think in french logo

How to Learn French Grammar Quickly ?

easy french grammar to learn

French grammar is the reason many French learners give up. We’ll show you how to approach learning French grammar and not be one of the quitters.

It is all about starting the right way and knowing a few key rules.

Oftentimes, french learners put grammar on a pedestal, subordinating everything else to it, believing that’s the most crucial aspect of a language. They start by learning tons of grammar rules only to discover that in theory, it works fine but in a real situation, they fail to apply what they learned.

When learning French, grammar shouldn’t be the first thing on your plate. Think of a child, who learns a language first by saying the words, and then combining the words in simple sentences. That’s you, in another language.

How to Approach Learning French Grammar

French grammar could look like an endless pool of rules. Before you even set foot in it, learn to study in circles.
This means to start small and expand gradually.
Let’s say you start with a certain grammar topic. If you take pronouns, in the first cycle of learning, start off with learning the basic personal pronouns (Je, Tu, Il, Elle, Nous, Vous, Ils, Elles). Then in the next cycle, you’ll perhaps learn the pronoun (On), while in the third, you get to practice Direct Object (le, la, les etc.) and so on.
It means that each time you learn the same grammar topic, you expand your knowledge and go a step further in understanding.

There are often more exceptions than rules

Almost any rule in French is likely to have a number of exceptions. When you speak, you’ll need to consider not just the rules, but also think if an exception is involved.

What should l learn first?

You opened up a grammar book and pretty much you have no clue what to learn first. You find yourself jumping from verbs to nouns, spending too much time on learning, but knowing too little at the end of the day.

We’ll help you get there with a minimum of effort.

Have you ever heard about the 80/20 rule?

The 80-20 rule, known as the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of outcomes result from 20% of all causes for any given situation. In terms of French grammar, it means that learning 20% of French grammar covers 80 % of daily French communication. The same applies to vocabulary.

To cover 80% of French communication, you need to focus on the high-frequency words and phrases in French.

By covering the top 20% of any language, you’ll be able to participate in almost any social setting. In short, you can learn a new language without constantly memorizing or covering lessons you’ll never use. Sounds neat, right?

Here, we offer you 4 tips to learn French grammar effectively and not excessively.

TIP #1   Learn the Most Used Grammar Sequence – Pronouns

If you dissect every sentence in French, you’ll find that most of them contain some sort of pronoun, whether possessive, reflexive, relative, interrogative, or eleven more, that exist in French. You heard me right. 

The French language has 15 types of pronouns. As it’s hard to avoid them, then we’ll have to make our way to learning them effectively.

To make things less complicated, know that pronouns are divided into two basic groups, personal and impersonal pronouns.

What are personal pronouns?

The pronouns are personal in the sense that they vary according to who they represent grammatically. French personal pronouns replace people. Whether talking about yourself, the other person, or someone outside your conversation, there’s a different pronoun for it.

The pronoun thing could come as a challenge, especially for those whose native language is English. To see the complexity of French pronouns as opposed in English, take a look at the French-English difference:

The indefinite articles in English a/an correspond to 3 forms in French:

un (masculine)
une(feminine)
des (plural)

The definite articles in English the corresponds to 3 forms in French:

le (masculine)
la (feminine)
les (plural)

The partitive articles “some” in English also corresponds to 3 forms in French:

du (masculine)
de la (feminine)
des (plural)

Unlike personal pronouns, impersonal pronouns do not have different forms for each grammatical person, which is a relief. But, there is an extensive list of impersonal pronouns in French.

learn french genders based on endings

TIP #2 How to Master French Gender Rules in a Nutshell

In French, all names have grammatical gender. They can be masculine (masculine) or feminine (féminin).

It feels like a never-ending game of guessing which gender the word is. Yet, if you learn a couple of rules ahead of time, you’ll be able to state gender in 80% of cases.

The trick is to look at the noun’s ending. Some typically masculine or typically feminine endings can help you determine the gender in 80 % of cases. After a while, you’ll see that you can intuitively tell the gender of a noun based on its ending.

Masculine noun endings in 89% of cases

  • -an, -and, -ant, -ent, -in, -int, -om, -ond, -ont, -on (but not after s/c¸)
  • -eau, -au, -aud, -aut, -o, -os, -ot
  • -ai, -ais, -ait, -es, -et
  • -ou, -out, -out, -oux
  • -i, -il, -it, -is, -y
  • -at, -as, -ois, -oit
  • • -u, -us, -ut, -eu
  • -er, -é
  • -age, -ege, – ème, -ome, -aume, -isme
  • -as, -is, -os, -us, -ex
  • -it, -est
  • -al, -el, -il, -ol, -eul, -all
  • -if, -ef
  •  -ac, -ic, -oc, -uc
  • -am, -um, -en
  • -air, -er, -erf, -ert, -ar, -arc, -ars, -art, -our, -ours, -or, -ord, -ors, -ort, -ir, -oir, -eur
    (if animate)
  • -ail, -eil, -euil, -ueil
  • -ing

