• French grammar
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  • 1 French alphabet
  • 2 French pronunciation and phonetics [0/7]
  • 3 Nature and function of French words [0/23]
  • Multiple choice exercise about the nature of French words (Score -/-)
  • Multiple choice questions about the function of French words (Score -/-)
  • 3.1 The subject in French [0/3]
  • 3.2 The apostrophe and apposition in French [0/2]
  • 3.3 The complement object in French [0/12]
  • 3.4 The circumstancial complement in French [0/2]
  • 3.5 The agent complement in French [0/2]
  • 4 French articles [0/9]
  • 5 French nouns [0/13]
  • 6 French pronouns [0/20]
  • Multiple choice questions about the pronouns in French (Score -/-)
  • 6.1 French personal pronouns - je, tu, il [0/3]
  • 6.2 French possessive pronouns - le mien, le tien [0/2]
  • 6.3 French reflexive pronouns - me, te, se [0/2]
  • 6.4 French demonstrative pronouns - celui, celle, ceux [0/2]
  • 6.5 French relative pronouns - qui, que, qu' [0/4]
  • 6.6 French indefinite pronouns - tout, chacun [0/2]
  • 6.7 French interrogative pronouns - qui, que, lequel [0/2]
  • 6.8 French adverbial pronouns - en, y [0/2]
  • 7 French adjectives [0/17]
  • Multiple choice questions about the epithet, attribute in French (Score -/-)
  • 7.1 Endings of regular and irregular French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.2 Comparative and superlative of French adjectives [0/3]
  • 7.3 Placement of French adjectives [0/2]
  • 7.4 French possessive adjectives - mon, ton, son [0/4]
  • 7.5 French demonstrative adjectives - ce, cette [0/2]
  • 7.6 French indefinite adjectives - toutes, quelques [0/2]
  • 8 French adverbs [0/18]
  • 9 French prepositions [0/10]
  • 10 French verbs [0/135]
  • 10.1 Tenses and moods in French [0/63]
  • 10.1.1 Indicative in French [0/26]
  • 10.1.1.1 Present tense in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.1.2 Past tenses in French [0/13]
  • 10.1.1.3 Future tenses in French [0/11]
  • 10.1.2 Subjunctive in French (le Subjonctif) [0/11]
  • 10.1.3 Conditional in French (le conditionnel) [0/10]
  • 10.1.4 Imperative in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.5 Infinitive in French [0/4]
  • 10.1.6 Gerund in French [0/2]
  • 10.1.7 Present participle in French [0/3]
  • 10.1.8 Past participle in French [0/4]
  • 10.2 French auxiliary verbs (avoir, être) [0/11]
  • 10.3 Modal verbs in French [0/17]
  • Fill in the blank exercise for the modal verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • 10.3.1 Conjugation of pouvoir (can) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.2 Conjugation of devoir (should) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.3 conjugation of vouloir (want) in French [0/4]
  • 10.3.4 Conjugation of savoir (to know) in French [0/4]
  • 10.4 Passive voice in French [0/4]
  • 10.5 Reflexive verbs in French [0/4]
  • 10.6 Irregular verbs in French [0/24]
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French (Score -/-)
  • Fill in the blanks exercise of the irregular verbs in French II (Score -/-)
  • 10.6.1 Conjugation of venir (to come) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.2 conjugation of aller (to go) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.3 conjugation of faire (to do) in French [0/4]
  • 10.6.4 conjugation of prendre (to take) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.5 conjugation of voir (to see) in French [0/3]
  • 10.6.6 Conjugation of partir (to leave) in French [0/4]
  • 10.7 Regular verbs in French [0/8]
  • 10.8 Reported Speech in French [0/4]
  • 11 French sentence structure [0/25]
  • Multiple choice questions about the sentence structure in French (Score -/-)
  • 11.1 The phrases in French [0/5]
  • 11.2 The forms of phrases in French [0/7]
  • 11.3 The types of phrases in French [0/8]
  • 11.4 The propositions in French [0/4]
  • 12 French si clauses [0/3]
  • 13
  • French sentence structure

    The sentence is delimited by the punctuation and constitutes at the same time a syntactic unit, a melodic unit and a unit of meaning. In the French language, verbal sentences (French: les phrases verbales) are the most common, they revolve around a conjugated verb.

    Example: 

    Alors on vit un spectacle formidable. (Victor Hugo, les misérables, 1862)

    Some sentences that do not include a conjugated verb, emphasize a noun or nominal group (French: le groupe nominal), an adjective (French: la phrase adjectivale) or an adverb (French: la phrase adverbiale).

    Example:

    Bouleversement de toute ma personne. (Marcel Proust, Sodome et Gomorrhe, 1921)

    You study a sentence according to its structure (simple, composed or complex), its type (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory or imperative), its form (affirmative or negative) and its voice (active or passive).

    Phrases in French 

    Just like in English, a sentence always start with a capital letter and always ends with a single point (.) but it can also end with an exclamation point or a question mark. The sentence is composed of a set of words placed in a logical order to have a meaning and to express a fact or an action. 

    A sentence can be more or less complex. Therefore, you distinguish simple sentences, composed sentences and complex sentences

    French simple phrases

    The simple sentence (French: la phrase simple) is called an independent proposition. It is not related to any other proposition. Among the simple sentences, we find the verbal sentence (French: la phrase verbale) and the nominal sentence (French: la phrase nominale).

