French Textbook

Collective numbers

Collective numbers are numbers used when dealing with an approximate number – higher than 7 – of items or when it’s a pack of items, such as a dozen eggs.

  • Most of French collective numbers are formed by adding -aine to the number itself.

--> vingt : une vingtaine (de) means about 20, or a pack of 20.


  • If the number itself ends with an -e, the -e is dropped

--> douze : une douzaine (de)

--> trente : une trentaine (de)


  • If the number ends with a -x, the -x becomes a –z

--> dix : une dizaine (de)


  • Big collective numbers work a bit differently. Don’t add –aine to the number, but rather un [number] de:

--> un millier (de), un million (de), un milliard (de)

--> a thousand (of), a million (of), a billion (of)


  • Note that before a noun, the preposition DE is added

--> une douzaine d’œufs: a dozen eggs


How to say “a person in her/his --ties”

  • un/e trentenaire -- a person in her/his thirties
  • un/e quarantenaire -- a person in her/his forties
  • un/e cinquantenaire or quinquagénaire -- a person in her/his fifties
  • un/e sexagénaire* -- a person in her/his sixties
  • un/e septuagénaire -- a person in her/his seventies
  • un/e octogénaire -- a person in her/his eighties
  • un/e nonagénaire -- a person in her/his nineties
  • un/e centenaire -- a person 100 years-old or older

* un soixantenaire est le soixantième anniversaire

Related: Buying Food . Chiffres, nombres ou numéro .

About Paris

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Quand Paris était romain. Lisez l'article.


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avoir une panne d'oreiller - to have a pillow breakdown - is to oversleep.


Une araignée is a ladle


une araignée is both a spider and a mesh/wire ladle


Fussy Verbs


Je m’attends à une année magnifique.

List of Fussy French Verbs - Liste de verbes français pointilleux

Knowing French verbs is no picnic. All along my teaching career, I’ve ran into a number of fussy verbs and I compiled them into this list. I hope you find if helpful.

50 verb list

 The list is long, so take it ‘petit à petit’, or use it as a reference.

  1. s’ agir de .... to be about, to be in question
  2.  aller .... to go
  3. s’en aller .... to go away
  4.  attendre ø .... to wait for
  5. s’ attendre à  .... to expect
  6.  chercher ø .... to look for
  7.  décider de + verbe .... to decide to + verb
  8. se décider à + verbe .... to make up your mind to + verb
  9. se décider pour + nom .... to make up your mind to + noun
  10.  demander ø .... to ask for
  11. se demander .... to wonder
  12.  dire qqch à qq1 .... to tell ø someone
  13.  écouter ø .... to listen to
  14.  faire .... to make, to do
  15. se faire à, s’y faire .... to get used to
  16. s’en faire .... to be worried
  17.  faire faire qqch .... to have sth done
  18.  faire mal à .... to hurt so., sth
  19. se ficher de, s’en ficher .... to not give a darn about (fam)
  20. se fier à qq1 .... to trust so.
  21. se foutre de, s’en foutre .... to not give a sh*t about (vulg)
  22.  jouer à .... to play a sport
  23.  jouer de .... to play an instrument
  24. se jouer de, s’en jouer .... to make fun of
  25.  manquer à qq1 .... to miss so, to be missed by
  26.  manquer de qqch .... to lack ø sth
  27.  occuper .... to occupy, to keep busy
  28. s’ occuper de, s’en occuper .... to take care of it
  29.  offrir à .... to give as a present, to offer ø
  30.  parler .... to speak, to talk
  31.  parler à  .... to talk to someone
  32.  parler de .... to talk about
  33.  penser .... to think, to reflect on
  34.  penser à  .... to think about
  35.  penser de .... to think of, to have an opinion about
  36.  réfléchir à .... to ponder ø, to think about
  37.  regarder ø .... to look at
  38.  rendre .... to vomit
  39. se rendre .... to surrender
  40. se rendre à + place .... to go to + place
  41. se rendre compte de .... to realize that
  42.  rendre qq1 + adjectif .... to make so. + adjective
  43.  rendre qqch. à qq1 .... to return sth to so.
  44.  téléphoner à .... to call someone
  45.  tenir .... to hold
  46. se tenir  .... to be (standing) at one place, to be held
  47.  tenir à .... to really want, to insist, to be eager/anxious to
  48.  tenir de .... to take after
  49.  venir  .... to come
  50. en venir à  .... to finally come to

French verbs may work differently in French than they do in English. For instance, the French verb doesn't carry a preposition whereas the English does, or vice-versa. Knowing if there is a preposition attached to the verb, and which one it is becomes particularly important when you deal with transitive verbs and object pronouns.

