Category Archives: verbs

L’infinitif

The infinitive form of a verb is its basic unconjugated form. In English, the full infinitive includes the word “to” before the verb. To run. To chase. To pet.

Aimer, c’est vivre.

“To love is to live.” Two French infinitives at work.

There are three main groups of French infinitives, distinguished by their endings: -er, -ir, -re.

The -er group is the biggest, so it’s the first group our French textbook teaches us to conjugate. Parler (to speak), aimer (to like), and aller (to go) are some common -er verbs.

CONJUGATION OF PARLER
Je parle = I speak
Tu parles = you speak (familiar, singular you)
Vous parlez = you speak (formal, plural you)
Nous parlons = we speak
Il/elle parle = he/she speaks
Ils/elles parlent = they speak

The same conjugations for present tense apply to present progressive. So “Je parle” also means “I am speaking.” Exciting news for cats who conjugate like dogs.

ENGLISH LESSON, FRENCH QUESTION
A “split infinitive” has an adverb in between “to” and the verb.

infinitive: to meow
split infinitive: to loudly meow

(Some English teachers’ claws come out if your habit is to unnecessarily split infinitives.)

Question for French speakers: Getting way ahead of myself here, but is there such a thing as a split infinitive in French? Est-il possible?

Most adjectives come after the nouns they modify. But where do adverbs go?

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I don’t speak French… yet.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

But can an old chatte learn a new langue? Let’s hope so!

Je ne parle pas français… mais. I don’t speak French… yet. (Neither does the cat. He just likes how he looks in the beret.)

The purpose of this site is to collect useful and interesting stuff related to learning French.

Here’s the tentative posting schedule:

  • Lundi: livres (books) & learning tools
  • Mardi: le monde moderne (le pop culture)
  • Mercredi: mots (words) et marks (pronunciation, cognates, accent marks)
  • Jeudi: J’ai une surprise!
  • Vendredi: verbes, voyelles, et vocab

If you’re also a student of the language of love, join me. If you see mistakes, school me. If I like you, you may pet me. All comments – English, French, even catty remarks – are welcome.

Bienvenue!