Apprendre la Langue Française (103e partie): la conjonction–que

Source: french.about.com

The French word que, which contracts to qu’ in front of a vowel or mute h, has numerous uses and meanings. This summary includes links to detailed information on each use of que.

Comparative and superlative adverb

Il est plus grand que moi. He is taller than I.

Conjunction

Je pense que tu as raison. I think that you’re right.

Conjunctive phrases

Je l’ai fait parce que j’avais faim.  I did it because I was hungry.

Exclamative adverb

Que tu es grand !  You’re so tall!

Indefinite relative pronoun

Ce que j’aime, c’est l’aventure.  What I love is adventure.

Indirect commands

Que le bonheur vous sourie.  May happiness smile upon you.

Interrogative phrase

Est-ce que tu es prêt ?  Are you ready?

Interrogative pronoun

Que veux-tu ?  What do you want?

Negative adverb

Je n’ai que 10 euros.  I only have ten euros.

Relative pronoun

J’ai perdu le livre que tu m’as acheté.  I lost the book that you bought me.

When the French word que is used as a conjunction, it is equivalent to “that”:

Je pense qu’il a raison.I think (that) he is right.

Nous espérons que tu seras là. We hope (that) you’ll be there.

C’est dommage qu’il ne soit pas prêt. It’s too bad (that) he’s not ready.

Note that “that” is optional in English, but que cannot be omitted.

With verbs of wanting followed by que, the French structure is the same as the above, but the English translation uses an infinitive:

Il veut qu’elle aide.  He wants her to help.

J’aimerais que tu sois là. I would like (for) you to be there.

Que can be used to repeat a previously-stated conjunction (like comme, quand, or si) or conjunctive phrase:

Comme tu es là et que ton frère ne l’est pas…Since you’re here and (since) your brother isn’t…

Je lui ai téléphoné quand j’étais rentré et que j’avais fait mes devoirs. I called him when I got home and (when) I’d done my homework.

Si j’ai de l’argent et que mes parents sont d’accord, j’irai en France l’année prochaine. If I have money and (if) my parents agree, I will go to France next year.

Pour que tu comprennes la situation et que tu sois à l’aise…So that you understand the situation and (so that) you feel comfortable…

Que can begin a clause and be followed by the subjunctive, with various meanings:

Que = whether

Tu le feras, que tu le veuilles ou non.You’ll do it whether you want to or not.

Que tu viennes ou que tu ne viennes pas, ça m’est égal. Whether you come or or not, I don’t care.

Que = so that

Fais tes devoirs, qu’on puisse sortir.Do your homework so that we can go out.

Téléphone-lui, qu’il sache où nous rejoindre. Call him, so that he knows where to meet us.

Que = when

Nous venions de manger qu’il a téléphoné.We had just eaten when he called.

Je travaillais depuis seulement une heure qu’il y a eu un exercice d’évacuation. I had been working for only an hour when there was a fire drill.

Que = third person order

Qu’il pleuve !Let / May it rain!

Qu’elle me laisse tranquille ! I wish she would leave me alone!

Que can be used to emphasize oui or non:

Que oui !

     

Yes indeed! Certainly! You bet!

Que non !  No way! Certainly not! Not at all!

Que can represent something that was just said:

Que tu crois !(informal) That’s what you think!

Que je le fais tout seul ? C’est absurde ! (You think) I should do it all alone? That’s absurd!

Que can be used instead of inversion with direct speech and certain adverbs:

« Donne-le-moi ! » qu’il me dit (me dit-il)

“Give it to me!” he said

Peut-être qu’il sera là (Peut-être sera-t-il là)

Perhaps he will be there

Apprendre la Langue Française (102e partie): le verbe–falloir (usage et conjugaison au présent)

Source: french.about.com 

Falloir is an irregular impersonal French verb that is better known in its conjugated form: il faut. Falloir means “to be necessary” or “to need.” It is impersonal, meaning that it has only one grammatical person: the third person singular. It may be followed by the subjunctive, an infinitive, or a noun:

Il faut partir.  It’s necessary to leave.
Il faut que nous partions.  We have to leave.
Il faut de l’argent pour faire ça.   It’s necessary to have / You need money to do that.

When falloir is followed by an infinitive or noun, it may be used with an indirect object pronoun to indicate who or what needs whatever comes next:

Il faut manger.   It’s necessary to eat.
Il nous faut manger.   We have to eat.
Il faut une voiture.   It’s necessary to have a car.
Il me faut une voiture.   I need a car.

