French word order is, with very few exceptions, the same as in English. There are no horrendous rules to learn such as verb positions which cause so much trouble to those learning German. In fact, if you spoke French using English order, your French chum would understand you. If he used French word order when speaking to you, you might hear something like: “I you saw in the market this morning “  “They are going us it to lend”  “ What time did you there arrive?”  “Jean and me are going to Paris”  You understand these , don’t you? – especially the last example which a lot English speakers say.

It is far more important to keep on talking, riding roughshod over any uncertainties and not irritating your companion with ‘er’s’  and ‘um’s’ and sheepish looks.

Remember, too, that our old friend “est-ce que”, (‘is it that’) used to ask questions, will straighten out any English word order which could cause you problems:

‘Would he have been able to come?’ ‘Is it that he would have been able to come?’

Of course, you can always use your voice intonation to turn a statement into a question.

It’s probably the words like ‘me’ ‘you’ ‘him/her’ ‘us’ which cause a bit of heartburn. They go in front of the verb, not after as in English:  je vous aime – I love you, il nous donne – he’s giving us etc.

Just remember the wedding service: I thee wed, I thee endow etc

Don’t worry about it. Keep calm and carry on talking.


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French Word Order

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