Virtual Kollage: The verb ÊTRE

Posted by / Thursday, 9 February 2017 / No comments

The verb ÊTRE

Girl, Yellow, Dress, Makeup, YouthDo as the Natives Do

As you get to know a native speaker of French, a good rule of thumb for the non-native is to wait until your new friend addresses you with tu, before starting to use tu with him or her.

Il and ils; elle and elles. The English subject pronouns he, she, it (singular), and they (plural) are expressed by ils (for masculine nouns) and elles (for feminine nouns).

Elles sont formidables!     They are fantastic! (fem. persons or things)
Il est drôle.                           He/It (The puppy[?]) is funny.

The plural ils (they, m. pl.) refers to any group that includes at least one masculine noun.

Voilà Marie, Anne et Patrick.          There’s Marie, Anne, and Patrick.
Ils sont en retard!                        They’re late!

On. The subject pronoun on (third-person singular) is used in French to convey the English indefinite subjects one, we, people, and they.

Alors, on est d’accord?                O.K., so we agree?
Le matin, on est en bonne        In the morning, they (we, people)
forme.                                                feel good.

Modern speech often replaces nous (we) by on. The adjective can be spelled in the singular or the plural.

Vous êtes fatigués?                                   You’re tired?

Oui, on est très fatigué(s)!             /          
(Oui, nous sommes très fatigué[e]s!)                   Yes, we’re all (everybody’s)very tired!

Uses of être
As you know, être is the equivalent of to be in English.
Nous sommes français. We’re French.
Tu es au restaurant? You’re (Are you) at the restaurant?

Être is often followed by an expression of location (using a preposition) or a descriptive adjective.

Marianne est à la campagne.     Marianne is in the countryside
Nous sommes en voiture.                       We are in the car.

• When a form of être is followed by an adjective, the adjective agrees with the subject of the sentence in gender and number.

Les roses rouges sont belles.                  Red roses are beautiful.
Mon appartement est assez grand.         My apartment is rather large.

• The French definite article (le/la/les) or indefinite article (un/une/des)is omitted after forms of être for simple (unmodified) identification of nationality, religion, or profession.
Je suis dentiste.                              I’m a dentist.
Elles sont protestantes?               Are they (f.) Protestant?
Chantal est sénégalaise.                         Chantal is Senegalese.

Adjectives of religion, such as protestant(e)(s), and nationality, for example,
sénégalais(e), are not capitalized in French.

• With nouns that are modified (accompanied by an adjective or other descriptor), use the indefinite subject pronoun ce (c’est.../ce sont...). With c’est and ce sont, articles or possessive adjectives  are always used before a noun. At times, the context will identify the person.
C’est un professeur d’histoire. He’s/She’s a history teacher.
Ce sont mes amies françaises. These/Those are my French
C’est le médecin de mon fi ls. He’s/She’s/That’s my son’s doctor.

• When you use c’est or ce sont to describe nationalities, be sure to include
the article and capitalize the noun of nationality.
Voici Bill. C’est un Américain.  Here’s Bill. He’s an American.
Ce sont des Suisses, de Lausanne. They’re Swiss, from Lausanne.

Key Vocabulary
These common words (adverbs and conjunctions) help link ideas and enliven adjectives, nouns, and verbs. Their placement in a sentence closely resembles that of their English equivalents.
Conjonctions, qualificatifs, et adverbes (Conjunctions, Qualifiers, and Adverbs)

assez (fairly, rather)                        et (and)
assez de (enough)                                     ici (here)
aujourd’hui (today)                                    là-bas (over there)
aussi (also)                                      maintenant (now)
beaucoup (de) (much, many, a lot)
mais (but)                                          bien (very, well)
ou (or)                                                donc (therefore, so)                         parfois (sometimes)
peu (hardly, not very)                      souvent (often)
plutôt (rather)                                   toujours (always)
quelquefois (sometimes)             très (very)
rarement (rarely)                             trop (de) (too, too much [many])
si (if)                                                   un peu (de) (a little)

check out these examples

Je suis de Bruxelles, mais Sylvie               I’m from Brussels, but Sylvie is
.                       est de Paris                                       from Paris.
Claude est professeur, donc il      Claude is a teacher, so he’s on
est en vacances.                              vacation.
Nous sommes parfois mécontents. We are sometimes unhappy.
Tu es un peu fatiguée?                  Are you a little tired?
Les repas sont trop chers ici.        The meals are too expensive here.

Negation with ne... pas
To make a sentence negative in French, ne is placed before a conjugated verb and pas after the verb. Ne becomes n’ before a vowel or vowel sound.
Je ne suis pas français. I am not French.
Elle n’est pas à l’université. She isn’t at the university.
Nous ne sommes pas catholiques. We aren’t Catholic..

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