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Visiting Town

Let's take the train into the city. Practice some of the expressions you already know, such as "What time does the train leave?" from lesson 6.

Let's have a little role play where a mother and her daughter Madeleine are taking a trip into the city.

Madeline: "Est'ce que nous sommes encore (on core)loin de la ville (veel)?"
("Are we still far from the city?")

La mere (Mother):"Encore une demi-heure." (Still another half hour.) "Nous ne restons en ville que quatre heures." (We are only staying in town for four hours.)

Madeleine: "Nous avons le temps pour acheter mes chaussures, n'est-ce pas?" (We'll have time to buy my shoes, won't we?)

La mere: "Oui, nous prenons (pray known) un taxi au bureau (boor oh) de l'avocat (lah vo kah) et puis, nous mangeons chez une restaurant. Lorsqu'il fait beau, nous pouvons aller a Restaurant Terrasse (tear ahs)." Yes, we take a taxi to the office of the lawyer and then, we'll eat at a restaurant. Since the weather is nice, we'll eat at the Terrace Restaurant.

Madeleine: "Mes chaussures?" (My shoes?)

La mere: "Le magasin Printemps (prahn tom) est tout pres de la Restaurant Terrasse. Nous avons le temps pour une promenade." (The department store Printemps is right next to the Terrace Restaurant. We have time to take a stroll.)

La mere: "Trouvons la station (stah syon) de taxi. Elle est devant la gare, je croix."
Ah, la voila! Taxi!" Let's find the taxi stand. It is in front of the train station, I believe. Ah, there it is! Taxi!

Chauffeur de taxi: "Bonjour. Vous allez ou?" (Hello, where are you going?)

La mere: "7, rue Marbeuf. Ca prends combien (comb bee en) de temps?" (7 Marbeuf Street. How long will it take?)

Chauffeur de taxi: "Ca depend (day pon). A cette heure, il y a des embouteillages (ohm boo tay yage)." (It depends. At this hour, there are traffic jams.)

La mere: "Il nous faut arriver avant dix heures." (We have to arrive before ten o'clock.)

Chauffeur de taxi: "Pas de probleme, Madame." (No problem, M'am.)

Let's talk about some of the things we learned in this exercise. We see our old friends "Est-ce que", "Il y a" and "Il faut". You see how frequently they pop in conversation, and how handy they are.

We come across a negative when the mother says "We are only staying in town for four hours." The negative is formed by "ne" before the verb and some qualifier after the verb. Most of the time you will see "ne.pas" which is simply negating something:

Je vais/ Je ne vais pas
Tu manges/Tu ne manges pas
Elle danse/Elle ne danse pas

But "ne" is also used to indicate lesser negations. In our story, the mother says "Nous ne restons que." Using "ne.que" means only.

"Je ne mange que legumes (lay gume)." I only eat vegetables.
"Nous n'achetons que cette marque (mark)" We only buy this brand.

"Ne" is also used to denote never (with jamais) and not very much (with guere):

"Il ne danse jamais (jah may)." He never dances.
"Ils ne vont jamais a l'ecole (lay cul)." They never go to school.
"Je ne le vois guere." I hardly ever see him.
"Il n'a guere d'argent (are john)" He has little money.

Another negative we see in this lesson is simply "pas". Normally "pas" forms the second part of "not", but it can be used by itself as we did here: "Pas de probleme." You will frequently hear "pas de tout"-not at all as a response to "merci" -thank you- or "pas question" -there's no question (of it). Little expressions like these help you sound very knowledgeable in French.

  1. Are we still far from the city? Est'ce que ____ ______ encore loin de la ville?
  2. We are only staying in town for four hours. Nous ne restons en ville ___ quatre heures.
  3. We are not staying in town. Nous ne restons ___ en ville.
  4. We hardly stay in town. Nous ne restons _____ en ville.
  5. We never stay in town. Nous ne restons ______ en ville.
  6. The department store is right next to the restaurant: Le magasin est ____ ____ de la restaurant.
  7. We have time to take a stroll: Nous avons le temps pour une _________.
    You have time to take a stroll (formal): ____ ____ le temps pour une promenade.
    He has time to take a stroll: Il a __ ____ pour une promenade.
  8. Let's find the taxi stand. _______ la station de taxi.
  9. Find (formal or plural) a taxi stand. _______ un station de taxi.
  10. No problem: ___ __ probleme. Not at all: ___ __ tout. No question: ___ question.


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