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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Candice here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I'll answer your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is What are some indispensable phrases and grammar structures for French learners?
In this lesson, we’re going to go over some phrases that will help you organize your thoughts. We’re going to try to use phrases that don’t need to be conjugated so that you can use them even with unfamiliar verbs.
First is Ce que ou ce qui...c’est. This is a great construction to really hammer home your point. It’s like a little cliffhanger. You’re putting the result first, and then the reason. For example, Ce qui m’a stupéfié(e), c’est le manque de respect which means “What really shocked me was the lack of respect.” Another form of this is le fait que...ça… This means “the fact that blah blah blah, it blah blah blah…” An example is Le fait qu’il savait, ça m’a choqué meaning “The fact that he knew, that shocked me.”
You already know the word pour to mean “for.” But it can also mean “in order to.” Just add an infinitive after pour for an easy way to say “in order to.” For exampe, On est allés au marché pour acheter du pain meaning “We went to the market to buy bread” or “in order to buy bread.”
Here are some ways to show causation – grâce à, en raison de, and à cause de. Grâce à means “thanks to.” An example is Grâce aux podcasts, je peux parler français meaning “Thanks to podcasts, I can speak French.” Grâce à shows appreciation. En raison de means “because of.” It’s neutral, compared to grâce à. An example is En raison des circonstances, je reste ici meaning “Because of the circumstances, I’m staying here.” à cause de has a negative connotation. À cause de lui, j’ai dû redoubler mes examens. Means “Because of him, I had to redo my exams.”
En fait is often used at the beginning of sentences. It means “in fact” or “actually.” Notice that you pronounce the “t”. Bref is another common sentence starter. It means “in short” or “long story short.”
Quand même means “anyways, though.” You’ll hear it all the time at the end of sentences and the beginning. An example is Mais je suis allé avec lui quand même meaning “But I went with him anyways.” Or Oui, mais quand même... meaning “Yes, but still...”
The next phrase should only be used in conversation, but it can be very useful. It’s Tu vois ce que je veux dire? meaning “Do you see what I’m saying?” French people use this all the time to make sure that another person is following what they are saying. For French learners, it’s a great way to make sure what you’ve said actually makes sense.
Not only will these words help you sound more fluent, they will also help you organize your thoughts.
Pretty neat, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A bientôt, see you soon!