45 Days of French – Day 35

Today’s notes come from Hour 17 of Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF). And Hour 17 has only two topics for discussion. The first is verb tenses. The second is food. I’m liking the lesson already just with that!

As for the verb tenses, all remaining verb tenses except the passé simple are described. All are of course compound forms, but I am getting ahead of myself. The reader is ushered from verb tenses into a discussion of meal times and then a long list of “eating” vocabulary – food, drinks, dishes, tools, tips, and more. For ATYF, this is a minimal amount of grammar, and without any more examples of the forms than normal.

Compound Verb Tenses/Moods
All the tenses that follow are similar to the passé composé in that they are formed by taking the appropriate auxiliary verb (avoir or être), conjugating it in the tense specified below, and then combining it with the past participle of the desired verb.

Name Auxiliary Tense Description
Futur Antérieur Future This is similar to an English “future perfect”, and could easily be translated by “…will have done…” 

The futur antérieur is used to point to future completion of an action, which precedes some other action. Sometimes the difference between choice of futur and futur antérieur is minimal. At other times, the difference is more significant.

Often, this tense is used alongside the conjunctions tant que (“as long as”), dès que and aussitôt que (“as soon as”), quand and lorsque (“when”) and après que (“after”).

Though not proper French, familiar writing will sometimes use a past tense where it should use the futur antérieur.

Plus-Que-Parfait Imperfect This is the equivalent of English “pluperfect”, or “past perfect”, something like “…had done…”. 

The plus-que-parfait is used to point at an action that occurred before another action, both in the past.

When the main clause is in this tense along with the conjunction quand, the secondary clause is in the passé composé.

The Past Conditional Mood Present Conditional This is used where past time is needed for a conditional expression. Think, “…would have done…” 

It is often used with si to comment about the past:

  • si + imperfect is followed by the present conditional
  • si +plus-que-parfait is followed by the past conditional
The Past Subjunctive Mood Present Subjunctive This is used where past time is needed for the subjunctive mood. It is a very literary form, but careful speakers might use it. Often, it is replaced in speech with a present subjunctive – hopefully with enough indication that past time is intended.

There happens to be an imperfect and a pluperfect subjunctive,but the book does not intend to cover these as they are only used by professors and politicians – people who would use “affected” speech. I guess speaking “well” has its detractors in all languages!

As has been typical, I’m not going to do lists of vocabulary from the book. That seems like a bit much. But I will point out some important vocabulary. Like breakfast (le petit-déjeuner), lunch (le déjeuner) and dinner (le dîner). Or different categories of food, like meat (la viande) and vegetables (les légumes) The book does a good job sharing words from the category of seafood (which is only right since France has so much coast), dairy, fruits and alcoholic beverages. This Hour also shares all your main items for eating on or with – plates (des assiettes), bowls (des bols), cups (des tasses), utensils (like la fourchette, le couteau, and la cuillère), etc. All in all, very helpful.

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About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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One Response to 45 Days of French – Day 35

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

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