A short introduction to French grammar for people who have never studied grammar before. Part 3.

Level A1.1 / A1

Reference of the lesson: GR492-NJ22/c

 


Do you remember Albert, the person who was planting potatoes in his garden to make some homemade soup with them? If not, you can read part 1 and part 2 of this grammar lesson here.


Let's see what Albert is doing today. In fact, he is still planting his vegetables...

Last time, I wrote all the complements in pink, whatever the type of complement. 

This time, I will use different colours to make the distinction between the different complements. 

I will also tell you the French barbaric names of these complements. I am sure you can't wait to know them ūüėĀ).



Il plante. 

"Il" is the subject, and "plante" is the verb.



Now let's add more information to the very short sentence above.


Il plante [des pommes de terre].

or

Il plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes].

             Albert grows many other vegetables in his garden as you can see.




You can add more information in this sentence if you wish:

Il plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [dans son jardin].


Il plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [dans son jardin] [tous les matins].



What does he plant? Potatoes and carots.

Where does he plant them? In his garden.

When does he plant them? Every morning.



Complements that answer the question: "what?" are called COD. It means "Compl√©ment d'Objet Direct". Just call them "COD", the letters of the alphabet. It is pronounced:   [se  o  de] (transcription in international phonetic alphabet).



Complements that answer the question: "where" are called "Compl√©ment Circonstanciel de Lieu". 

"Lieu" (masculine: un lieu) means "place".



Complements that answer the question: "when" are called "Compl√©ment Circonstanciel de Temps". 

"Temps" (masculine: le temps) means "time".



You have plenty of "compl√©ments circonstanciels". 

Shall we carry on adding more information to the sentence above?



Il plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [dans son jardin] [tous les matins] [avec son fr√®re] [pour faire de la soupe].



With whom does he plant them? With his brother.

For what reason does he plant them? To make some soup.



Complements that answer the question: "with whom?" are called "Compl√©ment Circonstanciel d'Accompagnement". 

"Accompagnement" refers to "who you are with".



Complements that answer the questions: "for what reason?" or "with what objective?" are called "Compl√©ment Circonstanciel de But". 

"But" (masculine: un but. Also, you pronounce the "t" at the end of the word.) means "objective", "goal".




There are some other "Compléments circonstanciels" but we will not talk about them in this lesson.



As you can add a "complément circonstanciel" in a sentence, which is what we have done in this lesson, you can also suppress it. That is logical.

You can also move those complements in the sentence, look:

This sentence...
Il plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [dans son jardin] [tous les matins] [avec son fr√®re] [pour faire de la soupe].

...becomes this one:
[Tous les matins][dans son jardin], Albert plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [avec son fr√®re] [pour faire de la soupe].



Be careful when moving your "compléments circonstanciels" around, as it can change the meaning of the whole sentence.

Example:

1) [Tous les matins][dans son jardin], Albert plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [avec son fr√®re] [pour faire de la soupe].

2) [Tous les matins][dans son jardin], Albert plante [des pommes de terre et des carottes] [pour faire de la soupe] [avec son fr√®re].



Do you see the difference of meaning?

- In the first sentence, he is doing some gardening with his brother. (Albert is planting potatoes with his brother to make some soup).

- In the second sentence, he is making some soup with his brother (in other words he might be doing the gardening by himself).
(Albert is planting potatoes to make some soup with his brother).






You can not suppress the COD, otherwise there is a crucial information missing.

[Tous les matins][dans son jardin], Albert plante [avec son fr√®re] [pour faire de la soupe].

People will then ask you: "What is Albert planting?". 
There is some information missing, so the sentence does not really make any sense.



Normally, you can't really move the COD. People would understand you but it would sound very weird. However, you can move it in certain circumstances, in a poem for example. 

Nobody would say in everyday language: 
"Des carottes Albert plante."
as the COD is logically expected after the verb, but, as you know, everything (or nearly everything) is allowed in poetry.

Des carottes Albert plante 
Avec sa tante
Tous les matins
Dans son jardin.


On the contrary, you would never say, and according to me not even in a poem:
Albert des carottes plante.



Shall we do a few games and exercises?






Scan the QR code below to do the exercise on your telephone or click on the image to do it on your computer.




Reference of the lesson: GR492-NJ22/c







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