French Connection: Talking In Tense

French Connection

Hello! We actually had a shortened day yesterday due to snow, and therefore our midterms were split into two days: yesterday and today. See, the thing is, I wrote all of this yesterday. Well, today, but when you read it, it was yesterday. Confusing! I’m talking in the past tense when it is really the present tense, and everything I wrote yesterday is technically in the future tense- but it can’t be because now the future is today and yesterday’s today is- never mind. 😛

In today’s episode of French Connection, I wanted to discuss two things: how to say the word ‘some’ and how to speak in both the past tense and future tense.

Ah, the word some. “Some carrots”. “Some computers” “Some of a carrot”. All have the word ‘some’, but are completely different. What? 

See, in French, we have to remember that every noun has a gender, and that the quantity of the noun really matters. While in English, “some carrot”, “some computers” and “some cake” are all written the same, in French they mean different things. When we use the word “some” in french, we can either mean some of a noun (less than the whole) or some of a noun (plural, greater than the whole).

When we take a noun like a carrot, which is feminine, we can either say that we want some of a carrot or some carrots. The feminine form of the word some is de la. For example, the sentence I would like some carrot would be written as Je voudrais de la carotte. 

What about some carrots? I would like some carrots is written as Je voudrais des carrots. Des is the plural form of some- regardless of the gender of the noun, Des will always be used for a plural noun.

What about a masculine noun, like sandwich? The masculine form of the word is du. I would like some of a sandwich is written as Je voudrais du sandwich. To say some sandwiches, you would write des sandwiches. 

I have so much more to share, including talking in different tenses! Click “Continue Reading”.

Remember the verb avoir? I hope you do. Avoir means to have, and these are the appropriate conjugations:

Je: ai (To say I have, you write J’ai)

Tu: as

Il/Elle/On: a

Nous: avons

Vous: avez

Ils/Elles: ont

When you speak in the past tense, you need to first start with who you are talking about (je, nous, etc), the helping verb (in this case avoir) followed by the verb (such as etudier). For this lesson, I want to particularly focus on verbs that end in “er”. Take this sentence:

I studied for the math test.

We are talking about myself, so we use Je, followed by the appropriate avoir form (ai). Here is where the major change occurs: you remove the er ending and add é. This is how we would write the aforementioned sentence: (focus on the bold part)

J’ai etudié pour l’examen de maths.

What if I didn’t study (I did study, but let’s say I didn’t)? We would have to make the sentence negative. To do this, we use what my teacher calls a “ne-pas sandwich”. We place the “ne” in front of the helping verb and the “pas” after, like this:

I did not study for the math test.

Je n’ai pas etudié pour l’examen de maths.

Notice how one the Je and Ai are disconnected, you return Je to its normal form, instead of j’ai.

Future Tense

Remember: I have to continue my midterm tomorrow (today, written yesterday), so I do want to study more. To say that you are going to do something, you use the verb aller. The conjugations for aller are as follows:

Je vais

Tu vas

Il/Elle va

Nous allons

Vous allez

Ils/Elles vont

Future tense is much simpler than past tense: All you do is write “I am going to ___”.

I am going to study for the math test.

Je vais etudier pour l’examen de maths.

Here is something else to note: Once we already have a verb after the person, the verb following returns to its infinitive form. This is true for every sentence where two verbs follow each other.

You also use the ne and pas to make a future-tense sentence negative.

Please leave a comment with any questions: I will be happy to answer. In the meantime, click on the two Quizlet icons to access study sets based on this lesson:


Talking in Tenses


Du, De la, and Des

Thanks so much for reading! Wish me luck on my midterm!


9 thoughts on “French Connection: Talking In Tense

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