Grammar Terms

French Grammar Terms


  • A noun (‘nom’ in French) is a word used to represent a person, place, thing, or idea.
  • Nouns can be either singular (one) or plural (more than one).
  • In French, nouns are either masculine or feminine. This determines the choice of articles (le, la, les), adjectives and pronouns that are used with them.
  • Example: le chat (the cat-masculine), la maison (the house-feminine).


  • A verb (‘verbe’ in French) expresses an action or state of being.
  • Verbs are governed by different tenses which indicate when the action happens. Core tenses in French include present (présent), past (passé composé, imparfait), and future (futur simple).
  • Verbs change form based on the subject they are linked to as well as the tense of the expression. This is known as conjugation.
  • Example: Je mange (I eat), tu as mangé (you have eaten), il mangera (he will eat).


  • An adjective (‘adjectif’ in French) describes, identifies or gives more information about a noun.
  • Adjectives in French usually come after the noun they qualify, contrary to English.
  • Just like nouns, adjectives agree with the nouns they describe in terms of gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural).
  • Example: un livre intéressant (an interesting book), des filles talentueuses (talented girls).


  • A preposition (‘préposition’ in French) is used before a noun, pronoun or infinitive to show time, place, direction, manner, cause, etc.
  • Contrary to some English prepositions, French prepositions cannot be ended with.
  • Example: Je vais à l’école (I go to school), nous sommes en vacances (we are on holiday).


  • A conjunction (‘conjonction’ in French) is used to link words, phrases or clauses in a sentence.
  • They can be coordinating (link equivalent elements), like ‘et’ (and), ‘mais’ (but), ‘ou’ (or); or subordinating (link a dependent clause to the main clause), like ‘que’ (that), ‘si’ (if), ‘quand’ (when).
  • Example: Tu peux venir avec moi ou avec lui (You can come with me or with him), Je pense que tu as raison (I think that you’re right).


  • An adverb (‘adverbe’ in French) modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
  • Adverbs provide extra information about the action, such as how, when, where, how much, or how often something is done.
  • They do not change according to gender or number.
  • Example: Il parle doucement (He speaks softly), elle se lève tôt (she gets up early).