Brought to you by the team behind Rype, language lessons for busy people
In the last chapter we talked about the most common 100 French words and we introduced some basic grammar and concepts of how to form sentences in French. In this chapter, we’re going to provide you some French exercises where you can get started right away in practicing your French skills. That way you’ll have a head start in improving your writing and grammar knowledge so that as you expand your vocabulary, you’ll be able to make sense and be understood by native French speakers.
Before we get to the French exercises at the end of this chapter, we will show you how to construct some basic sentences using two common verbs: avoir and être. as well as some of the most common words in the French language.
J’ai soif. I’m thirsty. Notice the word je which means I + the verb avoir which means ‘to have’. So in French to say ‘I’m thirsty’ you actually say ‘I have thirst’.
J’ai besoin de l’eau. I need water. Here we see the use of ‘I have’ once again + need or besoin + de l’eau ‘some water. Keep in mind that de also means of or from.
Now we are going to introduce the negative. So let’s assume you are not thirsty and that you don’t need water. In French, you need to use two words to negate the two examples above. The first word is ne and the second word is pas, with a silent ’s’. Notice the placement of this two words below:
Je n’ai pas soif. Je n’ai pas besoin de l’eau.
Now we are going to try this using ‘you’ in the familiar singular form. This form is used for children, friends, and family. It is not polite to use this form with strangers.
Tu as soif. Tu as besoin de l’eau.
Tu n’as pas soif. Tu n’as pas besoin de l’eau.
To say the same thing in the plural form, which is also used as the polite singular form:
Vous avez soif. Vous avez besoin de l’eau.
Vous n’avez pas soif. Vous n’avez pas besoin de l’eau.
To say ‘we’ in French you say nous. So nous avons soif is ‘we are thirsty.’ Here nous is pronounced a bit like the North American English word ‘new.’ For nous avons you would use what is known as a liaison and pronounce the s, as in the North American English word ‘news’.
If you wanted to ask ‘who is thirsty?’ you would ask qui a soif?
By inserting the above phrases into your flashcards and by studying the most common French words as entire sentences instead of as single units, you will get used to the structure and flow of the French language and be able to make yourself understood better by speaking in complete sentences.
Here is an example of how you can now create many simple sentences with the most common French words from the last chapter. With the help of the following sentences, see if you can pick up some of the verb conjugations of the most common verbs and try to construct sentences on your in order to build on your French in the months to come. Have fun with these sentences and see how creative you can get with them by making new sentences on your own as well.
Ils savent ça. They don’t know.
Je vais aller. I’m going to go.
Nous pouvons savoir. We can know.
Tu vois la table. You see the table.
Elle dit ça. She says that.
Je ne sais pas. I don’t know.
Tu ne veux pas l’horloge. You don’t want the clock.
Nous sommes à table. We are at the table.
Elles sont devant le bâtiment. They are in front of the building.
Il a soif. He is thirsty.
Elle veut de l’eau. She wants some water.
Qui fait ça? Who does that?
Now let’s get you to use more of those 100 most common French words by doing some French exercises. Once you’ve checked that they are correct, plug them into your flashcards to get to memorize. Don’t worry if you make any mistakes the first time you try to complete the exercises. After studying the correct answers on your flashcards, you can come back to this page and try the exercises again in the future.
I need a table: ______________ J’ai besoin d’une table.
We are thirsty: __________________ Nous avons soif.
Who sees the sky? ___________________ Qui voit le ciel?
You (polite) don’t have a wristwatch. ________________ Vous n’avez pad d’horloge.
They say that. _____________ Ils disent ça.
As you want. ______________ Comme vous voulez.
I mean (I want to say) _______________ Je veux dire.
We want to stay __________________ Nous voulons rester.
After you (polite) _______________ Aprés vous.
Good day everybody ________________ Bonjour tout le monde.
What do they do? __________________ Que font-ils?
For that, it takes two hours. ____________________ Pour ça, il faut deux heures.
In the above exercises, look for patterns in constructing sentences. Which idiomatic expressions do you see? How do you form questions in French? See if you can make your own sentences following the patterns you see in this chapter. Practice making some questions using the most common French words. Once your get some practice exercises in, you may want to see where you can learn French online. So in the next chapter we will tell you about the best places to find French lessons online.
10. French For Kids