French without Tears.

A French Grammar
written by

Céline Maurouard & Michael O’Carroll.
The object of this French Grammar book is to ensure that the reader can learn to speak French with a proper accent as they do in France. Being understood in France depends on correct pronunciation, we achieve this by utilising phonetics throughout the book. It will be an invaluable aid in Aural examinations. Learning from the large number of examples included will avoid the embarrassment of mispronunciation, give you confidence in your ability to converse and communicate without hassle. So that you can fully appreciate verbs, adjectives, pronouns etcetera we have included an assortment of examples. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, we believe that the examples shown will eliminate the difficulty of understanding the various parts of speech the reader will have to master. The declensions of all verbs used in this Grammar are detailed in the back of the book. Other titles on the same subject often include CDs as a necessity to improve the spoken word, with our book such aids are superfluous.

Designed to help you speak French as they do in France
Good day Sir,

Bonjour Monsieur. [bonjoor ms ure]

1. 3. 4. 5. 6. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 15. 16. 18. 20. 21. 22. 24. 25. 26. 28. 29. 31. 32. 33. 35. 36. 37. 40. 42. 44. 45 46. Introduction.. Tenses. Alphabet. Articles. Definite & Indefinite. Numbers. Seasons, Months, Days and Time. Prepositions and Infinitive. Vocabulary. Practice first tests. Negatives. Adjectives. Agreement of Adjectives. Pronouns “ Relative. “ Object. “ Y “ & “ En “ Use of “ On “. Memories. Use of Emporter & Emmener. Bits and Pieces. Declension of Regular Verbs in the Present Tense. Reflexive Verbs. Conjunctions. Imperative. Depuis & pendant. Adverbs. Present Participle. Interrogative. Le passé composé. Imperfect Future Tense. Grammatical Denominations. Prologue to Declensions. Declensions.

All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited in whole or in part by any means without written permission.
Published by : Animagic Limited. Printed by : Walshe Print Ltd.

© Animagic Ltd. 1999.


French without Tears.

For those who would like to remember what they might have forgotten and, possibly, for those who might like to forget what they do remember.

“ I am not able to speak French fluently but, I get by.“ Je ne peux pas parler le français courament mais, je me débrouille.” [Je nuh po pah parlay luh fraunsay cooramaun, may, je mu debroolya.” ] The verb To be able, can I can. You can He/she can je peux tu peux il/elle peut Pouvoir [ puvwah ] [je po] [too po] [il/el po] We can You (ye) can They can nous pouvons [noo poovon] vous pouvez [voo poovay] ils/elles peuvent [il/el puv]

The Negative “Not” is two words ne and pas. Ne comes immediately before the conjugated verb and Pas after it. Therefore ; I am not able, becomes Je ne peux pas [ je nuh po pa ] In writing this book our aim is to encourage everyone to speak French without hassle. Hence the title “French without Tears.” Grammar, pronunciation and accent are essentials in any language but not necessarily in that order or in the beginning. Many of us have had piano lessons, sadly, few of us have attained proficiency. We believe the scales can be offputting and depressing to many, therefore we try to avoid that pitfall. Our first sentence above indicates the method we have adopted. Where appropriate we portray the book in this fashion, in English, French and phonetically, getting the reader to speak as early as possible using and understanding the make-up of sentences. Words in French are sounded evenly and distinctly. In English the emphasis in usually on one syllable or another. Airport (Eng) - Aéroport (Fr) [air-o-por] and Important (Eng) - Important (Fr) [om-por-ton] By giving you a combination of Nouns, Verbs, Pronouns, Adverbs and Adjectives we would expect you to be able to compose intelligent sentences thereby encouraging you to persist.