Falloir is used in a number of expressions, including:

ce qu’il faut – what is needed
Il a bien fallu ! – I/We/They had to!
s’il le faut – if (it’s) necessary
Faudrait voir à voir (informal) – Come on! Come off it!
Il faut ce qu’il faut (informal) – You’ve got to do things right

The impersonal pronominal construction s’en falloir means to be missing or short of something, as in “this action did not occur because something was missing”:

Tu as raté son appel, il s’en est fallu de 10 minutes.    You missed his call by 10 minutes.
Je n’ai pas perdu, mais il s’en est fallu de peu.    I very nearly lost (I didn’t lose, but it was close).

Conjugations
Present tense   il faut
Imperfect   il fallait
Future   il faudra

Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 78): le verbe – voir (l’usage et les expressions)

Source: french.about.com

Voir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation, means “to see” in most senses of the word, and is found in a number of idiomatic expressions.

Voir means “to see.”

Je vois Lise le samedi. I see Lise on Saturdays.

Je vois deux chiens. I see two dogs.

As-tu vu ce film ? Have you seen this movie?

Voir can mean “to see” figuratively, in the sense of “to witness” or “to experience”:

Je n’ai jamais vu un tel enthousiasme. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm.

Il a vu la mort de tous ses amis. He has seen (lived through) the deaths of all of his friends.

Voir is also commonly used to mean “to see” in the sense of “to understand.”

Ah, je vois ! Oh, I see! (I get it, I understand)

Je ne vois pas la différence. I don’t see (understand) the difference.

Je ne vois pas comment vous avez décidé. I don’t see (understand) how you decided.

Voir can be followed by an infinitive to mean “to see” literally or figuratively:

As-tu vu sauter la petite fille ? Did you see the little girl jump?

J’ai vu grandir ses enfants. I saw (witnessed) his children growing up.

Aller voir means “to go (and) see”:

Tu devrais aller voir un film. You should go see a movie.

Va voir si elle est prête. Go and see if she’s ready.

Faire voir means “to show”:

Fais-moi voir tes devoirs. Let me see / Show me your homework.

Fais voir ! Let me see! Show me!

Voir venir (informal, figurative) means “to see something/someone coming”:

Je te vois venir. I see where you’re going (with this), what you’re leading up to.

Mais c’est trop cher ! On t’a vu venir ! But that’s too expensive! They saw you coming!

Se voir can be a pronominal or passive voice construction.

1. Pronominal

Reflexive – to see oneself

Te vois-tu dans la glace ? Do you see yourself in the mirror?

Je me vois habiter en Suisse. I see (can imagine) myself living in Switzerland.

(figurative) – to find oneself, be in the position of

Je me vois obliger de partir. I find myself obliged to leave.

Il s’est vu contraint d’en parler. He found himself forced to talk about it.

Reciprocal – to see each other

Nous nous voyons tous les jours. We see each other every day.

Quand se sont-ils vus ? When did they see each other?

2. Passive

a) to happen; to show, be visible

Ça se voit. That happens.

Ça ne se voit pas tous les jours. You don’t see that / That doesn’t happen every day.

Le trou ne se voit pas. You can’t see the hole / The hole isn’t visible.

b) se voir plus infinitive – to be + past participle

Il s’est vu dire de se taire. He was told to be quiet.

Je me suis vu interdire de répondre. I was forbidden to respond.

Possible meanings of se voir

– to see oneself
– to see each other
– to find oneself
– to show
– to happen

Expressions with se voir

Cela (Ça) se voit. It / That happens; I can tell.

se voir en cachette
to meet secretly

Ils ne peuvent pas se voir. They can’t stand each other.

Here are some expressions with voir.

voir à (literary)
to see to it that, to make sure that

voir 36 chandelles
to see stars

voir la vie en rose
to see life through rose-colored glasses

voir venir
wait and see

avoir quelque chose à voir avec/dans
to have something to do with

en faire voir de dures à qqun
to give someone a hard time

en faire voir de toutes les couleurs
to give someone a hard time

faire voir 36 chandelles à qqun
to beat the living daylights out of someone

ne pas avoir grand-chose à voir avec/dans
to not have much to do with

ne rien avoir à voir avec/dans
to have nothing to do with

ne voir aucun mal à qqchose
to not see any harm in something

n’y voir goutte
to not see a thing

n’y voir que du feu
to be completely fooled

rien à voir
nothing to do with

Cela n’a rien à voir avec…
That has nothing to do with…

C’est mal vu. People don’t like that.

