How to fill your learning gaps in French?


You’ve studied French for a while. At the beginning, you understood grammar quite easily and you even had pleasure hearing your voice enunciating the beautiful French sounds. But classes slowly became more and more difficult and you began to notice that you’re having some learning gaps.

Having learning gaps is never a good feeling. Indeed, you understand a good part of the classes but the things that you don’t understand always come back and spoil your pleasure. Some students even give up because they think that they will never understand some grammar points or other elements, which are so much different from the ones in their native language. But giving up is a failure. So how is it possible not to remain stuck in your learning of the French language?

First, make a list of your main difficulties: passé composé versus imparfait, for instance… By being able to point your linguistic learning gaps, you have already done 50% of the job to resolve your problems.

Second, speak to your teacher about them. He / she may be able to integrate reviews in the program. Don’t be afraid of expressing yourself, your difficulties are certainly the one’s of most of the other students. If all your difficulties can’t be integrated in the program, ask your teacher to guide you in the resources you can use.

If you study French on your own, vary your sources and do exercises which are corrected online. The more you practice, the more you will have a chance of understanding the linguistic element.

If one day, you spend one hour doing exercises and you still don’t understand. Keep calm. Think of something else and relax. You will understand another day.

Reading in French and being careful with the linguistic elements can help you understand grammar in an authentic context. It may click when you expect it the least.

Consequently, if you have some learning gaps which spoil the pleasure of your learning, DO NOT GIVE UP! Take the bull by the horns and face your difficulties instead of fleeing them. Understanding some linguistic concepts can take time, but they are just a little part of the subject. Carry on being in contact with the French language, vary your sources, practice as much as you can and eventually, you will be able to fill your learning gaps. And if you really feel stuck, your teacher will help you.  Never keep your difficulties to yourself, there is always a solution.


How to manage your time to work on your French between classes?

When you began French classes, you were enthusiastic. You spent time to read your vocabulary out loud and do your exercises. Time flew by and you began to spend less and less time on your French between classes. One day, you realized that the French class was particularly difficult and you began to think of giving up. You think you’re too busy to continue. You have your work, your family and other activities…




Stop thinking in this way. It’s the trap where most of the language students fall but YOU are different. You love the French language so you should find time to catch up and work on your lessons between the classes.

It’s important to know that most students think of giving up from time to time but it doesn’t mean that they really do it. It’s not by giving up that you will find satisfaction and reach your linguistic goals to make your dreams come true.

First, take your calendar and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What time am I most available to study?
  • What day could I study?

You just need to find one hour or two per week. The time that you need must be estimated according to your level and the amount you have to catch up.

To be really efficient, two separate hours are better. You study and learn a first time during the first hour and you check what you memorized and reinforce your learning during the second hour.

To make this study moment attractive, you can organize a setting for your French studies:

  • French music as a background (not too loud, of course)
  • If you study in the morning, bake some frozen croissants and drink a good coffee while studying.
  • If you study in the evening, drink a glass of French wine (only one!) while you’re studying.

If other people in your group have problems to be motivated, get together once a week in a café or at somebody’s place to study together and help each other.

Don’t hesitate to speak about your problems with your teacher, he / she will guide you and help you get caught up and find pleasure in French again. It’s the job of a teacher to give you tips and organize his/ her class to review vocabulary and grammar. If you have problems, other students probably have problems too. Consequently, by speaking about your concerns, you can help other people!

Don’t think more, go to the supermarket and buy croissants and wine. Enjoy your French moments alone or with some other students from your group!


If you read this article until the end, you may be interested in this one:

Why is it necessary to practice your French outside a classroom?

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Reading in French : Why and how ?

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Reading a book or an article in French is a big plus to improve your linguistic skills.

You will learn new vocabulary, discover French-speaking cultures by enjoying 100% because you choose your reading.

The more in contact with the French language you are, the more your written comprehension will improve.

The first articles or books that you’re going to read may be difficult but don’t be discouraged. You can begin by articles or books which are especially written for foreigners who have your linguistic level: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.

