French is often described as a beautiful but difficult language and some people are intimidated by its apparent complexity. While it does have some tricky rules, complemented by even more exceptions, you can learn French easily if you choose the right method. For a beginner, one of the simplest ways to get started is to learn certain phrases which can be useful in various daily situations. First, what are the main characteristics of the language and how do they differ from English? What basic phrases can you learn to survive on your next trip? And what is the best way to learn those French sentences?
Characteristics of the French language
French phrases sometimes differ greatly from English ones, which makes it a little bit complicated to learn and master the language. One of the important elements to take into account is how the various pronouns affect the verbs. While English only uses two forms for a verb speaking in the present tense (eg. sing, sings), French verbs have different endings depending on the pronoun (eg. chante, chantes, chantons, chantez, chantent). Also articles in French vary depending on gender and number. While "the" is used in all cases in English, you will find "le" for masculine subjects, "la" for feminine and "les" for the plural in French sentences. Same goes for "a/an", which becomes "un" for masculine subjects and "une" for feminine.
Something else to consider when you learn French is the place of the adjective in a sentence. Indeed, most adjectives are found after the noun in French, while they are in front of it in English (eg. une maison rouge / a red house).
Basic French phrases to remember
When travelling to France or conversing with French people, several sentences can help you understand your interlocutor and make yourself understood easily. Let's have a look at some of those useful French phrases.
- My name is... = Je m'appelle...
- What time is it? = Quelle heure est-il ?
- Where is the post office? = Où se trouve la Poste ?
- Turn left / turn right = Tournez à gauche / tournez à droite
- Can you help me? = Pouvez-vous m'aider ?
- How much is this? = Combien ça coûte ?
- Thank you / you're welcome = Merci / Je vous en prie
How to learn French easily
When it comes to learning a new language, one thing to keep in mind is that immersing yourself in the culture of the country works wonders. People who want to learn French can choose one of the most common methods, which is taking courses, whether in a school or online. While this is usually efficient, it can sometimes end up being too theoretical. Therefore, having conversations with natives, reading books and watching films in French constitute quickest ways to improve your skills and learn French sentences.
Learning French phrases with Babbel
For those who prefer learning online, Babbel offers a comprehensive method specifically centred around French phrases which uses the latest technologies available. With interactive exercises, voice recognition and thematic courses, you can be sure to learn the basics and master useful French sentences in no time. Babbel also gives you the chance to practice what you learned, chatting with French native speakers and other users in the Babbel community. With the online learning system Babbel, both beginners and advanced learners can study french, because courses for all the different learning levels are available. Register now and try Babbel for free. Bonne chance!