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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Direct Objects in French (Grammar #6)

         Alrighty, we are back with another grammar blog. Now, if you haven't read the vocab. #6 post, I recommend you do that, at least the introduction part to get a feel of what we’re going to do for this post. To sum up what I said in the vocab. post, I am going to try incorporating other classes into the blogs to further enhance our learning. It will help me tremendously and also help those who are in the same classes mentioned in the blog. Now for the vocab. post, Steedman Jenkins is the only other freshmen in Music Theory, so that might not be too much of a help, but this grammar post could be helpful to others. In this post, we’ll be learning about French direct objects and direct object pronouns.

I know that not everybody speaks french, or is learning to speak french, and because of that I’ll try to take it step by step so as not to confuse anyone. [NOTE] (If you happen to know french, you can skip the first part of the post as it is just translating the sentence into french) Let’s look at this sample English sentence so we can start to translate it into French:

The boy carries his bookbag to (the) school.

In general, French words are either masculine or feminine (to put it simply). While we only have one word for the, in French there are two: Le/La (Masculine/Feminine, respectively). So off the bat, we can translate the first part of the sentence.

Le boy carries his bookbag to (the) school.

The word for ‘boy’ in french is garçon, and the word for ‘school’ in french is école. École is feminine, so we would use la in front of it. However, since École starts with a vowel, and la ends with a vowel, we have to replace la with an “l” and an apostrophe. Sort of like a contraction in English. So now our sentence looks like this:

Le garçon carries his bookbag to l’école.

The next step is simple. ‘To’ in french is à. The verb to carry in french is apporter, and when we conjugate it for ‘Le garçon’ it is apporte. Let’s look at the sentence:

Le garçon apporte his bookbag à l’école.

Alright, we’re almost there. In french, the possessive form of he is son. The word ‘bookbag’ in French is cartable. So let’s put in the last few pieces:

Le garçon apporte son cartable à l’école.

Believe it or not, that part was the straightforward part. We’ve done a good job of writing a french sentence with a direct object, but now we have to replace that direct object with a direct object pronoun. Here’s our example sentence in English:

The boy carries his bookbag to (the) school.
The boy carries it to (the) school.

We now have to replace son cartable with the word ‘it’ in French. Luckily, the French direct object pronoun for ‘him’ is relatively straightforward. It’s just an ‘l’ with an apostrophe. In french, the general rule about direct object pronouns is that they go before the verb. So let’s stick l’ in front of our verb apporte. Here’s our sentence in french:

Le garçon l’apporte à l’école.

Notice how we also got rid of our direct object. Whenever we have a direct object pronoun in a sentence, we don’t need the direct object. It gets replaced. This is the same in English, as you wouldn’t say “The boy carries it the bookbag to school”. You would say “The boy carries it to school”. This concept might seem a little hard now, but once you get familiar with it you’ll do better.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to try something new for this blog post, and hopefully it wasn’t too boring for the non-french speakers. Stay tuned for the next post to see what class we’ll incorporate next time!

-Jack Goodenough


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