French › Level two lessons › Shopping · Faire des courses

Grammar · Object pronouns edit

Direct objects edit

While the subject of a sentence initiates an action (the verb), the direct object is the one that is affected by the action. A direct object pronoun is used to refer to the direct object of a previous sentence:

Pierre voit le cambrioleur. Pierre sees the burglar.
Pierre le voit. Pierre sees him.

The following table shows the various types of direct object pronouns:

French me, m' te, t' le, l' la, l' nous vous les
English me1 you1 him, it her, it us1 you1 them


  • 1 me, te, nous, and vous are also used as indirect objects to mean to me, to you, to us, and to you respectively.
  • The pronoun form with an apostrophe is used before a vowel.
  • The direct object pronoun for nous and vous is the same as the subject.
  • When the direct object comes before a verb in a perfect tense, a tense that uses a past participle, the direct object must agree in gender and number with the past participle. For example, in the phrase Je les ai eus, or I had them, the past participle would be spelled eus if the direct object, les, was referring to a masculine object, and eues if les is referring to a feminine object.

Indirect objects edit

An indirect object is an object that would be asked for with To whom...? or From whom...?. It is called indirect because it occurs usually together with a direct object which is affected directly by the action:

Il donne du pain à Pierre. He gives some bread to Pierre.
Il lui donne du pain. He gives bread to him.

The following table shows the various types of indirect object pronouns:

French me, m' te, t' lui nous vous leur
English to me1 to you1 to him, to her to us1 to you1 to them


  • 1 me, te, nous, and vous are also used as direct objects to mean me, you, us, and you respectively.
  • The pronoun form with an apostrophe is used before a vowel.
  • The indirect object pronoun for nous and vous is the same as the subject.
  • The indirect object pronouns do not agree with the past participle like the direct object pronouns do. When me, te, nous, and vous are used in a perfect tense, the writer must decide whether they are used as direct or indirect object pronouns. This is done by looking at the verb and seeing what type of action is being performed.

The bread is given by the man (direct). Pierre gets the given bread (indirect).

Dialogue · At the bakery · À la boulangerie edit

Bernard (le boulanger) Bonjour madame.
good morning miss.
Camille (la cliente) Bonjour monsieur.
good morning sir.
Bernard (le boulanger) Que voulez-vous ? or Que désirez-vous ?
What would you like?
Camille (la cliente) Je voudrais acheter une baguette, s'il vous plaît.
I would like to buy a baguette, please.
Bernard (le boulanger) C'est tout ? or Est-ce que c'est tout ?
(Is) that all?
Camille (la cliente) Non, je voudrais deux croissants aussi.
No, I would like two croissants also.
Bernard (le boulanger) Très bien - ça fait deux euros, s'il vous plaît.
Very well - that makes two euros, please.
Camille (la cliente) Merci beaucoup.
Thanks a lot.

Vocabulary edit

Que voulez-vous ?, Que désirez-vous ? What would you like?
Je voudrais… I would like…
C'est tout ? or Est-ce que c'est tout ? (Is) that all?
Ça fait deux euros. That will be two euros.
acheter to buy

Example :

  • Vendeur : Bonjour madame. Est-ce que je peux vous aider ?
  • Cliente : Oui, je voudrais un sac.
  • Vendeur : De quelle couleur svp ?
  • Cliente : Je voudrais le sac bleu.
  • Vendeur : Bien. Regardez celui-ci, il est beau.
  • Cliente : Oui j'adore merci.

