5 Common French Grammar Rules I Wish I knew Earlier

5 Common French Grammar Rules

 French is awesome! Don’t we all wish to learn French when we visit Paris?  But let me be loud and clear, learning French is not a piece of cake. To become fluent in the language, you need to know the French grammar rules like the back of your hand. Keeping these basic grammar rules in mind will guide you to becoming a crackajack in no time. So just take a deep breath and start your journey to learn this very beautiful and ancient language today.

   The French language is derived from Latin and has evolved over the years. It is the official language of twenty-nine countries. It is one of the most studied and spoken languages in the world. To become fluent in the language, you need to pay attention to French grammar rules. They are a  little complicated and can often discourage young learners, but don’t sweat it. With the correct knowledge and support, no battle can’t be won. 

    5 tips to make French Easy as pie


    Don’t sweat it. Regardless of your background, you can become a pro if you just pay attention to these basic French grammar rules, and that’s it. So your job is done.


1. Nouns have a gender and an article attached.


When you first start learning French, you must know that every noun in French has a gender. That means it can be either masculine or feminine.


         For example, un mois (“a month”) is masculine. 

                           une semaine (“a week”) = féminine.

Some word endings follow a pattern to let you know they are masculine or feminine, but it will be best if you can memorize the gender. 


According to the classroom rules in French, every noun has an article attached and can’t be used without it.

For example,

      un chien (“a dog”) or le chien (“the dog”), 

          but never chien.

2. Adjectives


Just like in English, adjectives in French grammar rules also describe a noun. In most cases, the adjective is placed after the noun that it is describing. 

  For example, ”  Un mur épais” (“A thick wall”).

                          Des assiettes sales (“dirty plates”)

                         Une voix douce (“A soft voice”)

   However, sometimes the common adjectives come before the noun.

       for example, “Un bon film (“A good movie”)

                             Un nouveau livre (“A new book”)

                             Une petite fille (“A little girl”)


  According to French grammar rules, adjectives must agree in gender with the nouns that they are describing. Adjectives have different masculine and feminine forms.

  For example, Une fille intelligente (“A smart girl”)

                       Un garçon intelligent (“A smart boy”)

 Some adjectives are invariable. 

 for example, Une voiture rapide (“A fast car”).

                     Un train rapide (“A fast train”).


Note: Adjectives ending with -s or -x are invariable.

3. Negation in French


    Let me get straight to the point. Whenever you form a negative sentence in French, you need to use “ne” and “pas.” According to the classroom rules, you should place one before the verb and the other just after it.

  For example, Je mange. (“I eat.”)

                        Je ne mange pas. (“I don’t eat.”)

                       Je ne mange rien. (“I don’t eat anything.”)

                      Je ne mange jamais. (“I never eat.”

                      Je ne mange aucune viande. (“I don’t eat any meat.”)

    It follows the same pattern as any verb.

           For example, Nous ne parlons jamais. (“We never talk.”)

                          Tu ne sais rien, Jon Snow. (“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”)


 Note: When the verb starts with a vowel, the -ne shortens to -n

    for example, “Tu n’aimes pas. (“You don’t like.”)

                        Je n’ai rien à dire. (“I have nothing to say.”)


    You can form a sentence using more than one negative word or simply by starting the sentence with a negative word.


 For example, 

 Je ne dirai jamais rien à personne. (“I will never tell anything to anyone.”)

 Rien n’arrive sans raison. (“Nothing happens without a reason.”)

4. Conjugation Problems


       Conjugation according to French grammar rules is much more detailed than that in English. There are more tenses you need to look out for. Firstly, pay attention to the fact that the verb depends on the person.

 For example, “Je marche” (“I walk”).

                        Nous marchons (“We walk”)

    Simple tenses conjugate when we change the verb ending, while compound tenses add an auxiliary to the verb.

   for example, Nous marchons (“We walk”).

                        Nous avons marché (“We have walked”)

 At first sight, the list of seventeen tenses of the French grammar rule may look very challenging, but let me make it clear you only need 5 or 6 of them in your daily conversations.

Note: Classroom rules in French say that there is no present perfect tense, so if we want to say that “ I’ve been learning French for three years,” it will be 

  For example, “J’apprends le français depuis trois ans.”  (I learn French for three years.”

5. Verbs

Verbs can be the most intricate part if you look at the French grammar rules. Just like in English, a verb in a sentence shows what the subject is doing. The following are the most common and irregular verbs.

     1.être (“to be”)

     2 avoir (“to have”)

     3 faire (“to do”)

Regular verb: Marcher (“To walk”) here March = stem 

1st (I) =   stem + -e,    i.e.,             Je marche

 2nd (you) = stem + es  i.e             Tu marches

  3.rd (she) = stem + e  i . -e            Elle marche

  1. 1st pl (we) = stem + ons i.e      Nous marchons
  2. 2nd pl (you) = stem + -ez i.e     Vous marchez
  3. 3rd pl (they) = stem + -ent i.e     Ils marchent

If you follow the simple pattern of French grammar rules, then you can easily conjugate French verbs.


For example, Parler (“To talk”)
Je parle, Tu parles, Elle parle, Nous parlons, Vous parlez, Elles parlent.

Now that you are well aware of the basics, let’s have a look at two very crucial verbs that don’t follow the above French grammar rules.


1Être (“To be”)

2 Avoir (“To have”) 

   These two are used not only by themselves but also with the auxiliary compound tenses that were mentioned earlier.

  For example, “je suis heureux.” (“I’m happy.”)

                        Nous avons un chat. (“We have a cat.”)

In auxiliary to form compound verb tenses as

  Tu es allé au cinéma. (“You have gone to the movie theater.”)

We have just started to scratch the surface, and there are lots more beneath. 


      All the above-mentioned rules will help you make French grammar handy, but as it is rightly said, nothing good comes without hard work. To be proficient in the French language, you need to practice it consistently and regularly. Feel free to make mistakes, as they can help you analyze your weak points and make you comfortable with the French grammar rules. 

     Reading French books can be of great help if you are struggling at any stage of learning the language. So if you are passionate about the French language, these French grammar rules can be of great support.


Do you want to prepare for your official French exam?

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