Pour utiliser un dictionnaire

Dictionaries are very useful tools for foreign language students. They give us instant access to vocabulary words and the various contexts in which they are used. Using a dictionary, though, is a skill. In order to properly use a dictionary, we must have at least a basic understanding of the symbols they use and the different parts of speech. Once we master these skills, we will end up better readers and writers in French! Symbols and what they mean: n. _________noun___________ : _____________person, place, thing, idea______________ nm. _____masculine noun_____ : __________any noun which takes “le”_________________ nf. ______ feminine noun ______ : _________ any noun which takes “la”_________________ v. __________verb____________ : _action word (what someone/thing is doing in a sentence) vtr. _____transitive verb________:_can have a direct object (just recognize that this is a verb!) vi. _____ intransitive verb_______: can’t have a dir. object (just recognize that this is a verb!)_ adv. ________adverb__________:____describes a verb or adjective, usually ends in -ly_____ adj. _______adjective__________:______________describes a noun____________________ prep. _____preposition_________:______location words like “in” “of” “from” “under”______ m. _______masculine__________:________nouns and adjectives can be masculine________ f. _________feminine__________:________ nouns and adjectives can be feminine_________ pl. ________plural_____________:_______________more than one ____________________ pn. ______pronoun___________ : _________replaces a noun (he, she, it, etc.)____________ ~ _________________replaces the word when using it in an expression _________________

Context
Words have context in a sentence. This means that one word may mean many different things, but when looking at the sentence, you can figure out which meaning (context) is being used. Sometimes words are used in idiomatic expressions. Idiomatic expressions are phrases that do not translate literally from one language to the next (for instance, in English we say “to be hungry,” but in French we say “avoir faim,” which means “to have hunger.”) Also, if we look up “medicine” in the dictionary, we have an entry for the actual field of medicine (la médecine) and one for the type that is given to patients (les médicaments). This is why it is imperative to look at the whole sentence before we go looking up a word.

Making adjectives agree and conjugating verbs
 When you look up an adjective in the dictionary, you will find its masculine singular form. If the adjective is describing a feminine and/or plural noun, you must change it to make it agree in gender and number!  When you look up a verb you will find the infinitive form (not conjugated, ends in –er, -ir, or –re in French and starts with “to” in English). If the verb needs to be conjugated in the context of the sentence, you must do so! Wordreference.com has a great verb conjugator!

Paired Practice
With a partner, use a dictionary to determine the meaning in French of the underlined words in the sentence. 1. Carla leaves her book in class. laisse 2. In autumn, the leaves fall from the trees. feuilles 3. The patient’s back hurts. dos 4. Carlos came back home after school. (a) rentré (came back) 5. She got a flat in New York City. appartement 6. The land in the country was flat. plat Now find the English meaning of these French words! Use the surrounding words as clues! 1. Les filles, vous êtes prêtes pour l’examen ? ready 2. Est-ce que tu prêtes un stylo à Marie ? lend 3. On va au cinéma vers sept heures. around 4. Je raconte un vers du poème. verse 5. J’ai trouvé des vers dans mes pommes ! worms 6. Sortez une feuille de papier, s’il vous plaît. sheet (of paper) 7. En automne, les feuilles tombent des arbres. leaves

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