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Module 5 Grammar & Vocab Questions

CalliW

CalliW

To Whom it May Concern:

There are grammar and vocab instances that I would like clarification on:

  1. The role of ‘aucun’.- 5.6

‘Sans aucun doute’ means ‘without a doubt’; 'sans doute' translates to ‘without doubt.’ ‘Aucun problème' means ‘no problem.’ What exactly does ‘aucun’ mean/represent?

 

2. ‘Parmi la foule’- ‘Among the crowd'- 5.6

Does ‘parmi’ always mean ‘among’? Is ‘parmi' a preposition?

 

3. ‘Être au courant’ - ‘to be aware / to be up to date’- 5.9

Am I correct that ‘courant’ is an adjective in this case? Does it ever change to ‘courante’?

 

4. 'Je me suis assis' & ‘je me suis assise’- ‘I sat down.’- 5.7

What do these sentences literally mean?

 

5. ‘Nous avons de charmants tableaux par ici.’ - We have some charming pictures over here.- 5.2

Why does ‘charmants’ come before ‘tableaux’? As a noun, what all can ‘tableaux’ refer to?

 

6. 'Je ne mange qu'une pomme.' - I am only eating an apple.- 5.3

I had previously learned that ‘ne…plus que’ means ‘only’? Do ‘ne…que’ and ‘ne…plus que’ both mean ‘only’? How do I know which one to use?

 

Merci beaucoup!

Calli 

 

 

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Bonjour CalliW,

 

Sorry for the late reply, I hope it is worth the wait.

 

1. Aucun - none / not a single one

This is an adjective and indefinite pronoun meaning ‘none’ or ‘not a single one’. I'm going to run with the examples you used and translate them a little differently:

  • Sans aucun doute (without a single doubt)
  • Aucun problème (not a single problem)

 

2. Parmi - among / by

This is a preposition that is most commonly translated as ‘among’ depending on the context. Here are some example sentences for reference:

  • Il vous compte parmi ses amis. (He counts you among/as part of his friends.)
  • Il est respecté parmi ses élèves. (He is respected by/among his students.)
  • C'est la seule fille parmi ce groupe. (She is the only girl among/within this group.)

 

3. Être au courant - to be aware / up-to-date

This is a fixed expression (au courant) created from a preposition (au) and a noun (courant) - not an adjective. For this reason, it should never change. 

Having said that, it is not uncommon to hear or see people use a feminine form (elle est au courante), however this is not grammatically correct and you will never see a plural version for example (elles sont aux courantes - BIG NO!)

 

4. S'asseoir - to sit down

Asseoir is a verb which means to place something or someone on a chair. When it becomes reflexive, then you are putting yourself on a chair, i.e. you are sitting yourself down. 

Going back to your example sentence we have ‘je me suis assis’ which literally means ‘I sat myself down’, or more literally ‘I myself sat down’.

 

5. Charmants - irregular adjective

There are a few adjectives, usually more common ones like beau, belle, joli, jeun(e), viel(le) etc. which appear in front of the noun. Some adjectives change meaning depending on whether they appear before or after the noun (I think we may have touched on that before) and charmant is one of the irregular adjective which can go before or after the noun. 

Tableau can refer to paintings, pictures, charts, boards and more broadly speaking, any flat object that holds some sort of image.

 

6. ne … que - only

Je ne mange qu'une pomme. (I'm only eating one apple. or I'm eating just one apple.) Ne … que means only one / just one.

Je ne mange plus qu'une pomme. (The only other thing I'm eating is an apple.) Remember that ‘plus’ means more, so it implies that from now on, the only other thing you are eating will be that one apple. 

 

Let me know if you have any more questions and I hope this has helped!

   -   Mitchell

CalliW

CalliW

Mitchell-

Bonjour, no worries at all.

If you don't mind, a couple follow-up questions for you:

  1. Aucun- since this is an adjective, is there a feminine form of ‘aucune'?

4. s'asseoir & asseoir

  • While I was waiting for a response, I went ahead and tried to find the answer, this was some information I found:

                 Asseoir has several meanings: "to seat someone," "to set down," "to help or make someone sit up or down," "to help someone stand his ground" (in an argument), "to base," "to establish." It is an irregular -ir verb and all irregular verbs ending in -seoir are conjugated the same way; they take avoir as their auxiliary verb. Even more common is the pronominal s'asseoir, which means "to sit down" or "take a seat." In this case, it requires être as the auxiliary verb. S'asseoir is conjugated the same as asseoir.

  •          Would you agree with the above statements? If so, I have a couple of follow-up questions:
    • Do all reflexive verbs use ‘être’ as their auxiliary verb?
    • What are pronominal verbs? Are there different types?
    • What are some other irregular ‘ir’ verbs ending in ‘seoir'?