  • If the verb has no preposition, use ‘le/la/l’/les[1] as a pronoun.
  • If the verb has the preposition ‘à’, use ‘lui/leur,y[2]as a pronoun.
  • If the verb has the preposition ‘de’, use ‘en‘ as a pronoun.
On écoute ø les chansons. We’re listening to the songs. On les écoute.
Elle demande à Jean. She’s asking ø Jean. Elle lui demande.
Il a envie de manger une religieuse. He feels like ø eating a double-cream puff. Il en a envie.

In context

J’attends le bus. I’m waiting for the bus. Je l’attends.
Tu cherches la sortie? Are you looking for the exit? Tu la cherches ?
On écoute les chansons. We’re listening to the songs. On les écoute.
Elle demande à Jean. She’s asking Jean. Elle lui demande.
Il dit la vérité à ses parents. He tells his parents the truth. Il leur dit la vérité.
Nous avons envie d’une pomme. We really want an apple. Nous en avons envie.
Vous vous êtes rendu compte de la situation. You realized the situation. Vous vous en êtes rendu compte.
Ils répondent à la lettre. They’re answering the letter. Ils y répondent.
Elles se moquent de l’argent. They don’t take money seriously. Elles s’en moquent.
Je conduis France à l’école. I’m driving her to school. Je la conduis à l’école.

Ready to tackle a much longer list? My advice: go to the pâtisserie first and pick out your favorite cake to eat while studying, that will ease the pain.

[ø means that this verb doesn’t use a preposition – qq1 = quelqu’un = so = someone – qqch = quelque chose = sth = something – os = oneself]

Related: Verbs with/out prepositions - French Pronouns and Prepositions . Verbs and Prepositions flashcards and test .

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Strikes and Protests French terms

Strikes and Protests French terms


Strikes and Protests French terms - Grèves et Manifs en France - French terms about worker's claims and about the recession.

Find or search your word in this long list

France is in a full-on recession period. I compiled this list of words you might come across as you read a French paper or listen to the French news.

  1. authorities -- fp -- collectivités
  2. base salary -- m -- salaire de base
  3. benefits -- mp -- avantages sociaux
  4. blue-collar worker -- m/f -- ouvrier/ ouvrière
  5. compensation -- f -- indemnité, indemnisation
  6. compensatory time -- f -- RTT, Réduction du Temps de Travail
  7. conflict -- m -- conflit
  8. day / night shift -- f -- équipe de jour / de nuit
  9. delegation -- f -- délégation
  10. demand, claim -- f -- revendication
  11. employment agency -- f, m -- agence pour l'emploi, Pôle Emploi
  12. financial difficulty -- f -- difficulté financière
  13. job insecurity -- f -- précarité
  14. jobless -- m/f -- sans-emploi
  15. layoff -- m -- licenciement
  16. looking for a job -- f -- recherche d’un emploi
  17. march, protest -- f -- manif, manifestation
  18. minimum wage -- m -- SMIC, Salaire Minimum interprofessionnel de Croissance (used to be SMIG)
  19. overtime -- f -- heure supplémentaire
  20. paid leave, vacation -- m -- congé payé
  21. recession -- f -- récession, crise économique
  22. solidarity measures -- f -- action sociale
  23. staff reduction -- f -- compression de personnel
  24. strike -- f -- grève
  25. to protest, to march -- ø -- manifester
  26. unemployment -- m -- chômage
  27. union, trade union -- m -- syndicat
  28. vacancy (job) -- m -- poste vacant, poste à pourvoir
  29. welfare solidarity income -- m  -- RSA, Revenu de Solidarité Active
  30. white-collar worker -- m/f -- employé/e de bureau

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