Lesson 1

Je suis John
Talking about yourself in French

In this lesson you will learn how to:

  • Use the French subject pronouns (I, you, he/she, etc…)
  • Conjugate one of the most important verbs: “ÊTRE” – “TO BE”

French Personal Pronouns

Me, you, they ? First thing to learn are the pronouns!

 
Pronouns
Je - I Nous - we
Tu - you Vous - you (plural)
Il/Elle - He/She Ils/Elles - They (male/female)

The verb "ÊTRE"

To learn the French verb "ÊTRE" is to learn the foundation of the language. IT is an irregular verb. This means that it changes its form completely.

 
ÊTRE - To Be
Je suis- I am Nous sommes- we are
Tu es- you are Vous êtes- you are (plural)
Il/Elle est- He/She is Ils/Elles sont- They are (male/female)

Always do the exercises. You are much more likely to remember things if you practice them straight away.

There are no dumb questions!

Q: I noticed that "vous" is pronounced without the "s" , but in "vous êtes" you pronounce "s" as "z". What's up with that?

A: Good observation! French pronunciation rules are not the most straightforward out there. Generally, a lot of consonants are "dropped" at the end of words. However, if those consonants are followed by vowels (a,e,i,etc), you need to say them.

Q: You don't say "s" in "nous sommes". Is that because "s" in "nous" is followed by another consonant?

A: Precisely: nou(s) somme(s).

Q: But WHY does "s" turn into a "z" in "vous êtes"?

A: It's a rule. Don't worry, you'll get used to such things.

Q: Lovely, this French learning business is quite hard right from the beginning!

A: C'mon, English can be a pain too. Plural of "goose" is "geese", but "book"--> "books", "mouse"-->"mice" and "man"-->"men". Every language has its quirks.

Practice

Let's make sure we remember what we learn! Read and listen to the conversations below. Hover over the words that are highlighted in red*translation here to see what they mean.

 
French English

1.

Je suis Pierre.

Tu es Marie ?

Non*"No", je suis Monique.

 

I am Pierre.

Are you Marie?

No, I am Monique.

2.

Vous êtes Lucy et André ?

Oui*"Yes", nous sommes Lucy et André.

 

Are you Lucy and André ?

Yes, we are Lucy and André