You can evaluate your level thanks to this official document created by the Council of Europe:

Chart to check your level

You need to be a little organized when you read in a foreign language:

  • Highlight the recurrent words which appear in your reading and look them up in a dictionary to be sure to understand the plot. But don’t use the dictionary for every single word. It will spoil your pleasure. Search for the most important words only.
  • Write the words you find in a notebook to begin a vocabulary list that you will be able to read and memorize.
  • Take into account the context. If you don’t understand a word, being logical can help a lot.
  • Transparent words (words which are similar in English and in French) can help you too.
  • Be wary of false friends.

Here is a list of some false friends to have in mind:

Words in French Translation into English Don’t mistake with
Actuellement Currently Actually = en fait (en français)


Paperwork Administration = gouvernement (en français)
Une cave cellar Cave = grotte (en français)
Un caractère


personality Character : Personnage (d’un roman, par exemple)
Un collège


Secondary school (the first four years) College = université (en français)
Un commercial


businessman Commercial = publicité à la télévision (en français)
Des fournitures


supplies A piece of furniture = meuble (en français)
Issue Way-out Issue = problème à traiter (en français)
Une librairie


Bookshop Library= bibliothèque (en français)


To sum up To resume = reprendre (en français)


sensitive Sensible = sensé (en français)
Demander quelque chose


To ask for something To demand = exiger (en français)
La concurrence


competition Concurrence= simultanéité (en français)

Reading a long book in French may not be the most motivating to begin with that’s why press articles about subjects which are interesting for you can be a solution. The advantage of articles is that they are short but rich and they deal with society. For instance, if you read articles about French society issues, you will find the most interesting vocabulary to interact with native speakers and have interesting conversations.

Bilingual books can be a good idea too, but you need to be self-disciplined. Don’t be tempted to read the pages in your native language only !

Specialized magazines or websites such as can provide articles written for foreigners. You will discover the centers of interest of the French-speakers and you will find the most difficult vocabulary explained at the bottom of the article in French or in English.

Reading in French can be a real pleasure as long as you choose the right texts for yourself and your needs. It’s important to include this activity in your schedule. Regularity is a strength when you learn a foreign language.

How to be more comfortable when you speak French?


Speaking is the most difficult skill when you learn a foreign language. Indeed, you need to mobilize all your linguistic and cultural knowledge quickly to be able to communicate what you want.

Language students are often frustrated during this phase because they cannot express themselves as comfortably as they wished.

Here are some pieces of advice to improve your speaking skills in French :


  • Think in French. Don’t try to translate the message word by word from your native language.
  • Simplify your ideas and use the vocabulary that you know.
  • If you don’t know a word in French, you can give its definition or you can directly ask the person to whom you’re speaking to help you find / learn the right word.
  • Try to speak in French whatever happens, never speak English ! As English is a lingua franca, people will try to practice with you but be strong, you need to practice your foreign language too !
  • Try to apply the grammar you know. For example, think of using the right tense when you can identify that it’s the right context to use it.
  • Don’t panic. Be the master of your speech. Take the time you need to express yourself in a clear way.
  • Listen to yourself and if you notice a big mistake, don’t hesitate to correct yourself. Say “pardon” and say your sentence again. Correcting yourself is not a sign of weakness but proof that the quality of your speech matters. If you need two attempts to succeed in saying a clear sentence, don’t worry. Native speakers hesitate and make mistakes when they speak too. The brain is not always perfect.
  • Seize all the opportunities to speak in French. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you will be.
  • Analyze the situation of communication before using “tu” or “vous” or some slang.
  • If you don’t understand the other person immediately, say “pouvez-vous répéter lentement, s’il vous plaît?”
  • Accept the corrections from the native speakers. They will help you in the future.
  • If one day, you meet a person who does not have the patience to speak with you because you make some mistakes and you’re not quick enough, change interlocutors, this person is not worth it and has certainly never practiced any foreign language.


Be self-confident. You have a superior position because you are the one making effort by speaking a foreign language. Everybody will appreciate your effort, even if it’s not perfect.

