Leçon 1 - Introduction
If you have been here before and know where you want to go, select from the following options. If you are new here, start at the beginning and scroll through the lesson.
Read through the following discussions, listen to the accompanying tape, and do each exercise. After completing an exercise, check the answer page, and contact me if you have any questions or problems.
After a series of exercises, you will have a homework assignment to complete and send to me.
The French command form (the imperative) is much like the command form in English. When we are talking to someone, we don't say "You speak" as a command. We simply say "Speak". In French we don't say "Vous allez" as a command. We say "Allez". Note, however, that the verb ends in -ez which is the ending of the vous form of the verb. So, we don't use vous in the command, but we do use the vous form of the verb.
Click on the English equivalents link below to see a collection of French commands. Then submit exercise 10 as a homework assignment. Obviously you already have the answers, so the major objective here is to learn the command forms well, not just copy them and send them in.
On an exam, you will be expected to translate the English command forms into French.
Welcome to a new verb, avoir, which means to have. Study the follwoing conjugation of the verb avoir and commit it to memory.
I have. = J'ai. -- (Notice that the je contracts to j' preceding a vowel.)
You (familiar) have. = Tu as.
He has. = Il a. -- (Again, il, elle, and on will always have the same verb form .)
She has. = Elle a.
One has. = On a.
We have. = Nous avons. -- (The -ons ending is the normal ending for the nous verb form. Nous sommes is the only exception.)
You (formal or plural) have. = Vous avez. -- (The vous form of the verb will almost always take the -ez ending. You will encounter only three verbs this semester whose vous forms do not end in -ez. You have already had Vous êtes.)
They (masc.) have. = Ils ont. -- (And, of course, the ils and elles forms of the verb will be the same.)
They (fem.) have. = Elles ont.
Now review the verbs être and aller, and click below for a verb review worksheet. On this page you will use the verb être to indicate that the person mentioned is a student, the verb aller to indicate that the person is going to class, and the verb avoir to indicate that the person has a book. I have done the je form for you as an example. This page might also appear as an exam page.
11.b Dans mon université.
Now let's do an exercise to practice the verb avoir. Place the correct form of avoir in each blank, and then give me the English equivalent of your French sentences. Consult the following vocabulary list as needed.
Vocabulary to note:
dans = in, into
11c. Qu'est-ce que tu as?
Here's another exercise for practice with the verb avoir. Once again, put the correct form in the blank, and tell me what the sentence means.
Que (qu') = what
***Homework assignment number 4. Write the French equivalent of the sentences based on sections 10 through 11c, and send you me your results. Feel free to look up anything you need.
This section is extremely important because it introduces us to a regular -er verb. The verbs we have encountered thus far (aller, être, avoir) are irregular verbs. Each form of the verb must be memorized. There is little pattern. Most verbs are regular, however. They follow a specific pattern of endings. And most of the regular verbs are -er verbs, so the pattern we learn with the verb aimer will be used with hundreds of other verbs.
The form aimer is what we call the infinitive, the to like form of the verb. It is not used with the various subject pronouns. Each subject pronoun will require a specific verb ending. The set of endings attached to the verb stem aim- is the conjugation of the verb, and we always have the same conjugation with regular -er verbs. Note the conjugation chart for the verb aimer in the handout.
In regular -er verbs
Je always takes the -e ending. --- J'aime.
When is the infinitive used then? The infinitive is used as a second verb following the conjugated verb. In this section, we will use it following the verb aimer to indicate what people like to do. It is also frequently used after the verb aller to indicate what people are going to do.
Je vais parler français. = I am going to speak French.
Study my explanation carefully, listen to the tape, and complete exercises exercises 12a, 12b, and 12c.
12a. Préférences et activités favorites
Now let's practice the verb aimer. Replace the blanks with the correct form of the verb aimer. And again, I'm looking for the English equivalent.
Exercise 12a vocabulary items:
quel / quelle = what, which
12b. Le dimanche matin
Same game. In this exercise you will replace the blanks with the correct form of the verb aimer. Then how about some English equivalents.
Exercise 12b vocabulary:
Il parle. = He speaks, talks
12c. Passe-temps préférés
This one is going to be trickier. Using what you have already learned and the following vocabulary items, write the French equivalent of the English sentences. Use the formal in each case.