French without Tears.
The expression “Parlez-vous français ?” [fraunsay] is known to most of us. “Do you speak French?” The verb to speak “parler” [parlay] has tenses, present, past and future on which we will concentrate for the moment. The present tense (as in the here and now ) I speak You speak He speaks She speaks Je parle Tu parles Il parle Elle parle [je parl] [too parl] [il parl] [el parl] We speak You (ye) speak They speak (feminine} Nous parlons Vous parlez Ils parlent Elles parlent [noo parlon] [voo parlay] [il parl] [el parl]

In French the second person singular tu is used only when talking to children or relatives or friends. In all other cases the formal vous is used. As in English you would say “you speak” or ask “do you speak (speak you) in French you have “Vous parlez” and the reverse “Parlez-vous” Again as in English the personal pronoun is always the same. I You He She Je Tu Il Elle [je] [too] [il] [el] We You (ye) They They (fem) Nous Vous Ils Elles [noo] [voo] [il] [el]

I, the first person singular, becomes J’ before a verb beginning with a vowel. For example with the verb “to have” “avoir” [avwah] would be declined as J’ai not as Je ai. This is for the rhythm of the sentence and is very common in spoken French. Present Tense To have Avoir [avwah] I have You have He has She has J’ai Tu as Il a Elle a [jay] [too a] [il a] [el a] We have You (ye) have They have They(fem) have Nous avons Vous avez Ils ont Elles ont. [noos avon] [voos avay] [ils on] [els on]

Authors note. Throughout the rest of the book the declensions will be portrayed showing the French version only. Imperfect I had used when = habit, description of a scene J’avais Tu avais Il/elle avait Future [javay] [too avay] [il/el avay] Nous avions Vous aviez Ils/elles avaient [noos avion] [voos aviay] [ils/els avay]

I will have J’aurai Tu auras Il/elle aura [joray] [too ora] [il/el ora] Nous aurons Vous aurez Ils/elles auront [noos oron] [voos oray] [ils/els oron]


Present Tense I am

(To be) Je suis Tu es Il/elle est

Etre [je swee] [too ay] [il/el ay]

[etr] Nous sommes Vous êtes Ils/elles sont [noo som] [voos et] [il/el son]

Imperfect I was J’étais Tu étais Il/elle était Future I will be Je serai Tu seras Il/elle sera [je seray] [too sera] [il/elle sera] Nous serons Vous serez Ils/elles seront [noos seron] [voo seray] [il/el seron] [jetay] [too etay] [il/el etay] Nous étions Vous étiez Ils/elles étaient [noos etyon] [voos etiay] [ils/els etay]

----------------------The French Alphabet. A B C D E F G (ah) (bay) (say) (day) (er) (ef) (zhay) H I J K L M N (ash) (ee) (zhee) (kah) (el) (em) (en) O P Q R S T U (oh) (pay) (ku) (airr) (ess) (tay) (oo) V W X Y Z (vay) (dooble-vay) (eeks) (ee-grek) (zed)

---------------------Accents in French. The acute on the letter e (é) The grave on the letters a, e, and u (à) The circumflex on vowels (ê) The cedilla under the letter c (ç) Their purpose : 1. To highlight the difference between two words having the same spelling without the same meaning. e.g. la (the) and là (there) or sur (on) and sûr (sure). . 2 To alter the sound of a letter. The acute é is pronounced ay whilst the grave è is pronounced ai. 3. The c which has a cedilla underneath it is softened so that the word garçon (boy) is pronounced garson for example.


Definite and Indefinite Articles : All nouns and pronouns in French are either masculine or feminine. Some nouns can be both. Some nouns retain the same gender whether they refer to men or women. Articles “ the, a, some” must agree in gender and in quantity with the noun to which they refer. It is best, when learning a noun, to learn the gender at the same time.. Generally speaking : ( a ) the majority of nouns ending in e , -ion or on are feminine but there are exceptions : The lesson = la leçon [la lesson]. The generation = la génération. [generasee on] The song = la chanson [shansohn] Names of one syllable ending in on. The tune = le ton [tone] ( b ) all Seasons, metric measurements and names of trees are always masculine. The spring = le printemps [pranton]. The meter = le mètre. [metr] The oak = le chêne. [shen] (c) nouns ending in eau are masculine except Water = l’eau = [lo] (feminine) The castle = le château [shato]. The cake = le gâteau [gato]. “ The “ le ( masc. sing.) la (fem. sing. ) les (masc. & fem. plural)

[le] [la] [lay]

le gâteau la valise les chiens

[gato] [valeeze] [lay she en] hour hospital.

the cake. the suitcase. the dogs. [ler] [lopital].