5. If ‘charmant(s)’ came after the noun it was describing, what would the meaning be?

  •         Is there a feminine form?

 

Lastly, I have found myself constantly trying to find all the forms of an adjective, so that I can learn them all at once. This can be difficult at times. Is there a reliable source out there that can help me with this? Perhaps it will also help me cut down on the number of questions I ask y'all!

 

Merci beaucoup, Mitchell!

-Calli 

 

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Bonjour Calli,

 

No problem. 

 

1. Aucun - four forms

Yes, there are masculine (aucun), feminine (aucune), singular (aucuns) and plural (aucunes) forms, i.e. 4 forms in total.

 

2. S'asseoir and asseoir

Yes, I would agree with those statements. The most fundamental meaning of asseoir is ‘to sit something down’, and when it becomes reflexive then it becomes ‘to sit oneself (or somebody else) down’.

  • Yes, all reflexive verbs should use ‘être’ for the auxiliary verb. 
  • Pronominal verbs. Pronominal means pronoun (personal), so a pronominal verb is a verb that uses or requires a personal pronoun. They can include reflexive verbs (subject acts on itself), reciprocal verbs (subjects act on one another), idiomatic verbs (the added reflexive pronoun changes the meaning of the verb) and essential verbs (the verb only exists with the pronoun).
  • S'asseoir is a uniquely irregular verb. That's to say that it doesn't fit the other irregular patterns and any that are similar, are now archaic and found only in literature. So, I would just treat this as a unique verb.

3. Charmant - it's just a flexible adjective

Charmant is curiously just one of those flexible adjectives which can appear before or after the noun and the meaning doesn't change. Charmant has the four usual forms: charmant (male), charmants (m. plural), charmante (feminine), and charmantes (f. plural).

 

4. Adjective forms - https://fr.wiktionary.org/ 

I would advocate for wiktionary. There are many french dictionary websites but often they assume that you understand the forms of a verb, adjective, noun etc. and don't list them explicitly. Wiktionary is in the familiar wikipedia format, so even though it is in French it should be familiar enough to navigate and it provide you a table of the adjective forms.

 

On a side note, it's a pleasure to answer your questions, so don't hesitate if you want to reach out.

 

I hope this helps,

   -   Mitchell

CalliW

CalliW

Mitchell- Merci beaucoup!

Would ‘s’entendre' be a good example of an idiomatic verb?

Could you give an example of an essential verb please?

Merci, Calli 

CalliW

CalliW

Also- I have more questions whenever possible!

 

7. Autant que je sache- as far as I know- 5.9

  • What does ‘autant’ mean/translate to?

8. s’y habituer à- to get used to vs. s'y habituer- to get used to it- 5.9

  • Can you use these in a sentence please?

9. rester prudent-to remain prudent- 5.9

  • Is this a set phrase? You would never put an (e) or (s) after prudent?

10. en ce qui concerne- concerning / as far as- 5.9

  • Can you use in a sentence please?

11. Je viens de goûter des truffes délicieuses.- I just tasted some delicious truffles.- 5.1

  • Why does this sentence use ‘venir’?

12. D’ordinaire, nous ne vendons pas de bouteilles non ouvertes.- Ordinarily, we don't sell unopened bottles.- 5.1

  • Why is it ‘de bouteilles’ and not ‘des bouteilles’?

13. Veuillez nous excuser- ‘I’m very sorry’- literature

  • I found this in a French short story book I am reading. What form of the verb ‘vouloir’ is this? I think it is advanced. 

14. Je tiens à vous prévenir- I’ll just warn you- literature 

  • What does ‘tiens’ stand for?

15. Est-ce que vous avez encore de la place pour aujourd'hui après-midi?- literature

  • It looks like ‘de la place’ can be translated in lots of ways- in this particular sentence is translates to ‘left’. What are some other ways ‘de la place’ can be used?

16. Croire en soi- to believe in oneself- 5.9

  • Why is this not reflexive?

17. autant vs tant

  • What is the difference?

Merci beaucoup!

Calli 

 

 

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Bonjour Calli,

 

2. S'ENTENDRE - pronominal verb

Is it idiomatic? Debatable. I lean more towards no, s'entendre is a normal reflexive or reciprocal verb (depends on context and the preposition that follows) and I will explain why. Many sources indicate that it is idiomatic because the meaning of entendre is ‘to hear’; when we add the pronoun its meaning changes and that is the definition of an idiomatic verb. 

However, older meanings of the word include ‘to understand’ and ‘to be tender towards’, and if we make those definitions reflexive then we get closer to the modern day meaning - ‘to get on/along with’. So, that is my ‘gripe’ if you will, that most classifications don't take into account the older definitions.

