This is a French grammar course for complete beginners. Learn how to speak beautiful and correct French with easy explanations and examples of all the grammar you'll need for your first year of French.
Eliminate embarrassing errors in your French study with a friendly, informal tutor
French is a leading world language spoken by millions of people all over the world. Discover the language of this wonderful country and open the door to culture, travel and food from the French-speaking world. Instead of teaching you through a dull book, this course is developed to introduce French grammar as a real, living thing that is used in lots of real sentences. I am an experienced teacher of languages and work with adult learners who study this language for business, life and travel.
Through this Udemy course, you will
Hi all, welcome to French Grammar for Beginners. This course is designed to help you get a clear understanding of French for Beginners. You will learn new vocabulary, rules of the language and gain confidence along the way. Please watch my video introduction to make sure that you get the most possible benefit.
In this video, I will cover five core topics I want you to know about:
1) Welcome to the Course
2) Who's your teacher?
3) How to use the video lectures
4) How to get the best out of my examples
5) Tips for being an active learner
Along with some useful grammar hints about verbs, conjugation and stem + ending, you will get to know the 3 groups of regular verbs in French
These are pretty common, and the conjugation is fairly conistent as well with a few small exceptions for pronunciation.
What's interesting here is that in the first three conjugations you actually chop a letter off the stem, but then it comes back. If your stem ends in a vowel then you add a double s in the last three conjugations (for example with the verb finir).
Please note: The finir example can be confusing at 8:15 as the stem is shown as FINI (a small error in the video). The correct stem is FIN. In the endings for "nous" and "vous", these verbs tend to take the endings "-issons" and "-issez".
See here for a few more regular -ir verbs:http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/irverbs_regular.htm
The third group does have a regular conjugation, but do spend some time hugging the dictionary or Bescherelle* because a lot of verbs that end in -re are irregular. Need I say être or faire? But don't be disheartened, because knowing the regular conjugation means you couldn't go too wrong even if you tried:
Some of the vocab featured in this episode:
chanter (to sing)
aimer (to love)
manger (to eat)
commencer (to start)
tutoyer (to be on "tu" terms)
dormir (to sleep)
finir (to finish)
attendre (to wait)
déscendre (to descend, to come down)
This time we're talking about the basic personal pronouns and three killer verbs - avoir, être and aller. As promised, here are the spellings:
0:37 Personal Pronouns - what are they in English, and what are they in French?
je - tu - il - elle - on - nous - vous - ils - elles
2:29 Watch for an explanation of what "on" stands for.
3:13 And it's important to know how "vous" and "tu" work too.
3:56 Three verbs in French that you cannot be without at all.
avoir (to have)
j'ai - tu as - il/elle/on a - nous avons - vous avez - ils ont
être (to be)
je suis - tu es - il/elle/on est - nous sommes - vous êtes - ils/elles sont
aller (to go)
je vais - tu vas - il/elle/on va - nous allons - vous allez - ils/elles vont.
This new video will introduce you to modal verbs!
What’s a modal verb?
Modals in English are words like "Can", "Must", "Want" and so on. They express if an action is wanted, desired, allowed, considered possible, and other things about how the main actor in the sentence is related to it.
Some French modal verbs are irregular. They are vouloir, pouvoir and devoir, and you can read up on them here.
0:47 What is a reflexive verb?
1:25 How to conjugate reflexive verbs, and what are the pronouns that you need to use them correctly?
Reflexive Pronouns: me - te - se - nous - vous - se2:20 Word Order - where to put the reflexive verb in a sentence, with lots of examples in the video after 3:40
5:00 Some special rules about using the reflexive verbs in the passé composé - always use être and always change the participe passé (see Lecture 11) so that it agrees with the main subject.In summary - Reflexive verbs..
Vocabulary for this lesson:
Before you move on to the advanced tenses, let's revisit what you have learnt about using them so far.
In this quick text lecture, you will discover the "futur proche" - a way of saying anything in the future tense without having to learn a whole new grammatical structure. It's a simple combination that allows you to express future actions within minutes.
We're looking at a very popular form of the past tense called passé composé. The video will explain to you how to use and build this tense, so do watch it and then test yourselves on the examples here.
1:13 How and when to use the passé composé (including the view from the English perspective at 1:50)
2:00 How to build the passé composé: Use être or avoir + a participe passé (watch 2:50 to find out what the participe is)
3:30 How to build the participe with regular verbs
Avez-vous acheté le manteau? - Did you buy the coat?
Il a donné son repas à Jill. - He gave his meal to Jill.
Je me suis lavé les mains trois fois. - I washed my hands three times.
As-tu fini tes exercices? - Did you finish your exercises?
Nous avons choisi la salade italienne. - We have chosen the Italian salad.
