Lesson 6 Useful phrases with Avoir / Negatives / Interrogatives

Lesson 6

-Phrases using the verb Avoir
-Expressing the negative
-Forming questions: the Interrogative

Last lesson we saw the use of the verb Avoir in the Present Tense
There are many important phrases which involve the verb French Avoir
Ex. In English we say ‘I am hungry’ using the verb ‘To be’.
We use the verb Avoir to say this in French. It is as though you are saying ‘I have hunger’.

Avoir faim=To be hungry

J’ai faim=I am hungry
Tu as faim=You are hungry
Il a faim=He is hungry
Elle a faim=She is hungry
*On a faim=We are hungry/ *One is hungry
Nous avons faim=We are hungry
Vous avez faim=You are hungry
Ils ont faim=They are hungry
Elles ont faim=They are hungry

* On=one (Third Person Singular) We will be revising the correct use of ‘on’ in another lesson.

You would do the same for the following phrases:
Avoir soif=To be thirsty

J’ai soif=I am thirsty
Vous avez soif=You are thirsty

Avoir peur=To be afraid

J’ai peur=I am afraid
Vous avez peur=You are afraid

Avoir tort=To be wrong

J’ai tort=I am wrong
Vous avez tort=You are wrong

Avoir raison=To be right

J’ai raison=I am right
Vous avez raison=You are right


Now note that j’ai (I have) is made up of Je + ai
This is important when forming the negative in French.

In French ne…pas is used to express not

J’ai=I have
Je n’ai pas=I have not/I don’t have

J’ai raison=I am right (literally translated, I have reason)
I am not right=Je n’ai pas raison

You are right
Vous avez raison

You are not right
Vous n’avez pas raison

You are wrong
Vous avez tort!

On forming questions:

Now how do we ask questions: Are you right? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you in the house? Are you alone?

We can ask questions in three ways:

1) Form a statement, ex. You are right=Vous avez raison
Then just add a question mark and ask the question using the right intonation , that is inflecting to a higher pitch.
Vous avez raison? = Are you right?
Vous avez faim? =Are you hungry?
Vous avez soif? =Are you thirsty?

Vous êtes dans la maison=Are you in the house?
Vous êtes seul/e? =Are you alone?

2) Another way to form a question is to invert the subject and the verb as in English

You are in the house
Vous êtes dans la maison

Are you in the house?
Etes-vous dans la maison?

Are you hungry?
Avez-vous faim?

3) If the subject is a noun, it is better to form the question by adding the phrase Est-ce que in front of the statement.
To ask Are the children in the house? , you should form a statement first:

The children are in the house
Les enfants sont dans la maison
Then put Est-ce que in front of the statement so as not to leave out the verb:
Est-ce que les enfants sont dans la maison?

If you prefer, you could place the subject first and then invert the subject and verb anyway, eg. Are the children in the house?
The children, are they in the house?
Les enfants, sont-ils dans la maison?

Test yourself by translating the following question:
Is the small girl alone?

To arrive at the answer you would have needed to think of the following :

The girl=La fille (lesson 5)
Small=Petit (lesson 3)
Small (Feminine)=Petite (Lesson 3)
The small girl=La petite fille
Is comes from the verb Etre (lesson 4)
She is=Elle est
La petite fille est…=The small girl is
Alone=Seul/e (lesson 6)
La petite fille est seule=The little girl is alone

Now for the question, you have a choice (lesson 6):
Is the small girl alone?
Est-ce que la petite fille est seule?
La petite fille, est-elle seule?

How did you do there?
Any questions or if you need a lesson on asking questions in French
Contact angieandrews@btinternet.com


About angeleannandrews

I am Anglo Maltese and live in Surrey with my husband and son. I have been teaching languages for almost 30 years. Having been trained in Anthropology, I have social issues at heart. When I was nearing 50, I wished to use my talents to make money for charity. I have created 50 photo-poems which will be featuring on this site. If you wish to encourage my effort, please give a small donation to ShelterBox http://www.justgiving.com/user/23773460 after reading my poems. Many people are out there actually tackling the world's problems. We may not be able to join them but every little helps.Thanks a million! Angie
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