Whether you are living in the Dordogne or not, you may want to learn French. If you are lucky enough to live or visit the Dordogne, knowing some French can really improve your experience. To help you brush up on your grammar, take a look at this Grammar Glossary.


Learn French – Grammar Glossary


ADJECTIVE. An adjective is a describing word. It gives more information about the noun being used.

Example: The pink house (the house (noun) that is pink (adjective)) (la maison rose)

Note: adjectives often come after the noun in French, but not always!


ADVERB. An adverb is a word used with a verb that gives more information about when, where, how or in what circumstances something happens.

Example: They are happily married (ils sont heureux mariés)

Example: He works quickly (il travail vite)


AGREEMENT. This means changing word endings according to whether you are referring to masculine, feminine, singular or plurals things or people.

Example: A beautiful girl (une belle fille)

Example: Two beautiful girls (deux belles filles)


ARTICLE. An article is a word like a/an and the that is used in front of a noun.

Example: a cat, the cat (un chat/le chat)


BASE FORM. The form of the verb without any endings added to it.

Example: walk, sing, dance


CONJUGATE. To conjugate is to give a verb different endings, depending on who you are referring to. For example: I or she, and according to the tense.


CONSONATE. A letter of the alphabet which is not a vowel. 


CONJUNCTION. A conjunction is a linking word such as and and or that links two words together or two parts of a sentence.

Example: me and you (toi et moi)


DEFINITE ARTICLE. The definite article is the word the.


ENDING. A form added to a verb and adjectives and nouns depending on whether they refer to masculine, feminine, singular or plural things.


FEMININE. A form of a noun, pronoun or adjective that is used to refer to a living being, thing or idea that is not classed as masculine.


GENDER. Whether a noun, pronoun or adjective is feminine or masculine.


INDEFINTE ARTICLE. The indefinite article is the word a or an. It isn’t as specific as the definite article.


INFINITIVE. The form of a verb with ‘to’ in front of it and without any endings added.

Example: to walk


IRREGULAR VERB. A verb whose forms do not follow the normal rules.


MASCULINE. A form of a noun, pronoun or adjective that is used to refer to a living being, thing or idea that is not classed as feminine.


NEGATIVE. A negative is a question or statement that includes words such as not, never or nothing.

Example: I don’t like ice cream (je n’aime pas la glace), I never eat meat (je ne mange jamais de viande)


NOUN. A noun is a naming word for a living being, thing or idea.

Example: a woman (une femme), a dog (un chien), a table (une table), Janice, happiness (le bonheur)


OBJECT. A noun or pronoun which refers to a person or thing that is affected by the action described by the verb.


PAST PARTICIPLE. To form the past participle of regular verbs, you use the infinitive and replace as follows:

Verbs ending in -er         – replace -er with

Example: aimer (to like) – take off the -er and replace with = aimé

Verbs ending in -ir           – replace with -i

Example: finir (to finish) = take off the -ir and replace with -i = fini

Verbs ending in -re         – replace with -u

Example: descendre (to go down) – take off the -re and replace with -u = descendu


PLURAL. The form of a word that is used to refer to more than one person or thing.


PREPOSITION. A preposition is a word such as at, for, with, into and from. They are important little words but can be tricky.

Example: at school (à l’école), for you (pour toi), with us (avec nous), from England (d’Angleterre)


PRESENT. A verb form used to talk about what is happening now, what happens regularly and what is true at the moment.


PRONOUN.  A pronoun is a word that you use instead of a noun such as you, her.

Example: Virginie (noun) is busy but she (pronoun) must leave soon (Virginie est occupée mais elle doit partir bientôt)


QUESTION WORD. A word such as why, where which is used to ask a question.


REGULAR VERB. A verb whose form follows the normal rules.


SENTENCE. A group of words which usually have a subject followed by a verb.


SINGULAR. A form of a word which is used to refer to one person or thing.


STEM. The main part of a verb to which endings are added.


SUBJECT. The subject is the noun in a sentence or phrase that refers to the person who is doing the action described by the verb or is in the state described by the verb. For example: Virginie, she (elle).

Example: Virginie is busy (Virginie est occupée)


SUBJECT PRONOUNS. A pronoun such as I, he, she or they which is used instead of the noun as the subject of a sentence. Pronouns stand in for nouns when it is clear who is being talked about.


SYLLABLE. A syllable is a unit that makes up a sound of a word. Made up of consonants and vowels.


TENSE. A form of a verb which shows whether you are referring to the present, past of future.


VERB. A verb is a doing word that describes what someone or something is doing, what someone or something is or what happens to them. For example: to be (être), to sing (chanter).

Example: I am happy (je suis heureuse)

Example: He is singing his favourite song (il chante sa chanson préférée)


VOWEL. One of the letters a, e, i, o, u.

Check in from time to time on this French Grammar Glossary as it will be updated regularly.

French for Beginners

To help you learn French you might also be interested in the post mentioned below. Need a reminder of what a noun is, in English? Don’t forget the Learn French – Grammar Glossary.

French for Beginners – Lesson 1 – French nouns

Learn French - Grammar Glossary and more!

Learn French!

As well as this Learn French – Grammar Glossary, you can also find 14 French for Beginners posts on this blog.

Intermediate French is coming soon!

There are also posts on useful vocabulary connected with life in the Dordogne.

I offer 1-1 French lessons in Eymet, in the Dordogne, or by Zoom. Click on the advert on this site to enquire for further information.