How the French See It

One way to improve your understanding of the French language and culture is to watch coverage of world news in French. It's a great way to get a different perspective on something with which you are already familiar. You might hear references to things you haven't heard of before or discover the French (or the Canadians, or the Swiss, or the Belgians, etc.) see the issue quite differently than the citizens of your home country.

As an American, I am always surprised to see that election coverage here is covered as extensively as it is worldwide, and that it certainly qualifies as world news. It's quite interesting to watch other countries weigh in on the subject. Here's an interesting video, broadcast recently in light of the Olympics, about how to be understood in Beijing.


Comment se faire comprendre à Pékin?
Uploaded by FRANCE_24

France 24's Dailymotion channel (click link above) has an English and French version of most of its videos, so if you missed the gist or even a word or two, you can watch the English edition as well.

Social Networking for Frenchies

It took me a long time to get on the social networking bandwagon, but now that I am on it I can't stop! Most social networks are open to anyone in the world to join but generally use an English-language interface. There are, however, social networks geared at French-speakers specifically, and even a social network geared towards Francophiles like you (presumably) and I! Before you make your foray into the "réseaux sociaux," though, you'll want to brush up on some key vocabulary - click on the speaker to hear the word spoken (further down is a list of French social networks):


Are You a "Fan" of the French Corner?

Today I created a Facebook fan page for the French Corner. If you use Facebook you can show your support of the blog there! Once there are some fans I will add more to the page and make it worth your while!

Le divertissement / Entertainment

Vocab Words

Puy du Fou: Historic French Amusement Park

If you are planning a trip to France or live in France and are searching for a great place to take the family or yourself, head to Puy du Fou, located in the department of Vendée in Northern France (right on the Atlantic Ocean), in the region of Pays de la Loire. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. Puy du Fou is an historical amusement park which features an onsite 3-star hotel, a nighttime show called "Cinéscénie," and mini villages depicting various periods of French history. If you're a teacher, the park's website comes equipped with 4 pre-visitation guides (in French) for students to work on before visiting Puy du Fou. I would love to take my future students here! If you have ever visited this park I would love to hear what you thought of it!

La santé et la maladie / Health & Sickness

Vocab Words

La routine quotidienne / The Daily Routine
se réveiller=to wake up
se lever=to get up
se coucher=to go to bed
s'endormir=to fall asleep
se laver=to wash oneself
se baigner=to bathe
prendre un bain=to take a bath
prendre une douche=to take a shower
une baignoire=a bathtub
se brosser les dents=to brush one's teeth
la dentifrice=toothpaste
se brosser les cheveux=to brush one's hair
se peigner les cheveux=to comb one's hair
s'habiller=to get dressed
les vêtements=clothes
les sous-vêtements=underwear
un pyjama=pajamas
faire sa toilette=to ready oneself (in the morning)
se maquiller=to put on makeup
le maquillage=makeup

Chez le médecin / At the Doctor's
un rendez-vous=an appointment
une maladie=a sickness
ausculter=to listen with a stethescope
prescrire=to prescribe
des médicaments=medicine
des pilules=pills
une piqûre=a shot
guérir=to heal
avoir mal à la tête=to have a headache
j'ai mal à....=my ___ hurts
la grippe=the flu
avoir de la fièvre=to have a fever
malade=sick
éternuer=to sneeze
Atchoum !=Atchoo!
tousser=to cough
vomir=to vomit
être enrhumé(e)=to have a cold
la pharmacie=the pharmacy

A l'hôpital / At the Hospital

une ambulance=an ambulance
un cas d'urgence=an emergency
la salle d'attente=the waiting room
enceinte=pregnant
accoucher=to give birth
se faire blesser=to get wounded, injured
une blessure=a wound, an injry
se casser=to break (a part of the body)
enflé(e)=swollen
se fouler la cheville=to sprain one's ankle
un accident=an accident
un plâtre=a cast
des béquilles=crutches
un fauteuil roulant=a wheelchair
une écharpe=a sling
le service de soins intensifs=intensive care unit
un infirmier=a nurse (m)
une infirmière=a nurse (f)

Pronouns & Articles

Pronouns take the place of nouns, and articles indicate what type of reference is being made to the noun. Some examples of pronouns in English: he, him, it, that, mine, us, they. Some examples of articles in English: the, some, our, their, my, several. You won't ever see articles and pronouns being used together, but I grouped them together on this page because several of the categories have very similar corresponding vocabulary, and I feel it's less confusing to learn them together. If you're a little confused, not to worry. Once we explore the different types of pronouns and articles you'll be on the right track.

Definite ArticlesThere are no definite pronouns, but definite articles are generally the first ones you learn, even if you aren't aware that's what they're called. The only definite article in English is "the." In French, however, there are 4 definite articles (all of which mean "the") that correspond to the gender and number (single or plural) of the noun they modify.