 

7. AUTANT QUE JE SACHE

Autant is difficult to translate succinctly so I will provide a list of translations. It can be translated as:

  • as far as
  • as many/much as
  • however many/much
  • just as many/much

It comes originally from Latin meaning ‘another as great’.

 

8. S’HABITUER - to get used to

Let me just clarify the difference between the two. S'habituer à means ‘to get used to' and s'y habituer means ‘to get used to it’. The preposition that follows this verb is 'à', while ‘y’ is used as a direct object pronoun. Let me use examples to show you:

  • Il s'habitue à son nouveau travail. (He is getting used to his new job.)
  • Il a un nouveau travail et il s'y habitue. (He has a new job and he is getting used to it.)

‘Y’ is used in the second example to replace ‘a new job’, so that we don't have to repeat it again. When we are using ‘y’ to replace the direct object, we therefore do not need the proposition à.

 

9. RESTER PRUDENT - not a set phrase

This isn't a set phrase and would change depending on gender and number of the subject.

 

10. EN CE QUI CONCERNE - concerning

  • En ce qui concerne l'hotel, je te laisse le choix. (As far as the hotel is concerned, I'll leave it up to you.)

This is a very flexible phrase which can be used at the start, middle or end of a phrase, so don't be too concerned about not using it ‘correctly’. 

 

11. VENIR DE - just, about to

Venir de + infinitive is used to express the recent past or used the same way we say ‘to have just done something’.

 

12. DE BOUTEILLES

In the negative, all partitive article (du, de la, de l', des) become de in the negative or d' if the noun begins with a vowel or a muted h. For example:

  • Je mange des pommes. (I eat apples.)
  • Je ne mange pas de pommes. (I don't eat apples.)

 

13. VEUILLEZ - Vouloir in the imperative

There is nothing advanced here, it is simply the vouloir in the imperative (click this link and scroll down to the bottom), so no new scary concepts. However, what may be slightly different is the way it is used. Counter-intuitively, vouloir in the imperative is less of a command and more of a polite request, the equivalent of our ‘please would you’. The example you provided:

  • Veuillez nous excuser. (Please would you excuse us.) This is the more literal translation.

 

14. TENIR À FAIRE - to be keen or anxious to do something

Tenir à faire (or any other verb in the infinitive) is a structure that means ‘to be keen or anxious to do something’. However, remember that tenir also means ‘to hold or maintain’, so bear that in mind when I translate your example again a little more literally:

  • Je tiens à vous prévenir. - I hold firm/maintain to warn you.

 

15. DE LA PLACE

The translation you have was not provided, so I am going to translate it as I would first.

  • Est-ce que vous avez encore de la place pour aujourd'hui après-midi? (Do you have some space left for today in the afternoon?)

Remember de la is a partitive article which means ‘some’, while place means ‘space’ or ‘room’, so together it is ‘some space’. Of course, without context I cannot be sure, but it sounds to me like someone is reserving a table or booking an appointment etc.

I know this doesn't answer your original question, but I just wanted to clarify that de la place does not mean ‘left’. In the above sentence ‘encore’ would be the equivalent of ‘still’ or ‘left’.

 

16. CROIRE EN SOI - not the same as se croire.

I'm going to break down the definitions of the base verb, reflexive and the expression. I will just use English examples to make sure the distinction is as clear as possible.

  • Croire means ‘to believe’ as in, ‘I believe that there are better places to live.’
  • Se croire means ‘to believe oneself’ as in, ‘She believe herself to be very clever.’
  • Croire en soi mean ‘to believe in oneself’.

 

17. AUTANT v. TANT

Autant means ‘as many/much as’ and is used most commonly in comparisons, while tant means ‘so many/much’ and is used most commonly to intensify or in hyperbole. 

  • Il a déjà fait autant que toi. (He has already done as much as you.)
  • Il a déjà tant fait. (He has already done so much.)
  • Il a autant d'amis que toi. (He has as many friends as you.)
  • Il a tant d'amis. (He has so many friends.)

 

I hope this helps!

   -   Mitchell

CalliW

CalliW

Mitchell-

I apologize for the late reply- I was on vacation. That helps a lot- merci beaucoup!

Couple of follow-ups:

14. Tenir à + infinitive = could you give a couple more examples using this structure please?

15. My mistake, I should have included the whole translation:

Est-ce que vous avez encore de la place pour aujourd'hui après-midi= Do you have any appointments left for this afternoon? So yes, you were correct! Based on what you said, could the sentence be translated as ‘Do you have any space left for this afternoon?’

 

Lastly, I wanted to let you know that wikitonary has been a huge help for adjective forms; thanks again for the suggestion.

-Calli 

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Bonjour Calli,

 

It appears we are staggering our holidays.

 

14. TENIR À FAIRE - to be keen or anxious to do something

It's quite a formal phrase so genuine examples that don't sound cumbersome or out of place are few and far between, but here goes.

