Unité 1a: Present Tense and Articles






Regular verbs

French verb infinitives can end in -er, -ir or -re.
Remember, in French there is just one present form while in English there at least two. For example, I am singing and I sing are both translated as Je chante. Look at the three endings for regular ‘er’, ‘ir’ and ‘re’ verbs and try to remember them…


Parler Remplir Vendre
Je parle
Tu parles
Il/Elle/On parle
Nous parlons
Vous parlez
Ils/Elles parlent
Je remplis
Tu remplis
Il/Elle/On remplit
Nous remplissons
Vous remplissez
Ils/Elles remplissent
Je vends
Tu vends
Il/Elle/On vend_
Nous vendons
Vous vendez
Ils/Elles vendent
Like verbs such as choisir, this is a bit different and you should be careful to hold on to the stem ‘chois’ throughout – e.g. nous choisissons.

There are numerous verbs in the first Chapter of Didier’s story. Many of them are regular. Try to find them with this game

– Il habite en Normandie
– Il travaille à la poste.




Slightly irregular -er verbs

Some verbs are regular apart from some slight changes. In the story, an example in the first chapter is in the second paragraph: “Il achète une camionnette”. Observe the patterns and try to remember them.

Mener Lever Appeler Espérer Jeter
Accent grave on mute endings
Je mène
Tu mènes
Il/Elle/On mène
Nous menons
Vous menez
Ils/Elles mènent
similar to ‘mener’
Je lève
Tu lèves
Il/Elle/On lève
Nous levons
Vous levez
Ils/Elles lèvent
notice the 2 ‘l’s in all the mute endings
Tu appelles
Il/Elle/On appelle
Nous appellons
Vous appellez
Ils/Elles appellent
è on mute endings and é on ‘nous’ and ‘vous’ forms
Tu espères
Il/Elle/On espère
Nous espérons
Vous espérez
Ils/Elles espèrent
similar to appeler
Je jette
Tu jettes
Il/Elle/On jette
Nous jetons
Vous jetez
Ils/Elles jettent


A few common irregular verbs

In the story, there are also a number of irregular verbs which are listed below.
Here are two irregular verbs taken from the story: – Il connaît tous les habitants – C’est vrai.

  Put the list below on your fridge and learn them by heart!

 Totally Irregular  Nous & Vous Stand Out  Similarities between 1st Three and Last Three
Avoir = to have

Aller = to go

Connaître = to know/be acquainted with
Être= to be Vouloir = to wish/want  
Faire = to do/make Pouvoir = to be able  
Devoir = to have to/to owe    
Savoir = to know    

Maintenant à vous de jouer!




Definite and indefinite articles

In French, all nouns are either masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
It takes practice to distinguish between masculine feminine nouns, but the plural is quite straightforward.

For definite articles (‘the’ form), you use the following forms: Le (masculine singular), la (feminine singular), l’ (noun beginning with a vowel or silent ‘h’) and les (all plurals).

Below are a few examples of this:

  • le garçon (masculine singular);
  • la fille (feminine singular),
  • les enfants (plural).

Note also:

  • l’homme (silent ‘h’) ;
  • l’amie (begins with a vowel).

In Didier’s story, there are a number of examples of definite articles, such as the following:

Il connaît tous les habitants de la région. Le vendeur ; les routes de la France.

The French use the definite article where it is not used in English.
For example, one always says ‘la France’ to designate the country.

In English, we simply say ‘France’.

  • La France est un beau pays – France is a lovely country.
  • J’adore le fromage – I love cheese.
  • Les Irlandais voyagent beaucoup – Irish people travel a lot.

For Indefinite articles (‘a’, or ‘some’ form), you use the following:

Un (masculine singular); une (feminine singular) and des (plural).

  • Un homme (masculine singular) entre dans la salle.
  • Elle achète une robe (feminine singular).
  • Il y a des Français (plural) qui habitent le Connemara.

‘Des’ is used to designate a general number or ‘some’.

  • Il a des bananes – he has bananas (‘some’ bananas as distinct from ‘the’ bananas).
  • J’aime manger des oranges – I like to eat oranges.

There are quite a few indefinite articles in the first chapter of Didier’s story.

I supply a few: Il habite un petit village; Une jolie ferme…… Can you find others in this game?



Now take this short test on this unit!