  • le - when the noun is masculine singular
  • la - when the noun is feminine singular
  • les - when the noun is masculine plural
  • l' - when the noun is singular and begins with a vowel or vowel sound (soft h)

Indefinite & Partitive Articles, Adjectives and PronounsIndefinite articles describe a noun that isn't specifically being referred to. In English indefinite articles are: a, an, some, several, much, many, little, few, any, all, no. In French, the indefinite articles are those below which mean "a, an" or "some." Partitive articles use the word "de" (of) to indicate "some." The rest of the words are considered indefinite adjectives but their function is the same. See further below for indefinite pronouns.
  • un - a, an (when the noun is masculine singular)
  • une - a, an (when the noun is feminine singular)
  • des - some
  • de - of, from
  • du - some (an indefinite amount of a singular quantity, eg "some milk, some water") (example: du rosbif=some roast beef)
  • de la - some (when the noun is feminine) (example: de la laitue=some lettuce)
  • de l' - some (when the noun starts with a vowel sound) (example: de l'eau=some water)
  • beaucoup de - much
  • plusieurs - several
  • quelques - some, any
  • peu de - few
  • aucun/aucune - no (quanitity)
  • tout/toute - all
  • tous/toutes - all (plural)
  • chaque - each (used for masculine and feminine)
  • autre - another
  • autres - other
When many of the above articles and adjectives stand alone (meaning they do not modify a noun), they become indefinite pronouns. Some of them need an entirely different form however. Let's get to know the indefinite pronouns (you'll notice the translation is essentially the same):
  • un - one
  • en - some (goes before a verb) (example: j'en voudrais=I would like some)
  • beaucoup - much, a lot, many
  • quelque chose - something
  • quelqu'un - someone
  • peu - a little
  • personne - no one, nobody
  • aucun - none
  • rien - nothing
  • tout - everything
  • tout le monde - everyone
  • un(e) autre - another (one)
  • autres - others

Subject Pronouns
And now for a group of pronouns that have no corresponding set of articles. Subject pronouns are the most common, and, as the title would suggest, they replace the subject of a clause (the doer of the action), when the subject is a person. In English they are: I, you, he, she, it, we, they.
  • je - I
  • tu - you (singular, friendly)
  • il - he
  • elle - she
  • on - can be used to mean "you" in general or "one"
  • nous - we (masculine or mixed)
  • vous - you (plural, singular formal)
  • ils - they (masculine or mixed)
  • elles - they (all feminine)

Direct Object Pronouns
Just as subject pronouns replace the subject of a clause, object pronouns replace the direct object in a clause. Assuming there's a possibility you don't know what a direct object is, I'm going to explain that to you now. A direct object receives the action in a clause (which the subject does the action). If the object as a "to" in front of it in English, then it is probably an indirect object, so don't confuse these (see below for indirect object pronouns).
NB:
Direct object pronouns in French, unlike in English, go BEFORE the verb. An example: "Yo lo tengo" means "I have it." If a pronoun that ends in an vowel precedes a verb that begins with a vowel, the vowel will be removed from the pronoun and replaced with an apostrophe (example: Je t'aime=I love you). Also, in the case of the direct object in the passé composé, the past participle must agree in gender and number with the direct object (example: Nous les avons vues [les filles]=We saw them [the girls].)
  • me - me (example: Marie m'invite=Marie invites me)
  • te - you (example: Ils te comprennent=They understand you)
  • le - him, it (example: Jean le regarde=Juan watches him/it)
  • la - her, it (example: Sandrine la voit=Cara sees her)
  • nous - us (example:Il nous a rencontrés =He/she met us)
  • vous - you (example: Je vous aide=I help you)
  • les - them (example: Je les connais=I know them)

Indirect Object PronounsThe concept of indirect object pronouns is a hard one to grasp, because in English they often look like direct object pronouns. Basically an indirect object receives the action, but there is a "to" (sometimes a "for") in front of it. A clause can have both a direct and indirect object. An example in English: I bought the gift for her (gift is the direct object, her is the indirect object). Some of the words look identical to the direct object pronouns, but they have a different meaning.NB: Indirect object pronouns in French, unlike in English, go BEFORE the verb.
  • me - to/for me (example: Alice m'a donné un cadeau=Alice gave [to] me a gift)
  • te - to/for you (example: Je te dirai quelque chose=I will tell [to] you something)
  • lui - to/for him/her (example: Nous lui parle=We talk to him/her)
  • nous - to/for us (example: Il nous a donné le devoir=He/she gave [to] us the homework)
  • vous - to/for you (example: Elle vous téléphone=She calls [to] you)
  • leur - to/for them (example: Je leur ai acheté=I bought [for] them a book)

