French

Conjugation – Indicatif Présent

When conjugating a French verb, the root of the verb takes several endings (suffixes) in the various personal forms. However, English verbs do not usually take endings except for the -s ending in the third person singular of the Present tense (e.g. he goes, he reads, she writes, it makes). In French all the personal forms take a specific ending (e.g. je travaille – I work, tu travailles – you work, nous travaillons – we work).

The infinitive form usually ends in -er, -re or -ir in French, which is generally identical to the English “to” preposition: to make – faire; to sleep – dormir; to go – aller; to give – donner.
When conjugating a French verb the endings are added to the root of the verb. The root can be obtained by leaving the -er, -re or -ir ending off of the infinitive. E.g.:  donn-erje donne, tu donnes, il donne.

The personal pronouns (je, tu, il, elle; nous, vous, ils, elles – like English I, you, he, she, it; we, you, they) are always put next to the verb.

 

Present Tense (Présent)

Verbs with the infinitive -er take the following endings:

singular:
   -e
   -es
   -e

plural:
   -ons
   -ez
   -ent

examples:

 

As can be seen the 1st and the 3rd person singular forms are the same in the case of the regular verbs (je travaille, il travaille).

 

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Usage of the present tense (Présent):

It can describe both repeated actions around the present and actions that are in progress in the time of speaking. It doesn’t matter if the action takes a lot of time or happens just in a moment. It doesn’t matter either if the action began in the past, nor how long or since when it has been in progress, Präsens is used to describe all of these:

Je me lève à 7 heures chaque jour.
(I get up at 7 o’clock every day.)

Je travaille maintenant.
(I am working at the moment.)

Je travaille 5 heures chaque jour.
(I work 5 hours every day.)

Je travaille depuis deux heures.
(I have been working for two hours.)

J’habite ici depuis trois mois.
(I have lived here for three months.)

Présent can express future, too, if there is an adverb in the sentence that refers to the future (e.g. demain- tomorrow,  la semaine prochaine – next week):

Je pars pour Paris la semaine prochaine.
(I will go to Paris next week.)

So, the French Présent can express the English Present simple, Present continuous, Present perfect and Present perfect continuous as well as the Future tense. However, if these tenses refer to a past event, they cannot be translated into French using Présent, e.g.: “Somebody has been smoking here. Everything smells of smoke.” “Has been smoking” refers to a past event (which, by the way, has an effect in the present) so it cannot be expressed in French by the Présent.

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Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers

Cardinal numbers

1 un, une
11 onze 30 trente
2 deux 12 douze 40 quarante
3 trois 13 treize 50 cinquante
4 quatre 14 quatorze 60 soixante
5 cinq 15 quinze 70 soixante-dix
6 six 16 seize 80 quatre-vingts
7 sept 17 dix-sept 90 quatre-vingt-dix
8 huit 18 dix-huit 100 cent
9 neuf 19 dix-neuf 600 six cents
10 dix 20 vingt 700 sept cents
1000 mille 4000 quatre mille
10 000 dix mille
100 000 cent mille
1 000 000 un million 3 000 000 trois millions 1 00 000 000 cent millions

 From 21 to 69 the units come after the tens. If the unit is 1 it is joined by the conjunction et (in English: “and”), e. g.:

21 = vingt et un
31 = trente et un
41 = quarante et un
51 = cinquante et un
61 = soixante et un

If the unit is not 1 it is joined by a hyphen:

22 = vingt-deux      23 = vingt-trois
32 = trente-deux     34 = trente-quatre
42 = quarante-deux   55 = cinquante-cinq

Between 70 and 80 the starting point is 60. We can express these numbers adding the necessary sum to 60, so the second part of the number is between 10 and 19. Furthermore, 71 is expressed using the conjunction et similarly to 21, 31 and so on:

71 = 60 + 11 = soixante et onze
72 = 60 + 12 = soixante-douze
73 = 60 + 13 = soixante-treize
74 = 60 + 14 = soixante-quatorze
75 = 60 + 15 = soixante-quinze
76 = 60 + 16 = soixante-seize
77 = 60 + 17 = soixante-dix-sept
78 = 60 + 18 = soixante-dix-huit
79 = 60 + 19 = soixante-dix-neuf

80 is interpreted as 60 + 20:

