Most Common French Words - Top 100 French Words

1) le, la, l', les the definite article The French definite article corresponds to "the" in English. There are four forms of the French definite article:

1. le 2. la 3. l' 4. les

masculine singular feminine singular m or f in front of a vowel or h muet m or f plural

Which definite article to use depends on three things: the noun's gender, number, and first letter:

• • •

If the noun is plural, use les If it's a singular noun starting with a vowel or h muet, use l' If it's singular and starts with a consonant or h aspiré, use le for a masculine noun and la for a feminine noun French Articles Definite le la l' les Indefinite un une un/une des Partitive du de la de l' des

masculine feminine in front of a vowel plural

Meaning and usage of the French definite article The definite article indicates a specific noun. Je vais à la banque. I'm going to the bank. Voici le livre que j'ai lu. Here is the book I read. The definite article is also used in French to indicate the general sense of a noun. This can be confusing, as definite articles are not used in this way in English. J'aime la glace. I like ice cream. C'est la vie ! That's life!

The singular indefinite articles in French correspond to "a," "an," or "one" in English, while the plural corresponds to "some." There are three forms of the French indefinite article.

1. un masculine 2. une feminine 3. des m or f plural
Note that the plural indefinite article is the same for all nouns, whereas the singular has different forms for masculine and feminine.

Meaning and usage of the French indefinite article The indefinite article usually refers to an unspecified person or thing. J'ai trouvé un livre. I found a book. Il veut une pomme. He wants an apple. The indefinite article can also refer to just one of something: Il y a un étudiant dans la salle. There is one student in the room. J'ai une sœur. I have one sister. The plural indefinite article means "some": J'ai acheté des pommes. I bought some apples. Veux-tu acheter des livres ? Do you want to buy some books? When referring to a person's profession or religion, the indefinite is not used in French, although it is used in English. I know, I know, the exceptions never end. :-( Je suis professeur. I am a teacher. Il va être médecin. He's going to be a doctor. In a negative construction, the indefinite article changes to de, meaning "(not) any": J'ai une pomme. > Je n'ai pas de pommes. I have an apple. > I don't have any apples.

Learn more: De vs du, de la, des The partitive articles in French correspond to "some" or "any" in English. There are four forms of the French partitive article:

1. du 2. de la 3. de l' 4. des

masculine singular feminine singular m or f in front of a vowel or h muet m or f plural

The form of the partitive article to use depends on three things: the noun's number, gender, and first letter:

• • •

If the noun is plural, use des If it's singular starting with a vowel or h muet, use de l' If it's a singular noun and starts with a consonant or h aspiré, use du for a masculine noun and de la for a feminine noun

Meaning and usage of the French partitive article The partitive article indicates an unknown quantity of something, usually food or drink. It is often omitted in English. Avez-vous bu du thé ? Did you drink some tea? J'ai mangé de la salade hier. I ate salad yesterday. Nous allons prendre de la glace. We're going to have some ice cream. After adverbs of quantity, use de instead of the partitive article. Il y a beaucoup de thé. There is a lot of tea. J'ai moins de glace que Thierry. I have less ice cream than Thierry. In a negative construction, the partitive article changes to de, meaning "(not) any": J'ai mangé de la soupe. > Je n'ai pas mangé de soupe. I ate some soup. > I didn't eat any soup. Learn more: De vs du, de la, des The French articles may seem similar at times, but they are not interchangeable. This page will help you understand when and why to use each one. Definite article The definite article can talk about a specific item or something in general.

J'ai mangé le gâteau. I ate the cake (the whole thing, or the specific cake that we were just talking about). J'aime les films. I like movies (in general) or I like the movies (that we just saw).

Indefinite article The indefinite article talks about one of something, and is the easiest of the French articles. I can almost guarantee that if what you want to say requires "a," "an," or "one" in English - unless you're talking about someone's profession - you need the indefinite article. J'ai mangé un gâteau. I ate one cake (there were five, and I ate one of them). Je veux voir un film. I want to see a movie.

Partitive article The partitive is usually used when discussing eating or drinking, because one normally only eats some butter, cheese, etc., not all of it. J'ai mangé du gâteau. I ate some cake (one slice, or a few bites). Je cherche de l'eau. I'm looking for some water.

Partitive article vs Indefinite article The partitive indicates that the quantity is unknown or uncountable. When the quantity is known/countable, use the indefinite article (or a number): Il a mangé du gâteau. He ate some cake. Il a mangé un gâteau. He ate a cake.

2) être to be all about être Être is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to be." Être is also used in some idiomatic expressions and as an auxiliary verb for compound tenses and the passive voice. To Be Être means "to be" in many senses that this verb is used in English.

