ordonner vs commander

I have been teaching French online since late-2013 and one of the most common mistakes I’ve heard students make is confusing ordonner commander. In short, ordonner means to order a person to do something and commander means to order something in a restaurant or bar. This post will provide some great example sentences.

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avoir besoin de vs il me faut vs devoir

One of my intermediate French students recently asked me to do a lesson explaining the difference between “avoir besoin de”, “il me faut” and “devoir”.

These are all ways of expressing what you want or need. While they’re kind of synonymous there are some subtle differences, which are important to know. J’ai besoin de really doesn’t mean to must. You use “devoir” for that. For example, when you say, “Je dois travailler” there’s a strong sense of must or necessity. In this sense “avoir besoin de” is a bit lighter than “devoir” and means to need. Generally, “Il me faut” denotes or is used to suggest needing something in order to do something else.

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Sortir Vs. Partir

Bonjour! Over the past several years I’ve been teaching French to students of all levels over the Internet. One of the questions that’s come up over and over is: “What’s the difference between sortir and partir?”

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different ways of how to say ING in French

 

Over the past three years I’ve been teaching French online and have heard students make this mistake many times. The mistake is to add the word “suis” when trying to say “I am” doing something. For example, to say “I am speaking” I will often hear students say, “Je suis parle”. This is totally wrong. In French “Je parle” means both “I speak” and “I am speaking”.

There is absolutely no need for the word “suis” for am because the “am” is actually embedded in the verb. So, “Je mange” means both “I eat” and “I am eating” and “Je suis mange” would be totally wrong if you’re trying to say “I am eating”. In the audio lesson below I’ll walk you through lots of examples. Please comment and share.

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penser vs réfléchir

There are two verbs in French that can often cause a bit of confusion and are worth contracting: Penser and Réfléchir. Both verbs mean to think but their meanings are totally different. Réfléchir translates to “think over”, “ponder” or “mull”. Another translation is to “reflect”.

Penser, however, is to think on a much more superficial level. Usually penser applies to thinking of something in a yes/no manor. If want to ask somebody what they think you don’t use réfléchir. You use penser. In the audio podcast below I’ll go through a list of example sentences using both penser and réfléchir and discuss their usages. If you have the time please do listen to the audio as I offer a lot of explanations.

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Temps Vs Fois

One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen over the years since I’ve been teaching French online is confusing the two words for time: le temps and la fois.

The reason is that in English there’s only one word for time: time! In French temps and fois have different meanings and usages.

“Le temps” describes the time as in “having the time” or not having enough time. Here are some examples:

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