Subject index

French online grammar

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The noun group

2. French verbs

3. Prepositions, particles, and other points

Study or learn French in France

How important is grammar in French?

Answer: very important!
Of course, it is quite possible to "communicate" without bothering too much about grammar . You could say "Voiture panne arrêter" or "Je aller Paris demain" and everyone would understand what you meant; but that is just basic communication. To communicate any more complex or refined kind of message, grammar is unavoidable, specially in a language like French which linguists describe as a "synthetic" language, rather than an "analytic" language.

In synthetic languages, meaning is often clarified solely by word endings; in analytic languages meaning is most frequently determined by the order of words in the sentence, by modal auxiliaries, and by the use of coordinators and prepositions between words.

Although the French themselves often have difficulty choosing how to spell a word ending pronounced "eh", which could be written -er, -é, -ais or even some other ways, misuse of endings in written French is considered as a bad mistake, specially in formal written communication. Until the 1970s, French children in primary school spent long hours mastering French grammar, to the point at which even those who had left school at 15 could generally write correct French. Today, employers and university professors often shudder at the grammar mistakes they see in job applications, CVs, and assignments; but this just makes it even more important for learners to take the time to master the essentials of French grammar.
A generation ago, every application for anything like a good job would have been written in good French, with good grammar and without spelling mistakes; so almost everyone got over the first hurdle. Today, recruiters may well bin half of a pile of applications for a job, because the quality of French is just not up to the requirements of the job.
So beyond the fact that mastering French grammar is a useful skill in its own right, there is also the fact that it could one day help your job application or make your report seem more credible – if one day you plan to use French for professional purposes.

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