1. It is used with adjectives, nouns, and adverbs to describe a temporary or permanent state of being: Il est beau - He is handsome Je suis à Paris - I'm in Paris Nous sommes français - We're French Il est là-bas - He's over there

2. Être is used to describe someone's profession; however, note that the indefinite article is not used in this construction in French: Mon père est avocat - My father is a lawyer Je suis étudiant - I'm a student

3. Expressions with être

Notes There are a number of English "to be" expressions which are translated in French by avoir (to have): avoir froid - to be cold avoir raison - to be right avoir xx ans - to be xx years old more expressions

When talking about the weather, French uses the verb faire (to do/make) rather than être: Quel temps fait-il ? - How's the weather? Il fait beau - It's nice out Il fait du vent - It's windy

Être as an Auxiliary Verb 1. Être is the auxiliary for some verbs in the compound tenses: Je suis allé en France - I went to France Nous étions déjà sortis - We had already left Il serait venu si... - He would have come if...

2. Être is used to form the passive voice: La voiture est lavée - The car is washed Il est respecté de tout le monde - He is respected by everyone

Conjugations Present tense je suis tu es il est nous sommes vous êtes ils sont Être is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to be." Être is also used in some common idiomatic expressions. Être is found in the impersonal expressions c'est and il est (learn more): C'est difficile à décider It's hard to decide. Il est possible qu'il mange avec nous It's possible that he'll eat with us. Être can be used with the preposition à plus a stressed pronoun to indicate possession: Ce livre est à moi This is my book. - À qui est cet argent ? - C'est à Paul. - Whose money is this? - It's Paul's. More expressions with être: ça y est - that's it, it's done c'est ça - that's it, that's right c'est / on est / nous sommes + date - it's (date) en être - to take part in est-ce (que) - no literal translation; this expression is used to ask questions être de - to be at/in (figuratively) être en train de + infinitive - to be (in the process of) + present participle n'est-ce pas ? - right? isn't that so? soit - so be it, that is

soit... soit... - either... or... 3) avoir to have all about avoir Avoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to have." In addition, it is used in numerous idiomatic expressions and as an auxiliary verb. To Have Avoir means "to have" in most senses, including having in one's possession and currently experiencing. J'ai deux stylos I have two pens J'ai trois frères I have three brothers J'ai mal à la tête I have a headache J'ai une idée I have an idea J'ai été eu I've been had (tricked) Note: Avoir à can mean "to have to," but that expression is more commonly translated by devoir.

Expressions with Avoir Avoir is used in a number of idiomatic expressions, many of which are translated by the English verb "to be": J'ai 30 ans I am 30 years old J'ai soif I am thirsty J'ai froid I am cold Il y a... There is/are...

Auxiliary Verb Avoir is the auxiliary for most French verbs in the compound tenses (exceptions):

J'ai déjà étudié I have already studied. J'aurai mangé avant ton arrivée I will have eaten before you arrive Si j'avais su, je t'aurais téléphoné If I had known, I would have called you

Conjugations Present tense j'ai tu as il a nous avons vous avez ils ont The French verb avoir literally means "to have" and is also used in many idiomatic expressions. Learn how to be lucky, feel blue, hold a grudge, and more with this list of expressions with avoir. avoir ___ ans to be ___ years old avoir à + infinitive to have to do something avoir beau + infinitive despite doing, however much (one) does avoir besoin de to need avoir chaud to be hot avoir confiance en to trust avoir de la chance to be lucky avoir du charme to have charm avoir du chien (informal) to be attractive, have a certain something avoir du pain sur la planche (informal)

to have a lot to do, have a lot on one's plate avoir du pot (informal) to be lucky avoir envie de to want avoir faim to be hungry avoir froid to be cold avoir honte de to be ashamed of/about avoir horreur de to detest/loathe avoir l'air + adjective to look ____ avoir l'air de + noun to look like a ____ avoir le beurre et l'argent du beurre to have one's cake and eat it too avoir le cafard (informal) to feel low/blue/down in the dumps avoir le fou rire to have the giggles avoir le mal de mer to be seasick avoir les chevilles qui enflent (informal) to be full of oneself avoir l'habitude de to be used to, in the habit of avoir l'heure to have (know) the time avoir lieu to take place avoir l'intention de

to intend/plan to avoir mal à la tête, aux yeux, à l'estomac to have a headache, eye ache, stomachache avoir mal au cœur to be sick to one's stomach avoir peur de to be afraid avoir raison to be right avoir soif to be thirsty avoir sommeil to be sleepy avoir tort to be wrong avoir un chat dans la gorge to have a frog in one's throat avoir un cheveu (sur la langue) (informal) to lisp avoir un petit creux (informal) to be a little hungry/peckish avoir un poil dans la main (informal) to be lazy avoir un trou (de mémoire) to have a memory loss, to have one's mind go blank avoir une dent contre quelqu'un (informal) to hold a grudge against someone en avoir (familiar) to have guts en avoir ras le bol (informal) to be fed up il y a il y a + noun there is, there are ___

il y a + period of time ___ ago n'avoir qu'à + infinitive to just/only have to do something

4) de of, from preposition De is a very important and versatile preposition with many different meanings and uses in French. As a preposition, it can express or indicate all of the following:

I. Possession or belonging (learn more) le livre de Paul - Paul's book la bibliothèque de l'université - the university library