Don’t be discouraged. Speaking a foreign language is not easy but your efforts will be rewarded one day. You will be proud of yourself. Being able to speak a foreign language will allow you to live magical times and live experiences that you wouldn’t have had by speaking your native language only.

How to write a text in French when you’re a beginner?


A lot of beginners think that writing a text in French is difficult.

Here are some pieces of advice to feel more comfortable when you have to write a text in French :

  • First, think in French. Forget your mother tongue. During this exercise, your native language is source of interference and mistakes.
  • Before writing, you should know what to write. Consequently, thinking of the content of your text is essential. Work with drafts and use as many sheets as you need. Make a brainstorming and write your ideas using short sentences or keywords in French.
  • Then, organize your ideas. Your development can be chronological or thematic. Your choice will depend on the type of subject you have to develop.
  • Begin to write your text.
  • Simplify your ideas, use the vocabulary that you know and think of mobilizing your knowledge in grammar.
  • In order to write a coherent text, use linking words : tout d’abord, ensuite, puis, finalement…
  • If you don’t know a word in French, it’s not the end of the world. Try to give a definition of this word. Look it up in the dictionary only when you really can’t find another way of expressing yourself.
  • When you use a dictionary, try to read all the suggestions to choose the right context. Avoid automatic translators, they often choose the context for you and the result is often mediocre.
  • When you have finished writing your text, take the time to read it two or three times. Question yourself about the use of the tenses, the prepositions, the order of the words in your sentences… You will be surprised by the number of mistakes you can avoid just by reading your text again.

After the writing, you can be proud of yourself because you were able to think and write in a foreign language. Bravo!

Ecrire un texte structuré


Quand on vous demande de développer un sujet lors d’un examen de langue ou autres, il est impératif de suivre quelques règles de rédaction pour faire un texte cohérent, convaincant et de qualité pour votre / vos lecteur(s).

Dans un premier temps, il est conseillé de bien lire la question posée pour éviter un hors-sujet. Souligner les mots-clés et les verbes peut vous aider à mieux comprendre ce qui vous est demandé.

Un texte structuré est composé d’une introduction, de deux ou trois grandes parties développées et d’une conclusion.

la longueur de chaque étape dépend de la longueur imposée.


L’introduction :

Il y a 3 étapes à suivre:

  • Annoncer le sujet en le situant dans un contexte général.

De nos jours, ….

  • Annoncer la problématique c’est à dire la question à laquelle vous allez répondre tout au long de votre rédaction. Vous pouvez poser directement la question ou vous pouvez utiliser: “On pourrait se demander…”
  • Annoncer le plan. Celui-ci est généralement composé de deux ou trois parties développées. Chaque partie représente un argument principal.

L’introduction est cruciale parce qu’elle donne la première impression au lecteur.


Le développement:

Il est composé de deux ou trois grandes parties. Il est nécessaire de voir une progression dans votre réflexion. Commencez par l’argument le moins important Le plus général et finissez par l’argument qui a le plus de poids pour tenir votre lecteur en haleine.

Il existe différents types de plans:

  • le plan: thèse / antithèse / synthèse
  • Le plan thématique (du thème le plus général au thème le plus particulier)

Vous pouvez écrire jusqu’à deux ou trois sous-parties par grande partie. Chacune d’entre elles doit être illustrées par un ou des exemples concrets ou des références littéraires ou cinématographiques.

Vos idées doivent être pertinentes, claires et convaincantes.

Chaque partie est suivie d’une brève transition qui guide le lecteur vers la partie suivante.

La présentation est essentielle donc chaque partie doit bien être séparée de la suivante.


La conclusion :

La conclusion est l’aboutissement de votre réflexion. C’est le moment de répondre directement à la problématique posée dans l’introduction. Pour finir, vous pouvez poser une autre question pour inviter le lecteur à prolonger sa réflexion.


La relecture:

Relire plusieurs fois est fondamental. Vérifiez bien l’ordre des mots dans chaque phrase, évitez les répétitions et vérifiez l’orthographe et la grammaire.

