Error checklist for written French
Have you the correct tense?
Le Présent: Je donne = I give and I am giving
Passé Composé: J'ai donné = I have given/I gave
Le Futur Simple: Je donnerai = I will give
L'Imparfait: Je donnais = I used to give/I was giving
Le Conditionel: Je donnerais = I would give
Have you got the correct ending to your verb?
For example, my parents should be followed by the 'they' form of the verb. The government is followed by the 'he' form of the verb, to + any verb (to give) is the infinitive of the verb. It is generally followed by the 'he' form of the verb. Just ask yourself should this verb be in the I, You, He/She, We, You (plural) or They form.
Example: My parents think that. Wrong is: Mes parents pense que. Correct is: Mes parents pensent que
Is your noun masculine or feminine?
Don't forget definite articles. Have you been consistent using le/la/les and du/de la/des
Example: School. Wrong is: école. Correct is: l' école
Watch placement of adjectives.
The majority of adjectives follow this placement rule: English -The green dog; French - The dog green
The sporty boy: Le garçon sportif
There are some exceptions: Beauty, Age, Good/Bad, Size - BAGS
These follow the English rule.
The small girl: La petite fille
Watch agreement of adjectives.
Adjectives change in French depending on what they are describing. They may be describing something or someone that is masculine, feminine and singular or plural.
Girl: Je suis heureuse
Boy: Je suis heureux
Getting an accent wrong is the equivalent to a spelling mistake so check them all.
QUI/QUE: Have you written the correct relative pronoun?
To say which or that, use either que or qui. Use que if next word is a subject, eg, le stylo que tu as… Use qui if next word is a verb: Le chat qui est sur la table…
In English we often leave out who/which/that. We say: There's the boy I met at the party Rather than: There's the boy who I met at the party. In French the words qui and que can never be left out.
Also this rule applies for verbs like penser. In English we often say, I think Jane is kind...instead of, I think that Jane is kind. Wrong: Je pense Jane est gentille. Correct: Je pense que Jane est gentille.
Have you used the right preposition? Check if the verb used needs a preposition.
There are several verbs in French which are followed by the infinitive of the next verb, the main ones would be pouvoir (to be able to/can), vouloir (to want to) and devoir (to have to). Students tend to place the second verb in a different format instead of the infinitive
Example: Il veut aller au spectacle mais il ne peut pas sortir parce qu'il doit étudier.
There are other verbs in French which are followed by à plus the infinitive.
Example: J'aide ma mère à passer l'aspirateur - I help my mother to hoover
There are other verbs that take de plus the infinitive.
Example: Il a cessé de fumer - He has stopped smoking.
Finally there is also a more complicated list of verbs which take à before the object and de before the infinitive. These verbs are associated with verbs of 'communication, that is asking, advising, telling, allowing, etc.'
Example: J'ai demandé à ma soeur de m'aider avec mes devoirs - I asked my sister to help me with my homework.
To see a list of these verbs, go to: http://tinyurl.com/p8827me
REMEMBER: These verbs are essential in French and pop up all the time in written and listening work.
Have you turned the subject and verb around? And used a hyphen?
Know your expressions with avoir. A number of phrases using the verb avoir exist in French.
Avoir faim/soif - To be hungry/thirsty
Avoir chaud/froid - To be hot/cold
Avoir raison/tort - To be right/wrong
Eg; Tu as tort - you are wrong
Avoir peur - To be afraid
Avoir l'air - To seem Eg; Il a l'air triste - He seems sad
En avoir marre de - To be sick of
Avoir du mal à - To have a pain in
Avoir de la chance - To be lucky
Eg: J'ai de la chance - I'm lucky
Avoir le droit de - To have the right to
Eg: On 'n'a pas le droit de fumer…
Have you used object pronouns correctly: le/la/les and lui/leur
French object pronouns are placed after the subject and in front of the verb.
Example: She is looking at him. Wrong: Elle regarde à lui. Correct: Elle le regarde
Unless the second verb is an infinitive then it is placed before the infinitive. Example: Je vais la voir - I'm going to see her.
Making sentences negative in French is a bit different than in English, due to the two-part negative adverb and the sometimes difficult issue of placement.
Ne comes after the subject. Example: I, you, he, she etc.
Pas comes after the first verb. Example: I didn't do my homework. Wrong: Je n'ai fait pas mes devoirs. Correct: Je n'ai pas fait mes devoirs.
French dropped E
You need to drop the e when the following words are followed by a vowel: de, je,le, me, ne, que, se, te.
Example I believe that he. Wrong: Je crois que il. Correct: Je crois qu'il
Expressions of quantity
Use 'de' or 'd' not 'des' with most expressions of quantity.
Example: I have a lot of books. Wrong: J'ai beaucoup des livres. Correct: J'ai beaucoup de livres
Son frère - can mean his or her brother.
Example: I like my school. Wrong: J'aime m'école. Correct: J'aime mon école.
Good luck in your Junior Cert.
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