II. Starting point or origin (learn more) partir de Nice - to leave from (out of) Nice Je suis de Bruxelles - I'm from Brussels

III. Contents / description of something une tasse de thé - cup of tea un roman d'amour - love story (story of/about love)

IV. Defining feature le marché de gros - wholesale market une salle de classe - classroom le jus d'orange - orange juice

V. Cause mourir de faim - to die of / from hunger

fatigué du voyage - tired from the trip

VI. Means / manner of doing something écrire de la main gauche - to write with one's left hand répéter de mémoire - to recite from memory Note: When followed by the definite articles le and les, de contracts with them into a single word: For example de + le de + les = = du des du salon des villes

But de does not contract with la or l' de + la de + l' = = de la de l' de la femme de l'homme

In addition, de does not contract with le and les when they are direct objects. There are four grammatical constructions used to express possession in French: adjectives, pronouns, and two different prepositions. Take a look at this summary of the different French possibilities, and then follow the links for detailed information. Possessive de The preposition de is used with a name or a noun in place of 's or s' in English. le livre de Jean - John's book la chambre des filles - the girls' room

Possessive à The preposition à is used with the verb être in front of stressed pronouns in order to emphasize the ownership of the object. Ce livre est à lui - This book is his C'est un ami à moi - He's a friend of mine

Possessive adjectives Possessive adjectives are the words used in place of articles to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. The English equivalents are my, your, his, her, its, our, and their. Voici votre livre - Here's your book C'est son livre - It's his book

Possessive pronouns Possessive pronouns are the words which replace a possessive adjective + noun. The English equivalents are mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs. Ce livre... c'est le vôtre ou le sien ? - This book... is it yours or his? The French preposition de is used to express possession with names and nouns. It is equivalent to 's or s' in English. le livre de Jean - John's book les rues de Rome - Rome's streets, the streets of Rome les idées d'un étudiant - a student's ideas Note that the order of the nouns is inverted in French. "John's book" translates literally as "the book of John."

As with the partitive article and other de constructions, de contracts with le and les to make du and des: c'est la voiture du patron - it's the boss's car les pages du livre - the book's pages les pages des livres - the books' pages

De cannot be used to express possession with stressed pronouns; for those, you need à. The French preposition à is used to express possession in the following constructions:

1. noun + être + à + stressed pronoun, noun, or name 2. c'est + à + stressed pronoun, noun, or name 3. c'est + noun + à + stressed pronoun*
These constructions put emphasis on the ownership of the object. Cet argent est à Paul. - This money is Paul's. Le livre est à lui. - The book is his. C'est un livre à lui. - It's a book of his. - À qui est ce stylo ? - Whose pen is this? - C'est à moi. - It's mine.

- Cet argent... c'est à elle ou à nous ? - This money... is it hers or ours? - C'est à vous. - It's yours. - Ce chapeau est à Luc. - This is Luc's hat. - Non, c'est à moi ! - No, it's mine!

*In spoken French, you might hear c'est + noun + à + name (e.g., c'est un livre à Michel), but it is grammatically incorrect. The correct way to use possession in this construction is with de (c'est un livre de Michel). 5) un, une, des a, an, some indefinite article The singular indefinite articles in French correspond to "a," "an," or "one" in English, while the plural corresponds to "some." There are three forms of the French indefinite article.

1. un masculine 2. une feminine 3. des m or f plural
Note that the plural indefinite article is the same for all nouns, whereas the singular has different forms for masculine and feminine.

Meaning and usage of the French indefinite article The indefinite article usually refers to an unspecified person or thing. J'ai trouvé un livre. I found a book. Il veut une pomme. He wants an apple. The indefinite article can also refer to just one of something: Il y a un étudiant dans la salle. There is one student in the room. J'ai une sœur. I have one sister. The plural indefinite article means "some": J'ai acheté des pommes. I bought some apples. Veux-tu acheter des livres ? Do you want to buy some books? When referring to a person's profession or religion, the indefinite is not used in French, although it is

used in English. I know, I know, the exceptions never end. :-( Je suis professeur. I am a teacher. Il va être médecin. He's going to be a doctor. In a negative construction, the indefinite article changes to de, meaning "(not) any": J'ai une pomme. > Je n'ai pas de pommes. I have an apple. > I don't have any apples. 6) je I subject pronoun The subject of a verb is the person or thing which performs the action of that verb: Tom travaille. Tom is working. Mes parents habitent en Espagne. My parents live in Spain. La voiture ne veut pas démarrer. The car won't start. Subject pronouns replace this person or thing: Il travaille. He is working. Ils habitent en Espagne. They live in Spain. Elle ne veut pas démarrer. It won't start. When studying French, you must understand subject pronouns before you can begin learning how to conjugate verbs, because the forms of verbs change for each subject pronoun. Click the pronouns in this table for detailed information about how to use each one. French subject pronouns: Singular 1st person je I 2nd person tu you 3rd person il he, it Plural 1st person nous we

elle she, it

on one

2nd person vous you 3rd person ils they (m) 7) il / ils* he, it / they subject pronouns

elles they (f)

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