French › Level two lessons › Culture · La culture

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Grammar review · Regular verbs [edit | edit source]

Most verbs in French are regular -er verbs. Others are regular -ir or -re verbs or are irregular.

Formation[edit | edit source]

Regular verbs · Les verbes réguliers
-er verbs -ir verbs -re verbs
Stem: parl... fin... vend...
Subject Ending Example Ending Example Ending Example
Je -e parle -is finis -s vends
Tu -es parles -is finis -s vends
Il -e parle -it finit - vend
Nous -ons parlons -issons finissons -ons vendons
Vous -ez parlez -issez finissez -ez vendez
Ils -ent parlent -issent finissent -ent vendent

Common regular verbs[edit | edit source]

-er verbs
aimer About this sound /ɛ.me/ to like J’aime beaucoup ce tableau. I love this painting.
arriver About this sound /a.ʁ to arrive, to happen On va arriver à Paris vers 9 heures. We will arrive in Paris around 9 o'clock.
chercher About this sound /ʃɛʁʃe/ to look for Je cherche du boulot. I'm looking for some work.
demander About this sound /dǝ.mɑ̃.de/ to ask (for) Je vous demande votre amitié. I ask for your friendship.
donner About this sound /dɔ.ne/ to give J'ai donné le paquet au voiturier. I gave the package to the carrier.
écouter About this sound /ekute/ to listen to J’écoute la radio. I listen to the radio.
entrer About this sound /ɑ̃t.ʁe/ to enter Il entre dans la salle. He's entering the room.
parler About this sound /paʁle/ to speak, to talk Zoé parle couramment le français. Zoé speaks French fluently.
passer About this sound / to pass, to spend (time) On va passer la loi. We're going to pass the law.
porter About this sound /pɔʁ.te/ to carry, to wear Quentin porte un sac de blé. Quentin is carrying a bag of wheat.
regarder About this sound /ʁǝ.ɡaʁ.de/ to watch
sembler About this sound /sɑ̃.ble/ to seem, to resemble Voilà ce qui me semble le plus probable. That is what seems most likely.
trouver About this sound /tʁ to find, to surprise Je l’ai cherché, et enfin je l’ai trouvé. I searched for it and finally I found it.
-ir verbs
finir About this sound /finiʁ/ to finish
-re verbs
attendre About this sound /a.tɑ̃dʁ/ to wait J’attends mon cousin à la gare. I am waiting for my cousin at the station.
entendre About this sound /ɑ̃.tɑ̃dʁ/ to hear Elle entend des voix. She hears voices.
rendre About this sound /ʁɑ̃dʁ/ to make, to pay (a visit) Tu me rends malade. You make me ill.
répondre About this sound /re.pɔ̃dʁ/ to answer Je vais répondre aux questions que tu m'as posé. I'm going to answer the questions that you asked me.

Dialogue [edit | edit source]

Culture · National holidays and events in France [edit | edit source]

Date English name Local name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Premier de l'an / Jour de l' an
moveable feast|moveable Good Friday Vendredi Saint Friday Before Easter (observed only in Alsace and Moselle)
moveable feast|moveable Easter Monday Lundi de Pâques Monday after Easter (1 day after Easter)
1 May May Day/Labour Day Fête du Travail
8 May Victory in Europe Day Victoire 1945 End of hostilities in Europe in World War II
moveable feast|moveable Ascension Day Ascension Thursday, 39 days after Easter
moveable feast|moveable Whit Monday Lundi de Pentecôte Monday after Pentecost (49 days after Easter)
14 July Bastille Day Fête Nationale National Day
15 August Assumption of Mary to Heaven Assomption
1 November All Saints' Day Toussaint
11 November Veterans Day
Armistice Day
Remembrance Day
Armistice 1918 End of World War I
25 December Christmas Day Noël
26 December St. Stephen's Day Saint Etienne Observed only in Alsace and Moselle

Please take a look here, to have all the dates (French Overseas Departments (DOM) added).

