Lesson 1

This lesson will focus on the conjugation of the verb “être” (to be). We will also start making simple sentences.

Since conjugation is a bit more complex in French than in English, we will need to learn the subject pronouns in order to start conjugating verbs.

Singular

1st person

je

I

2nd person

tu

you

3rd person

il

he / it

elle  

she / it

on

we / one / people

Plural

1st person

nous

we

2nd person

vous

you (plural, or polite “you”)

3rd person

ils

they (masculine)

elles

they (feminine)

There are two ways to translate the English “you” in French:

  • “TU” = singular “you”. “TU” is used for a person you are in first name basis with, like talking to children, friends, etc.
  • “VOUS” is the “you” courtesy that you will need to use in all other situations. “VOUS” is also the plural of “you” when talking to more than one person.

Conjugation of the verb “être” (to be)

être to be
je suis I am
tu es you are
il/elle/on est he/she is (or we are)
nous sommes we are
vous êtes you are
ils/elles sont they are

Be careful, spoken French could sound a little different to written French due to the “liaisons”, which are very common. A “liaison” consist of linking a silent consonant at the end of a word to the beginning of the next word when the next word starts with a vowel or a silent H. Some “liaisons” are mandatory, some others could be optional.

It is very important to learn French speaking with the “liaisons.” Otherwise, it will be very hard for you to understand a native French speaker.

For the table of conjugation of the verb “to be”, you will need to make the liaisons for the following sentences:

  • il est -> to make the “liaison,” you will link the end of the first word to the beginning of the next one. So “il est” is pronounced [ilé]
  • elle est -> same thing here. The “e” at the end of “elle” is silent, so we make the link between the “l” and the “est”. So “elle est” is pronounced [èlé]
  • on est -> the “liaison” here is more than mandatory, as you will almost never ever hear someone pronounce the 2 words separately. So “on est” needs to be pronounced [ɔ̃né].
  • vous êtes -> this “liaison” is also a must to know, as you will never hear a native French speaker pronounce these words separately. Since there are vowels between the “s” (at the end of “vous”), you will need to pronounced the “s” as a [z]. So “vous êtes” needs to be pronounced [vu zɛt].

Please practice with our video below.

Vocabulary

Examples:
ici
here
Je suis ici.
à
at/to/in
Tu es à Paris.
là-bas
over there
Il est là-bas.
à la maison
at home
Nous sommes à la maison.
Londres
London
Elles sont à Londres.

tests

 

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