Il est parti ce matin. - He left this morning.
J'ai entendu cette chanson. - I have heard this song.
La société a répondu à votre lettre. - The company replied to your letter.
5:40 Things to watch out for!
In this video, you will learn whether you're supposed to use être or avoir in the passé composé.
1:00 Summary of how the passé composé works
1:45 Tip for defaulting, and the rules behind this
5:00 Very important: You must remember to do the participe agreement whenever you are using être. The rules come in at 5:20
A few ideas for helping you remember which verbs use être in the passé composé:
Imagine a house in which a person comes in (venir), climbs (monter) the stairs, walks (aller) to a room, enters (entrer) it, falls onto the couch (tomber), rests for a while (rester), reels refreshed and reborn (naître), goes down the stairs (descendre), leaves the house (sorti) and passes by you (passer par) on the way.
about.com's fab French pages contain some good tips on how other teachers have helped their students remember these verbs, and here's one I really liked:
“Sing the [..] verbs to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.”— http://french.about.com
allé, arrivé, venu, revenu,
entré, rentré, descendu, devenu,
sorti, parti, resté, retourné,
monté, tombé, né et mort.”
Finally, there's a popular mnemonic called Dr & Mrs Vandertramp.
In today's grammar lesson, we are starting you off with a look at indefinite and definite articles.
At 0:50 - 1:17 I'll give you a quick overview of how this works in English
In French, all nouns have a gender. They're either masculine or feminine.
2:05 How to know which gender a word has?
(Additional tip: You can find out some gender rules on many websites. I recommend this one.)
Indefinite Articles for Nouns are un for masculine, une for feminine and des for plural.
Definite Articles for Nouns are le for masculine, la for feminine and les for plural.
4:33 When you're saying words out loud, remember you have to make a "liaison" which means carrying the s over if the next word starts with a vowel.
My friend Sally from Indigo Languages has now provided some great downloads for you, which you will find attached to the lecture, sharing rules for working out if a word is feminine or masculine.
Contracted what? Become an expert at why it's "café au lait" in Lecture 2 of the French Grammar for Beginners course.
1:00 What's the meaning of "contracted"?
1:30 de la/du/des
"de" often translates to "of" in French and will form new words when you combine them with "le" or "les".
Voici une photo de la mer.
Voici une photo de l'école.
Voici une photo du chat.
Voici une photo des amis.
"à" often translates to "at" or "to" in French and will form new words when you combine them with "le" or "les".
Naomi va à la piscine.
Naomi va à l'église.
Naomi va au cinéma.
Elle habite aux environs de Grenoble.
6:15 More important rules for the pronunciation - these are so important for your speaking and listening skills.
The topic of possessives is kinda meaty, so here are some ideas for breaking up your learning a bit:
I explain the difference between determiner and pronoun at 05:09.
Determiners, which go with a word and work exactly like "my, your, his, her, our, their" in English. And then there's pronouns, which actually stand for a word - in English these are "mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs". Make sure you understand this difference in your own language and you won't have a problem in French!
"This is my mug. Where's yours?"
"Oh, mine is in the kitchen."
The word "my" is a determiner, because it goes together with the noun "mug". The words "yours" and "mine" stand FOR the mug, so they are pronouns.
Get to know the possessive determiners, then pause the video at 04:50.
Ensure the example sentences at 03:50 make sense.
And when you're ready, get into the possessive pronouns!
The example sentences for those are at 07:49 and you can download both tables that are aligned with this lecture.
Well done! You have reached the final lecture of French Grammar for Beginners and I am sure you are feeling a lot more confident about using grammar in French sentences (or you have decided that French is crazy!).
In today's lesson we are going to look at how to make a question in French.
0:56 There are two types of question that you can ask in any language - closed and open.
1:43 Group 1 of question words: These ask about the subject of a sentence - with example questions at 3:50
4:26 Group 2 of question words: These are used with open questions
05:25 There are three different ways of making a question. The first one is the intonation question - just raise your voice at the end of a sentence.
06:46 The second one is the inversion question - you invert your verb and subject, and then connect them with a dash (-).
07:56 The third way of making a question is by using "est-ce que" (it doesn't translate to anything in English). This is basically put in between the group 2 question word (or at the start, should there be no question word) and the statement sentence.
Extra Info About the "Est-ce que" Construction
1) Que is used when you ask about the object of a sentence (for example "Qu'est-ce que tu veux?" (What do you want?) and qui is used when you are asking about the subject of a sentence (for example "Qui est la reine?" (Who is the queen?).
2) The basic question word without "est-ce que" part is used when you are asking an inversion question, and the "est-ce que" is used when you are using the standard word order.
