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The parts of speech are the different word classes existing in a language. Usually there are about eight of them: nouns, pronouns, determiners, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions.

Because adults don't learn a language like children do, knowing a bit of grammar will definitely help you learn faster and better by understanding the basics of how languages work. And for that, you just need to get familiar with the few notions mentioned above.

We recommend that you read this page if you are not yet familiar with the parts of speech. That will also help you understand better the structure and the functioning of your own language, and will help you learn any language in the world.

 

 

Nouns

 
Noun

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Nouns refer to people, places, things and ideas: they are used to name things (real entities or abstract entities). They can be "proper names" (starting with a capital letter) or "common names".

Nouns are usually preceded by a determiner (especially in French) and can be modified by an adjective.

In French, nouns are either masculine or feminine, either singular or plural.

(common masculine nouns)

  • animal animal
  • livre book
  • quartier district
  • bonheur happiness

(proper masculine nouns)

  • Royaume-Uni UK
  • Canada Canada
  • Pierre Pierre
  • Mont Blanc Mont Blanc

(common feminine nouns)

  • table table
  • église church
  • chaleur heat
  • idée idea

(proper feminine nouns)

  • France France
  • Belgique Belgium
  • Julie Julie
  • Tamise Thames

 

Determiners

 
Determiner

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Determiners are short grammatical words found in front of a noun to modify it. There are three kinds: the articles (definite, indefinite, partitive), possessive determiners, demonstrative determiners. Compare:

  • un chat a cat (whichever, not one in particular)
  • le chat the cat (speaking about one in particular)
  • mon chat my cat (belonging to someone)
  • ce chat-là that cat (pointing it out)

(definite article)

  • le, la, les the

(indefinite article)

  • un, une a or an
  • des - some / no article

(partitive article)

  • du, de la, de l' some
  • des some / no article

(possessive determiners)

  • mon, ma, mes my
  • ton, ta, tes your
  • son, sa, ses his, her, its
  • notre, nos our
  • votre, vos your
  • leur, leurs their

(demonstrative determiners)

  • ce (-ci), cette (-ci) this
  • ces (-ci) these
  • ce (-là), cette (-làthat
  • ces (-là) those

Pronouns

 
Pronoun

It is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Pronouns are small grammatical words that replace nouns or noun phrases when they are already known from the situation or the context.

In the example above, "it" replaces "French".

Pronouns can be personal (when referring to a noun - they can be classified as 1st, 2nd or 3rd person), or impersonal (when not referring to a noun). Their form changes depending on whether they are in subject or object position in the sentence. Pronouns also have a stressed form.

Pronouns can also be possessive and demonstrative.

(pers. subject pronouns)

  • je, tu, il... I, you, he...

(impers. subject pronouns)

  • il, ce, cela, ça it, that

(pers. object pronouns)

  • me, te, le, la, les, lui, leur... me, you, him, her, it, them...

‚Äč(impers. object pronouns)

  • se, y, en 

(stressed pronouns)

  • moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles me, you, him, her, us, you, them 

(possessive pronouns)

  • le mien, le tien, le sien, le nôtre, le vôtre... mine, yours, his, hers, ours...

(demonstrative pronouns)

  • celui (-ci/là), celle (-ci/là) ceux (-ci/là), celles (-ci) the one, this/that one, these/those ones

Adjectives

 
Adjective

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Adjectives describe a noun or a pronoun and are usually found next to them. Adjectives agree with the noun or pronoun they describe (gender and number).

In the example above, "lovely" and "easy" describe the noun "language". As for "other", it specifies the noun "countries".

  • petit small
  • grand tall
  • gros big, fat
  • maigre thin
  • vert green
  • rouge red
  • haut high
  • bas low
  • nouveau new
  • vieux old
  • cher expensive
  • mou soft
  • dur hard
  • intelligent intelligent
  • stupide stupid
  • méchant nasty, unkind
  • gentil kind
  • amoureux loving
  • discret discreet
  • hésitant hesitant

Verbs

 
Verb

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Verbs are words that refer to an action or a state. In a sentence, they bear the tense and agree with their subject (gender and number).

The basic form of a verb is called "infinitive" (dictionary form). Verbs can then be conjugated, in which case the form of their ending normally varies to reflect the gender and number of the subject.

In French, verbs are grouped into four conjugations, based on the ending of their infinitive form (-er, -ir [2 types], re, -oir). 

(verbs)

  • être to be
  • avoir to have
  • manger to eat
  • jouer to play
  • finir to finish
  • réussir to manage
  • construire to build
  • conduire  to drive
  • asseoir to sit
  • vouloir  to want 

(examples of conjugation)

  • je joue I play
  • j'ai joué I played
  • je jouais I played
  • j'avais joué I had played
  • je jouerai I will play
  • j'aurai joué I will have played
  • je jouerais I would play
  • que je joue that I play
  • joue! Play!
  • etc.

Adverbs

 
Adverbs

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Adverbs describe or modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. They tell how, when, where, or to what extent.

Adverbs' form is invariable: they never agree.

French adverbs often end in -ment (e.g. extrêmement, affreusement), which is equivalent to -ly in English (e.g. extremely, awfully).

  • clairement clearly
  • doucement gently
  • naturellement naturally
  • vraiment really
  • absolument absolutely
  • apparemment apparently
  • violemment violently
  • lentement slowly
  • tout à l'heure later
  • côte à côte side by side
  • tout all
  • alors so
  • encore again
  • toujours still
  • ensuite then
  • jamais never
  • ailleurs elsewhere
  • dedans inside
  • dehors outside
  • peut-être maybe

Prepositions

 
Preposition

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

Prepositions are small grammatical words that precede nouns or noun phrases and indicate their location, position, direction etc.

Most prepositions in French have an English counterpart, but both languages don't necessarily use the same preposition to speak about the same things. Compare:

  • à = at // dans = in
  • Je vis à Londres I live in London
  • à at, to, in, on...
  • après after
  • avant before
  • avec with
  • chez at
  • contre against
  • dans in
  • de of, with, from...
  • depuis since
  • en in, on, made of...
  • parmi among
  • pour for
  • près de near, next to
  • sans without
  • selon according to
  • sous under
  • sur on
  • vers towards

Conjunctions

 
Conjunction

French is a very lovely and easy language spoken in France and many other countries in the world.

"Coordinating conjunctions" are small grammatical words used to link wordsphrases or clauses together

To remember which are the coordinating conjunctions (mais, ou, et, donc, or, ni, car etc.), French pupils learn by heart the following sentence: "mais où est donc Ornicar?" ("But, where the hell is Ornicar?").

When linking two clauses, if the clause introduced by the conjunction is dependant on another one, the conjunction is then called a "subordinating conjunction".

(Coordinating conj.)

  • et and
  • et... et both... and
  • mais but
  • ou or
  • ou... ou either... or
  • soit... soit either... or
  • puis then
  • car for (=because)
  • or now

 (Subordinating conj.)

  • parce que because
  • bien que although
  • comme as
  • après que after
  • dès que as soon as
  • chaque fois que every time
  • depuis que since
  • quand when
  • lorsque when
  • ainsi just as
  • (même) si (even) if
  • alors que whereas