C’est quelque chose qui ne se voit pas tous les jours. There’s something you don’t see every day.

C’est tout vu. It’s a foregone conclusion.

Essaie un peu pour voir ! Just you try it!

Fais voir ! Show me!

histoire de voir
just to see

Il faut voir. We’ll (have to wait and) see.

Il en a vu des vertes et des pas mûres. He has taken some hard knocks.

Il faut le voir pour le croire. It has to be seen to be believed.

J’en ai vu d’autres ! I’ve see worse!

Je l’ai vu de mes propres yeux. I saw it with my own eyes.

Je l’ai vu naître. I’ve known him since he was born.

Je n’ai rien à voir dans cette affaire. I have nothing to do with that.

Je ne peux pas les voir en peinture ! I can’t stand them!

Je n’y vois pas d’inconvénient. I have no objection, I see no problems.

Je te vois venir ! I know what you’re up to!

Je voudrais t’y voir ! I’d like to see you try it!

On aura tout vu ! That would be too much!

On commence à y voir plus clair. Things are beginning to come clear.

On n’en voit pas la fin. The end is nowhere in sight.

On verra. We’ll see.

On verra bien ! We’ll see about that!

Vous voyez d’ici le tableau ! Just picture it!

Voyons ! Come on! Let’s see!

Conjugations in present tense

je vois
tu vois
il/elle/on voit
nous voyons
vous voyez
ils/elles voient

Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 77): le verbe – falloir (l’usage et les expressions)

Source: french.about.com

Falloir is an irregular impersonal French verb that is better known in its conjugated form: il faut. Falloir means “to be necessary” or “to need.” It is impersonal, meaning that it has only one grammatical person: the third person singular. It may be followed by the subjunctive, an infinitive, or a noun:

Il faut partir. It’s necessary to leave.

Il faut que nous partions. We have to leave.

Il faut de l’argent pour faire ça. It’s necessary to have / You need money to do that.

When falloir is followed by an infinitive or noun, it may be used with an indirect object pronoun to indicate who or what needs whatever comes next:

Il faut manger. It’s necessary to eat.

Il nous faut manger. We have to eat.

Il faut une voiture. It’s necessary to have a car.

Il me faut une voiture. I need a car.

The French verb falloir is also used in many idiomatic expressions.

Avec ça, vous faut-il autre chose ? Anything else? Do you need anything else?

avoir ce qu’il faut (informal)
to have what it takes

ce qu’il faut
what is needed/necessary

Ce qu’il faut entendre ! The things you hear!

C’est juste ce qu’il faut. That’s exactly what we want/need, That’s just the right amount.

C’est plus qu’il n’en faut. That’s more than we need.

faire ce qu’il fallait pour + infinitive
to do just what’s necessary, to do the right thing in order to…

Faudrait pas qu’il + subjunctive (informal)
He’d better not …

Faudrait voir à faire/ne pas faire… (informal)
You’d better make sure you do/don’t …

Faudrait voir à ne pas nous ennuyer ! (informal) You’d better make sure you don’t cause us any trouble!

Faudrait voir à voir ! (informal) Come on!, Come off it!

Faut (pas) être gonflé ! (informal) It takes some nerve!

Faut-il donc être bête ! Some people are really stupid!

Faut-il qu’il soit bête ! He must be really stupid!

Faut dire qu’il est culotté (informal). You’ve got to/must admit he’s got a nerve.

Faut voir comment ! (informal) You should see what a job he’s made of it!

Il a bien fallu ! I/We had to!

Il aurait fallu + infinitive
I/We/You should have…

Il faudra au moins ça. We want/need at least that much.

Il faudra bien que + subjunctive
You’ll have to ___ some time, one day

Il faudrait avoir plus de temps. I/We need more time.

il fallait être
you/one/they must have been

Il fallait me le dire. You should have told me.

Il faut bien ça. We definitely want/need that much.

Il faut bien vivre/manger. You have to live/eat.

Il faut ce qu’il faut (informal). You’ve got to do things properly.

Il faut de tout pour faire un monde. It takes all kinds.

Il faut du temps/de l’argent pour faire cela
it takes time/money to do that | you need time/money to do that

Il faut entendre ce qu’on dise sur…You should hear the kind of things they say about…

il faut être
you/one/they must be

il faut le comprendre
that’s understandable

Il faut le faire. We/You have to do it, It has to be done.