Most words beginning with “h” are expressed The “h” is always silent. “ A” un (masc. sing.) une (fem. sing.)

l’heure l’hôpital

[un] [oone]

un magasin une lettre

a shop. a letter.

[magazan] [letrr]

The Indefinite Articles “some or any” du (masc. sing.) du pain de la (fem. sing.) de la glace des (masc.& fem. plur.) des journaux de l’ (masc or fem before a vowel or “h” de l’animal Some examples ; Remember that I buy some bread

some bread. [de pan] some ice-cream. [glass] some newspapers. [joorno] of the animal [de lanimal]

de le and de les become du and des [day] J’achète du pain (masc.) [jashet de pan]

But : I buy some milk. de le becomes du as it is masculine. J’achète du lait. [jashet] not de le lait. Similarly : à le and à les becomes au and aux. [o] I go to the shop Je vais au magasin. [o magazan] not je vais à le magasin. In English ‘some/any’ may be omitted but they must always be shown in French. We have some bread. nous avons du pain [noos avon de pan] I have the books on the table j’ai des livres sur la table [jay day livr soor la tabla]


Quantities; Nouns that have no plural can cause problems. Bread = du pain Flour = de la farine [fareen] Money = de l’argent [do larjon] Used in a phrase, the phrase will retain it’s de or du whether or not the noun has a plural. Example; I like milk when I drink my coffee J’aime du lait quand je bois mon café. [jem de lay kon je bwa mon cafay] How much combien de [kombia de] Not much peu de [ po de] As much autant de [autau de] Less of moins de [mwan do] Too much trop de [tro de] Enough assez de [assay de] A lot beaucoup de [bocoo de]

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 zéro un deux trois quatre cinq six sept huit neuf dix onze douze treize quatorze quinze seize dix-sept dix-huit dix-neuf

[un] [doh] [trwa] [catre] [sank] [cease] [set] [wheat] [nuff] [deece] [onz] [dooz] [trays] [cators] [khans] [says] [deeset] [deeswheat] [deesnuf]

20 21 22 23 30 40 50 60 70 71 72 80 90 91 100 101 110 120 150 200 550 1,250 2,000 1,000,000

vingt [van] vingt-et-un [vantay-on] vingt-deux [van doh] vingt-trois [van trwa] trente [tront] quarante [caront] cinquante [sankont] soixante [swasont] soixante-dix soixante-et-onze soixante-douze quatre-vingts quatre-vingt-dix quatre-vingt-onze cent [son] cent un cent dix cent vingt cent-cinquante deux-cents cinq cents cinquante mille deux cents cinquante deux mille [de mill] un million [mill eon]


The Seasons of the Year.
Spring Summer Autumn Winter le printemps l’été l’automne l’hiver [le pranton] [laytay] [lawton] [leevair].

Months of the Year.
January February March April May June janvier février mars avril mai juin [jonveay] [fevreay] [mars] [avril] [may] [jooan] July August September October November December. juillet août septembre octobre novembre decembre [julay] [oot] [septombre] [octobr] [novombr] [dessombr]

Days of the Week.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday. lundi mardi mercredi jeudi vendredi samedi dimanche [lundee] [mardee] [mercrodee] [jodee] [vondredee] [samedee] [deemonsh]

What time is it ? It is six o’clock. It is half past six. It is (a) quarter past six. It is (a) quarter to six. It is ten (minutes) past six. It is ten (minutes) to six. At ten in the morning At ten in the evening At three in the afternoon (At) what time (will you come)? At two o’clock. Quelle heure est-il. [kell air aytil] Il est six heures. [il ay seece er] Il est six heures et demie. [il ay seece ur ay demi] Il est six heures et quart. [il ay seece er ay quar] Il est six heures moins le quart. [il ay seece er mwan lo car] Il est six heures dix. [il ay seece er deece] Il est six heures moins dix. [il ay seece er mwan deece] A dix heures du matin [a deece er do matan] A dix heures du soir [a deece er do swar] A trois heures de l’après- [a twas er de lapreymidi midi] A quelle heure (viendrez-[a kell er(vee-endray voo)] vous) ? A deux heures. [a dohs er]


Best Regards,

The French Without Tears Team

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