Names of Countries in French: Masculine Feminine Articles

Masculine Feminine Definite Articles with the Names of Countries in French

When evoking the names of countries in French, you will usually use a definite French masculine, feminine or plural article (le / la / les) to go with it.

It means that when speaking about a specific country, let's take France and Germany for example, you will need to say " l'Allemagne" but not "Allemagne" and "la France" and not just "France". Example: 

  • A: Quel est le nom du pays à l'est de la France ? What's the name of the country east of France ? 
  • B: C'est l'Allemagne. It's Germany. 

However if you are interested in expressing in French the idea of going to a country, city or continent (Eg. Je suis à Paris, Je vais en Russie, Je vis aux Etats-Unis), you should check the "à", "en" and "aux" lesson. 

When Use the Definite Article ? 

In general, you must use a definite article in front of the names of countries, continents, mountains, seas, lakes and rivers. Some of the frequent usage examples:  

 

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Getting Around in Paris by Metro

Paris Metro

If you travel to Paris, the chances are that you will take the metro. It is one of the cheapest (the cheapest one being walking) and definitely the fastest mean of transport. The aim of the first dialogue is to give useful phrases of everyday French in the context of the Paris metro situation. The exercises are not only meant to check the understanding of the dialogue but also make the learners do the effort of trying to find the answer by themselves. You can either look them up on simple-french website or on the Internent. The bigger the effort, the better the results. Be careful with the French names of the stations ! They can be tricky to pronounce !

In the Dialogue 2 you will learn how to buy a metro ticket. When you buy tickets, it is really straightforward. So don't worry too much about it. You will also find some challenging exercises to be fully prepared for your stay in Paris. 

Dialogue 1

Voyage en métro à Paris:

A: You B: Your Friend

  • A: Alors, on est ici, à la station Montparnasse Bienvenüe et on doit aller dans les grands magasins, aux Galeries Lafayette.
  • B: Tu sais quelle ligne de métro il faut prendre ?
  • A: Oui, ça parait compliqué mais ça ne l’est pas. Alors Il faut qu’on prenne la direction "Asnières", on descend à "Miromesnil", là c’est une correspondance. On prend ensuite la direction "Mairie de Montreuil" et on a 3 arrêts jusqu’à "Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette". C’est très simple.
  • B: Très bien. Allons acheter les billets de métro.

Paris Metro Entrance
Paris Metro Entrance

Exercises 

Exercise 1: 

 

Exercise 2: 

 

Exercise 3: Challenge 

What line numbers of Paris Metro are they talking about in the dialogue? 

Métro de Paris2 [RERTRAM]

Useful Links:

 

Lesson 12: In the Louvre Museum

mona-lisa-louvre-museum

In this lesson you will discover the Louvre Museum of Paris, the most visited museum in the world ! You will learn the French vocabulary and structures that will allow you to make the most of your visit in Louvre and your stay in Paris: how to buy tickets and ask for specific information. You will see how to use the French conditional sentences to sound more polite and how to express that you have only small quantity of something.  Enjoy !  

1. Dialogue: Au musée du Louvre

Le musée du Louvre est le musée le plus visité au monde. Vous êtes à Paris et vous décidez d’aller le visiter. Malheureusement, vous n’avez qu’une demi-journée à consacrer à votre visite.

Au guichet (at the counter) :

Madame: Bonjour, je voudrais deux entrées s’il-vous-plaît.  

Caissier : Deux billets adultes ? 30 euros s’il-vous-plaît.

Monsieur: Est-ce que vous auriez un guide ? Nous ne savons pas par où commencer

Caissier: Bien sûr. Pour vous repérer dans le musée vous avez des plans sur le comptoir à gauche. Ils sont gratuits.

Le mieux c’est de prendre en location un audio-guide. Cela ne coûte que 6 euros et il contient les commentaires concernant toutes les œuvres du musée..  

Monsieur: Par contre nous n’avons pas beaucoup de temps. Auriez-vous un plan avec les œuvres les plus intéressantes ?

Caissier: Bien entendu Monsieur. Il s’appelle “Les incontournables”. Dedans, vous avez les plus grands chefs-d'oeuvre que le Louvre vous présente. Le voici.

Monsieur: C’est parfait ! Merci beaucoup.

Caissier: A votre service monsieur, dames. Bonne journée et bonne visite !

Monsieur: Merci ! Bonne journée à vous.

Caissier: Au revoir.

Madame: Au revoir !   

