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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tarakath

Common Native Grammatical Errors

I am going to school in France for a month this summer to be fully immersed in the language. :) I was wondering if any native speakers know of any grammatical errors that are commonplace in everyday speech that may confuse someone unfamiliar with the language. I know in English we often say things like "me and my friend", instead of "my friend and I" or misuse adverbs and a million other things that I can't think of right now, and I'm sure there are some in French, too. Also, if you know of any idiomatic phrases that Duolingo didn't teach, that would be very helpful as well. Merci Beaucoup! :)

June 6, 2015

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/noonook-nooky

Most French forget to use the double negation a lot, for instance "je (ne) comprends pas". Mostly because it is not necessary to the understanding of the negation.

We are going to mispronounce a lot of consonants as well ( s become z, j become ch and vice versa). It is even more obvious in the North. In the south they confuse a lot the sounds of o (rose and nord for instance have normally 2 different sounds for the "o") and the accents er/é and ai/è (normally pronounced differently, but in the south west they are all equal).

One you will hear quite often is the "j'ai été " to say "j'y suis allé"

Most people have problems with the use of the subjunctives (and actually we do not understand why French teachers are so uptight on them, in an everyday conversation in most cases we skip the past subjunctives, because let's be honest, WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO CONJUGATE THEM:)

On a side note, it is also valid for writing down the verbs. Since half the consonants are mute, it is a major pain in the a** to remember how to end some tenses... Especially with verbs of the 2nd and 3rd group.

They are a lot more, but as a French speaker, I can't think outside the box :D

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tarakath

Haha thanks so much, this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/noonook-nooky

My pleasure ;)

We also use "on" for "nous" a lot. Not exactly a mistake, but a common place.

And as Jeu2main says bellow, we use a lot of contractions: je suis becomes chuis, ...

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hdcanis

Been reading a bunch of comics (BD) in French, some which use colloquial French, and in those dropping the "ne" in negatives seems very common, that's the most obvious thing with syntax. (and that contraction "j'sais" "j'vois" mentioned elsewhere is fairly popular too. Otherwise I haven't spotted anything really common in syntax, some looseness in spelling/pronounciation of course.

And glad to know about subjunctives, that natives have issues with them too :)

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jewulz

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA5UIoabheFMYWWnGFFxl8_nvVZWZSykc

I really like watching the Easy French videos. It's a bit hard for me to understand because they speak very fast, but they captioned it in English and in French. It's a great way to learn their pronunciation informal speech patterns! Here's some other links that will benefit you!!

http://ouiinfrance.com/2013/07/25/the-strange-noises-french-people-make/

http://frenchcrazy.com/2014/11/25-french-expressions-and-slang-you.html/

http://ielanguages.com/frenchslang.html

http://www.thelocal.fr/galleries/lifestyle/ten_rudest_mistakes_to_make_in_french

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tarakath

Thank you! I will look at all of these!

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

In addition to noonook-nooky's comment about common mistales: one very classical one is to use subjonctive after après que (probably due to a confusion with the construction with avant que):

  • WRONG (but heard a lot): Je suis venu(e) après qu'il soit parti.
  • CORRECT: Je suis venu(e) après qu'il est parti.
June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/quirkyowl

These you tube videos explain some commonly used French idioms: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFjbBR3UHcAIBuSyB7HAQsl0rspnKZNQm

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

Excellent question.

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeu2main

donner un coup de main/to give a hand-means to help... ex: merci pour le coup de main- Thanks for the help/ laisser tomber/to drop-means to give up... ex:le français c'est trop dur, je laisse tomber/ French is too difficult, I drop it/ mettre sa main au feu-to put one's hand in the fire means to be almost sure about something ex: elle ment, J'en mettrais ma main au feu/ she lies, I'll put my hand in the fire

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tarakath

Thanks for the help!

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeu2main

if I speak french at a normal pace, you will hear this- j'n'sais pas , chtrouve pas, j'l'frais pas, ça'n fais rien......

June 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

I'm not a native French speaker, but je ne sais pas often sounds like chez pas to me when said quickly. The first three words all slur together.

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Note: What's happening is the following:

  1. In colloquial French, we tend to omit the ne.
    => Je ne sais pas. -> Je sais pas.
    => Je ne vois rien. -> Je vois rien.
  2. In even more colloquial French, we tend to change je in j' before all verbs.
    => Je sais. -> J'sais.
    => Je vois. -> J'vois.

Thus combining both "effects":

  • Je ne sais pas -> Je sais pas. -> J'sais pas.
  • Je ne vois rien -> Je vois rien. -> J'vois rien.

And the j'sais said quickly sounds like chez and is then pronounced like it... in (very) colloquial FR.

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

Bonne explication. Merci beaucoup.

June 7, 2015
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