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18 Mar, 2021

An Ultimate Guide for Beginners to Learn French

Has learning French been on your mind? If yes, look no further than this ultimate guide, which contains a few pointers to make it easier for you to learn French if you are a beginner.


A. Is it easy to learn French or is it difficult?

Languages have different difficulty levels for different people, depending on their native languages and whether they know any other foreign language.

French is on the easier side if you are a native English-speaking person because of it’s similarity with English or with any romance language.


B.1) Vocabulary of French

Vocabulary is the base of any language and you need to spend at least 60% of your time in learning new French words.

Also learning cognates will help you learn faster as a beginner. It will give you a sense of progress as it is easy to memorize them besides French words. Just keep in mind that all similar-sounding words do not mean the same in French and English and you are good to go.


B.2) Order of words in French sentences

Now that you are learning French, you would want to make sentences to hold a conversation. Vocabulary is the foundation of any language but in French, you also should know how to place the words in order.

For instance:

“My sister speaks French.”

In French, this is simply:

Ma soeur parle français.

‘Ma soeur’ is ‘my sister. ‘parle is ‘speaks’ and ‘français’ is ‘French’.

As a beginner, it won’t be difficult for you to speak affirmative sentences as in French those are not so complex.


B.3) Order of Words: Negative sentences

Even negative sentences are not that complex. It is made up of two words- i) ne ii) pas. ‘ne’ goes before the verb and ‘pas’ goes after the verb.

For instance,

cet système ne fonctionne pas pour moi (this system does not work for me).

Order of Words: Questions

Keep in mind, questions in French can be framed in majorly two ways:

  1. By inverting the position of subject and verbs.
  2. By using the phrase ‘est-ce que’ initially and leave the rest on a positive note?


For example:

Comprend-tu Anglaise? (do you understand English?)


Est-ce que tu comprend Anglaise?

The basic format is pretty simple and straight forward in French.


C) Genders

In French, every noun, be it proper or common, has a gender, which means its either masculine or feminine. So, as a beginner, you need to remember which noun is of which gender because it’s a little difficult to remember all those things.

 For example, some noun is feminine like (voiture) car and other is (caheir) notebook which is masculine.

Some nouns are obviously masculine or feminine, for instance, brother (frère) or sister (soeur).

Depending on the letter combination used genders of some noun can be guessed easily. For e.g. ‘-tion’ is always feminine. Similarly, words ending with ‘-eau’ are masculine.

Hence, the gender of each noun will decide the gender of the other words that go with the first noun.

For example, ‘La not (the caheir) where ‘la’ means ‘the’ and ‘la’ is a masculine article.


D) Articles

Articles in French come along with nouns. Just like a, an, the (in English), in French ‘un/une’ is equivalent to ‘a/an’ and ‘la’ is for ‘the’. ‘la’ is a definite article and just like English can be used with countable nouns. Similarly, ‘un/une’ being indefinite, can be used for countable nouns, but not the uncountable ones.

That’s all you need to know about French articles for now.


E) Verbs

Constructing a sentence without a verb is impossible and the same rule applies to French. So, while learning French try focusing on verbs as that is very important.

Let’s take the verb ‘apprend’ – to learn.

Je apprend (I learn)

Tu apprend (you learn)

Elle apprend (she learns)

Nous apprenons (we learn)

Vous apprenez (you learn – plural)

Elles apprennent (they learn – feminine)

As you see, the ‘d’ in the base word (apprend) departs and undergoes changes depending upon who is learning.

French verbs are usually regular and their form depends on the subject of the sentence. But they also have irregular verbs which are a little different in their forms.

The verb ‘avoir’ (to have) is a good example.


F) Adjectives

The form of the French Adjectives depends on the gender of the nouns they are used for. Also, French adjectives can go either in the front or after the noun they are being used for.

For example, ‘Le vin rouge’ (red wine), here the adjective go after the noun. Again, ‘Un jeune homme’ (a young man) is a good example where the adjective goes in front of the noun.

Learning adjectives of French as early as possible. That will help you in describing things.


G) Adverbs

All you need to know about French adverbs are generally regular and can be easily spotted because of ‘-ment’ at the end.

‘vraiment’ (really) is a good example for you to understand this.

But you should remember that there are irregular adverbs as well that no way looks like the regular ones.

For instance, ‘mal’ (badly) can be an example for you to understand.


H) Tenses

Just like English, French also have many tenses. But as a beginner, start with the present tense. Once you get used to using the present tense then you should move on to the past and eventually the future.

This sequence will help you a lot if you are learning from scratch.


I.1) Silent Letters

A few French letters are silent. You need to keep them in mind because that’s the most crucial thing in French pronunciation.

For example, when a phrase ends with a consonant(letters except a, e, i, o, u) that is silent.

So ‘tu parles becomes ‘tu parle’ while you speak.

Try listening carefully to the pronunciation when a Parisian speaks.


I.2) Accent

Some French letters come along with strokes or accents. For example, for the letter ‘e’ which looks like ‘é’. One thing you should not forget these because accents do have their impact on French pronunciation.


I.3) Nasal Sounds

The nasal sound of French is extremely similar and there are so many of them. You’ll sound like you caught a cold and have a blocked nose. Practice them daily to gain proficiency in them. Listen to them every day so that you understand the difference.

 So, that’s pretty much for beginners and hope you have a fantastic time learning French!!


Enrolling in A French-Learning Program Can Be the Best Bet for You

The above guide is curated by the trainers at ESYLANG for beginners to understand the basics of French. If you are interested and want to have a grip on this aesthetic language, it is recommended to enrol in French-learning programs such as TCF or TEF. So, wait no more and get started with your French-learning journey today!

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