2. Notes

Dialogue Vocabulary

French English
(le) monde world. / au monde (a + le = au) : in the world
consacrer to give time to / to devote time to
un guichet counter / desk / ticket office
une entrée entrance ticket
un billet a ticket / a pass / also a banknote (Eg. un billet de 5 euros)
commencer to start / to begin
se repérer: to locate / to get your bearings / to find your way
un comptoir: counter / bar
à gauche / à droite on the left / on the right
le mieux the best
location / prendre en location to rent
oeuvre(s): work (of art)
par contre however / on the other hand
intéressat(e) Interesting / attractive
un chef-d’œuvre: a masterpiece / crowning achievement
bien entendu of course / naturally
les incontournables: indispensable / that cannot be avoided
dedans Inside

Additional Vocabulary

French English
   
L’art et les œuvres d’art Art and the Works of Art
une exposition / une expo an exhibition
une collection a collection
un tableau a painting
une peinture a painting
une peinture à l’huile an oil painting
une aquarelle a watercolor
un portrait a portrait
peindre to paint
un peintre a painter
une sculpture a sculpture
un sculpteur a sculptor
sculpter to sculpt

Grammar

  1. Conditional French :

In general, the conditional structure is used to make a hypothesis about something. It is characterized by the use of the word “if” (si in French) and "would" in the English language and the root of verb in the future tense (eg. the verb "aller" (to go).

The root of the "aller" verb in the future tense is ir. Eg. Demain, j'irai à la plage. (Tomorrow, I will go to the beach.) + the suffix of the French imperfect tense ( –ais, –ais, –ait, –ions, –iez, –aient). The first three endings of the singular pronouns are pronounced exactly the same     

Eg.

  1. If had more money, I would travel around the world.

Si j’avais plus d’argent, je voyagerais autour du monde.

  1. If I were you, I wouldn’t do it.

Si j’étais toi, je ne le ferais pas.

 

But conditional can also be used to ask politely for something or to give an advice or suggest something.

Eg.

Auriez-vous un guide ? is a polite way of saying:  

Do you have a guide ? or Do you happen to have a guide ?

It is more polite than saying:

Avez-vous un guide ?

or

Vous avez un guide ? (no inversion in question)

 Even though both of these sentences are correct and polite (using the “vous” form, or “vouvoiement”) 

 

The pronunciation can be daunting at the beginning but if you master the conditionals it will mean you have come a long way in learning the French language. Don’t worry if you make mistakes with conditionals. The French people make them to (as well as in subjunctive case)

Other Examples:

I would like a ticket.

Je voudrais un billet.

I would like to know what you think about it.

J’aimerais avoir ton avis sur le sujet.

B. Ne + verb + que

A very frequent way of expressing small quantity of something, it is translated in English with the word “only”

Consider this example:

This book is expensive. It costs 30 euros.

Ce livre est cher. Il coûte 30 euros.

The other book isn’t expensive. It only costs 3 euros.

L’autre livre n’est pas cher. Il ne coûte que 3 euros.

3. Exercises

Input Explanation

Type in the French translation of the sentence in English. If you are stuck or need a suggestion, look closely into the dialogue above. Some detail might have escaped your attention.


  The punctuation marks have already been added there for you. Don't add the punctuation mark ( " . ", " ? ", " ! ") at the end of the sentence as it won't validate your answer ! Sometimes you may be asked to add a comma ( " , ") inside a sentence.
  For the French characters, if you don't know how to type them on your keyboard, please use the virtual keyboard provided below the exercise. The French characters are necessary for the sentences to be correctly completed. Otherwise, your sentence won't be validated.
  Please, remember: this kind of exercise, that is reading the lesson first and then trying to retrieve it from your memory and / or helping yourself by looking back into the lesson is EXTRAORDINARILY efficient. You will be surprised how fast you will learn and how quickly you will actually build your own sentences.

1. I would like to adult tickets, please.
, s'il-vous-plaît.

2. Do you happen to have a guide (book) ?
Est-ce que ?

3. It only costs 6 euros.
6 euros.

4. Do you happen to have a map with the most interesting works of art ?
?

5. The greatest masterpieces of Louvre.
de Louvre.

Lesson 11: In a French café

Simple French lesson on how to order a coffee in a typical French brasserie. You will also learn the two most popular types of coffee ordered in France: un expresso and un café allongé. Enjoy your lesson !

