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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to French.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Candice.
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of French grammar.
Gender Nouns in French
In some languages, like French, nouns are divided into different classes.
For example, French divides nouns into two classes using gender: masculine, and feminine.
Let's take a look at some masculine nouns.
lit “bed”
fromage “cheese”
village “village”
livre “book”
Now, feminine nouns.
cuillère “the spoon”
boue “mud”
revue “review”
syllabe “syllable”
There are some rules for learning the gender of French nouns, but they're quite complex. Many consider the designation of gender to be largely arbitrary, so it's likely that you'll just have to memorize them.
OK. So now you know that nouns are divided into gender classes. But why is this important?
Learning gender nouns is important for forming sentences in French!
For example, “lit” means “bed” in French, and it's a masculine noun. If you want to refer to “the bed” in a sentence however, you need to add “le” before the noun.
le lit “the bed”
In fact, if you want to refer to any masculine noun in French, you need to use “le” or “un.”
le fromage “the cheese”
le village “the village”
un livre “a book”
On the other hand, we use “la” and “une” to refer to feminine nouns.
la cuillère “the spoon”
la boue “the mud”
une revue “a review”
une syllabe “a syllable”
Now you know how to refer to nouns in French.
Verb Classes in French
Similar to nouns, French verbs can also be separated into different classes.
There are 3 classes of verbs in French and they are:
verbs ending in -er
manger “to eat,” nager “to swim,” travailler “to work,” aimer “to love/to like”
verbs ending in -ir
finir “to finish,” ralentir “to slow down,” réagir “to react”
and verbs ending in -re, -oir, and -ir
mourir “to die,” recevoir “to receive,” lire “to read”
Each class of verbs will be conjugated differently when used in a sentence. Let's take a look at a few examples to see how they differ:
"to swim" is “nager” in French, and it comes from the first group because it ends in “er”.
"I swim" in the present tense would be:
Je nage “I swim”
Past tense would be:
Je nageais “I swam”
And the future tense would be:
Je nagerais “I will swim”
Let's compare that to a verb in group 2.
"to finish" is “finir” in French, and it comes from the second group because it ends in “ir”.
Je finis “I finish”
Je finissais “I finished”
Je finirai “I will finish”
Finally, a verb from group 3.
"to read" is “lire” in French, and it comes from the third group because it ends with “re”.
Je lis “I read”
Je lisais “I read”
Je lirais “I will read”
We'll teach you how to properly conjugate verbs of different classes in future lessons. For now, just know that there are 3 different categories of verbs in French.
How to Form Basic Sentences in French
OK. Now you know about nouns and verbs in French. Let's learn how to form basic sentences in French.
Forming sentences in French is quite simple, especially for English speakers, as French uses the same word order as English.
Consider the following example:
Le garçon mange un gâteau. “The boy eats a cake.”
In English, this sentence means, "The boy eats a cake."
If we break down the French sentence, we can see that the order matches the English sentence, one to one.
Le - “the”
garçon - “boy”
mange - “eats”
un - “a”
gâteau - “cake”
We can create basic sentences in French, simply by exchanging English words for French words.
Notice how we use “un” here, because “gâteau” is a masculine noun. If the object had been a feminine noun, we'd have used “une” instead.
We can create any basic sentence in French, by starting with a subject, in this case "the boy"...
Le garçon
then follow it with a verb, "eats"...
and finally end with the object, "the cake"...
un gâteau
As you can see, the word order in French is just like English!
How to Form Negative Sentences in French
Finally, let's learn how to create negative sentences in French.
Negating sentences in French is simple. Simply add “ne” before the verb, and “pas” after it.
J'ai “I have”
Je n'ai pas “I don't have”
J'aime lire “I like to read”
Je n'aime pas lire “I don't like to read”
Juliette mange “Juilette eats”
Juliette ne mange pas “Juliette doesn't eat”
You can negate any basic sentence in French this way.
Well done! Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that French nouns are divided into two classes: masculine and feminine.
Similar to nouns, French verbs are divided into three groups.
French uses the same subject-verb-object word order like English.
And finally, you learned how to negate sentences in French.
We've covered only the very basics of French grammar. If you're interested in learning more, check out our "French in 3 minutes" video series. In that course, we teach you useful phrases while covering the fundamentals of French grammar, and each lesson is only 3 minutes long!
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of French writing.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!