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Lesson Transcript

Let’s take a closer look at the conversation.
Do you remember how Sasha asks,
"Excuse me, do you have any salt?"
Sasha Lee: Excusez-moi. Avez-vous du sel ?
Let’s start with Excusez-moi. "Excuse me." Excusez-moi.
First is excusez, meaning, "Excuse." Excusez (enunciated). Excusez.
Next is moi, "me." Moi (enunciated). Moi.
Together, Excusez-moi, "Excuse me." Excusez-moi.
Note: You may be familiar with Excuse-moi, the informal form of "Excuse me." In this conversation, Sasha is speaking with someone she doesn’t know, so she uses the formal form, Excusez-moi.
Next is avez, meaning "[you] have." Avez (enunciated). Avez.
Avez is from the verb avoir, "to have." Avoir.
After this is vous, "you." Vous (enunciated). Vous.
Note, vous is the plural form of "you," as in "you all." But here it's the formal way to address a single person. Vous (enunciated). Vous.
Together, avez-vous is the formal way to say "Do you have…?"
After that is du sel, translating as "any salt" in this context. Du sel.
Translation note: Du sel can translate "some salt" or "any salt" depending on the context. Here, in the question format, "any salt" is a more natural translation.
Let’s start with sel, "salt." Sel (enunciated). Sel.
In French, all nouns have grammatical gender and are either singular or plural. Sel is masculine and singular — a fact which will determine the form of other words in the sentence.
Before sel is the article du.
Du is masculine and singular to agree with sel.
Du is a contraction of de, meaning “of” and le, meaning “the,” but in this context, think of it like "some" or "any" in English. Du (enunciated). Du.
Together, du sel translates as "any salt" in this context. Du sel.
All together, Excusez-moi, avez-vous du sel ? literally, "Excuse me, do you have some salt?" but in more natural English it’s "Excuse me, do you have any salt?"
Sasha Lee: Excusez-moi, avez-vous du sel ?
Let’s take a closer look at the response.
Do you remember how the shop clerk says,
"Yes, it’s here."
Charles Cartier: Oui, c’est ici.
This starts with Oui, "yes." Oui (enunciated). Oui.
It answers Sasha's question,
Excusez-moi, avez-vous du sel ?
"Excuse me, do you have salt?"
Next is c’est, "it’s." C’est (enunciated). C’est.
Note, c’est is a contraction of ce, “it,” and est, “is.” C’est is shortened for easier pronunciation.
Est is from the verb être, "to be." Être.
Last is ici, "here." Ici (enunciated). Ici.
All together, it's Oui, c’est ici. "Yes, it’s here."
Charles Cartier: Oui, c’est ici.
The pattern is
Avez-vous {ITEM}?
Do you have {ITEM}?
Avez-vous {ITEM}?
To use this pattern, simply replace the {ITEM} placeholder with the thing you’re looking for and its corresponding article.
Imagine you’re looking for "milk," lait. Lait (enunciated). Lait.
Lait is masculine and singular.
Before lait is du, translating as "any," in this context. Du.
Du is masculine singular to agree with lait.
Together, du lait. "Any milk." Du lait.
Say, "Do you have any milk?"
Avez-vous du lait ?
"Do you have any milk?"
Avez-vous du lait ?
To use the pattern in this lesson, you’ll need to know the number and gender of the thing you’re asking for. Things like milk or salt are uncountable in French and English. You need to use the singular form regardless of quantity.
The conversation introduces du, which agrees with masculine singular nouns; however, there are several more forms of this article, which often translates as "some" or "any."
For a feminine, singular noun, like confiture, jam, use de la. De la confiture, "some jam" or "any jam."
For both masculine, singular and feminine, singular nouns starting with a vowel, use de l’.
De l’argent, "some money" or "any money."
De l’eau, "some water" or "any water."
Things like apples are countable in both French and English. When there’s more than one, you use the plural form.
For both masculine and feminine nouns in the plural, use des. Des pommes, "some apples" or "any apples."