Being French … étant français

by Bernard O'Shea

Being French is easy. You just eat croissants for breakfast, accompanied by coffee in a wide cup, consume lots of wine, gesticulate frequently, philosophise a lot, and shrug your shoulders every now and then while saying “pfff!” (make your lips vibrate while you do it) with a great show of ambivalence or perhaps a hint of disdain. The really good French actors shrug and “pfff” really well.

On to the more grammatical sense of “being”. Here are the main subject pronouns in French and the present tense of the verb être (to be)

être 

je suis (I am)

tu es (you are, you being singular and informal/familiar)

il est, elle est (he is, she is)

nous sommes (we are)

vous êtes (you are, you being plural, or singular, formal use)

ils sont, elles sont (they are, the former being masculine, the latter feminine, if it was a combination of men and woman you would use ils)

The social etiquette of when to use tu or vous is a little complicated, as it is with some of their equivalents in the other languages, but generally you would use vous with strangers or on formal occasions, and tu with people whom you are already friendly and familiar with.

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trishwhytock December 8, 2012 - 9:30 pm

c’est bon prietenul meu. Thrilled that you have eventually begun this wonderful journey. I can’t wait for the travel blog!!
xx

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bernardoshea December 12, 2012 - 12:38 am

Hi there, it sounds like you are pretty multilingual yourself! Excellent French, Romanian and English there. You’ll have to guest blog for me ok on the finer points of it all. Ate logo, a bientot… xxx 🙂

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trishwhytock December 13, 2012 - 1:27 am

I’m afraid apart from a brilliant French accent it all Goolingual!

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bernardoshea December 13, 2012 - 10:53 pm

Goolingual is a great language. I think lots of people will be talking it. I did suspect you had strayed into the vernacular…

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France Assessment: If You Plan to Visit France | travelbugdotme December 10, 2012 - 7:53 am

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