45 Days of French – Day 15

Lesson 9 of Essential French (EF) covers a bunch of pronouns, a couple verbs, and a couple verbal structures. Some stuff that we have not seen yet, surprisingly. EF and Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF) are taking completely different tracks, which makes every chapter a little interesting.

Verbal Constructs
EF shares an expression we looked at in yesterday’s study, the impersonal il faut. However, EF only uses it with infinitives in Hour 9. And in a stunning turn-around, ATYF gave more illustrations! Still, the examples here make it clear that negation of il faut surrounds faut with ne…pas, and not the infinitive. Additionally, something ATYF did not note, but that EF does, is that il faut can be used with a noun phrase. The book’s example was “For writing, one needs a pen.”: Pour écrire, il faut un stylo.

Jumping over a bunch of stuff (which I will come back to), I go to the end of Hour 9 and the discussion of the “near future”, or le futur proche. The near future has connection with English near future “I am going to do…” In French this is formed from an appropriately conjugated form of aller (similar to English, no?) plus an infinitive. As with il faut, negative expressions surround the conjugated verb, not the infinitive.

A number of verbs are introduced, but most of them have already been addressed here thanks to ATYF. These include irregulars dire “to say”, lire “to read”, écrire “to write”, and voir “to see”. EF stresses the difference between dire and parler, quite understandably:

  • Je dis au revior. I say, “Goodbye.”
  • Je parle anglais. I speak English.

One verb that has not been addressed by ATYF (to my recollection), and that EF addressed here, was mettre “to put (on)”. Its present forms are mets, mets, met, mettons, mettez and mettent. A couple idioms are also shown (though the number of illustrations are surprisingly few!):

  • mettre à la poste “to mail”, literally “to put in the mail”
  • mettre une semaine “to take a week”

Vocabulary provides a number of other verbs, but they are all regular -er verbs, so I am going to just move on.

Pronouns: Les Pronoms
Two sets of pronouns are given in this lesson, and these take up the major portion of the instructional text. First, direct objects (les pronoms compléments d’objet direct) are introduced. These replace the direct object, just as the object pronouns do in English.

  • 1ps: me
  • 2ps: te
  • 3ps: le (msc.)/la (fem.)/l’ (before vowels)
  • 1pp: nous
  • 2pp: vous
  • 3pp: les

What is important here is that the object pronoun comes before the verb, rather than simply replacing the object in sequence. In the case of the third person singular (3ps) only, the gender of the replaced object must be used to select the appropriate form of the direct object pronoun.

After that, demonstrative pronouns (les pronoms démonstratifs) are offered. These vary by gender and by number, but not by person as the direct object pronoun did. These would translate as “this/that/these/those one(s)”:

Number Masculine Feminine
near (“this one”) sg. celui-ci celle-ci
near (“these ones”) pl. ceux-ci celles-ci
far (“that one”) sg. celui-là celle-là
far (“those ones”) pl. ceux-là celles-là

What you hopefully notice that was not pointed out in the book is that the -ci forms are used for “near” and the -là forms for “far”. Which leaves celui- to mean masculine singular, celle- feminine singular, ceux- masculine plural and celles- feminine plural.

That’s it for this lesson! And now to bed for some much needed rest. Maybe my cough will be gone when I awake. One can hope. 😉

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About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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2 Responses to 45 Days of French – Day 15

  1. Pingback: 45 Days of French | σφόδρα – exceedingly

  2. Pingback: 45 Days of French – Day 24 | σφόδρα – exceedingly

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