1. Dialogue: Au café

S: Serveur ( a waiter ), Mme: Madame , M: Monsieur

S: Qu’est-ce que vous prendrez Messieurs, Dames ?
Mme: Pour moi un café.
S: Un café serré ou allongé ?
Mme: Ah.., quelle est la différence entre les deux, s’il-vous-plaît ?  
S: Un café serré est un petit café, un expresso si vous préférez. On l’appelle également un “café court”.
M: Et qu’est-ce qu’un café allongé ?  
S: Un café allongé est tout simplement un café court avec deux fois plus d’eau.
M: D’accord. Un café allongé pour moi s’il-vous-plaît.
S: Et pour vous Madame ?
Mme: Moi, je prendrai un café court s’il-vous-plaît.

2. Notes

 

French word Pronunciation
prendrai /ɛ/
prendrez /e/
Messieurs, Dames /

M’sieurs-Dames

café /e/
serré /e/
allon /ɔ̃/
expresso 
court

 

 

This lesson introduces the use of the Simple Future Tense (Le futur simple).

The futur simple is heavily used when making orders in a café, bar or a restaurant.  You can also use it when you imagine what your future will look like or when you make projects. In short:

Future Simple:

    1. imagining the future:
      1. Quand je serai grand, je ferai le tour du monde. When I’m big, I will go on a round the world trip.
    2. making projects:
      1. Je prendrai un verre de vin. I will take / have a glass of wine. 
      2. Qu’est-ce que vous prendrez Monsieur? What will you take / have, sir ?

How is Future Simple formed ?

Infinitive (eg. parler, habiter, etc.) + suffixes:aiasaonsezont.

If infinitive + e (eg. prendre, vivre)): no “e” :

je prendrai, je vivrai, …

Distinctive feature of the French Simple Future Tense :

lots of r sound !

This can be quite daunting for the beginning learners of French. Fortunately, there is a remedy exercise on Simple-French to help you tame the pronunciation of the French “R” sound.

Simple Future Conjugation (La conjugaison au Futur simple)

prendre être
je prendrai

tu prendras

il / elle / on prendra

nous prendrons

vous prendrez

ils prendront

je serai

tu seras

il / elle / on sera

nous serons

vous serez

ils seront

 

Conjugation of Futur Simple with examples: 

prendre
Je prendrai un thé.

Tu prendras ce que voudras.

Il / elle / on prendra deux cafés.

Nous prendrons un taxi.

Vous prendrez la première à gauche.

Ils prendront la même chose.


Dialogue Vocabulary

French English
   
Les verbes Verbs
prendre to take
commander to order
boire to drink
préférer to prefer
   
Les noms Nouns
un serveur / une serveuse a waiter / a waitress
Monsieur-Dames a common French expression to address both a man and a woman at the same time (if both are present). It is pronounced as one word.
la différence difference
un café a coffee
eau water
   
Les adjectifs Adjectives
serré pressed / squeezed  (du verbe serrer: to thighten / to press)
petit small
grand big
court short / brief
alongé stretched out / extended (du verbe allonger: to extend, to prolong)
d’accord OK / All right ! (from: être d’accord = to agree / to be in agreement)

Additional Vocabulary:

Les boissons: Drinks:
un café au lait milky coffee / latte
un café crème a middle cup of coffee and milk
un petit / grand café a small / big coffee
(un) sucre

Je prendrai du sucre avec mon café s’il-vous-plaît.

sugar
un café décaféiné (un déca) decaffeinated coffee
un chocolat chaud hot chocolate
un thé a tea
une tisane, a herbal tea
une infusion a herbal tea / infusion
   
Les ustensiles: Utensils:
une tasse a cup
une grande tasse / un mug a big cup / a mug
une chope a mug
une soucoupe a saucer
une cuillère a spoon
un sachet packet / sachet / bag
une touillette   a stir stick / a stirrer

Useful Expressions

French English
Qu’est ce que c’est ? What’s this  / that ?
Que désirez-vous, Madame / Monsieur ? What will you have ?
Je prendrai …. I will take …
Combien je vous dois ? How much do I owe you ?
Cela / Ca vous fait 10€. / C’est 10€. You owe me 10€. / It’s 10€.

 

3. Exercises

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

4. Homework

Imagine you are on a trip to Paris. You have been walking for 2 hours and now you want to make a break. You have spotted une brasserie and you decide to enter inside to have a coffee. Write a dialogue in which:

  • You have to order 1 coffee with milk for you, an espresso for you friend and two teas for two other people who are with you.
  • You need to speak for yourself (I will take …) and for your friend (he / she will take …) and the two other people ( they will take …).