  • Je tiens à exprimer notre profone sympathie et condoléances à l’égard des familles des victimes. (I would very much like to express our profound sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims.)

 

15. DE LA PLACE

Yes, you could absolutely translate the sentence as, ‘Do you have any space left for this afternoon?’

 

On the last note, I am glad that wiktionary is working out for you. 

 

   -   Mitchell

 

CalliW

CalliW

Merci beaucoup, Mitchell!

Also, I hope you enjoyed your well deserved holiday.

-Calli 

CalliW

CalliW

Bonjour- I have some more questions, s'il vous plaît.

  1. Je pense que ma tante aimerait bien un foulard. - I think that my aunt would like a scarf. & J'aime bien celles-là.- I like those ones. - 5.3 
    • Why is ‘bien’ necessary here?
  2. Malheureusement, elles ne sont disponibles qu'en petite taille.- Unfortunately, they are only available in small. - 5.3 
    • Why does ‘disponibles’ come before ‘que’?
  3. Depuis hier- since yesterday- 5.6
    •  Why is the ’s’ not annunciated?
  4. N’y va pas ! Don't go!- 5.8
    • Why does this use the ‘il/elle’ form of ‘aller’? Isn’t this a formal/plural command?
  5. Laisse-moi tranquille.- Leave me alone- 5.2
    • Similar to question #4, if this is a command to someone, why does it not use the 'tu' or 'vous' form of ‘laisser’?
  6. C'est tout à fait son style.- That's exactly her style.- 5.3
    1. What does ‘tout à fait’ mean?

Merci beaucoup!

-Calli

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Bonjour Calli,

 

1. AIMER BIEN

This is simply emphatic, like adding ‘really’ or ‘truly’ to the sentence in English:

  • J'aime bien celles-là. (I like these ones.)

Here, ‘bien’ is used to express that Paul ‘really’ likes this pair out of all the options available. It is also used to confirm the desire or appeal; let me show you what I mean:

  • Est-ce que votre tante aimerait un foulard, peut-être? (Would your aunt like a scarf, maybe?)
  • Je pense que ma tante aimerait bien un foulard. (I think my aunt would like a scarf.)

The use of ‘bien’ here has the role of confirming that she would indeed like a scarf. 

 

2. NE … QUE

This negative adverb is known as the restrictive structure (ne … que) which is used to express ‘only’ in French. This structure does not uniquely wrap around the verb in the same way that ne … pas does. That's to say that the position of ‘que’ can move within the sentence depending on which elements or things you are restricting. For example:

  • Elle ne boit que de la bière le dimanche. (She drinks only beer on Sundays.)
  • Elle ne boit de la bière que le dimanche. (She drinks beer only on Sundays.)

Now, let's apply that same logic to the example you pulled:

  1. Elles ne sont disponibles qu'en petite taille. (They are available only in small.)
  2. Elles ne sont que disponibles en petite taille. (They are only available in small.)

Technically, this would be the difference. However, note that unlike the first examples, the placement of ‘que’ doesn't really affect the meaning of the sentence, thus given that it's placement doesn't matter, we then decide which sounds more elegant. That would be #2; mainly because it avoids the hiatus between ‘disponibles en’, but also keeping the verb and adjective together is a bit more natural.

 

3. DEPUIS HIER

There are some French liaisons of vowels or the silent ‘h’ which are optional. This essentially falls into that category. Though I would not pronounce the ‘s’ myself, I have heard it done on occasion. In this optional category, the more liaisons you use, the more formal the speech and the fewer you use, the more informal the speech.

 

4. N'Y VA PAS!

When using the imperative mood, all verbs which end in ‘-er’ follow the following pattern (verbs used: aller, manger, porter):

  • tu - present tense conjugation - final ‘s’ (va, mange, porte)
  • nous - present tense conjugation (allons, mangeons, portons)
  • vous - present tense conjugation (allez, mangez, portez)

Carrying this forward to the following question. The verb in question is laisser, so let's conjugate it using the above rule: 

  • tu - Laisse-moi tranquille.
  • nous - Laissons-moi tranquille. (sounds strange)
  • vous - Laissez-moi tranquille.

 

6. tout à fait

This means ‘entirely’, ‘absolutely’, ‘completely’. Literally, I guess you could translate it as tout (all) à (as/to) fait (complete/done), however this expression is hundreds of years old and the exact etymology is not entirely known. Stick with the more literal translation, as it still holds true.

 

I hope this helps!

   -   Mitchell

CalliW

CalliW

Mitchell-

Thank you for the prompt reply. All that really helps, just one follow up question:

When you wrote ‘tu - present tense conjugation - final ‘s’ (va, mange, porte)’ did you intend it to write ‘minus’ instead of ‘final’?

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