    Verbal phrases

    The verbal sentences (French: la phrase verbale) are composed of a subject or a group of subjects, a conjugated verb and a complement

    Examples:

    Subject Verb Complement Translations
    Nous  allons à la plage (We are going to the beach)
    Alina et moi sommes de grands amateurs (Alina and I are big amateurs)
    Tom et Nana  sont  des personnages de dessin animés (Tom and Nana are cartoons' avatars)

    Nominal phrases

    The nominal sentences (French: la phrase nominale) does not have a conjugated verb. 

    Examples:

    • Premier plat, première deception. (First meal, first disappointment)
    • Quel beau garcon ! (What a beautiful man !)
    • Une véritable perte de temps ! (A true waste of time)

    Complex French phrases

    The complex sentences (French: les phrases complexes) are composed of several conjugated verbs. It consist of a main proposition and one ore more other subordinate clauses

    A complex sentence should at least have two verbs and therefore it can also have one, two or more complements depending on the numbers of verbs included. 

    Examples: 

    Proposition principale Proposition subordonnée Translations
    Je ne sais pas quand elle est arrivée (I don't know when she arrived)
    Je suis rentrée ainsi que mes amies (I went back home and my friends as well)
    Il partira de la France lorsqu'il aura son permis (He will leave France once he gets his license driver)

    The composed phrases in French

    The composed phrases (French: les phrases composées) are similar to the complex sentence but use another independent proposition separated by a preposition or the comma (,)

    Examples: 

    • Je mange et j'arrive dans 2 heures(Let me eat and I'm coming in 2 hours)
    • Léa parle et crie sur tous ses amis(Lea speaks and yells at all her friends)
    • Papa a réparé la voiture et est parti déposer ma mère au marché(Dad repaired the car and went to drop my mom off to the market)

    ​The phrases forms in French

    The French grammar has many form of phrases (French: les formes de phrase) and among them you find: 

    • The negative form 
    • The affirmative form
    • The emphatic form 
    • The passive form 
    • The impersonal form 
    • The neutral form
    Forms Examples Translation
    Forme négative Je ne pourrais pas te donner ce que tu demandes (I could not give you what you are asking for)
    Forme affirmative Tes amies viennent te voir ce soir (Your friends will come to see you tonight)

    The emphatic vs neutral form

    The emphatic form (French: la forme emphatiqueinsist or draw attention to a word or a group of words in a sentence. The neutral form (French: la forme neutre) is when a sentence insists on no particular word, it is not emphatic. 

    You need to distinguish them. 

    Form Examples Translations
    Forme emphatique

    De l'argent, ce n'est pas ce qui manque

    La vue, elle est belle

    (Money, it is not what is missing)

    (The view, it is beautiful)

    Forme neutre

    L'argent n'est pas ce qui manque

    La vue est belle

    (Money is not what is missing)

    (The view is beautiful)


    The impersonal form 

    The impersonal form (French: la forme impersonnelle) is when the subject of the sentence is the 3rd personal pronoun (il) and represents nothing and nobody. Therefore, you cannot replace the  personal pronoun with a word or group of words. 

    Examples: 

    • Il pleut dehors. (It's raining outside)
    • Il est temps de partir. (It's time to go)
    • Il y a une nouvelle employée dans l'entreprise. (There is a new employee in the company)

    ​The types of phrases in French 

    The French grammar has 4 types of phrases:

    Types Examples Translations
    Declarative Je ne veux pas aller à la plage. (I don't want to go to the beach.)
    Imperative Restez où vous êtes !  (Don't move !)
    Exclamative Quelle belle surprise !  (What a beautiful surprise !)
    Interrogative Quelle heure il est ?  (What time is it ?)

    The propositions in French 

    Within a sentence, the coherent set of words that alone makes sense is called a proposition (French: une proposition). The phrase can include one or more propositions which has a verb. 

    Each proposition consists of several group of words. 

    Let's analyse this sentence 

    Je pense que mon frère a acheté une nouvelle voiture. (I think my brother bought a new car)

    • 1st proposition is "je pense" also called the main proposition
    • 2nd proposition is "que mon frère a acheté une nouvelle voiture"

    The French grammar has 4 types of propositions. 

    Proposition Examples Translations
    Independent Je vais aller faire les courses (I am going to do shopping)
    Main Je ne sais pas pourquoi elle est partie (I don't know why he left)
    Subordinate conjunctiva Elle est allée dormir puisqu'elle ne part plus (She went to sleep as she is not going anymore)
    Relative subordinate Comment s'appelle le garcon qui a les cheveux longs ? (What is the name of the boy who has long hair)
    Incidental Je crois que vous vous êtes trompés, dit-il  (I think you misunderstood, he says)

    Exercises

    Multiple choice questions about the sentence structure in French

    Next lessons

    1 The phrases in French Get a comprehensive overview about all the phrases in French and study the topic online.
    2 The forms of phrases in French Get a comprehensive overview about all the forms in French verbs and study the topic online.
    3 The types of phrases in French Get an overview of the types of phrases in French
    4 The propositions in French Get a comprehensive overview about all the propositions in French and study them online.