If you want to learn the French language and speak fluently, you need to master French grammar. But grammar can be challenging and demoralizing to French learners. Students usually worry too much about the rules and the grammar exceptions, but if you stick to your lessons, you will master them along the way.
In this article, we offer some tips that you could consider applying to your learning routine. If you use them, you might find it easier to learn French grammar, and nothing will be holding you back from expressing yourself in French!
Before you start your lessons, make time to do a quick self-assessment. Self-assessment is essential since it helps you to ensure that you have learned well from last time before you start your new grammar lessons. To do that, you simply need to revise the main grammar rules you learned in the previous lesson. Test your knowledge and write down all the mistakes you made or the grammar rules you forgot.
Don’t leave grammar for later
One of the leading setbacks for beginners is to prioritize vocabulary and ignore grammar. But the secret to perfecting French grammar is to memorize grammar rules and exceptions at the same time. With practice, you will learn grammar and be able to create phrases with the words introduced to you by your French teacher.
Don’t try to compare French to English
Usually, when you are a beginner, you are likely to try to translate from English to your mother tongue. However, as you progress in your French lessons, try as much as possible to minimize translating.
If you are a native English speaker, it might be difficult not to translate words into English, whether you’re trying to perfect grammatical constructions, common phrases, or vocabulary. However, you need to understand that the two languages have differences.
To help you overcome this challenge, try to learn new phrases and sentences to create context and enhance your comprehension. You can achieve this by learning on your own or with the help of a private French tutor.
Learn French verbs and conjugations by heart
One needs to have a good mastery of verbs to learn how to speak French. To effectively learn how to use verbs in sentences, you should learn French verb conjugation. But conjugation of French verbs is not always easy. Verb conjugations in French are formed with a radical and endings for simple tenses, and with an auxiliary verb and a past participle for compound tenses.
But like in English, the French language has regular and irregular verbs. The irregular verbs have their own conjugations, and French learners will just need to learn them by heart. Fortunately, there are verbs with irregular conjugations that resemble each other a lot (for example tenir and venir) and this makes the learning process easier. So don’t get discourage; give yourself time and practice French conjugations as much as you can!
Create a realistic learning routine
To help you learn grammar faster, make sure to develop a study plan and achievable milestones. For instance, if you have a busy schedule, you can dedicate about 3 hours each week to learn French. Do not overwhelm yourself but develop a routine that fits your preference. Create a study routine that best suits your schedule.
Learn how native French speakers speak the language
Generally, French people don’t respect all grammar rules “à la lettre”. For example, when you listen to native speakers, you will notice that they almost always skip the negative adverb “ne” in the construction “ne + verb + pas”. This means that instead of saying “Je ne mange pas” (“I don’t eat”), a native French speaker will simply say “Je mange pas”. This is so broadly accepted that it is not considered a grammar mistake per se.
Another example of grammar rules that most native speakers don’t respect is the usage of Futur Simple. As you probably know, the French language has two future tenses: Futur simple and Futur proche. And because the Futur proche is easier to conjugate and to pronounce, most native speakers prefer to use it over the Futur simple, event it’s not always grammatically correct. This means that instead of saying “Je regarderai la télé demain” (I will watch TV tomorrow), they would rather say “Je vais regarder la télé demain”.
So don’t be surprised if you hear French speakers make grammar mistakes, and ask your French teacher for more examples of widely accepted “grammar mistakes” in oral communication.
Don’t worry about sentence structure
Understanding sentence structure is a critical part when one wants to learn grammar. But fortunately, French and English have almost similar rules for sentence formation. Just like in English, one can form a simple sentence in French in this order:
SVO = Subject + Verb + Object
If you are reading this article you are already an English speaker and for you is won’t be a challenge to form different French sentences such as declarative, interrogative, imperative, and negative sentences. Use the French verbs you’ve already learned to form simple sentences in different tenses like past, future and present tense.
Enroll in online French grammar lessons
If you are still not convinced that you can learn French grammar effectively, you can enroll to learn French online on italki.com. At italki, we assist you in getting in touch with native French teachers online for customized 1-on-1 classes. Whether you are looking to learn French for work, studies, or improve your linguistic skills, we’ll connect you with a competent French tutor or a French teacher that matches your learning level, speed, and interest.