a hen
un poulet=a chicken
un coq=a rooster
un éléphant=an elephant
un âne=a donkey
une mule=a mule
un singe=a monkey

Les amphibies et les reptiles / Amphibians & Reptiles
une grenouille=a frog
une tortue=a turtle
un lézard=a lizard
un dinosaure=a dinosaur
un crapaud=a toad
un serpent=a snake
un crocodile=a crocodile
un iguane=an iguana
l'alligator=an alligator

Les créatures de la mer / Sea Creatures
une baleine=a whale
un homard=a lobster
un dauphin=a dolphin
une crustace=a crustacean
une limace=a leech
nager=to swim
une pieuvre=an octopus
un crabe=a crab

Les rongeurs / Rodents
une marmotte=a groundhog
un écureuil=a squirrel
un castor=a beaver
un rat= a rat
une souris=a mouse

Useful Expressions

Un canard fait coin-coin!
A duck goes quack-quack!

Le renard vite et brun a sauté par-dessus le chien paresseux.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. [Not actually used in typing tests]

Le chien a aboyé au facteur.
The dog barked at the mailman.

Un chat, c'est un genre de mammifière.
A cat is a type of mammal.

Le jour de la marmotte, c'est le 2 février.
Groundhog's day is February 2.

Le chaton apeuré a grimpé l'arbre.
The scared cat climbed up the tree.

Camille Sait-Saëns a écrit une composition entitulée «Le carnaval des animaux».
Camille Saint-Saëns wrote a composition entitled "The Carnival of the Animals."

Hier j'ai sorti mon chien pour une promenade.
Yesterday, I took my dog out for a walk.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...