You have decided to start learning French? Wonderful idea! Don’t believe those who tell you it’s « VERY » difficult : you need to learn basic things first and not focus too much on grammar or tenses, at least at the beginning. Read the examples carefully, and make SIMPLE sentences : in order to build your confidence as you start learning, keep it simple, it’s enough to make yourself understood by native speakers !
In this crash course, you will learn 10 basic structures so when you finish reading this blog post you will be able to say in French:
- I am
- I have
- I am going
- I want
- I think
- I like / I love
- I don’t like
- I can
- I know
- I must/ I have to
Ready? Let’s go !
10 essential structures for beginners / 10 structures essentielles pour les débutants
Exemples: Je suis infirmière- I am a nurse
Je suis à Toulouse- I am in Toulouse
Je suis contente ! – I am happy !
Je suis fatiguée – I am tired
The verb ÊTRE (=be) is used to describe yourself, your state of mind, how you feel, your opinion, where you are.
Exemples : J’ai 30 ans – I am 30.
J’ai 2 enfants – I have 3 children.
J’ai une voiture – I have got a car.
J’ai de la chance – I am lucky
J’ai envie de manger dehors – I feel like eating outside
The verb AVOIR generally translates as « to have » in English like when you talk about your children or the things you possess but not always : in French we use the verb AVOIR to say how old we are, or to say that we litterally « have luck », or even to say that we feel like doing something.
Don’t worry, most of the time, this verb is easy to use in French !
The verb ALLER generally means « to go »:
Je vais au supermarché – I am going to the supermarket
If it’s followed by another verb, it’s a future form:
Je vais partir bientôt – I am going to leave soon
Aller + infinitive = going to + infinitive
Exemples: Je veux une glace – I want an ice-cream
Je veux dormir – I want to sleep
The infinitive form is VOULOIR, it’s an irregular verb.
Exemples: Je crois qu’il faut partir – I think we need to go
Je crois qu’il fera beau demain- I think the weather will be fine tomorrow
The infinitive is CROIRE (= to think/ to believe).
« AIMER » can be tricky : it means like or love, for people and for things !
Exemples: J’aime les hot-dogs – I like hot-dogs
J’aime le chocolat – I like chocolate
When it’s used for a person, it means « to love » :
J’aime mes enfants – I love my children
If you’d like to say that you like a person, say J’aime bien Nathalie for example.
The opposite is NE PAS AIMER:
Je n’aime pas la bière – I don’t like beer
Je n’aime pas Céline, elle est méchante – I don’t like Céline, she’s naughty
To express ability or to ask for permission in French, we often use the verb POUVOIR:
Je peux t’aider si tu veux- I can help you if you want
Je peux fermer la fenêtre? – Can I close the window?
This is an important verb : SAVOIR (to know). Of course, like many of the very common verbs, it’s irregular.
Je sais – I know
Je sais ce que tu veux dire – I know what you mean
The French verb DEVOIR is used to express obligation :
Je dois partir – I must/ have to go
Je dois finir cette leçon – I must finish this lesson
Quite simple, right?
Practise making simple sentences when you go shopping, or with your friends and colleagues. Remember : practice makes perfect !
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