2. Continuation of 'er' verbs.
All verbs in French end in either ER, IR or RE. For now we will stick to the verbs ending in ER because they are the majority of verbs. They are definitely the easiest to understand and working with them first allows you to rapidly expand your vocabulary as many of them are the ones that, as mentioned, are virtually identical to English. Not all ER verbs are listed in the first group of the mini- dictionary, just ones that are virtually identical to English. One more example, CONTINUER. No prizes for guessing which verb that is in English. Je continue Tu continues Il continue Same system, we just dropped the R off the end of our French verb and we have the French equivalent of I continue, You continue and He continues. Obviously, you are very keen to get started working on simple phrases. The important thing first though is to see the pattern of how verbs are conjugated. We have just done the most basic version so far referring to only one person. For the next step in learning how to conjugate we are going to take a look at some simple examples in referring to more than one person. That is WE or US, THEY and the plural version of YOU. When you use the word YOU, French like most other languages, makes a difference as to whether you are referring to one person or 2 or more people. As we are just starting to look at some simple examples in plural we will leave the feminine examples such as SHE and THEY for a female group out for now and just stick to basic conjugation referring to males only. For the verb CONTACTER, the first 3 you know already, we just drop the R off the end of our French verb and we have; Je contacte (mon frere) I contact (my brother) Tu contactes (ton frere) You contact (your brother) Il contacte (son frère) He contacts (his brother) For the first example in plural which we will do next a lot of English speakers have trouble remembering it in the beginning. It does require a little practice. Nous contactons is the correct way of saying WE CONTACT. We drop the ER off the verb and add ONS. It does sound like a mouthful at first and there is an easier more informal way of saying it and we will get to that shortly. The important thing first is to learn how to say it correctly before we start cutting corners. Believe me, this will get easier. To say YOU CONTACT when referring to two or more people is; VOUS CONTACTEZ The end of the French verb EZ is pronounced the same way as the verb ending ER, that is, AY, as in SAY or PAY. Phonetically, we have; VOO CON-TAC-TAY which is reasonably easy to pronounce. Finally, when referring to two or more males (we will get to the feminine examples later) as THEY we use ILS. To say, THEY CONTACT we use ILS CONTACTENT. We don‟t pronounce the S in ILS nor do we pronounce the ENT in CONTACTENT. Phonetically, it is pronounced; IL CONTACT We don‟t pronounce the S in ILS because the following French word begins with a consonant or „hard‟ letter (the letter „C‟ for contactent), not one of the vowels such as a, e, i, o or u. Don‟t worry about having to get this perfectly right in the beginning. It is a detail and will come with practice. We do not pronounce the ENT in CONTACTENT either. It is merely the written form of signifying plural. To recap we will use another verb to keep the examples coming. CONNECTER Je connecte (le fil) I connect (the wire) Tu connectes (les fils) You connect (the wires) Il connecte (la batterie) He connects (the battery) Nous connectons (les batteries) We connect (the batteries) Vous connectez (l'ordinateur) You connect (the computer) Ils connectent (les ordinateurs) They connect (the computers) One more example adding in the feminine pronouns as well; SHE is ELLE and THEY for a female group is ELLES PAYER Je paye (mon frere) I pay (my brother) Tu payes (ton amende) You pay (your fine) Il paye (son employe) He pays (his emloyee) Elle paye (sa souer) She pays (her sister) Nous payons We pay Vous payez You pay (speaking to 2 or more people) Ils payent They pay (referring to males) Elles payent They pay (referring to females) This may look like a lot to remember but most of the differences are only in the written form. Phonetically, or the way the verb PAYER is pronounced, it is the same for all of them (Pay) except NOUS PAYONS (Noo pay-yo) and VOUS PAYEZ (Voo pay-ay) Now we come to the easier more informal way of using NOUS or WE/US in English. Having to say NOUS CONTACTONS or NOUS PAYONS etc. would be tedious and there is a simpler way. Instead of saying NOUS we just say ON and pronounce the verb the same way as for all the other pronouns except VOUS. So instead of the long, laborious way of saying NOUS CONTACTONS we just say ON CONTACTE (On contact). The same for NOUS PAYONS, we just say ON PAYE (On pay) and for the rest of the verbs it is the same system. Another example to wrap this up; PREFERER Je prefere I prefer Tu preferes You prefer Il/Elle prefere He/She prefers On prefere We prefer Vous preferez You prefer (plural) Ils/Elles preferent They prefer (masculine)/They prefer (feminine) Hopefully by this point you are starting to appreciate the number of common words that are used in both French and English with only the slightest of variations. The point being that learning French is not the major intellectual exercise it is often made out to be.