How to make a French structured sentence ?
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Subscribers asked me How to structure a sentence in French ?
"I understand when someone speaks to me but I cannot answer with a correctly structured sentence".
Hello English speakers who want to Learn French 🙂 !
In this article I share with you
- How to structure a sentence in French
- To express yourself more clearly, to make yourself understood by the people with whom you speak.
The simplest sentence is structured in this way :
SUBJECT + VERB + COMPLEMENT
- The subject indicates who is being talked about in the sentence.
- The verb gives information on the subject (its state or the action it does).
- The complement gives details of the circumstances of the sentence.
A French structured sentence : The subject and the verb
To identify the subject and the verb in a sentence, you have to go through two steps.
- 1st example
Les fleurs de mon jardin sont blanches.→ The flowers in my garden are white.
Finding the verb
Step 1 : Find the verb (the word that designates an action or a state).
sont (the verb ETRE in the 3rd person of the plural) designates the state of the flowers :
Les fleurs sont blanches. → The flowers are white.
Les fleurs de mon jardin sont blanches. → The flowers in my garden are white.
Finding the subject
2nd step : Once I find the verb I can find the subject, I use the verb to find the subject.
I ask Who is/are ...? that I place in front of the verb : Who are white ?
The answer to this question is the subject.
Ce sont les fleurs de mon jardin qui sont blanches. → These are the flowers in my garden that are white.
les fleurs du jardin is the subject.
- 2nd example
Elles sont blanches. → They are white.
sont is the state verb.
Qui est-ce qui sont blanches ? → Who are white?
C’est Elles qui sont blanches → It's They who are white.
Elles is the subject.
- 3rd example
Nous jouons au tennis avec des amis. → We play tennis with friends.
Jouons (the verb JOUER in the first person of the plural) designates the action performed by the subject.
Qui est-ce qui jouons au tennis avec des amis ? → Who play tennis with friends ?
C’est Nous qui jouons au tennis avec des amis. → We play tennis with friends.
Nous is the subject.
A sentence can consist only of a subject and a verb.
But to enrich the meaning of the sentence we can add a complement.
A French structured sentence : the complement
The complement brings a precision to the sentence, it completes the sentence.
It brings new information to clarify the meaning of the sentence.
Marie mange. → Marie is eating.
A six heures, Marie mange au restaurant près de chez elle. → At six o'clock, Marie eats at the restaurant near her home.
The 1st sentence gives little information.
The 2nd sentence indicates the same information but with more details.
There are several types of complements :
- The direct object complement (DOC)
Le professeur distribue les copies. → The teacher distributes the copies.
Le professeur distribue QUOI ? – les copies. → The teacher distributes WHAT? - the copies.
les copies is the DOC
- The indirect object complement (IOC)
La petite fille joue avec sa mère. → The little girl plays with her mother.
La petite fille joue AVEC QUI ? – avec sa mère. → The little girl plays WITH WHO? - with his mother.
with her mother is the IOC
- You can find an IOC and a DOC in the same sentence
J’ai demandé à mon père la permission de sortir. → I asked my father for permission to go out.
à mon père is the IOC and la permission de sortir is the DOC
- The complement of place
Je marche sur la plage. → I'm walking on the beach.
Je marche OÙ ? – sur la plage. → I’m walking WHERE? - on the beach.
sur la plage is the complement of place
- The complement of time
Il pleut, aujourd’hui. → It's raining today.
Il pleut QUAND ? - aujourd’hui. → It's raining WHEN? - today.
aujourd’hui is the complement of place
- An adjective
La voiture de Marc est rouge. → Marc's car is red.
rouge is the adjective
1 - Le chat dort sur la chaise de la cuisine.
The cat sleeps on the kitchen chair.
2 - Des amis viennent à la maison.
Friends come at home.
3 - Les lunettes de Sophie sont belles.
Sophie's glasses are beautiful.
4 - Pierre va à l'école tous les jours.
Pierre goes to school every day.
5 - Sa maison bleue est très jolie.
His blue house is very pretty.
6 - Ce petit garçon est tombé de son vélo.
This little boy fell off his bike.
7 - Les feuilles des arbres tombent en hiver.
The leaves of the trees fall in winter.
8 - Pierre et Sophie mangent à la cantine.
Pierre and Sophie are eating at the canteen.
9 - Ils aiment le riz et le poisson.
They like rice and fish.
10 - Partir à la mer est mon rêve !
Going to the sea is my dream!
1 - Subject = Le chat / verb = dort / complement of place = sur la chaise de la cuisine
2 - Sbuject = Des amis / verb = viennent / complement of place = à la maison
3 - Subject = Les lunettes de Sophie / verb = sont / complement (adjective) = belles
4 - Subject = Pierre / verb = va / complement of time = tous les jours
5 - Subject = Sa maison bleue / verb = est / complement (adjective) = très jolie
6 - Subject = Ce petit garçon / verb = est tombé / IOC = de son vélo
7 - Subject = Les feuilles des arbres / verb = tombent / complement of time = en hiver
8 - Subject = Pierre et Sophie / verb = mangent / complement of place = à la cantine
9 - Subject = Ils / verb = aiment / DOC = le riz et le poisson
10 - Subject = Partir à la mer / verb = est / DOC = mon rêve
If you want to know others grammar rules have a look at my articles
To complete this article have a look at
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