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Lesson Transcript

Jason: Only the Best French Car Will Do! C’est Jason. Jason here!
Ingrid: Bonjour à tous, Ingrid here!
Jason: This lesson is the second part of our adjective series lessons, which are focused on adjective uses. We’ll mainly deal with the placement of adjectives in a sentence. In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to describe people or things with adjectives.
Ingrid: You will be able to place an adjective correctly before or after the noun, according to its type. And where does our conversation take place?
Jason: In a car dealership. Marie-Louise, who is quite an “old-school” lady, wants to find a new car. Of course she will use formal French with the sales assistant.
Ingrid: Yes, and I think there might be a little misunderstanding with the sales assistant!
Jason: And you will see that high-class women like Marie-Louise are quite demanding when they want to buy a car! Okay, now let's listen to the conversation!
1st time: natural native speed:
(In a car dealer store)
Sales assistant: Bonjour madame, quel style de voiture voulez-vous acheter?
Marie-Louise: Je voudrais une petite voiture, vous voyez… Une voiture pratique pour la ville. Mais attention, il me faut cinq places à l'intérieur.
Sales assistant: Et en ce qui concerne la couleur?
Marie-Louise: Une voiture rouge serait parfaite!
Sales assistant: Je viens de recevoir un modèle d'occasion qui pourrait vous plaire!
Marie-Louise: Mais enfin ! Je n'achète que du neuf!
(1 time slowly)
Sales assistant: Bonjour madame, quel style de voiture voulez-vous acheter?
Marie-Louise: Je voudrais une petite voiture, vous voyez… Une voiture pratique pour la ville. Mais attention, il me faut cinq places à l'intérieur.
Sales assistant: Et en ce qui concerne la couleur?
Marie-Louise: Une voiture rouge serait parfaite!
Sales assistant: Je viens de recevoir un modèle d'occasion qui pourrait vous plaire!
Marie-Louise: Mais enfin ! Je n'achète que du neuf !
(1 time natural native speed with the translation)
Good morning Madam, what kind of car are you looking for?
I would like a small car you see…A convenient car to go downtown. But of course, I would need 5 seats inside.
And what about the color?
A red car would be the best!
I just received a second-hand car that you may like!
For heaven's sake! I only buy if it’s new!
Jason: So, it sounds like Marie-Louise doesn’t agree with the sales assistant’s suggestion! Second-hand cars are not chic enough for her! What do you think?
Ingrid: I’m sure you’re right! But not everybody is like her in France, the second-hand market has never been so well developed!
Jason: Really? And what do you think that’s due to?
Ingrid: I think it’s primarily due to the economic crisis that is affecting many French families. So now, more and more French households are buying their goods in second-hand market because they can easily find half-price products, from household electrical appliances to original fashion.
Jason: I see, and where can you find these kinds of second-hand products in France?
Ingrid: On the Internet with E-bay, in specialized stores, and also in traditional flea markets.
Jason: Hum… and I guess it’s also a way to not waste things. And the idea of recycling is very well-regarded now, isn’t it?
Ingrid: Exactly! More than a way to save money, the second-hand market totally fits the new “green attitude” which is now very strong in France too. You can recycle almost everything from your grandma’s clothes to your old cell phones!
Okay, so now, let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first expression we shall see is:
Désirer [natural native speed]
Meaning “To want / to desire for”
Désirer [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Désirer [natural native speed]
Pratique [natural native speed]
Meaning “Convenient”
Pratique [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Pratique [natural native speed]
En ce qui concerne [natural native speed]
Meaning “Concerning, regarding”
En ce qui concerne [slowly - broken down by syllable]
En ce qui concerne [natural native speed]
D’occasion [natural native speed]
Meaning “Second-hand”
D’occasion [slowly - broken down by syllable]
D’occasion [natural native speed]
Plaire [natural native speed]
Meaning “To like, to enjoy”
Plaire [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Plaire [natural native speed]
Mais enfin! [natural native speed]
Meaning “For heaven's sake!”
Mais enfin! [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Mais enfin! [natural native speed]
voiture [slowly]
"to buy"
acheter [slowly]
"to like"
aimer [slowly]
"seat, place"
place [slowly]
Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Jason: The first is the verb “Désirer.” What does it mean exactly?
Ingrid: This verb can be translated by “To wish” or “To want”. You can use it to say you want to obtain something. It expresses wishes and plans. For example you can say “Je desire avoir des enfants” which means “I plan to have children in the future”.
Jason: Yes but in our dialog, is the meaning the same? I guess you can use this verb in other situations, no?
Ingrid: Yes indeed: you can also use the verb “désirer” when you are expressing your preferences, for example when you choose something to buy. A sales assistant will usually ask you “Que désirez-vous?” or “Désirez-vous autre chose?” which actually means “What are you looking for?”or “Would you like something else?” in a polite form.
Jason: Ok, so could you say these 2 examples again slowly?
Ingrid: (slowly) « Que désirez-vous? », « Désirez-vous autre chose ? »
Jason: And again at natural speed
Ingrid: (natural speed) « Que désirez-vous ? », « Désirez-vous autre chose ? »
Jason: Yeah, but just be sure to use it in appropriate situations, for example, when you are making a request in a luxury store. This is not a verb you can use as easily as “to want”— it’s more strong and sophisticated.
Ingrid: That’s true; it’s more suitable when expressing deep wishes. It may sound too strong for casual requests! For example it’s better to say “Je veux prendre une douche” than “Je desire prendre une douche”, even if both mean “I want to have a shower”.
Jason: Yeah so please keep the verb “désirer” for special occasions!
Ingrid: So next is “En ce qui concerne” which means “Concerning” or “Regarding”.
This is a polite ready-made expression used to introduce the topic of the conversation or question. Here, the sales assistant wants to know which color her customer is interested in.
Jason: Yes so instead of just saying “Et la couleur?”which would be quite rude, he is using this polite pattern “En ce qui concerne la couleur?”.
Ingrid: That’s right! And you can also use this expression for many things, for example if you are talking about yourself or your own opinion, you will say “En ce qui me concerne, je préfère le noir” which means “As far as I’m concerned I prefer black”
Jason: This is also a quite polite way to introduce a topic, but what if we want to be more casual?
Ingrid: You would say “pour moi” or even just “moi” if you are talking about yourself , for example “Moi, je préfère le noir.”
Jason: Great! Next expression is the verb “plaire.” When do you have to use it?
Ingrid: In French, this verb is a synonym of “aimer” or “apprécier” which both mean “to like”, “to appreciate”. So basically you can say “Son chapeau me plait” which means “I enjoy his hat” or on the contrary “Ce type ne me plait pas trop” which is “I don’t like this guy very much”.
Jason: Can you repeat these sentences slowly please?
Ingrid: [slowly] “Son chapeau me plait”, “Ce type ne me plait pas trop”
Jason: Please note there is a special conjugation for this verb, right?
Ingrid: Yes you’re right, contrary to verbs like “aimer”, you must not agree the verb “plaire” with the subject of the sentence “I” but with the object complement. In the 1st example, it was “chapeau”.
Jason: Yes, so for example you will say “Ces voitures me plaisent” and not “Ces voitures me plais”?
Ingrid: That’s right, you have to say “Ces voitures me plaisent” because verb « plaire » has to agree with “ces voitures” which are plural.
Jason: Great, so we’ve learned many useful things to express your preferences today! You know the verbs “désirer”, “plaire” but also how to express your personal point of view with “en ce qui me concerne”!
Ingrid: Yes, so now you don’t have any excuse not to say what you want or don’t want!