Feminine noun endings in 89% of cases

  • -aie, -oue, -eue, -ion, -te, – ée, -ie, -ue
  • -asse, -ace, -esse, -ece, -aisse, -isse/-ice, -ousse, -ance, -anse, -ence, -once
  •  -enne, -onne, -une, -ine, -aine, -eine, -erne
  • -ande, -ende, -onde, -ade, -ude, -arde, -orde
  • -euse, -ouse, -ase, -aise, -ese, -oise, -ise, -yse, -ose, -use
  •  -ache, -iche, -eche, -oche, -uche, -ouche, -anche
  • -ave, -eve, -ive
  •  -iere, -ure, -eure
  • -ette, -ete, – ête, -atte, -otte, -oute, -orte, -ante, -ente, -inte, -onte
  • -alle, -elle, -ille, -olle
  • -aille, -eille, -ouille
  • -appe, -ampe, -ombe
  • • -igue

Remember it works, but not always.

There are also other ways to determine the gender of a noun: by looking in the dictionary or by looking at the noun’s article. This is why you want to learn a noun gender together with an article.

Another way to learn it is to associate it with categories that are typically masculine or feminine. Note that every method we suggested is full of exceptions but helpful in most cases.

For instance, the directions, days of the week, months, seasons, tree names, wines, cheeses, colors, metals, languages ​​are always male. On the other hand, typically feminine are names of sciences and other domains of learning, names of rivers, or brands of watches.

Why is guessing the genre so crucial? The grammatical genre of a noun will influence the associated words: articles, adjectives, and verbs, due to a principle of agreement. That’s why this step shouldn’t be missed.

french tenses step by step

TIP #3   Most Useful Order of Learning French Tenses

There are over 20 French tenses. Luckily, you don’t need all of them. Do you still remember the cycle method of learning? Great. We’ll apply the same principle for learning French tenses.

To be able to get by in daily conversations, first, you’ll need Present Simple, Futur, and Past Simple to start with.

After you’ve mastered those 3 tenses, you can nuance your expression by adding two very simple tenses, Passé Recent and Future Proche. They both have a simple formula and are frequently used in daily conversations.

Passé Recent expresses a completed action that happened shortly before the moment of speaking. The same goes for Future Proche, except for it expresses an action that will be done after the moment of speaking. Both tenses come very handily in day-to-day conversations and as we mentioned are extremely easy for learning.

As you know, there are so many French verbs that if you start with an idea to learn all of them, you could spend a tremendous amount of time learning present simple only. Stop, right there. We recommend you create a list of the most used French verbs and learn only those, in different tenses. You can easily expand the list.

The third cycle of learning would include modes. French grammar uses moods, to indicate how the speaker feels about the action. For example, a speaker who wants to express a possibility would use the conditional while someone who wants to give a command would use the imperative.

You get the idea. Start off learning the most used verbs in the most used tenses and you’ll quickly progress.

TIP #4    Learn French Grammar From the Context

Your new vocabulary gains meaning when you place words in context. Meaning is the key to getting words into your long-term memory.

By learning grammar in context, you’ll be able to see how rules can be used in sentences, and what ways of saying are appropriate for the given situation. According to Thornbury “The absence of context makes it very difficult to correctly interpret a single word or phrase” (Thornbury, 1999, p. 69).

The best French practice is the one when you get to engage. If possible, you should avoid learning from random lists, phrasebooks, and vocabulary drills. There is no point in spending time on it! Learn what makes sense for you, and learn it by engaging.

Remember

There is never a wrong way to learn a language, and grammar definitely has its place in the learning journey. Perhaps, not on the first day of learning, but once you reach that point where you start wondering “Why does it mean? Why am I getting this wrong?”, we recommend you grab a grammar book.

Learning grammar can seem overwhelming, if you learn smart and in cycles, you’ll be able to make quick progress and not get bored along the way.

After each focused grammar learning, make sure to actively use the knowledge you gained. Whether in making a sentence, leading a conversation, active listening. The method will help the information to stick.

The end goal of learning grammar is to be able to apply grammar rules in the moment of need and develop a sense of correctness whenever you hear something in French. 

If you want to develop the intuition that tells you when something sounds right or wrong in French, you need to immerse yourself in the language and learn from the context. A combination of immersion with focused grammar study is a recipe for success. 

When you regularly get exposed to French, your brain will learn to recognize patterns. You’ll quickly be able to distinguish whether a sentence is correct or not.

 

Related Posts

Rocket French Review

Are you interested in learning French and considering the Rocket French program for you? Read the Rocket French Review to know more if it fits

A News in Slow French alternatives

If you are currently learning French, this post is for you. We’ll give you the best News in Slow French alternatives. News in Slow French

Top 5 Babbel French alternatives

If you are learning French and have used Babbel before, we will give you better options! Check these top Babbel French alternatives. Babbel French alternatives

Fluent Forever review

Do you want to be able to speak French fluently? Here is one of the best apps for practicing French. For your benefit, read this

Best microphone for online teaching

With the rise of online learning, good equipment, beginning with a microphone, is required. What do you think is the best microphone for online teaching?

