July 14, 2015

"To talk about something" in French is parler de quelque chose. Students learn to replace de phrases with ce dont, so "what you're talking about" is ce dont tu parles.

 

It would be logical to assume that the verbs "to read" (lire) and "to write" (écrire) work the same...

July 13, 2015

To be sure, the French translation of the English word "normal" is normal -- but the situation is more complicated than it looks. French speakers also use normal to mean "natural" or "the way things should be" or "what you would expect."

Consider these examples:

 

C'est n...

July 12, 2015

The first thing to note when you translate a prospectus from French to English is that it is bound to include boilerplate from United States law that has been translated into French. It's your job to translate it back into English correctly. For example:

la Règle S de l...

July 11, 2015

The general rule in French is that you express "from" or "of" a feminine country using de without the definite article la:

revenir de Russie - to come back from Russia

importé de Thaïlande - imported from Thailand

du fromage de Hollande - cheese from Holland (= Dutch chee...

July 8, 2015

Here's a logo from Quebec that is bound to confuse a reader from France. Why? Because it shows the wrong animal! The word toutou in France means "puppy dog." For example, the French news magazine L'Express reported on a new "dog wash" (similar to a "car wash")  in Fran...

July 8, 2015

Annoncer is one of those verbs whose meaning is so apparent that teachers expect to you to recognize it when you see it. Obviously it means "to announce"!

 

But when annoncer is reflexive (s'annoncer) it takes some thought to translate it properly into English (something...

July 7, 2015

They teach you that ici is "here" and is "there."  Voici means "here is" and voilà is "there is." That is true, as far as it goes. But and voilà can be used in ways in French where "there" or "there is" won't work in English. 

 

Notice how French uses être là. Thes...