Si vous passez un examen écrit pendant lequel vous devez écrire à la main, pensez à demander autant de feuilles que nécessaire et utilisez un stylo que l’on peut effacer.


Les points à vérifier:

  • La rédaction du point de vue est bien argumenté et cohérent dans sa construction.
  • Votre texte répond bien à la question posée dans l’introduction (la problématique)
  • Les différentes étapes expliquées ci-dessus ont bien été respectées.
  • Vous avez choisi des exemples et des références adaptés et précis.
  • Vous avez utilisé des mots de liaison.
  • La présentation est claire verbalement et sur le papier. Le lecteur doit vraiment bien comprendre chaque étape de votre réflexion. Il doit être capable de le faire rien qu’en voyant la présentation de votre travail.
  • Vous avez respecté la longueur imposée.

Ce qu’il faut éviter:

  • Une réponse sans composition ni progression
  • Une réponse sans prise de position
  • Un texte trop court / trop long.
  • Le hors-sujet


Réflexes à avoir lors d’un examen écrit :

Comme le temps est compté, il est important de bien le gérer.

Quand vous avez compris le sujet, faites une “feuille de route” qui contient la structure de votre réflexion sur un recto de brouillon. Ecrivez des phrases courtes et des mots-clés. Ne rédigez pas la totalité de votre texte au brouillon, vous n’aurez pas le temps de le recopier au propre avant la fin de l’épreuve.

Voici un exemple de feuille de route:

Introduction :




1ère partie :

Transition :



2ème partie :

Conclusion :




Rappel sur les mots de liaison:

Les mots de liaison cours

Les erreurs récurrentes des Anglophones (2)

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Erreurs :


 Corrections :
C’est super que vous venez chez nous ! C’est super que vous veniez chez nous !

Il faut utiliser un subjonctif présent après les adjectifs subjectifs.

2ème janvier, je viens chez vous. Le 2 janvier, je viens chez vous.

« Le » précède toujours une date précise.

On n’utilise pas les nombres ordinaux pour les dates sauf pour le premier jour du mois = le 1er janvier (= le premier janvier).

A le matin Le matin

Pas de préposition avant le moment de la journée :

Le matin


Le soir

La nuit

J’aime meilleur  Je préfère
A les Etats-Unis Aux Etats-Unis
Surrealistique Surréaliste
Egoistique Egoïste
Il parle lent. Il parle lentement

Lent= un adjectif

Lentement = un adverbe placé après le verbe.

Vous voulez voir d’autres erreurs?

Quelques erreurs de français faites par les Anglophones

Quelques erreurs de français faites par les Anglophones



Les Anglophones font des erreurs spécifiques parce qu’ils sont influencés par leur langue natale. Cette phase de d’interférence avec la langue maternelle est tout à fait normale dans l’apprentissage d’une langue étrangère. L’erreur est humaine et permet de progresser. Les corrections d’erreur suivantes vont vous permettre d’être plus vigilants et d’améliorer la qualité de votre français.



Erreurs récurrentes :


 Corrections :

De le

« De le » n’existe pas en français, il faut absolument faire la contraction. Donc « de le » devient du.




Exemple correct : Je viens du supermarché.

A le

« A le » n’existe pas en français, il faut absolument faire la contraction. Donc « à le » devient au.




Exemple correct : Je vais au cinéma.

Le premier temps (pour dire the first time)


Exemple faux : Le premier temps que j’ai rencontré le Président.

Cette traduction de « the first time » est trop littérale. Il faut utiliser la première fois.


La première fois


Exemple correct : La première fois que j’ai rencontré le Président.



Je suis confortable


Je suis confortable au travail.


Une personne ne peut pas être confortable dans une situation. Mais un objet comme un canapé, un lit peuvent être confortables.


Une personne est à l’aise dans une situation.


Je suis à l’aise.


Exemple correct : Je suis à l’aise au travail.

