Archive - August 2012

The « Pour » Gang Who Isn’t

To keep going with exposing fossilized errors , here is a group of very sad verbs – very sad to be mistaken with “pour” ones when they are not. They are, namely: . Regarder            /rgarday/ Demander          /dmonday/ Attendre             /at ondre/ Chercher            /shershay/ Appliquer        ...

“était” vs “a été”

When speaking in the past, French has two tenses: imparfait or passé composé. These two co-existing past tenses are used depending on the circumstance. “ Was”, that is to say the verb “to be” in the past, can be either: . était   /aytay/         or         a été    /ah aytay/ . When to use which? . For a description, a...

Fixing Fossilized Errors (Part 3)

So far we have debunked two common fossilized errors: sassaykuh and il est quinze. Here are more: . Common mistake: Je suis faim. Problem:  You’re hungry. What You May Detect In Your Interlocutors: Smile or laugh or slight confusion. Nothing to indicate that eating is going to take place any time soon. Fix it: “faim” (hunger)...

For advanced learners…

I have just discovered this site, Speak French Fluently, which I recommend you visit if your level is intermediate to advanced, and if you’re feeling stuck there. The author says, “My reason for starting this blog is the observation is that although many people have studied French, and French is not considered a difficult language...

D.M.C.V. (Dieu Merci C’est Vendredi!)

This post is about telling the date. First, let’s review the days of the week:                    *When giving out a day of the week, French is a bit different than English: On Monday           —>     lundi On Mondays         —->   le lundi Next Monday       —->   lundi prochain See you...

Bloopers

I already told you about my father’s unfortunate gaffe mispronouncing French. We all make mistakes some day or another and some are comical. Others, hilarious. Like my (French) Mom, who tried herself in English with most catastrophic results. American friends of my father had come to dinner, but as a snow storm hit, it was decided...

Les souliers de Madame X

This post is about expressing belonging as we do in English when we say Mrs. X ‘s shoes (also called possessive case). French does it too, but in reverse, and using “de” instead of ” ‘s “: The structure follows a strict pattern: THING OWNED + de + OWNER. The hard part here isn’t so much the switching...

Bodily Sensations

In English, when you’re hot, you’re hot. . . In French, though, it’s a different story. Some adjectives are conjugated with “être” (to be), while some others require “avoir” (to have). To be hot, for example, is said “avoir chaud” /avwar show/ (to have heat): . To be hungry is said...