French is one of the world's most popular languages as it is spoken by hundreds of millions of people. It is an official language in 29 countries, and French is spoken by many citizens in France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. In Europe, more people speak French than any language other than English. Many people also communicate in French in the United Kingdom and the United States. The influence of the French language is strongest in these respective countries near France and Quebec. It is also spoken by many in Louisiana.
Similarities between English and French Grammar
Fortunately for those fluent in English who are learning French, the languages share many grammatical features. English has historically been influenced by French; this dates to the 11th century and the Norman conquest of England as French words started entering the English language at this time. Several words that are usually easily understood by those fluent in English include demander (ask), ignorer (to not know) and librairie (bookstore).
Those who initially learn French are pleased when they discover that the French alphabet is very similar to the English one. In addition to the 26 English letters, accented letters are used in French grammar; these include é, è, à, ù, ç, â, ê, î, ô, û, ë, ï and ü. These letters use an acute accent, grave accent, cedilla, circumflex and diaeresis, respectively.
French grammar is also relatively easy to learn for English speakers due to both languages possessing a general format of a subject followed by a verb before finishing with an object. For example, "Je vais à la banque," is translated into English as "I am going to the bank."
Differences between French and English Grammar
One major difference between the languages that those who learn French may struggle with is the assigning of masculine or feminine forms to words. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to know which words are masculine and which are feminine. Even more confusing is the fact that the exact same word could have a very different meaning depending on the gender of the article used with it. For example, "le mari" means "husband," while "la mari" is "marijuana."
Capitalized words are also used much less often in the French language. Examples include je (I), mardi (Tuesday), janvier (January), l’anglais (English) and chrétien (Christian). Contractions are also used much more often in the French language, and they are required in all instances. In English, "do not" and "don't" have the same meaning. However, "d'accord" means "okay." There is no other way to write that particular French word or others that use contractions.
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