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One of the main differences between english and french is the conjugation of verbs. In english, for the present tense, the verb stays the same except for third person. e.g. I fly, you fly, he flies, we fly, they fly. Except for some cases, like the verb "to be". But in french, in most verbs, there are up to 6 different conjugations per each tense, each pronoun or grammatical person has its own modification of the verb. In this case we are conjugating the verb "to be" which is être. It goes like this:
Je suis (I am)
Tu es (You are)
il/elle est (he/she/it is)
Nous sommes (we are)
Vous êtes (you are)
ils/elles sont (they [masc.] / they [fem] are)
You see? They are all different, it's kinda hard to learn but we have to, there's not shortcut or way around this.
Here's some resources about french verbs that can help you in the future:
I was going through the link , http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/Introduction-To-French-Verbs.htm
Could you kindly tell me the difference between "tu parles" and "vous parlez"( both mean "U speak " in english) and also the difference between "il parle" and "ils parlent".
tu parles = (singular) you speak/ you are speaking . This one is informal, you use it with someone you know well, like family, close friends and S.O. The pronunciation, the final two letters, "es", are silent. So only "parl" is pronunced.
vouz parlez = (plural or singular) you speak/ you are speaking. This one is formal. You use it with people you don't know or people with whom you want to be polite, authorities, your boss, your teacher, etc. If you use it as plural (to refer to multiple people) then there is no distinction of formality. Pronunciation, both "z" are silent, so you say "voo par lay".
Il parle/ils parlent sound the same spoken, the difference is in the context and it's the same as the example above, first one is singular (he speaks) and the second one is plural (they speak) but this time there is no distinction of formality.
Yes, it matters. A similar error in English would be like saying "she are" or "you is".
- Je suis = I am
- Tu es = you are (singular, familiar)
- Il/elle est = he/she is
- Nous sommes = we are
- Vous êtes = you are (singular/polite -or- plural, regardless of familiarity)
- Ils/elles sont = they are
There is no good answer to your question of why a certain noun is feminine or why it is masculine. It hails back to the early history of language development, in this case apple was feminine in Latin and French has developed from Latin. But why was it feminine in Latin? Or why has not all Latin language decendants the same gender for the same nouns? You just end upp with a new version of your first question.
The important thing to learn in order to be able to speak and write French is that each noun is either masculine or feminine, and each gender has to be learnt together with the noun: une pomme=an apple, un livre=a book, une femme=a woman, un homme=a man.