Une classe


Cette traduction est trop directe. En français, une classe est un groupe d’étudiants.

Un cours


Exemple correct : Je prends des cours de français.


Pour 5 ans


Cette traduction est trop directe pour exprimer une durée limitée.


Pendant 5 ans.


Exemple correct : J’ai travaillé pour cette entreprise pendant 5 ans.


Quand je suis vieux,…


En anglais, on ne peut pas utiliser le futur dans une proposition qui commence à « when », mais on peut utiliser le futur après « quand » en français.


Quand je serai vieux, …


Exemple correct : Quand je serai vieux, mes petits enfants viendront jouer à la maison.

Depuis j’ai 20 ans, …


Cette traduction est trop directe et littérale. On doit utiliser « que » après depuis parce que c’est le début d’une nouvelle proposition (avec un sujet, un verbe…)


Depuis que j’ai 20 ans, …


Exemple correct : Depuis que j’ai 20 ans, je ne fume plus.

Dans la photo


La traduction in the picture est trop littérale.


Sur la photo


Exemple correct : Sur la photo, je peux voir une femme habillée en blanc.


Quelque chose beau


C’est la traduction directe de something beautiful. Mais en français, il faut ajouter « de » entre quelque chose et l’adjectif.


Quelque chose de beau


Exemple correct : Il a acheté quelque chose de beau.

Peut-être, il a raison


C’est la traduction directe de  Maybe he’s right . Mais comme c’est le début d’une nouvelle proposition avec un sujet et un verbe donc il faut ajouter « que » après peut-être.


Exemple correct : Peut-être qu’il a raison



Quand j’étais 13, …


C’est la traduction directe de when I was 13. Mais en français, il faut utiliser « avoir » pour exprimer l’âge et il faut obligatoirement mettre « ans » après l’âge.


Exemple correct : Quand j’avais 13 ans, je jouais au football.


Why should Americans learn French?

Paris en noir et blanc


If you’re American and you still wonder why you should learn to speak French, what follows is for you.


Be different and arouse admiration:

English, as it’s a language that the whole planet learns, is not a rare skill on the market. It’s hard time to make the difference with most of the English-speakers and show to the rest of the world that you, as an American, you also made efforts to learn a foreign language.


A superpower!


Speaking another language is a wonderful skill. You can add it to your resume and it’s like having a superpower! Indeed, you can communicate with a big part of the population in the world and by 2050, French will be the second most spoken language in the world. And thanks to French, you will increase your employability.


You’ll sound and look sexy!


French is the language of love, everybody knows that! As French is a beautiful language, you’ll look sexy when you speak it. And you may find Love, French-speakers love the American accent!



More culture!

You’ll be able to enjoy French-speaking movies, books and newspapers …


You will acquire many new skills and not only linguistic and cultural ones!


By learning French and by discovering the cultures from the French-speaking countries, your brain will begin to work in a different way and you will develop the following new skills:


  • You’ll be more open-minded.
  • You’ll be able to adapt to any unknown situation more easily.
  • You’ll be able to live in unfamiliar environments while being more comfortable.
  • Your writing and speaking skills will become better.
  • You’ll be more aware of your language and of your own culture.
  • You’ll be able to analyze and evaluate in a more relevant way.
  • You will understand many disciplines more easily.
  • You’ll be more comfortable with people who have a different culture than yours.
  • You’ll be more curious about the other cultures and the other languages.
  • You’ll feel almost at home in many countries: French is spoken on all the continents.
  • You’ll understand international relations better because learning a language is also learning a culture, a different way of thinking.
  • Learning French is an excellent exercise for your memory.


Traveling easily to many countries in the world and feeling at home everywhere!

In this map, you can see the French-speaking countries of the world.




French is spoken in many interesting countries such as Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, Senegal, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia and many other countries in Africa.

France is an awesome country!

Paris will always be Paris! But the whole country is interesting from a cultural point of view. Besides, the French landscapes are various and wonderful: The Alps, the French Riviera, the West coast…

La plage du Pouldu en Bretagne.

Le Pouldu, in Britany.

