No getting around it: French grammar is a bit of a bitch. You have to keep gender in mind. You have to make sure your modifiers match the gender and number of the nouns they modify. And then, of course, there are the verbs. French verbs conjugate according to subject: je, tu, il/elle, vous, nous and ils/elles, and of course according to a variety of tenses: present, passé composé, impératif, imparfait, conditionnel, subjonctif, plus-que-parfait, etc. And of course, like any Romance language, French is full of irregulars.

Part of the answer is drills. It's relatively easy to memorize French grammatical rules, but you can't really conquer the language unless you practice, practice, practice. If you'd like, you can start with my video flashcards.

The real solution, however, is to use the language as much as possible. For those of us who do not live in un pay francophone, that means seeking out opportunities to practice conversation, pen pals, movies, and above all, in my opinion, reading.

Here's my own very brief overview of French grammar.  It is strictly informational; you won't learn French by clicking on these links. Again: practice is the key. Links open in popup windows. (For these, use the summaries in LIYC).








Word Order


This page contains links to useful French grammar resources.

French Verbs At a Glance. By Sullydog!  A summary of all French verb types and their conjugations on a single page. Best viewed in Explorer. Almost finished, but still under construction.

Video Conjugation Flashcards. By Sullydog.

Overview of French Grammar. From Unilang. Excellent resource.

Best. Verb. Drill. Ever. Francais interactif does it again.

French Grammar Lessons. From

French Grammar Help Online. Decent.


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The present tense in French is used to express actions that are in progress, "I read the book" or "I am reading the book."



The passé composé is used to express actions that have been completed in the past. "I did my homework," or "I ate my breakfast."



The imparfait, or imperfect past tense, is used to express continuous actions from the past. "I worked in a brothel in Lyons," or "My Mom was studying to be a plumber."




The futur, or future tense, indicates actions that will take place at some time in the future, "She will be a teacher." Actions that will take place in the immediate future, eg, "I'm going to write a letter," are handled differently, using the aller + infinitif construction.