Apprendre la Langue Française (96e partie): communication et savoir-faire, les sommaires (deuxieme partie)


I have shared quite a lot of notes about French here at my apprendre la langue francaise series. We learned about the grammar, the phonetics, the verb conjugations, some vocabularies, several expressions, among others.  Yet it’s also equally important to understand how we can apply all these, and I’ll try my best, as I am no expert, to demonstrate it here and likewise, share my personal observations and insights as I learn the language while living in Geneva, where my French connection begins.

1) Exprimer la possession et ses goûts

In expressing your interests (or otherwise), the French verbs adorer, aimer and détester are commonly used (read: les verbes – adorer, aimer et détester, and le verbe, aimer – la usage). Adorer means “to love” while aimer means “to like.” On the other hand, détester means “to hate.”

So, what is it I like and dislike in Geneva? Alors, qu’est-ce que j’aime et je deteste  à Genève?

I like the chocolates and cheese a lot. J’aime beaucoup le chocolat et le fromage.

I do not like the very cold weather. Je n’aime pas le temps très froid.

I hate the tap water here, but Evian is an exemption! Je deteste de l’eau ici mais l’Evian est une exemption!

Generally, I love the life in Geneva. En général, j’adore la vie à Genève.

You may have noticed that there’s a different way in negating a verb. With the example above, it’s je n’aime pas (the letter e is dropped here). Generally, ne…pas is one of the negative adverbs commonly used to negate or restrict the action of the verb it modifies (read: la négation).

When a person asks you either a positive or a negative question, in English we can either respond with ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In French however, when someone asks you a negative question, your reply could have been ‘oui’ but instead, in French you must say, ‘si’ (read: oui? non!). It seems confusing that even I couldn’t seem to apply it well sometimes! It’s a wishful thinking that questions can only be answerable with just a yes or a no (and ironically, si doesn’t even mean, maybe).

Vous aimez le jazz?
You like jazz?
Oui, j’aime beaucoup* le jazz.
Yes, I like jazz a lot.
Et la pluie, vous aimez?
And rain, you like?
Non, je n’aime pas la pluie.
No, I do not like rain.
Vous n’aimez pas le sport?
You do not like sport?
Si, j’aime le sport. Je fais** du tennis.
Yes, I like sport. I play tennis.

* l’adverbe utilisé: beaucoup means a lot, very much    **le verbe utilisé: faire means to do, to make

In expressing a possession, French possessive adjectives are very important. Same with nouns of course, these adjectives have corresponding masculine, feminine and plural forms (read: les adjectifs possessifs).

There is my bag and my shoes. Il y a mon sac et mes chasseures.

He is your friend. Il est ton/votre ami.

She is his mother. Elle est sa mère.

Our house is beautiful. Notre maison est belle*.

Their dinner is ready. Leur dîner est prêt*.

* l’adjectif utilisé: belle is a female form for beautiful; prêt is a male form for ready

2) Demander (poliment) à quelqu’un de faire quelque chose

The verbs pouvoir (meaning “to be able to,” “to have the capacity to” or “can”) and vouloir (meaning “to want,” “to wish,” or “to like”) are commonly used when you ask someone to do something for you, or when you request something from someone (read: le verbe pouvoir, and le verbe vouloir). When these verbs are utilized with pronouns in first person (here, it is je), they are normally constructed in conditional form (we might tackle conditional verb conjugations  in detail later on).

Would you want to help me, please? (or literally, it means, You would want to help me, please?) Vous voulez* bien m’aider, s’il vous plaît?

Could you respond, please? (or literally, it means, You could respond, please?) Vous pourriez* répondre, s’il vous plaît?

I would like…  Je voudrais*J’aimerais*…

Now when you demand to someone, especially that you are a person in authority, you use the conjugated verbs assigned to pronoun vous; or when you used with another pronoun, tu, which is equally in second person vis-à-vis vous, no letter s is added at the end of the verb.

Listen! Écoute*! Écoutez*!

Go! Va*! Allez*!

Listen well! Go to Saint-Michel Place. Écoutez bien! Allez place Saint-Michel.

You listen? Listen! Tu écoute?  Écoute!

* les verbes utilisé: voulez and pourriez are conjugated forms in present tense for pronoun vous; voudrais and aimerais are conjugated in conditional form for pronoun je; écouter means to listen and the verbs écoute and écoutez are conjugated forms for pronouns je and vous respectively; aller means “to go,” “to move,” or “to travel” and the verbs va and allez are conjugated forms for pronouns je and vous respectively

3) Poser une question

In posing a question (read: les adverbes interrogatifsque, quoi ou quel?, oui/non questions), you can either apply an ascending intonation to a sentence and place with required question words like que, quand, où etc., for example:

Tu connais ce chanteur? You know that singer?

Vous habitez où? You live where?

À quelle heure tu veux manger? What time you are going to eat?

Tu vas à Paris quand? You go to Paris when?

Il s’appelle comment? It is called how?

or, add est-ce que and required question words, for example:

Est-ce que tu connais ce chanteur? Do you know that singer?

Où est-ce que vous habitez? Where do you live?

À quelle heure est-ce que tu veux manger? What time are you going to eat?

Quand est-ce que tu vas à Paris? When are you going to Paris?

Comment est-ce qu’il s’appelle? How is it called?

4) Proposer – accepter/inviter une invitation

So, we have verbs inviter(meaning “to invite”), proposer (meaning “to propose”) accepter (meaning “to accept”) and refuser (meaning “to refuse”) in use, which all belong to primary group in verb conjugation (read: les verbes terminent par –er).  Here are some examples on how to propose, accept or refuse an invitation.

Proposer…

I suggest dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Je te propose un dîner dans un restaurant chinois.***

I suggest you go first to the movies. Je te propose d’aller d’abord au cinéma.***

Do you want to visit the museum? Est-ce que tu veux* visiter le musée?

A Chinese restaurant, how would you like? (it tells you?) Un restaurant chinois, ça te dirait? (ça te dit*?)***

How would you like (it tells you?) to go swimming? Ça te dirait (Ça te dit?) d’aller à la piscine?***

I invite you! Je t’invite!***

Accepter une invitation…

Okay. It’s okay. D’accord. C’est d’accord.

It works. Ça marche.

With pleasure. Avec plaisir.

It does not bother you? Ça ne te dérange pas?***

Thank you for your invitation. Merci de ton/votre invitation.

We thank you for your invitation. Nous te/vous remercions* de ton/votre invitation.***

Refuser une invitation…

I’m sorry, I must work. Je suis désolé, je dois* travailler.

That tells me nothing. Ça ne me dit rien.

Monday, it’s not possible. Lundi, ce n’est pas possible**.

I do not want to leave. Je n’ai pas envie de sortir.

I cannot today. Je ne peux pas aujourd’hui.

I am not available. Je ne suis pas libre**.

* les verbes utilisé: veux is a conjugated  form in present tense of vouloir which means to want; remercions is a conjugated form in present tense of remercier which means to thank; dois is a conjugated form in present tense of devoir which means to have to.

**les adjectifs utilisé: possible also means feasible; libre means available, free.

***read: les pronoms compléments directs

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