Basics 1 is the first skill in the French language tree. It consists of four lessons. In this skill, you learn how to construct basic sentences in French using singular nouns, adjectives, and verbs.

Tips and NotesEdit

Articles and GenderEdit

French nouns are separated into two groups: masculine and feminine. Masculine nouns are accompanied by masculine modifiers (articles, adjectives, etc.). Feminine nouns are accompanied by feminine modifiers. In general, words that refer to males are masculine while words that refer to females are feminine.

This lesson asks us to change the indefinite and definite articles depending on the gender of our three vocabulary words:

  • un garçon, le garçon
  • une fille, la fille
  • une femme, la femme

L' and the silent hEdit

This lesson demonstrates two pronunciation/orthography issues in French.

  1. homme is written with a silent h
  2. le + homme = l'homme

Whenever a word begins with a vowel sound, the singular definite article (le/la) loses its vowel and joins the word.

Noun phrasesEdit

This lesson shows the usual word order of articles, adjectives, and nouns within a noun phrase.

  • un garçon riche
  • une pomme rouge

The article (determiner) comes first and adjectives (modifiers) usually come after the noun. We will see later that certain adjectives are often placed before the noun. Note, riche and rouge are used with both masculine and feminine nouns. We will see later (in Adjectives 1) that adjectives usually change to agree in gender.

Conjugation: être (present, indicative, singular)Edit

In English, the verb "to be" has different forms:

  • I am
  • you are
  • he is, she is

Verbs in French have different forms as well. In this lesson we see some of the forms for the verb être.

  • je suis
  • tu es
  • il est, elle est


The word enfant means "child" and can refer to either a boy or a girl.

  • un enfant (a child in general)
  • un enfant (a male child)
  • une enfant (a female child)

Remember, le and la both become l' before words which start with vowel sounds.

  • l'enfant

Tense Usage: PresentEdit

The present tense is used to describe

  • habitual actions: I eat an apple every Friday.
  • current actions: I am eating an apple right now.
  • historical present narration: First, I eat an apple, then I tell John, "Listen. This is important."

Both the simple (I eat) and progressive (I am eating) aspects are covered in French by the same form (je mange). If you really want to emphasize the progressive aspect of an action in French, you can use the construction être en train de, as in "Je suis en train de manger maintenant."

Sentence Pattern: Intransitive and Transitive VerbsEdit

The verb manger is an example of an intransitive verb. It only requires someone to do the action, like I, you, he, the man, etc.

  • Je mange. (I eat. I am eating.)
  • Tu manges.
  • Il mange.

The verb manger is also a transitive verb. A transitive verb not only requires a subject, but also an object.

  • Je mange une pomme

Here the subject is je and the object is une pomme.

Pronunciation: es, est, etEdit

French has a lot of words that are pronounced the same. You will have to depend on context to understand which word was said. This unit introduced es, est, and et, all of which are pronounced like "eh".

  • Tu es une fille.
  • Il est un garçon.
  • Le garçon et la fille.

Important verb: avoirEdit

The two most common verbs in French are être (to be) and avoir (to have). In this lesson we see avoir being used to indicate possession

  • Elle a un chat.
  • Il a une fille.

And for those of you who can't wait, here is the conjugation for singular subjects.

  • j'ai
  • tu as
  • il/elle a


Lesson 1Edit

  • la = the (feminine)
  • la fille = girl
  • le = the (masculine)
  • le garçon = boy
  • je = I
  • suis = am
  • un = a/an (masculine)
  • la femme = woman
  • une = a/an (feminine)

Lesson 2Edit

  • l' = the (contracted form of le/la)
  • l'homme = man (m.)
  • est = is
  • la pomme = apple
  • rouge = red
  • riche = rich
  • tu = you
  • es (2nd informal sing. pers.) = are

Lesson 3Edit

  • l'enfant = child (m. or f.)
  • mange (1st sing. pers.) = eat
  • mange (3rd sing. pers.) = eats
  • manges (2nd informal sing. pers.) = eat
  • l'orange = orange (f.)
  • il = he

Lesson 4Edit

  • elle = she
  • calme = calm
  • le chat = cat
  • noir = black
  • la robe = dress
  • a (3rd sing. pers.) = has
  • et = and