Vocabulary · Going shopping edit

faire des courses
faire du shopping
to go shopping Elle va aller faire des courses. She's going to go shopping.
faire le marché to go grocery shopping Je vais faire le marché. I'm going to go grocery shopping.
faire du lèche-vitrine to go window shopping Laurent fait du lèche-vitrine. Marc does window shopping.
porter   Fr-porter.ogg to wear, to carry Il va porter mes courses.
Il porte son manteau.
He's going to carry my groceries.
He wears his jacket.
demander   /dǝ.mɑ̃.de/ to ask (for) Il me demande de l'aider. He asks me to help him.
demander le prix to ask for the price Il demande au vendeur le prix. He's asking the seller for the price.
payer   / to pay Je vais payer mes courses. I'm going to pay my groceries.
vendre   /vɑ̃dʁ(ə)/ to sell Je vais vendre ces vieux jouets. I'm going to sell those old toys.
acheter   /aʃte/ to buy Je vais acheter cette bague. I'm going to buy this ring.
acheté   /aʃəte/ have bought Je l'ai acheté, c'est à moi. I've bought it, it's mine.
Buying goods
le(la) vendeur(euse)   Fr-vendeur.ogg
salesperson Je vais demander au vendeur. I'm going to ask the selesperson.
(plus/moins) cher(ère)   /ʃɛʁ/ (more/less) expensive C'est cher. It's expensive.
la vitrine   /vit.ʁin/ display window La vitrine est claire. The display window is clear.
le prix   /pʁi/ price Quel en est le prix ? What is it's price?
la caisse   /kɛs/ cash register
checkout counter
Je vais passer a la caisse. I'm going to go to the checkout counter.
coûter   /ku.te/ to cost Ça va me coûter très cher. It's going to cost me a lot.
C’est combien ?
Combien ça coûte ?
How much is it? lit: It's how much?
lit:How much it/that costs?
Combien coute cette bague ? How much is this ring?
Combien coûte [nom] ? How much does [noun] cost? lit: How much costs [noun]? Combien coute cette vitrine ? How much does this display window cost?

Grammar · -e…er verbs edit

-e…er are regular -er verbs, but also are stem changing. The stem change applies to all forms except nous and vous. The stem change involves adding a grave accent ( ` ) over the e in the stem.

Formation edit

acheter   /aʃte/ ahsh-tay to buy
j'achète /a.ʃɛt/ (ah-sheht) I buy
tu achètes /a.ʃɛt/ (ah-sheht) you buy
il achète /a.ʃɛt/ (ah-sheht) he buys
nous achetons /a.ʃ(.ə)tɔ̃/ (ahsh-toh(n)) we buy
vous achetez /a.ʃ(.ə)te/ (ahsh-tay) you buy
ils achètent /a.ʃɛt/ (ah-sheht) they buy
acheté /aʃ(.ə).te/ ah-shuh-tay, Fr-acheter.ogg bought

Supplementary vocabulary · Other -e…er verbs edit

peser   /pǝ.ze/ to weigh Je pèse 80 kilos. I weigh 80 kilos.
mener   [[:Media:Fr-mener.ogg|]] to lead, to take charge Le bus va nous mener au château. The bus will lead us to the castle.
emmener   /ɑ̃məne/ to take off, take away or out
amener   /am(ə)ne/ to bring (a person) Elle m'a amené en voiture à la gare. She gave me a lift to the station.
ramener   /ʁamne/ to take back, bring back, restore
lever   [[:Media:Fr-lever.ogg|]] to raise, to lift
soulever   /sul(ə)ve/ to raise

Supplementary examples edit

Il faut peser les abricots. You must weigh the apricots.
Louis va mener ce cours. Louis will lead this lesson.
L'équipe bleue mène 2 à 0. The blue team is leading 2-0.

Dialogue · At the market · Au marché edit

Marie (la cliente) Bonjour monsieur.
good morning sir.
Clément (le marchand) Bonjour madame.
good morning
File:Bellu une beast 2
Marie (la cliente) Qu'est-ce que vous avez à vendre ?
What do you have to sell?
Clément (le marchand) J'ai un grand choix de fruits et légumes.
I have a large range of fruits and vegetables.
Marie (la cliente) Très bien. Est-ce que vous avez des cerises ?
Very well. Do you have cherries?
Clément (le marchand) Oui… elles coûtent deux euros le kilo.
Yes… they cost two euros per kilo.
Marie (la cliente) Bon, je voudrais trois kilos, s'il vous plaît.
Good, I would like three kilos, please.
Clément (le marchand) Très bien, madame. Alors, pour trois kilos il faut payer six euros, s'il vous plaît.
Very well, miss. Then, for three kilos you need to pay six euros, please.

Vocabulary edit

Qu'est-ce que vous avez... ? What do you have?
Un grand choix A large range
Des cerises Some cherries
Elles coûtent deux euros le kilo They (feminine) cost two euros per kilo
Il faut It is necessary to, one must, you need to
vendre   /vɑ̃dʁ(ə)/ to sell
payer   / to pay

