As I continue to explore the unit on Locations, I have two important topics to discuss today: giving and asking for directions, and using the verbs voir and devoir.
Asking For Directions
It’s extremely important that when you visit a foreign-language country, you either know how to get around, or how to ask for directions. If you ever forget how to ask for directions, though, you can always resort to le plan.
Here are a few useful phrases:
Excuse me, sir/ma’am… = Excusez-moi / Pardon, monsieur / madame…
For example, in order to ask a man where the bank is, you might say:
Excusez-moi monsieur, où est la banque?
I’m looking for… = Je cherche…
The phrase above uses the verb chercher in the je form. You can conjugate this (as a regular -er verb) depending on the pronoun, as in the sentence Nous cherchons la pharmacie.
Do you know where I’d find… = Savez-vous où se trouve/où est…
You might say… Savez-vous où se trouve le marché?
Can you tell me where there’s… = Est-ce que vous pouvez me dire où il y a…
Remember, il y a means there is/are. You might say… Est-ce que nous pouvez me dire où il y a l’ecole? (Do you know where there is the school?)
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When someone asks you directions, it’s also important to know how to respond. Here are some helpful phrases:
Prenez… = Take…
Prenez is very helpful when referring to street names, such as saying Prenez Vert Boulevard. (When we give commands, we often use a verb in it’s conjugated form [in this case vous] but without the actual pronoun, like that example)
À gauche = on the left
Both à gauche and à droite (below) can also be preluded by a verb, such as prenez à gauche.
À droite = on the right
Same idea as with à gauche.
Continuez jusqu’au / à la…
This refers to a lesson I don’t believe I’ve covered: au vs. à la, where au means to the, but when the verb is masculine. The opposite applies to à la. In this instance, you might reference specific landmarks around town, as well as street names.
Allez tout droit vers… = Go straight towards…
Again, another good one to use with landmarks and street names, though both of these can be used when speaking of places too.
Traversez… = cross…
Such as: traversez la rue, or traversez le pont. (Vocal words from around the town can be accessed here.
Tournez… = turn…
This is most commonly used when saying turn right or turn left.
À la prochaine / au prochaine… = At the next…
Same idea as with the à la and au. This is most commonly used with directions as well.
C’est là tout de suite sur votre gauche/droite. = It’s right there on your left/right.
This phrase, of course, is referring to the destination.
A few other things…
- To say “I am lost” you would say Je suis perdu(e). The e is only added on if you, specifically, are female.
- A common verb that you might want to use when giving directions is commencer, which means to start. Remember how to give commands!
The Verb Voir
One verb we recently learned in French Class is voir, and it is irregular (meaning that it has different conjugations than normal -ir verbs).
The verb voir means to see. Here is how you would conjugate it, along with a few example sentences:
- Je vois le marché.
- Elles voient la pharmacie.
- Tu vois le café.
- Il voit l’hôpital.
You should be able to decipher what each of those means…
The Verb Devoir
Despite looking similar, the verb devoir bears little resemblance to voir. In this case, it means to have to, as in I have to wash the dishes.
Here are the appropriate conjugations:
- Tu dois tondre la pelouse (You must mow the lawn)
- Je dois donner à manger le chien (I must feed the dog)
- On dois écrire une lettre (One must write a letter)
That’s it for today’s lesson, and also for French Connection itself until July. I’ll be releasing more details about my June posting break at the end of the month.
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