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Learning 3 New Words From 1 Mistake Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Vocabulary

Hier (yesterday), summer weather stormed through Paris and it started pouring during the humid afternoon. Le temps (the weather) may seem like nothing but small talk, but it ended up teaching me trois nouveaux mots (three new words)!

Image from PIxabay. Licensed under CC0.

It was a dark and stormy après-midi (afternoon) when it started happening. I turned to mon collègue and said:

Il pleut des glaçons !
It’s raining ice cubes!

That got a nice reaction and after le rire (the laughter) subsided, mon collègue told me:

Non, non, c’est la grêle.
No, no, it’s hail.

I nodded and tried to correct myself:

Il pleut la grêle !
It’s raining hail!

My mistake understandably resulted in more laughter from mon collègue who corrected me again:

Non, non, non… Le verbe est grêler !
No, no, no… The verb is to hail!

Voilà ! Finally I knew what to say. With some newly restored confidence I turned to mon collègue again and looked them dans les yeux:

Il grêle !
It’s hailing!

Mon collègue smiled and after looking out la fenêtre (the window) to watch the summer weather storming outside, we soon went back to work.

Later, I wanted to make sure I remembered how to say les nouveaux mots to avoid making the same mistakes twice. That’s when I discovered yet another word that makes remembering les genres des mots (the gender of the words) a little harder. There’s a word connected to la grêle, but it’s un mot masculin (a masculine word) this time:

Le grêlon – Hailstone

From une seule faute (only one mistake) I learned trois nouveaux mots !

La grêle – Hail
Grêler
– To hail
Le grêlon
– Hailstone

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.