Vocabulary · Stores · Les magasins edit

le magasin   /ma.ɡa.zɛ̃/ shop, store
le centre commercial mall, shopping centre
le grand magasin department store
le rayon   /ʁɛ.jɔ̃/ department
la boutique   /butik/ small store
la pharmacie   /faʁ pharmacy, chemist
le marché   /maʁ.ʃe/ outdoor market
Foods stores
le supermarché supermarket
l'hypermarché (m) hypermarket, big supermarket
la boucherie   Fr-boucherie.ogg butcher shop 1
la boulangerie
le dépôt de pain
  /bu.lɑ̃ʒ.ʁi/ bakery
a place that sells bread 2
la charcuterie   /ʃaʁkytəˈʁi/ delicatessen3
la crémerie dairy store
la pâtisserie   Fr-pâtisserie.ogg pastry shop, pâtisserie
la poissonnerie   /pwa.sɔn.ʁi/ seafood store, fishmonger
l'épicerie (f) grocery4
  1. French butchers do not sell pork, pork products, nor horsemeat. For these products, go to a charcuterie. However, a lot of boucheries are also charcuteries, and are called boucherie-charcuterie
  2. In France, bakeries only sell fresh bread; e.g. the bread is baked on site. Places where they sell bread that is not fresh are called dépôt de pain.
  3. 'Charcuteries' sell things besides pork products, including pâté, salami, cold meats, salads, quiches and pizzas.
  4. An alternative to an 'épicerie' is an alimentation générale (a general foodstore).

Grammar · -yer verbs edit

-yer verbs are irregular -er verbs. When y is part of the last syllable, it changes to i in order to keep the ay sound. In the present indicative of -yer verbs, this affects all forms except nous and vous. Some -yer verbs, such as payer, may optionally retain the y.

Formation edit

In the present indicative, payerto pay is conjugated as follows:

payer   / to pay
je paye (ou paie)   /pɛj/ I pay
tu payes (ou paies) /pɛj/ you pay
il paye (ou paie)   /pɛj/ he pays
nous payons /pe.jɔ̃/ we pay
vous payez / you pay
ils payent (ou paient) /pɛj/ they pay
payé / paid

Supplementary vocabulary · Other -yer verbs edit

appuyer   /a.pɥ to press, to push, to rest (on)
employer   [[:Media:Fr-employer.ogg|]] to employ
ennuyer   Fr-ennuyer.ogg to bore
essayer de   / to try J'ai essayé d'apprendre les mots. I tried to learn the words.
essuyer   [esɥi'je] to wipe
nettoyer   / to clean
noyer   Fr-noyer.ogg to drown, to water down J'ai noyé mon chien dans le fleuve. I drowned my dog in the river.
tutoyer   / to address using tu

Supplementary examples edit

Il va me payer 3 euros. He is going to pay me 3 euros.
Payez la cassière. Pay the cashier.
J'ai payé une amende. I paid a fine.
Il faut noyer le vin avec de l'eau. You must water down the wine.

Grammar · Irregular past participles edit

Many of the verbs you have learned so far have irregular past participles.

  • avoir: euhad /y/
  • croire: crubelieved /kʁy/
  • être: étébeen /e.te/
  • faire: faitdone /fɛ/
  • prendre: pristaken /pʁi/
  • voir: vuseen /vy/

Examples edit

J’ai vu ce film. I’ve seen this film.
Il a été blessé dans l'accident. He was injured in the accident.
Elle a fait du shopping ce matin. She went shopping this morning.
Ils ont pris une photo de la maison. They have taken a photo of the house.

Supplementary vocabulary · Clothing · Les vêtements edit

les vêtements habillés (dress clothes)
la chemise   /ʃǝ.miz/ button down shirt
la cravate   /kʁa.vat/ tie
le pantalon   /pɑ̃.ta.lɔ̃/ pants
le costume
le complet
le manteau   /mɑ̃to/ coat
le tailleur   /ta.jœʁ/ woman's suit
la robe   /ʁɔb/ dress
le chemisier blouse
la jupe   /ʒyp/ skirt
les vêtements sport (casual clothes)
la casquette   /kas.kɛt/ cap
le tee-shirt   Fr-tee-shirt.ogg t-shirt
le pull(-over)   /pyl/ a pullover, a sweater Il fait froid; je vais mettre mon pull. It's cold; I'm going to wear my sweater.
le sweat-shirt   Fr-sweat-shirt.ogg sweatshirt
le blouson   Fr-blouson.ogg jacket
le jean jeans
les chaussettes
les bas
les bas-culottes
les bas-culottes diaphanes

sheer pantyhose
les chaussures
les chaussures   /ʃɔ.syʁ/ shoes
la paire de chaussures pair of shoes
les baskets   /bas.kɛt/ basketball shoes, trainers
les sandales   /sɑ̃dal/ sandals

Text edit

Exercises edit