Common mistakes to avoid as you learn French

Should we simply add an ‘e’?

A widely believed misconception is to think that every masculine noun simply requires an added ‘e’ at the end of the word to become the feminine version.

This is true in many cases with words such as the following:

un voisin ➤ une voisine (neighbour)

un cousin ➤ une cousine (cousin)

un ami ➤ une amie (friend)

However there are numerous different endings used for this purpose. Here are some typical examples: 

un Canadien ➤ une Canadienne (a Canadian)

un acteur ➤ une actrice (you’ll know this one)

un boulanger ➤ une boulangère (baker)

un chat ➤ une chatte (cat)

le voleur ➤ la voleuse (thief)

le jumeau ➤ la jumelle (twin)

Learn French to include the word ‘the’ when naming countries.

In English we can say, I like Italy or they plan to visit China. In French when referring to the name of a country the definite article (the) must be used:

Nous aimons le Portugal. (We like Portugal)

Les étudiants ont visité la France. (The students visted France)

This rule also applies to states, continents, regions, mountains, oceans and rivers as well as the points of the compass:

J’aime l’Amérique (I like America)

Elle a vu la montagne Pelée (She saw Mount Pelée)

In a French course you would learn the following:

Express habitual actions on a particular day of the week by using ‘the’ (definite article). Be careful of direct translation from English to French. In English we say, on Mondays or on Saturdays whereas in French the equivalent is expressed with the use of le (the). The French word sur (on) would be a huge mistake if used in this way.

Here are some examples:

Le mardi elle joue au tennis. (On Tuesdays she plays tennis)

Le dimanche on déjeune à midi. (On Sundays we have lunch at noon)

These are just a few of many possible slips when learning French. I hope you have gained something by reading this blog. Au revoir.