French food is delicious. French wine is great. French fashion is famous all over the world and the best perfumes are from France.


What can French bring you from a professional point of view?


Being able to speak another language always looks good on a resume. You will stand out from other Americans who don’t have this skill. As French is spoken in many territories on the planet, you’ll be able to do business with more countries easily. Moreover, the French-speaking countries located in Europe are quite successful economically (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Monaco), so maybe it’s time to think about doing business with them or expanding your company. Besides, Canada is a bilingual neighbor country.

Many international companies are trying to hire people who have the skills mentioned above and being able to speak French may allow you to have a better salary.

If you don’t have any BA in a foreign language, you can take very affordable tests called DELF and DALF to validate your level of French. Each test allows you to have a diploma which will be valid for the rest of your life and that you can put in your resume.

This is a short list of examples of jobs that you can have thanks to a degree in French and you will see that French teacher is not the only job opportunity you can have:

  • Bilingual client care representative
  • International business consultant
  • Bilingual tour consultant
  • Book review editor
  • French teacher
  • Language assessor
  • Diplomat. French is the language of diplomacy 😉
  • Lawyer
  • Proofreader
  • Publisher
  • Translator
  • Travel agent
  • University professor
  • Writer
  • Technical writer
  • Journalist
  • Foreign exchange trader
  • Game tester…

And being able to speak French is always a plus in any career.


You already know so many French words! 

Due to the fact that England had French Kings many centuries ago, many French words are still in the English language. You certainly use them every day, so a big part of the job is already done!

You will be able to learn Spanish and the other latin languages more easily.

There are many similarities between the latin languages.

French is an important language in the world.

French is the language of culture, diplomacy, a very important language in the EU and the number of French-speakers is growing in a very impressive way. Besides, it’s the fourth language on the Internet.

If you speak French well enough, you can study in a French university and have a wonderful experience abroad saving money!

Studying in France is much cheaper than studying in any American university.

You will become a better person

Learning a foreign language is the doorway to open-mindedness, tolerance, empathy and wisdom.

So, when will YOU start learning French?




Why is it necessary to practice your French outside a classroom?


 Learning a new language is a great idea but it’s fundamental to reinforce your learning by speaking the foreign language you’re studying in real life. Simply, because your ultimate goal is to be able to speak with native speakers and not only with your teacher or your classmates.

Of course, you cannot have long conversations with native speakers immediately after your first classes. But when you master some basics, first, try to live the situations that you saw in your textbook. For instance, go to a French café and order in French. When you feel more comfortable, go to French-speaking events in your city. And when you’re on holiday in a French-speaking country, speak as much as you can.


If the former lines didn’t convince you, here are some other reasons why you should speak French in real life:

  • It’s time to practice all the theory you took time to learn.
  • It’s time to have a return on investment.
  • You will learn new useful words and expressions in real situations: idiomatic expressions, slang, etc.
  • You will discover a new culture and culture definitely goes with the learning of a foreign language.
  • The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be when you speak French.
  • You need to speak not to forget and not to lose your fluency.
  • It’s by making mistakes that we learn new things.


Are you still afraid of practicing French outside a classroom?

  • Be self-confident even if your French is not perfect. Take the time to be as clear as possible when you communicate. Consider a successful communication as a victory, simply because it is one.
  • Don’t feel bad if your French is not good. Whatever happens, you will always be in a stronger position, because you are the person who’s making efforts to speak a foreign language.
  • Ask the person with whom you speak to repeat when you have not understood everything the first time. You can even ask him / her to make a definition of a word or find a synonym if you don’t understand the words that he / she used.
  • Don’t be shy and don’t be ashamed when you speak. Being imperfect has never killed anybody!

If one day you meet a person who does want to take the time to speak with you because you’re too slow or you make too many mistakes according to him/ her. Do not be bothered too much. This person was not be worth speaking to anyway! Your next experience will inevitably be better!

It is fundamental to practice your French in real life. Not only will you become more fluent but you will live magical experiences which can change your life!

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