French Grammar lessons

Learn more about French grammar rules with Frantastique.
Over 300 free cheat sheets with explanations and examples to help you understand better.

Learning French grammar

While French and English share some common elements, French grammar can be intimidating for native English speakers. Some of the differences you will find in French grammar include:

  • gendered words (a table is neutral in English, but la table is feminine in French)
  • complicated conjugation (both subject and verb will have an impact on the form)
  • some plural forms are spelled differently
Parts of speech don't change a lot from English to French: French still makes use of verbs, pronouns, adjectives, nouns, adverbs... however, their use and order may vary. Our 300+ cheat sheets are sorted by category and are available to help you decipher each grammar point.


French grammar rules by category

Each of our cheat sheets comes with a clear explanation of the grammar rule and simple and easy-to-understand examples.

List of French grammar rules by category:

Progress further with Frantastique

Before getting started, you may want to establish your French level in order to start with the appropriate grammar pointers.

Our online French course provides you with a free online assessment in order to quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses. We then deliver lessons appropriate to your estimated level using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

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Adjectives & Adverbs

Generally speaking, the use of French adjectives and adverbs is similar to English.

Adjectives are words used to describe something or someone. In French, they have comparative forms and agree with the gender (and number) of the noun they describe.

examples of adjectives:
tall -> grand / grande
hot -> chaud / chaude

Adverbs provide additional information (time, place, manner, reason) in a sentence. Some adverbs have comparative forms, but they are invariable in the sense they don't agree with any other parts of the sentence.

examples of adverbs:
yesterday -> hier
only -> seulement

Nouns and Articles

Nouns in French are either masculine or feminine (e.g. le pain, la boîte). They generally follow an article (e.g. un, une, des). Adding an "-s" generally makes a noun plural, although there are some exceptions (see the cheat sheets below).

Conjugation

                                                                                 

Conjugation can be scary, but alas, it's essential to mastering the French language.

In French, conjugated forms of verbs take different endings depending on person, tense, and mood. Regular verbs are separated into two groups ("verbe du premier groupe" or "verbes du deuxième groupe") however there are many irregular verbs ("verbes du troisième groupe").

While there are tools to help you conjugate verbs online, you will need to learn about each tense in order to use them appropriately.

Common mistakes

We've handpicked a few of the most common mistakes made by French learners.

Word order: the structure of a French sentence

The basic word order of a French sentence is: subject-verb-object (e.g. Je mange une baguette), but a sentence can include more elements (or fewer), and the order of each element may vary. Word order can be an indicator of the stylistic register, formality, etc.

Word order can also be affected by negation in a sentence or a question (see cheat sheets below).


Numbers

French numbers are not as straightforward as their English counterparts. You may even notice the regional differences depending on the Francophone country (see "Numbers from 10 to 100").


Prepositions

Prepositions link two related parts of a sentence. They are used to specify the relationship in time or space between the noun and another element (verb, adjective or another noun).

Some common prepositions include: à (to, at, in), après (after), avant (before), devant (in front of), près de (close to), loin de (far from)...


Pronouns

In French, pronouns are used in the same way as they are in English. Pronouns replace nouns (une madame -> elle, un monsieur -> lui). Pronouns can be personal, possessive, relative, reflexive, interrogative, demonstrative and indefinite.


Everyday French

Here are some useful French phrases you can use in your everyday life.

Pronunciation

Singular / Plural

Tenses

French conjugation includes many different tenses, and while there are some similarities between the most common French and English conjugations, there are some subtle differences.


Further reading

Check out some of our blog posts to learn more about French grammar and its many quirks.


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