80 = 4 * 20 = quatre-vingts (with an “s” in the end!)
81 = 4 * 20 + 1 = quatre-vingt-un (without an “s”!)
82 = 4 * 20 + 2 = quatre-vingt-deux
83 = 4 * 20 + 3 = quatre-vingt-trois
84 = 4 * 20 + 4 = quatre-vingt-quatre
85 = 4 * 20 + 5 = quatre-vingt-cinq
86 = 4 * 20 + 6 = quatre-vingt-six
87 = 4 * 20 + 7 = quatre-vingt-sept
88 = 4 * 20 + 8 = quatre-vingt-huit
89 = 4 * 20 + 9 = quatre-vingt-neuf

90 is interpreted as 60 + 20 + 10:

90 = 4 * 20 + 10 = quatre-vingt-dix
91 = 4 * 20 + 11 = quatre-vingt-onze
92 = 4 * 20 + 12 = quatre-vingt-douze
93 = 4 * 20 + 13 = quatre-vingt-treize
94 = 4 * 20 + 14 = quatre-vingt-quatorze
95 = 4 * 20 + 15 = quatre-vingt-quinze
96 = 4 * 20 + 16 = quatre-vingt-seize
97 = 4 * 20 + 17 = quatre-vingt-dix-sept
98 = 4 * 20 + 18 = quatre-vingt-dix-huit
99 = 4 * 20 + 19 = quatre-vingt-dix-neuf

Normally cent (hunderd) is used in plural if speaking about more than one:

200 deux cents            300 trois cents

If further numbers follow them, cent is used in singular:

211 deux cent onze        340 trois cent quarante.

Un million and un milliard are nouns. They are always used in the plural if speaking about more than one:

5 000 000 cinq millions
4 400 000 cinq millions quatre cent mille

This also means that further nouns are connected to million/milliard by the preposition de if they stand right after them:

un million d’habitants
BUT: un million quatre cent mille habitants.

Zero is called zéro.

 

Ordinal numbers

1. premier, première
11. onzième 30. trentième
2. deuxième 12. douzième 40. quarantième
3. troisième 13. treizième 50. cinquantième
4. quatrième 14. quatorzième 60. soixantième
5. cinqième 15. quinzième 70. soixante-dixième
6. sixième 16. seizième 80. quatre-vingtième
7. septième 17. dix-septième 90. quatre-vingt-dixième
8. huitième 18. dix-huitième 100. centième
9. neuvième 19. dix-neuvième 1000. millième
10. dixième 20. vingtième 1 000 000. millionième

Attention:

21st = vingt et unième (not: premier)
31st = trente et unième
41st = quarante et unième
51st = cinquante et unième
61st = soixante et unième

Only the premier / première differs in the masculine and in the feminine.

The numbers lose their eventual -s or -e ending before the ending -ième:

quatre → quatrième (quatre loses the ending -e)
trois cents → trois centième (cents loses the ending -s)

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Very large numbers – just as a curiosity

Adding further three zeros to a very large number, we get another number with its own name. So after one million (un million) we get one billion (un milliard), then one trillion (un billion), then one quadrillion (un billiard). As can be seen the names of large numbers differ significantly between French and English, as in French the -illion and -illiard endings follow each other alternately.

Similarly to million, the names of very large numbers are treated as nouns and are used in the plural when speaking about more than one of them:

1 000 000 000 un milliard
2 000 000 000 deux milliards
1 000 000 000 000 un billion
3 000 000 000 000 trois billions

Very large numbers are expressed as powers of ten. These numbers are not used in everyday life: 

106 million Million
109 billion Milliard
1012 trillion Billion
1015 quadrillion Billiard
1018 quintillion Trillion
1021 sextillion Trilliard
1024 septillion Quadrillion
1027 octillion Quadrilliard
1030 nonillion Quintilion
1033 decillion Quintilliard
1036 undecillion Sextillion
1039 duodecillion Sextilliard
1042 tredecillion Septillion
1045 quattuordecillion Septilliard
1048 quindecillion Octillion
1051 sexdecillion Octilliard
1054 septendecillion Nonillion
1057 octodecillion Nonilliard
1060 novemdecillion Décillion
1063 vigintillion Décilliard
1066 unvigintillion Undécillon
1069 duovigintillion Undécillard
1072 tresvigintillion Duodécillon
1075 quattuorvigintillion Duodécillard
1078 quinvigintillion Trédécillon
1081 sesvigintillion Trédécillard
1084 septemvigintillion Quattordezillon
1087 octovigintillion Quattordécillard
1090 novemvigintillion Quindécillon
1093 trigintillion Quindécillard
1096 untrigintillion Sexdécillon
1099 duotrigintillion Sexdécillard