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Free Masterclass – Day #5

Top 30 French Mistakes English Speakers Make
Free Masterclass – Day #5

13. Grammar mistake: “Je n’ai pas un chien”

Again with these elusive “de, du, des” (of, some…) that you don’t use as often in English. It’s always “de” after a negation: pas de (never pas un, pas une, pas des except after c’est).

Correct answer: je n’ai pas de chien

14. Vocabulary mistake: (to someone going to a party) “Passe une bonne nuit!”

The word “nuit (f)” refers in French to the night – as in when it’s dark out – but not the social night out.

In French, if you say “bonne nuit!” to someone it means “sleep well”. The word “soirée (f)” means both evening and night out. If someone says “je passe la soirée chez Pierre” it means that they spend some time socially with Pierre, and it doesn’t matter at what time they leave. If someone says “je passe la nuit chez Pierre”, it means they spend the whole night there, possibly sleeping over.

Correct answer: “passe une bonne soirée”

15. Pronunciation mistake: The elusive elision…

English students tend to have a hard time with French elision (it’s when a short word like je, ne, que, de, le, la, me, se, ce, te (but never tu) drops its vowel before a word that starts with a vowel or a silent h. Example: t’aime, d’hôtel, l’heure. Most English speakers really want to pronounce this apostrophe, and end up saying things like ‘deh Rotel”

The solution: ignore the apostrophe and the h if there is one. The 2 words become one in pronunciation: t’aime = taym, d’hôtel = dotel, l’heure = leur.

Mastery of French pronunciation’s particularities like elision is essential if you want to speak French correctly, and even more if you are interested in French poetry. Check out my Easy French Poetry Readings and Analysis; learn about world famous classic French poems and poets, as you challenge your understanding and built up new vocabulary.

See you tomorrow for more, in the mean time, check out my blog for more cultural and French language tidbits!


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