So in other words, after the Que or qui, you can use either inversion (Que veux-tu?) or the est-ce que (Qu'est-ce que tu veux?). So "est-ce que" is handy when you don't want to worry about making inversions.
Today, the little grammar course covers the topic of negation, meaning how to say not, no longer and never.
When you use the negation in a sentence, just follow this pattern:
SUBJECT + ne + VERB + pas/plus/jamais + ANYTHING ELSE
Je ne travaille pas à Londres. (I don't work in London)
Alexandre ne sort jamais. (Alexandre never goes out.)
Il n'y a plus de pain. (There is no more bread.)
In this lesson, I've explained the "partitif" for you. Don't worry - I didn't know it was called that either. In simple words, learning the partitif will teach you how to use de.
There are two types of uses of "de".
After a quantifier - then it's just "de"
Examples of Quantifiers can be: un kilo, deux pots, 100 grammes, assez, beaucoup, peu...anything that gives you an indication of how much you have.
Without a quantifier - then it changes and becomes a contracted article (see Lecture 2)
After this session, you will have everything you need for making thousands of simple sentences in French.
0:54 What's an adjective, and how does it work in a sentence?
1:30 Why is it important to observe gender agreement? Watch for a full explanation with examples of how and why the words change.
3:30 Your dictionary is a great tool and will tell you how the adjectives change.
4:10 Learn how to introduce and describe yourself!
Here is the vocab list for this lesson:
petit, -e (small, short)
grand, -e (big, tall)
ancien, -ne (old, ancient)
anglais, -e (English)
allemand, -e (German)
malaysien, -ne (Malaysian)
américain, -e (American)
étatsunien, -ne (US American)
marié, -e (married)
divorcé, -e (divorced)
fiancé, -e (engaged)
J'ai des cheveux blondes. (I have blonde hair.)
J'ai des cheveux marrons. (I have brown hair.)
J'ai des cheveux clairs. (I have light hair.)
J'ai des cheveux foncés. (I have dark hair.)
j'ai des cheveux roux. (I have red hair.)
J'ai les yeux bleus. (I have blue eyes.)
J'ai les yeux verts. (I have green eyes.)
J'ai les yeux gris. (I have grey eyes.)
J'ai les yeux marrons. (I have brown eyes.)
The comparative is what grammar wizards call the language you use to compare something to something else, so the way that you build a sentence like "Father Christmas is better than the Easter Bunny."
The superlative is the most extreme form of comparison, when something is without competition. Such as: "Father Christmas is the best delivery driver out there."
It's important to remember that the adjective agreement rule still applies (remember Lecture 4?), no matter how your sentence uses the adjective.
1:00 What's "très" and "beaucoup"?
2:12 Okay, and how does "beaucoup de" work? (I love beaucoup de, it's easy to use and great for explaining everything.)
3:04 Comparing things by saying more, just as or less
5:09 Using the superlative: the most, the best, the hottest etc
7:40 Little Christmas wish
Please submit the following answers as exercises in the comments/questions section:
1) Describe how tall you are compared to your mum.
2) Do I put more flour or more butter into a muffin?
3) Which car is faster: a Ferrari or a CV2?
4) Who do you think is the smartest person on youtube?
5) Describe your 3 best friends. Who is the nicest, the shyest, the tallest and the most charming?
0:35 What is an adverb, and how can you tell what it does in a sentence?
2:11 Two types of adverb in French: Simple Adverbs like "beacoup", "ici" etc, and Derived Adverbs like "difficilement" and
2:59 Okay, how to derive an adverb? The rules are not too complicated and all adverbs end in -ment
4:52 A few exceptions - the irregular adverbs
5:29 And now that you know what adverbs are and what their job is in a sentence, let's have a look at the word order rules - that means, where do you put them?
You can put adverbs before a conjugated verb (6:19) or after a conjugated verb (5:35).
In summary, get to know these following types of adverbs - time, manner, place and quantity/frequency - so that you can spot them very easily.
Examples of these are at 07:27
A little video quiz where you must guess the celebrity based on my descriptions, using all of the words and rules we got to know.
This lecture lists many fantastic resources here on Udemy, on Amazon and on the web to help you continue successfully in your French studies.
I'm the founder of Fluent Language Tuition and started my own business as an online language tutor in 2012 (my subjects are German, French and English). I run a successful language blog and podcast, and work with fellow online teachers and small business owners on improving their blogs, newsletters and websites.
I am a native German speaker and come from the beautiful Moselle valley near Luxembourg and France. I've had a passion for languages since I can remember, and hold various degrees:
BA(Hons) French and English for International Business
MA in Translation Studies
Author of The Vocab Cookbook and Fluency Made Achievable
In past lives, I have worked in all sorts of great multicultural environments here in the UK and done a lot of business travel and now my fields of expertise are