French sentence structure
French Language

French sentence structure

Now that you know how to introduce yourself in French (Congratulations 🙂 ), let’s get to the next level and study the French sentence structure.

Subject : Personal Pronoun

FRENCHENGLISH
JeI
TuYou
IlHe
Elle She
On (singular)One / We
NousWe
VousYou
Ils (m.)They
Elles (f.)They

Verb

I am sorry to tell you that, but we will have to go through conjugation sooner or later… I want to warn you : There are many tenses in French17 to be honest. (Did you faint? Are you still here?). But DON’T WORRY, in your French journey, you won’t need all of those, and most French people never use half of those tenses. Enough talking, let’s start studying the present tense right now!

Etre / To be

FRENCHENGLISH
Je suisI am
Tu esYou are
Il estHe is
Elle estShe is
On estOne is / We are
Nous sommesWe are
Vous êtesYou are
Ils sont (m.)They are
Elles sont (f.)They are

Avoir / To have

FRENCHENGLISH
J’aiI have
Tu asYou have
Il aHe has
Elle aShe has
On aOne has / We are
Nous avonsWe have
Vous avezYou have
Ils ont (m.)They have
Elles ont (f.)They have

Making progress in French also means learning by heart. So please, learn those two conjugations of être and avoir by heart at present tense.

TIP : Print it and hang it somewhere you will often pass by, maybe in the bathroom or in front of your cooking place.

First Group Verb in “er”

In French, we distinguish 3 kinds of verbs : First group, second group and third group. The conjugation of the verb will depend on the group the verb belongs to. For now, let’s only focus on the first group.

All verbs ending with “-er” at its infinitive form belong to the first group.

Lucky you, you already know two verbs ending with “-er” : S’appeler (verb to tell your name) and habiter (to live). Find below the conjugation of those two verbs, present tense. To help you identify the verb ending, I put it in red.

S’APPELERHABITER
Je m’appelleJ’habite
Tu t’appellesTu habites
Il s’appelleIl habite
Elle s’appelleElle habite
On s’appelleOn habite
Nous nous appelonsNous habitons
Vous vous appelezVous habitez
Ils s’appellentIls habitent
Elles s’appellentElles habitent

As you can notice, the verb s’appeler can sometimes be spelt with one “L” and sometimes with a double “L” depending on the verb ending.

The spelling affects the prononciation.
When only one “L”, the “e” before needs to be pronounced /ə/.
When double “L” are written, the “e” beforehands has to be pronounced /ɛ/.

French sentence structure

Positive sentence

Declarative sentence or positive sentence is a simple sentence and has the same structure as in English.

Subject + Verb + object

Example : Il habite ici. / He lives here.

*The object is actually a place in the example*

Negative sentence

French and English are absolutely different to express negation : While in English, you use “do + not“, in French we use the following structure : ne + verb + pas. Please note that “ne” can become “n’ ” if the verb that is following it starts with a vowel or an “h“.

Example : Il n’habite pas ici. / He does not live here.

However, orally, French people tend to elude “ne“. “Il n’habite pas ici” would then become “Il habite pas ici“. So as long as you here the word “pas“, then this is a negative sentence even though you do not hear the word “ne“.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments. I would be glad to answer them !

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