Exercise 12c vocabulary:
On pose des questions. = One asks questions.
Study the vocabulary for the various family members and complete the Famille assignment sheet.
***Homework assignment number 5. Write the French equivalent of the sentences based on sections 12a through 13, and send you me your results. Feel free to look up anything you need.
Ah! Once again we are plagued by the gender situation in French. Just as we had different words for the articles (the, a, an, some) for masculine, feminine, and plural nouns, we also have different words for the possessive adjectives (my, your, his, her, our, their). For some possessive adjectives, there are three different French words; for others there are two.
Mon is used with masculine singular nouns and feminine singular nouns starting with a vowel. -- Mon père.. Mon amie.
Ma is used with feminine singular nouns starting with a consonant. -- Ma mère
Mes is used with all plural nouns. -- Mes parents. Mes amis.
Your (familiar)(same pattern as mon, ma, mes)
Ton is used with masculine nouns and feminine nouns starting with a vowel. -- Ton père. Ton amie.
Ta is used with feminine nouns starting with a consonant. -- Ta mère.
Tes is used with all plural nouns. -- Tes parents.
His/Her(French uses the same word for his and her. Context will tell you which it will be in English.) -- (Again, same pattern as mon, ma, mes)
Son is used with masculine nouns and feminine nouns starting with a vowel. -- Son père (could be either his or her father). Son amie (could be either his or her female friend)
Sa is used with feminine nouns starting with a consonant. -- Sa mère (could be either his or her motther)
Ses is used with plural nouns. -- Ses parents. (could be either his or her parents)
Notre is used with all singular nouns, both masculine and feminine. -- Notre père. Notre amie. Notre mère.
Nos is used with plural nouns. -- Nos parents. Nos amis.
Your (formal or plural)
Votre is used with all singular nouns, both masculine and feminine. -- Votre père. Votre amie. Votre mère.
Vos is used with plural nouns. -- Vos parents. Vos amis.
Leur is used with all singular nouns, both masculine and feminine. -- Leur père. Leur amie. Leur mère.
Leurs is used with plural nouns. -- Leurs parents. Leurs amis.
Exercise 14a. -- En famille
You have already encountered most of the vocabulary used in exercise 14a, but let me call your attention to the following:
comment = how (Notice that when comment is used with the verb être, it is asking what someone or something is like.)
Exercise 14b. Dans la classe de français.
We have also already seen most of the exercise 14b vocabulary, but note the following:
Elle donne. = She gives.
Exercise 14c. -- Une nouvelle amie
There are only a few new vocabulary items in exercise 14c.
nouveau/nouvelle = new
***Homework assignment number 6. Write the French equivalent of the sentences based on section 14, and send you me your results. Feel free to look up anything you need.
15 a. The weather. Quel temps fait-il?
Weather expressions in French are a marvelous example of expressions that don't have word-for-word equivalents in the two languages. French doesn't ask literally "What is the weather like?". It asks "What weather makes it?"
Quel = what, which
And most of the answers will also involve "Il fait ...." So it makes or does some kind of weather in French. It makes hot. It makes cold. Etc. We will be using the following vocabulary items in our weather discussions.
Il fait. = It makes, it does.
Study these weather expressions.
Then be prepared to write the French weather expressions from the English equivalents.
15b. The verb faire
The verb faire (to make, to do) is our fourth major irregular verb. Again, you need to commit the following verb forms to memory.
Exercise 15b. -- Nos vacances d'été
Study the verb faire and work on exercise 15b. Note the following vocabulary items:
une chose = a thing
16. Days of the week and the months of the year
Monday = lundi
January = janvier
Monday, January 19 = lundi le dix-neuf janvier
Tuesday, February 14 = mardi le quatorze février
Wednesday, March 21 = mercredi le vingt et un mars
Thursday, April 12 = jeudi le douze avril
Friday, May 15 = vendredi le quinze mai
Saturday, June 30 = samedi le trente juin
Sunday, July 4 = dimanche le quatre juillet
***Homework assignment number 7. Write the French equivalent of the sentences which include materials from the entire lesson and send you me your results. Feel free to look up anything you need. Items from the final sections of the lesson are grouped at the end of the assignment.