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Online French Lessons - Getting Around

To go to his neighborhood cafe, Robert only has to walk to the corner of his street. If you ask Robert where the cafe is, he would tell you "au coin (kuh wahn) de la rue(roo)". Let's practice getting directions so we can get around easily.

If you need to find the post office, you could approach someone and ask him. We know how to say "where is", but let's add a little politeness to it now:

Excusez-moi, ou est la poste(pust), s'il vous plait? (seal voo play)"
Excuse me, where is the post office, please?

"C'est a rue duChamps, au milieu(mee yuh) de la rue".
It's on duChamps Street, in the middle of the street.

"Excusez-moi, ou est la mairie (mary) s'il vous plait?"
Excuse me, where is the town hall, please?

"C'est sur l'autre (loh truh) cote (ko tay) de la rue, juste en face (joost on fahs)."
It's on the other side of the street, right opposite.

"Excusez-moi, ou est la Gare St. Lazare, (gar san la zar) s'il vous plait?"
Excuse me, where is the St. Lazare train station, please?

"Il faut (fow) prendre (prahn drah) le metro (met tro). C'est au coin de la rue. Prenez-le (pren nay luh) jusqu'a (jus ka) l'arret (lar rette) Gare St. Lazare."
You have to take the metro. It's on the corner. Take it to the Gare St. Lazare stop.

Here we come across another handy idiom, "il faut". It means "it is necessary" or "you must", and makes things a little easier for us, since we do not have to change it to agree with each person we are talking about. "Il faut brosser les dents chaque (shock) jour" means "you must (or one must) brush your (one's) teeth every day. You can use this to describe all of the things in life one must do. Here are some examples:

"Il me faut me lever tot (tow) chaque matin (ma tahn)."
I have to get up early every day.

"Il faut acheter (ahsh tay) du pain aujourd'hui."
You have to buy bread today.

Il faut aller tout droit (too droi), et tourner a gauche (tour nay ah goche)."
You have to go straight ahead, and turn to the left.

Some more directions for getting around:

"Est-ce que l'avenue des Champs-Elysees (shahm zay lee zay) est loin (loo ahn) d'ici (dee see)?"
Is the avenue Champs- Elysees far from here?"

"Non, nous sommes tout pres (pray) des Champs-Elysees."
No, were are right near the Champs-Elysees.

Which, of course brings us to another important French usage, "Est-ce que c'est?". If you remember "Qu'est ce que c'est?", from lesson 6, it will help to understand this very common expression. You may want to go back and review. "Est-ce que c'est?" simply means "Is it" and can be used to make any sentence into a question. "C'est difficile (diffy seal)" (It's difficult) becomes "Est-ce que c'est difficile?" (Is it difficult?") Try it on some simple expressions that you already know: It is Henry. Is it Henry? It is her husband. Is it her husband? It is on the corner of the street. Is it on the corner of the street? * Don't check yourself unless you must.

What Did We Learn?

  1. Where is the Post Office?_________________________________
  2. The Post Office is on the corner of the street._____________________________
  3. Where is the Town Hall, please?_______________________________________
  4. The train station is on the other side of the street.________________________
  5. Where are the restrooms?___________________________________________
  6. You have to turn at the corner.________________________________________
  7. Is this an apple?___________________________________________________
  8. Is this difficult?____________________________________________________
  9. It's easy (facile).___________________________________________________
  10. I have to go home (chez moi).________________________________________

*C'est Henri. Est-ce que c'est Henri?
C'est son mari. Est-ce que c'est son mari?
C'est au coin de la rue. Est-ce que c'est au coin de la rue?

 

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