French › Level two lessons › Everyday life · Le quotidien

Dialogue edit

Culture · Daily life in France edit

Grammar · Pronominal verbs edit

Pronominal verbs are verbs that include pronouns. These pronouns are me, te, se, nous, and vous and are used as either direct objects or indirect objects, depending on the verb that they modify. There are three types of pronominal verbs: reflexive verbs, reciprocal verbs, and naturally pronominal verbs.

Reflexive verbs edit

Reflexive verbs reflect the action on the subject.

Je me lave. - I wash myself.
Nous nous lavons. - We wash ourselves.
Ils se lavent. - They wash themselves.

Reflexive verbs can also be used as infinitives.

Je vais me laver. - I'm going to wash myself.
Je ne vais pas me laver. - I'm not going to wash myself.

Reciprocal verbs edit

With reciprocal verbs, people perform actions to each other.

Nous nous aimons. - We like each other.

Naturally pronominal verbs edit

Some verbs are pronominal without performing a reflexive or reciprocal action.

Tu te souviens ? - You remember?

Examples edit

Vocabulary · Waking up and getting yourself ready edit

se lever   /lǝ.ve/ (luh-vay) to get up conjugated like acheter Je me lève, je me lave. I get up, I wash.
se laver   / (lah-vay) to wash (oneself) Elle s'est lavé les mains. She washed her hands
se raser   /ʀa.ze/ (rah-zay) to shave Il se rase le matin. He shaves in the morning.
se doucher   /du.ʃe/ (doo-shay) to take a shower Elle va se doucher plus tard. She is going to take a shower later.
se baigner   /be.ɲe/ (bay-nyay) to bathe (oneself)
se brosser les cheveux/les dents to brush one's hair/teeth Il faut se brosser les dents chaque matin. One must brush one's teeth every morning.
le brosse
la brosse à dents
la brosse à cheveux
  /bʁɔs/ (brohs)

Elle adore sa brosse à dents rouge. She adores her red toothbrush.
se peigner les cheveux   /pe.ɲe/ (pay-gnay) to comb one's hair
le peigne   /pɛ.ɲ/ (peh-gn) comb
s'habiller   / (sah-bee-yuhay) to get dressed, to dress (oneself) Il s'habille très vite. He gets dressed quickly.

If the subject is performing the action on him or herself, the verbs are reflexive. However, if the subject were to act on someone else, the verb is no longer reflexive; instead the reflexive pronoun becomes a direct object.

Je m'habille - I get (myself) dressed.
Je t'habille - I get you dressed.

In the passé composé, the verbs use être and the participle must agree in gender and number with the subject.

Pierre s'est habillé.
Alice s'est habillée.
Georges et Martin se sont habillés.
Lisette et Rose se sont habillées.
Marc et Claire se sont habillés.
Je m'appelle Lucie, et je me suis levée à six heures.
Jean et Paul, vous vous êtes levés assez tard.

Grammar · Devoir, Falloir, and avoir besoin de edit

To have need of · avoir besoin de edit

The word le besoin /bǝ.zwɛ̃/ (buh-zwa(n)) means need, and thus the expression avoir besoin de translates to to have need of.

To have to · Devoir edit

devoir   /dǝ.vwaʁ/ (duh-vwahr) to have to
je dois /dwa/ (dwah) I have to
tu dois /dwa/ (dwah) you have to
il doit /dwa/ (dwah) he has to
nous devons /dǝ.vɔ̃/ (duh-voh(n)) we have to
vous devez /dǝ.ve/ (duh-vay) you have to
ils doivent /dwav/ (dwahv) they have to
/dy/ (dew) had to

The past participle drops the circumflex accent in its other forms: feminine singular due; masculine plural dus; feminine plural dues.

Used as a noun, le devoir means duty or exercise.

To be necessary · Falloir edit

falloir   /fa.lwaʁ/ (fah-lwahr) to be necessary
il faut   /fɔ/ (foh) it is necessary
il a fallu   / (fah-lew) it was necessary

Comparison edit

The verb falloir differs from similar verbs such as avoir besoin de [faire quelque chose] (to need [to do something]) and devoirmust, duty, owe . Falloir is always used with the impersonal il only in the third person singular, whereas devoir can be used with all subject pronouns in all tenses.

Falloir expresses general necessities:

To live, one must eat.
To speak French well, one must conjugate verbs correctly.

Devoir expresses more personally what someone must do:

I want to pass my French test, so I must study verb conjugations.

Avoir besoin de [faire quelque chose] expresses need:

J'ai besoin d'étudier pour mon examen, il est demain. - I need to study for my test, it's tomorrow.

Examples edit

Il doit aller en France un jour. He must go to France one day.
L’officier doit veiller aux besoins du soldat. The officer must ensure the needs of the soldier.
Vous devez passer un examen médical. You need to take a medical examination.
Il faut faire venir le plombier pour réparer cette conduite d’eau. One must have the plumber come to repair the water line.

Supplementary grammar · To sleep · Dormir edit

Dormir, meaning to sleep, is an irregular French verb.

dormir   /dɔʁ.miʁ/ (dohr-meer) to sleep
je dors /dɔʁ/ (dohr) I sleep
tu dors /dɔʁ/ (dohr) you sleep
il dort /dɔʁ/ (dohr) he sleeps
nous dormons /dɔʁ.mɔ̃/ (dohr-moh(n)) we sleep
vous dormez /dɔʁ.me/ (dohr-may) you sleep
ils dorment /dɔʁm/ (dohrm) they sleep
dormi /dɔʁ.mi/ (dohr-mee) sleep

The verb endormir /ɑ̃.dɔʁ.miʁ/ (ah(n)-dohr-meer), meaning to put to sleep, and its reflexive form s'endormirto fall asleep are conjugated in the same way as dormir. The noun le dortoir /dɔʀ.twaʀ/ (dohr-twahr), meaning dormitory, is derived from dormir.

Examples edit

Endormez cet enfant. Put this child to sleep.
Je me suis endormi vers les trois heures. I was asleep about three hours.

Text edit

Exercises edit