Lesson focus

Jason: So our grammar point is still concerning description and adjectives, but this 2nd part will deal with adjective placement in a sentence.
Ingrid: Yes, you will learn to correctly place the adjective according to its characteristics because in French, adjectives can be positioned either before or after the noun they are qualifying.
Jason: Yes, unlike in English, the adjective in French is not always placed before the noun. So Ingrid, maybe we can start with adjectives that are usually before the word they are qualifying?
Ingrid: Yes so basically there are not many French adjectives to be put before, but with very casual short adjectives (less than 3 syllables) such as “petit” or “grand” you have to place them before.
Jason: Yes, for example, you would say “Une petite fille” and not “Une fille petite”.
Ingrid: Yes this sounds much more natural! This rule also concerns the everyday-use adjective “bon”. For example you will say “une bonne note” to say “a good mark”.
Jason: The adjective “bon” is one of the few adjectives you have to put before the qualified word. Do you know why Ingrid?
Ingrid: Actually, there is no formal grammatical rule; it’s more a habit to say it in this order.
We traditionally put “petit”, “grand” or “bon” adjectives before the qualified word.
Jason: Are there other exceptions when the adjective is placed before?
Ingrid: Yes, when you use numeral adjectives such as “premier” which means “first” or “dernière” which means “last”, you have to put this adjective before the noun qualified.
Jason: For example, you can say “c’est la première fois que je vois ça” which means “This is the first time I’ve seen that”.
Ingrid: Also, you can say “C’est ma dernière leçon”, “It’s my last lesson”
Jason: Ok so now let’s have a look at adjectives that you have to place after the noun, are there many of these Ingrid?
Ingrid: Yes in most cases in French, adjectives are placed after the thing they qualify. For example, we say “un cuisine propre” which means “a clean kitchen”.
Jason: Is there a rule for them?
Ingrid: You can remember that long adjectives (more than 3 syllables) are placed after what they qualify. For the adjective “intéressant,” for example.
Jason: I could say “Un livre intéressant” then?
Ingrid: Exactly, and also you have to say “Un film effrayant” to speak about “a frightening movie”, the contrary is not correct!
Jason: Are there other basic cases when the adjective comes after ? When you are talking about colors for example?
Ingrid: Yes in this case too, the adjective is always after, as in “Un pantalon blanc” which means “White trousers”.
Jason: What about all the other adjectives, for example, “content”, “triste”, “laid”?
Ingrid: They usually have to be placed after too. For example, if you want to talk about your happy boyfriend, you will say “Mon copain est un garcon heureux” so that you put the adjective “heureux” after “garcon”.
Jason: Okay! Do you have other examples, with adjectives with “é” ending for example?
Ingrid: Yes, and for them it’s simple; you always have to put them after too, as in “un châteu hanté” that means “a haunted castle”.
Jason: This is very useful! So now listeners, no more excuses for not finding the good placement of an adjective!
Ingrid: Yes indeed, but I know sometimes adjectives placement is quite confusing, so please take a look at our lesson notes if you are still unsure after this lesson!


Jason: À bientôt, see you in the next lesson!
Ingrid: Yes, à bientôt everybody!
Sample Sentences
Mais enfin! Pour qui il se prend? | 3920
"For heaven’s sake! Who does he think he is?" | 3920_e
En ce qui concerne ton futur achat? Qu’as-tu decidé? | 3919
Concerning you next purchase, have you made your decision? | 3919_e
J’aime acheter d’occasion. | 3918
"I love to buy second-hand things." | 3918_e
Ce n’est pas très pratique. | 3917
"It’s not really convenient." | 3917_e
Arrête la voiture! | 2879
"Stop the car!" | 2879_e
A défaut du train, je prends la voiture. | 3267
"Instead of the train, I am taking the car. | 3267_e
"Can you reserve a seat at the table?"