What is French grammar? Google will tell you something like, “the structure and system of a the French language”, meaning that there are a bunch of rules for you to learn on how to put words together to make the French sentences.
I am teaching French since 2015 to children and adult students also and I have to admit that French grammar is quite tricky, complex and difficult.
Are you facing the same problems my student do?
So, you are all ready to study French but you aren’t sure how to learn French grammar (without losing your mind)?
Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief and thank your lucky stars today because I am here to help you and you’ve come to the right place.
Once you master the French grammar rules, you will have a strong basis and one step closer to achieve French fluency.
Below are tips on how you can learn French grammar with the right peace of mind:
First Step: Learn French Gender Noun: Masculine or Feminine?
For a beginner, the French gender rules are the most basic ones that you need to conquer first before dive into the deeper and more complex of French grammar.
French noun has a gender: Masculine and Feminine.
Generally, we know that masculine refers to man and feminine is for the woman in English. And you don’t need to worry about the object’s gender when you name a chair, table or car in English.
Unlike English, every French noun has a gender, and you can differentiate the nouns by the type of ending words called “Agreement”.
For example, it may be masculine if the nouns mostly end with:
- Er (un poirier)
- -oir (un tiroir)
- -isme (un néologisme)
- -ing (un parking)
- -ard (un placard)
- -am, -um, -em (un tram, un curriculum, un tándem)
- -it, -est (un lit, un test)
And most of the masculine noun end in consonants such as b, c, d, f, k, l…
While for the feminine, the nouns typically end as below:
- tion, -sion and -son (une addition, une lésion, une maison)
- -ure (une fermeture)
- -ude, -ade (une étude, une orangeade)
- -ée (une bouchée)
- -té (la fermeté)
Most of the feminine nouns also end with the combination of vowel, consonant and “e” such as –ine, -elle, -esse, -ette, etc.
Therefore, you need to learn not just the words but also its gender when learning French vocabulary!
Step 2: Doing a Lot of Exercises
The well-known martial artist and actor Bruce Lee once said,
“Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practising, our work will become natural, skilful, swift, and steady.”
Here is the list of recommended French grammar books for you to do the exercise and practice:
- Bescherelle: La Grammaire Pour Tous.
- Grevisse precis de gramaire francaise.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar, Premium Fourth Edition
- French Grammar For Beginners: The most complete textbook and workbook for French Learners (French Grammar Textbook 1)
- Grammaire progressive du francais – Nouvelle edition (Progressive du français perfectionnement) (French Edition)
Get the Feedback from Teacher
It’s not enough to study grammar by just reading and memorizing the list of vocabulary.
You also probably will fall asleep when you read the grammar books alone as it’s quite boring, confusing and very technical things to understand.
Hence, it is always a good step to find a French native speaker teacher who can advise, give feedback and point out your mistakes in the exercise section.
If you want to start learning basic French grammar, see you in my course (for French beginners)
In this course you will find a lot of exercises on video it is fun and efficient!!! Then you can send me the answers on our Private Facebook group (called DelfSchool) and get feedback.
Step 3: Learn French Grammar Through the Exposure of The Language
Nobody is born with language skill. It is developed day by day for ages.
If English is your mother tongue, did you remember how can you write and speak perfectly with correct grammar? Perhaps you don’t remember, and feel like it just happens naturally, don’t you?
However, I’m sure you don’t see any infant and toddlers learn English by doing the exercises in a grammar book, instead they absorb the language through upbringing, environment and blend of learning.
Luckily, as an adult learner, you also have this ability and opportunity where you can learn a new language through surrounding as you did as a child.
For instances, immerse yourself in the French language as follows:
- Change your internet setting into French
- Read YouTube or Facebook comment in French
- Search for French ads (I love sooo much those from “culture pub” like in this one)
- Read as much as French news, articles, blogs, magazine and books
- Listen to the sound of the spoken language via radio programs, YouTube and TV
- Watch French tutorial videos
Observe how they use words and structure the sentences. When you get used to the French language first, you don’t feel overwhelmed to master the grammar. Remember, the familiarity of the language must come first before the grammar.
Step 4: Find a Good French Dictionary and Online Resources
Dictionary is a basic tool for learning French, most of the dictionaries usually have a grammar section at the back.
When you’re trying to make some French sentences, the vocab and grammar guides in the dictionary can be really helpful.
There are three suggested online dictionaries that you can take a look at below:
- Trésor de la Langue Française
- LEXILOGOS – Dictionnaires, Cartes, Documents en ligne – Langues & Pays
Apart from that, you also can learn from your mistakes via grammar checker software for the French language as shown:
And the one I prefer for grammar exercises with instant feedback:
Step 5: Practising into Real-Life Situation
You can consume a ton of French grammar books, but once you get some vocabs and understand the grammar, it is time for you to have the nerve to start to apply the grammar rules in a real-life situation and everyday life.
Mark my words, the BEST TEACHER AND RESOURCES are your experiences and native French speakers.
When the era of Covid-19 is over, get a plane and travel to France or Francophone countries. Once in a lifetime, you must be able to converse in French with a French native speaker. Believe me, if you did so, you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you use what you learnt before. (French is spoken nearly everywhere around the world so you CAN find a place near your country)
Otherwise, you can communicate with a French speaker online. I remembered when one of the TED Speakers has shared that one of the crazy ways to be a polyglot (the one who can speak multiple languages) is trying to chat with random people in their native language via Skype. Turns out, it works well for some people.
If you’re not comfortable to talk to random strangers, you can always practice your French-speaking and grammar with me, the French native teacher itself via Zoom and Skype lesson. I also specifically train Students to get their French DELF, French DALF and French TEF Exam.
Bonus Step: Never Give Up!
Frankly speaking, you can’t master the whole French grammar in one day, or magically with the blink of eyes. It takes time, dedication and practice to whizz at French grammar.
But you don’t have to be stressed and rush to get great at it because you have a whole future ahead of you and perfection doesn’t happen right away.
Don’t let any naysayers or your negative thoughts towards the difficulties sabotage your dream to learn French.
Face the challenges and don’t let them bring you down. Everyone has to start somewhere, even the expert was once a beginner. (Just right now I am facing some difficulties with my Chinese learning but I won’t give up as I know it will open some doors for me one day! I just know it and will never give up until I fulfil my dream!)
I have opened the FREE course ‘French 5 Days Challenge: French for Beginners’, take this chance and let your language skill shine!
Your French journey would be easier with the assistance of an experienced tutor to guide you. If you need some help to learn French faster and easier, the Delf School’s door is always opened for you.
Cheers Christophe Ternay