Independent Pronouns
Prepositional pronouns come after prepositions or are used for emphasis (eg Moi, j'aime les fruits=Me, I like fruit). Review the Prepositions page if you are unfamiliar with this term. Unlike direct object or indirect object pronouns, the prepositional pronouns go right after the preposition, just as in English. An example in English is "He came with me to the party," where "me" is a prepositional pronoun.
  • moi - me
  • toi - you
  • lui - him
  • elle - her
  • nous - us
  • vous - you
  • eux - them (masculine or mixed)
  • elles - them (feminine)

Demonstrative Pronouns and AdjectivesDemonstrative indicate "this, that, these, those." Demonstrative pronouns stand alone ("I like this") and demonstrative adjective act as articles ("I like this book, etc."). Here are the demonstrative adjectives (remember, they need a noun to follow them):
  • ce - this, that (m.s.)
  • cet - this, that (m.s., before a vowel)
  • cette - this, that (f.s.)
  • ces - these, those
How do you know whether it means this or that? Often the French will add a "-ci" on the end of the word to indicate that it means this or these (example: ce chemisier-ci=this blouse) or "-là" to indicate that it means that or those (example: ces choses-là=those things)

And now for the demonstrative pronouns (remember, these stand alone and should not have a noun after them):
  • ceci=this
  • cela=that
  • ça=this, that, it (more informal, more common)
  • ce=this, that, these, those (only as a subject)
  • celui-ci=this one (m.s.)
  • celle-ci=this one (f.s.)
  • ceux-ci=these ones (m.pl.)
  • celles-ci=these ones (f.pl.)
  • celui-là=that one (m.s.)
  • celle-là=that one (f.s.)
  • ceux-là=those ones (m.pl.)
  • celles-là=those ones (f.pl.)

Possessive Pronouns & AdjectivesPossessive pronouns and adjectives are used to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. Here are the possessive adjectives (which agree in gender and number with the noun they precede):
  • mon=my (m.s.)
  • ma=my (f.s.)
  • mes=my (pl.)
  • ton=your (m.s.)
  • ta=your (f.s.)
  • tes=your (pl.)
  • son=his/her (m.s.)
  • sa=his/her (f.s.)
  • ses=his/her (pl.)
  • notre=our (s.)
  • nos=our (pl.)
  • votre=your (s.)
  • vos=your (pl.)
And the possessive pronouns:
  • le mien=mine (m.s.)
  • la mienne=mine (f.s.)
  • les miens=mine (m.pl.)
  • les miennes=mine (f.pl.)
  • le tien=yours (m.s.)
  • la tienne=yours (f.s.)
  • les tiens=yours (m.pl.)
  • les tiennes=yours (f.pl.)
  • le sien=his/hers (m.s.)
  • la sienne=his/hers (f.s.)
  • les siens=his/hers (m.pl.)
  • les siennes=his/hers (f.pl.)
  • le/la nôtre=ours (s.)
  • les nôtre=ours (pl.)
  • las nuestras=ours (f.pl.)
  • le/la vôtre=yours (s.)
  • les vôtres=yours (pl.)

Reflexive PronounsReflexive pronouns are used if the subject is doing something to itself. They are used in place of direct object or indirect object pronouns and go before the verb as well. An example: Je me lave=I wash myself.
  • me=myself
  • te=yourself
  • se=himself/herself/themselves
  • nous=ourselves
  • vous=yourselves

Relative PronounsRelative pronouns only appear in subordinate clauses, clauses that cannot stand alone in a sentence (eg "which I like"). They mean "who, that, which, whom, etc." These are the most common relative pronouns:
  • qui=who, that, which (subject) (example: Le prof qui m'a enseigné le français=The teacher who/that/which taught me French)
  • que=whom/that/which (object) (example:Le repas que j'ai préparé=The meal that I prepared)
  • où=where (example: L'endroit où j'habitais=The place where I used to live)
  • dont=whose, of which (example: L'élève dont les notes n'étaient pas bonnes=The student whose grades were not good)

Interrogative Pronouns and AdjectivesInterrogative pronouns and adjectives are very similar to relative pronouns except they ask a question, they can appear in any type of clause. Interrogative pronouns and adjectives are generally all lumped together in one category:
  • qui=who
  • quoi=what
  • quel(s)/quelle(s)=what, which
  • lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelles=which one(s)
  • combien (de)=how much/many
  • quand=when
  • comment=how

Order of Pronouns
Sometimes you'll have a sentence with many different pronouns and you'll wonder what order to put them in. Well, order does matter, moreso than in English in this case. Remember this order when combining any of these parts:
  • Subject pronoun - indirect object pronoun (UNLESS it's lui or leur) - direct object pronoun - indirect object pronoun (ONLY if it's lui or leur) - en - y (there) - verb - prepositional phrase

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