French Language Blog

Archive for September, 2015

Chasing The Sun – L’Heure D’Hiver Posted by on Sep 30, 2015

Last week was l’équinoxe d’automne (the autumnal equinox) marking shorter days and colder weather. It also marks la saison des moissons (the harvest season) and many holidays across the world. However, there’s one tradition d’automne (autumn tradition) that is annoying for everyone involved. L’heure d’hiver Standard time En automne on gagne une heure (you gain…

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French Rules of Capitalization Posted by on Sep 27, 2015

There are quite a few differences between capitalization in English and in French. You may have already noticed that the first person singular pronoun “I” is not capitalized in French except at the beginning of a sentence. For example, you would write: “Je t’aime,” but “Tu sais que je t’aime.” Ok, this seems pretty obvious, right?…

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Drill This Dans Vos Têtes! Confusing Pairs: Dans vs. En Posted by on Sep 24, 2015

Last week, I discussed the confusing pair of c’est and il est; both mean the same thing in English, but their usage in French depends on what words you have around them. Today we’re going to look at another noninterchangeable pair that’s confusing for English speakers – and trust me, I would know. I confused…

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Only 24 Hours in a Day – French Time Posted by on Sep 23, 2015

Before moving to France I had never said seventeen o’clock. In France, that’s the normal way to say five o’clock PM. France uses a 24 hour clock rather than an AM/PM system. This extends into the spoken language, and while you can say huit heures du soir (eight o’clock in the evening) or huit heures…

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French Pronominal Verbs Posted by on Sep 21, 2015

Pronominal verbs are verbs that require an extra pronoun and are also known as reflexive verbs. These kind of verbs can be especially tricky for English speaks because they are utilized in many common phrases in French that would not be reflexive in English. Actually, pronominal verbs (or reflexive verbs) aren’t used all that often…

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Il est facile? C’est facile? Confusing Pairs: C’est vs. Il Est Posted by on Sep 18, 2015

French has many confusing pairs for new learners. This mostly stems from the fact that these pairs only have 1 English equivalent that just doesn’t work in French. For example: Quelle est la différence entre an et année (What’s the difference between an and année)? In English, they both mean year, but the two words…

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Have you ever counted to one billion? Posted by on Sep 16, 2015

Les grands nombres (large numbers) are hard to understand in any language. The difference between one trillion and one billion seems so abstract that it’s impossible to conceptualize the huge quantities that are being referenced. French numbers are already difficult at 70 and 80 et en plus (and what’s more) the punctuation for numbers is…

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