Best programs to learn French: my top 3

The language learning industry is a booming market. Do you want to learn the French language? Here are the best programs to learn French online.

French: LanguaTalk review

Before choosing a tutor, you must decide on your fluency levels, goals, and spending limit. If you want to learn French, here a the LanguaTalk

Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll compare and contrast Babbel and Duolingo. These are two of the most well-known language learning apps available. Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Babbel French Review

You want to learn French, so you’re considering using the Babbel app. That’s fantastic. But before you start, read this Babbel French review for your

What is the best French language course?

Knowing French will open up job opportunities, allow you to connect with locals while traveling, and give you an edge regarding education and career opportunities.

5 Incredible French courses online

If you are looking to learn French, there are a variety of different ways to do so. So continue reading to know these incredible French

French basic lessons for beginners

In this article, you will find out all you need to begin learning French from scratch. French basic lessons Learning a new language can be

Top 8 beginner French tips

Learning a new language is not easy, and fluency in French is something that many people aspire to. If you want to master the French

Why learn French? 7 reasons why

Learning French is both rewarding and challenging. If you are planning to start doing it, you are making the right choice! Why learn French? The

Pros and Cons of Learning French

French is considered one of the world’s most beautiful, effective, and most spoken languages. But do you know its advantages and downsides? Pros and Cons

Is French the most beautiful language?

Do you find French intonation charming and appealing? Does this imply that French is the most beautiful language in the world? What makes French such

French newspapers for beginners

The word “newspaper” in French reminds you of popular names like Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, L’Equipe etc. These daily French newspapers can be a

Learning French with Françoise Hardy

Artists like Françoise Hardy were among the sensational stars that revolutionized pop culture in France. Learn French by celebrating the golden era of the 60s

Learn French with RFI

The ideology of learning French with radio isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a certain level of dedication, motivation, and effort. However, listening

Major holidays and celebrations in France

Holidays and festivals are an integral part of any culture. They are widely celebrated for keeping traditions alive, honoring the country’s history, and respecting the

Learn French through storybooks

With depths of wisdom and compelling journeys to magical lands, learn French with some of the best books to expand your brain. Customize your very

Learn French in 5 Minutes a Day

You want to learn French, but you lack the time? If you began 3 months ago, imagine how much you would learn French in only

Instagram accounts to learn French

Social media platforms like Instagram have benefited and inspired many amateur learners to learn French in a million ways. With bite-sized lessons and precise concepts,

Audio lessons to learn French on the go

Listening is an important skill to communicate in a foreign language. It unlocks our potential to learn French through many ways like podcasts, radio, movies,

Learning French with Vincent : Review

Learning French with Vincent is one of the most popular learning choices available on the internet. If you have wondered whether learning French with Vincent

Udemy courses to learn French

Udemy, a name that you have heard by chance or by choice whenever you mention the term “online courses”. This site has been one of

How to Learn French Without a Teacher

Does learning French by yourself sound appealing? Just think about it. No scheduled classes, no exams, no teachers. Just you and French, at your own

Best ways to learn French on your own

With the advancement of technologies and innovative applications, the efficiency of teaching methods to learn a new language on your own has expanded. If you

Learn French with a French dude

Learn French with a French dude is a youtube channel that serves as an epitome of variation with short clips and videos covering different themes

How can I learn French with TV5Monde

If you are looking for the perfect balance between education and entertainment then TV5Monde is your go-to resource to learn French. Its content swings between

A basic overview of French wine

Every country is best known for something that plays an important role in portraying their culture and tradition. Wine is one such thing in France.

Get a Certificate in French Language

If you ask yourself why should you take the certification course in French, we’ll help you decide in which cases is useful and in which

Learn French with Celine Dion

Celine Dion is one of the most internationally renowned singers of all time. She has moved us with her magnificent voice for years with her

Learn French with Rosetta Stone

All the language lovers who learn new languages on their own might have come across language learning tools like Rosetta Stone. So, if you want

Learn your French alphabet

We all love the idea of learning French but we often wonder where to begin. You can start with a short lesson on the French

Best Apps to Learn French for Kids

Turn your kids’ devices into French teachers to help them keep up with French! Since kids love their smartphones, they might as well take advantage

Best series to learn French

French TV shows have lots of advantages when it comes to learning a language. You can learn how to understand the French language in the

Popular French sports

Sports bind us together as a community. It ignites the patriotic and proud side of an individual towards his country. In France, the popularity of

How to ask questions in French

As humans, we have so many questions that arouse our curiosity. With every question, we learn something new. Questions are an essential part of everyday

Funny tongue twisters to learn French

If you wish to add laughter into your French schedule then tongue twisters are your best source. Prepare yourself to do the impossible with funny

Cool games to play with French

Say goodbye to your traditional methods of learning French and plunge into the francophone world through games. Games are the best pair to your learning.

Free websites to learn French online

Looking for some free French lessons to boost your learning process? We’ve got you covered! One of the most important things to learn a language

Learn French with Twitter

Twitter has always been a source of entertainment, a platform to share ideas and differences, and now it could also be a part of your