Il faut le voir pour le croire. It has to be seen to be believed.

Il faut m’excuser, je ne savais pas. You’ll have to excuse me, I didn’t know.

Il faut voir comment tu t’y prends, aussi ! Look at how you’re going about it though!

Il faut voir comment il … ! You should see the way he…!

Il faut vous dire que…
I must/have to tell you that…

Il lui faut quelqu’un pour + infinitive
He needs somebody to…

Il m’a fallu obéir. I had to do as I was told.

Il me faudrait…, s’il vous plaît
I’d like…, please

Il me le faut absolument/à tout prix. I absolutely must have it, I’ve absolutely got to have it.

Il n’en faut pas beaucoup pour que quelqu’un + subjunctive
It doesn’t take much to make someone do something

Il ne fallait pas ! (in response to a gift) You shouldn’t have!

Il ne fallait pas faire ça, c’est tout. You shouldn’t have done it and that’s all there is to it.

Il ne faut pas être intelligent pour dire ça. That’s a pretty stupid thing to say.

Il ne me faut pas plus de…
I don’t need more than, it won’t take me more than…

Il va falloir le faire. We’ll/You’ll have to do it, It’ll have to be done.

Il vous le faut pour quand ? When do you need it for?

Il vous en faut combien ? How much/many do you need?

Quand faut y aller faut y aller ! (informal) A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!

Que faut-il leur dire ? What should I/we tell them?

Que vous fallait-il faire ? (formal) What did you have to do?

s’il le faut
if necessary, if need be, if I must

Son travail est fait faut voir (comme) ! (informal) You should see what a job he’s made of it!

Voilà ce qu’il lui faut ! That’s what he needs!

falloir que + subjunctive (fatalism)
___ would have to ___

Il fallait bien que ça arrive. Of course, that would happen; That was bound to happen

s’en falloir de
to be missing/short by

Il ne s’en fallait que de 50 centimes. He was only short by 50 cents.

Je n’ai pas perdu, mais il s’en est fallu de peu. I very nearly lost.

loin s’en faut !
far from it!

tant s’en faut !
far from it!

Tu as raté son appel, il s’en est fallu de 10 minutes. You missed his call by 10 minutes.

il s’en faut (de beaucoup) !
far from it!

il s’en faut de beaucoup qu’il soit heureux
he is far from happy, he is by no means happy

peu s’en faut
as good as, nearly

Il est prêt, ou peu s’en faut. He’s as good as ready, He’s just about ready.

Ça a coûté 100 € ou peu s’en faut. It cost nearly €100.

Peu s’en est fallu (pour) qu’il + subjunctive
He almost/very nearly…

The impersonal pronominal construction s’en falloir means “to be missing” or “short of something”, as in “this action did not occur because something was missing”:

Tu as raté son appel, il s’en est fallu de 10 minutes. You missed his call by 10 minutes.

Je n’ai pas perdu, mais il s’en est fallu de peu. I very nearly lost (I didn’t lose, but it was close).

Conjugations

present tense il faut
imperfect il fallait
future il faudra

Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 72): le verbe – savoir (l’usage et les expressions)

Source: french.about.com

Savoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means “to know.” Savoir has different meanings in certain tenses as well as some other tricky aspects to it.

In general, savoir means “to know” in many senses that this verb is used in English, including

* to know a fact
Anne sait la date. Anne knows the date.

* to know by heart
Sais-tu ce poème ? Do you know this poem by heart?

* to know how (to do something)
Je ne sais pas nager. I don’t know how to swim.

* to realize
Il ne sait pas ce qu’il dit. He doesn’t know (realize) what he’s saying.

In the passé composé, savoir means “to learn” or “to find out”:

J’ai su qu’il avait menti. I found out that he’d lied.
Il n’a jamais su la vérité. He never found out the truth.

In the conditional, savoir is a very formal equivalent of “to be able to”:

Sauriez-vous me diriger vers… Could you possibly direct me toward…
Je ne saurais pas vous aider. I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Savoir is commonly confused with connaître, which also means “to know” but is used in different circumstances.

Savoir is one of a handful of French verbs that can be made negative with just ne, rather than ne… pas.

Je ne sais si je devrais le faire. I don’t know if I should do it.
Je ne saurais le faire. I wouldn’t know how to do it.

Conjugations (present tense)

je sais
tu sais
il sait
nous savons
vous savez
ils savent