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French Grammar - Putting It All Together

At this point, you should be able to find your way around in a French speaking country. You just have to plug together all of the things you have learned. Review each of the following and perhaps take the time to put them on a card so you can carry them around to memorize them. (If you are going on a trip in a short while, and will not have time to memorize the basics, you can just carry all of the information and refer to it when you need to. Remember that French-speaking people, in fact anyone, appreciates the fact that you are taking the trouble to learn and speak their language.)

For your overall enjoyment in a new country, read Lesson 28 "How Not to Be a Tourist".

Basic sentence structure - Lesson 2
Various verb forms - Lesson 3
Greetings - Lessons 4 and 5
Asking people their names - Lesson 6
Finding Directions - Lesson 6
Days and Months - Lesson 7
Numbers - Lesson 7
Telling time - Lesson 8
Review Pronunciation - Lesson 16
The alphabet - Lesson 26
Learn "aller" to form the future - Lesson 38
Some important expressions - Lesson 41
Forming sentences - Lesson 44
Review verbs - Lesson 47
Handling Emergencies - Lesson 49

The other lessons have important information that will help you in specific situations, and will round out your knowledge of the French language. Pay special attention to idioms that will make your sentences flow. Just as in English, they are frequently used to give a pause to the spoken language and allow for thoughts to form. "Eh bien, Alors, Enfin" all give us a little breather and allow us to think of the next thing to say.

Start simply. Practice very simple sentences with a subject, verb and noun. Your early sentences should be in the present tense. Then practice with the past tense and the future (using aller) tense. Start to form questions after you have mastered sentences. Then add the negative to your sentences, and put it all together.

When you learn a new verb, practice it in each form: present, past and future (using aller).
Then use that new verb in various forms of questions, in each person.
Next, practice it as a negative.
Finally, you will feel you have mastered a verb if you can use it in each person, each tense, negative and in a question!

Before you travel, learn the French names of all of your traveling companions and their relation to you. Learn how to introduce them to others. Look up the names of your favorite foods, and how you like them prepared. If you have a specific sport you enjoy and plan on engaging in on your vacation, learn the terminology related to it. Once you know basic sentences and structures, you only have to plug in the terms. Before you leave, or as soon as you arrive, memorize the name of any place you are staying and the address and telephone number. Make sure you can say the numbers in French. Emergency operators abroad typically do not know English, so you need to be able to give them telephone numbers, addresses, etc. in French. If you have any special conditions, make sure you know how to say it in French. (Lesson 49.)

Above all, relax, try your best, don't be afraid of making a mistake and keep a sense of humor!


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