Tag Archives: vocabulary

More about ‘like’ (aimer)

Go here for lots more examples.

An Important Mistake!

In French, the word important can be similar to the word in English, but also can mean important in relation to size, amount, quantity.

You may know that a VIP is a very important person. But it would be strange to say in English “a very important accident” or “a very important sum of money”.

What words go with “important”? The following words live quite happily with “important”

an important:

meeting, person, phone call, message, ingredient, part, role

Instead of “important”, use the following pairs

there was a lot of traffic (la circulation était important)

a serious accident

A significant unemployment rate (taux de chomage)

A substantial amount of money

Drive, Ride, Fly

This is about collocation, that is words that link together strongly to form common structures.

You may know that one drives a car, but rides a bicycle.

What other words collocate with “drive”?

a car, a bus, a taxi, a train, a truck

Expressions : to drive someone mad, to drive someone up the wall (rendre fou/en colère)

What about “ride”

a bicycle, a motorbike, a horse,elephant,camel, a skateboard, a surfboard

You can ride a bus, a train, in a car, etc, if you are a passenger

“Fly” has some interesting possibilities:

a plane, a helicopter (comme “piloter”)

a kite (cerf-volant)

a flag (drapeau)

Don’t be surprised to see other, more imaginative variations on the above. In language, nothing is impossible – only some things are more common than others

Compound adjectives

an adjective is used to modify a noun:

a pullover –> a red pullover
a holiday –> a long holiday

When another word (usually an adjective too) is used to modify the adjective, the two words together become a compound adjective:

a red sky–> a blood-red pullover

Notice that often a hyphen (-) is used, but not always, especially in American English.

When numbers are used, they are singular and not plural:

a two-week holiday (vacances de deux semaines)

a four-wheel-drive a car

You can get more information about compounds in general at English Club

click here for information about compound nouns

Using the verb "wish" correctly

Many French speaking learners of English were taught in school that the translation of the English verb “to Wish” was “souhaiter”. This is only partially true and can lead to many mistakes when producing English.

Je souhaite aller à l’étranger l’année prochaine – I hope to go abroad next year

Here I use hope, I could also use I’d like, for it is something that I want that is possible for me to.

If I use the verb “wish” however, I follow it with the past form of the verb, and this is used to express a regret – something that is not possible to change:

I wish I had an umbrella – this means that it is raining and I’m getting wet!

You could translate it into French as:

si seulement, j’avais un parapluie

Here are some common examples:

I wish I had more money/time
I wish I had told him sooner
I wish I could go home
I wish I were taller/more handsome/richer (the story of my life, lol)

Wish is used in the present like “souhaiter” in certain expressions like I wish you all the best for the future, We wish you a merry Christmas etc.