Culture · Popular myths and stories in France [edit | edit source]

Grammar · To believe and to see · Croire et voir[edit | edit source]

Croire[edit | edit source]

Croire is an irregularly conjugated -re verb.

croire Listen /kʁwaʁ/ (krwahr) to believe'
je crois /kʁwa/ (krwah) I believe
tu crois /kʁwa/ (krwah) you believe
il croit /kʁwa/ (krwah) he believes
nous croyons /kʁwa.jɔ̃/ (kro-yuhoh(n)) we believe
vous croyez /kʁ (kro-yuhay) you believe
ils croient /kʁwa/ (krwah) they believe
cru Listen /kʁy/ (krew) believed

The verb recroireto re-believe /ʁə.kʁwaʁ/ is conjugated in the same way as croire.

Voir[edit | edit source]

Voir is conjugated as an irregularly -re verb.

voir Listen /vwaʁ/ (vwahr) to see
je vois /vwɑ/ (vwah) I see
tu vois /vwɑ/ (vwah) you see
il voit /vwɑ/ (vwah) he sees
nous voyons /vo.jɔ̃/, /vwa.jɔ̃/ (voh-yuhoh(n), vwah-yuhoh(n)) we see
vous voyez /, / (voh-yuhay, vwah-yuhay) you see
ils voient /vwɑ/ (vwah) they see
vu /vy/ (vew) seen

The verbs prévoir /pʁevwaʁ/, meaning to anticipate or to forecast, and revoir /ʁǝ.vwaʁ/, meaning to see again or to re-examine, are conjugated the same way as voir.

The following nouns, adjectives, and phrases are derived from voir:

la voyance /la vwa.jɑ̃s/ (lah vwah-yuhah(n)s) mind reading
le voyeur /lə vwa.jœʁ/ (luh vwah-yuhewr) observer, watcher
n'y voir que du feu to be totally hoodwinked
to not spot a thing
to be taken in
prévu(e)(s) Listen /pʁe.vy/ (pray-vew) planned, expected
prévisible(s) Listen /pʁ (pray-vee-zeebl) foreseeable, predictable
la revue Listen /rə.vy/ (ru-vew) magazine
Voyons ! /vo.jɔ̃/, /vwa.jɔ̃/ (voh-yuhoh(n), vwah-yuhoh(n)) Really!, Yeah right!, Come on!

Examples[edit | edit source]

Je vois ma mère là. I see my mother over there.
Nous voyons la mer pour la première fois. We’re seeing the sea for the first time.
J’ai vu ce film. I’ve seen this film.
Au revoir. Until [we] see [each other] again.

Vocabulary · Religions · Les religions[edit | edit source]

la religion Listen /la rə.li.ʒjɔ̃/ (lah ruh-lee-zhyuhoh(n)) religion
le christianisme /lə kʁis.tja.nism/ (luh krees-tyuhah-neesm) Christianity
l'Islam Listen /lis.lam/ (lees-lahm) Islam
le judaïsme /lə ʒy.da.ism/ (luh zhew-dah-eesm) Judaism
le chrétien
la chrétienne
Listen /lə kʁe.tjɛ̃/ (luh kray-tyuha(n))
/la kʁe.tjɛn/ (lah kray-tyuhehn)
le musulman
la musulmane
/lə my.zyl.mɑ̃/ (luh mew-zewl-mah(n))
/la (lah mew-zewl-mahn)
le juif
la juive
/lə ʒɥif/ (luh zheweef)
/la ʒɥiv/ (lah zheweev)
l'athée (m) Listen /la.te/ (lah-tay) atheist

Vocabulary · Birthdays · Anniversaires[edit | edit source]

l'anniversaire (m) About this sound /ɛʁ.sɛʁ/ birthday, anniversary C'est mon onzième anniversaire.
Le deuxième anniversaire de notre marriage.
It's my eleventh birthday.
Our second wedding anniversary.
Quel âge as-tu ?
Quel âge avez-vous ?

How old are you?
J'ai ____ ans. I am ____ years old. lit: I have ___ years.
le gâteau (au chocolat) About this sound /ɡa.tɔ/ (chocolate) cake
le cadeau About this sound / gift
la bougie About this sound /buʒi/ candle
la fête About this sound /fɛt/ party
inviter About this sound /ɛ̃.vi.te/ to invite Le beau temps nous invite à la promenade. The good weather invites us to take a walk.
donner une fête to throw a party

Grammar [edit | edit source]

Vocabulary · Relationships [edit | edit source]

le mari About this sound /ma.ʁi/ husband
la femme About this sound /fam/ wife
le/la fiancé(e) About this sound /fi.jɑ̃.se/ fiancée
le/la partenaire About this sound /paʁ.tǝ.nɛʁ/ partner
un amant About this sound /a.mɑ̃/ lover

Supplementary vocabulary · Popular mythical and fictional characters [edit | edit source]

le père Noël About this sound /pɛʁ nɔ.ɛl/ Santa Claus
Marianne About this sound /ma.ʁjan/ the personification of the republic
Cendrillion Cinderella
La Belle au bois dormant About this sound /bɛ.l‿o bwa dɔʁ.mɑ̃/ Sleeping Beauty La version de La Belle au bois dormant que Jacob et Wilhelm Grimm ont publié est postérieure à celle de Charles Perrault. The version of The Sleeping Beauty that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published is after that of Charles Perrault.
Blanche-Neige About this sound /blɑ̃ʃ.nɛʒ/ Snow White
Le Petit Chaperon rouge About this sound /pə.ti ʃa.pə.ʁɔ̃ ʁuʒ/ Little Red Riding Hood
Le Petit Poucet Hop-o'-My-Thumb
Le Chat botté Puss in Boots

Supplementary vocabulary · Holidays · Les Jours Fériés[edit | edit source]

le Nouvel An About this sound /nu.vɛl‿ɑ̃/ New Year's Day 1 janvier
la Fête du Travail Labor Day 1 mai
jour de l'Armistice Memorial Day, Armistice Day
la fête nationale About this sound /fɛt na.sjɔ.nal/ Bastille Day 14 juillet
le Réveillon Christmas Eve 24 décembre
Noël About this sound /nɔ.ɛl/ Christmas, Yule 25 décembre

Supplementary usage notes · To give · Donner[edit | edit source]

Donner /dɔ.ne/ is a common verb which usually means to give:

J'ai donné le paquet au voiturier. - I gave the package to the carrier.

Similarly to English, it can also have other meanings, such as to produce, to cause, to present, to pay, to establish, to attribute, to publish, or to administer:

Cette grande fatigue lui a donné la fièvre. - This great weariness gave him a fever.
Le professeur donne une conférence. - The professor is lecturing. (The professor is giving a lecture.)
Il me donne de la joie. - It gives me joy.

Examples[edit | edit source]

Donnez-nous à manger. Give us something to eat.
Donnez-moi le loisir d’y penser. Give me time to think. lit: Give me the leisure of thinking.
Vous êtes bien aimable de nous donner votre soirée. You are very kind to give us your evening.
Elle lui a donné beaucoup d’enfants. She gave him many children.
Cette école a donné des peintres célèbres. This school produced famous painters.
Donnez-nous-en la preuve. Give us proof (of it) .
Olivier a donné une relation de son voyage. Olivier gave an account of his journey.
Il donne un ouvrage au public. He publishes a work.
On lui donne tout le blâme. We give him all the blame.
Quel âge donnez-vous à cette personne ? What age do you give (attribute to) this person ?
Combien donnez-vous à vos domestiques par mois ? How much do you give your servants per month ?
On lui donne mille euros. We give (pay) him a thousand euros.
Donnez-en un example. Give an example (of it) .
Robert va donner une réponse. Robert is going to give a response.
Il donne des avis et des conseils. He gives guidance and advice.
Elle va vous donner une tâche. She's going to give you a task.

Text [edit | edit source]

Exercises [edit | edit source]

Supplementary exercises [edit | edit source]

ExerciseDonner translations

(Highlight or hover over a line to show the answer.) Translate each sentence into English.

Je vais donner une soirée. I'm going to give a formal party.
On lui a donné les remèdes. We gave him the remedies.
Il va donner les papiers à un notaire. He's going to give the papers to a notary.
Sa femme lui a donné un fils. His wife gave him a son.
Je lui ai donné une leçon à étudier. I gave him a lesson to study.
Donnez-moi du temps. Give me some time.
Le prêtre donne un sermon. The priest is giving a sermon.