Make your own free website on
French Level 1
    Unit 8: Leçon 4
    Verbs Ending in -ER
    Hey! Didn't think I'd make it did you? Well, here I am! And just for the record, I had total confidance that you'd be here too!

    In this leçon you are going to learn how to use "-er" verbs when you want to talk about more than one person. To accomplish this little task, let's use the same info that we used with Gille et al. Check out the examples below:

Des Activités
First let's review the "one person" verb forms again:

Track 78
Il mange des pizzas. Il mange des pizzas.
Elle mange des pizzas. Elle mange des pizzas.

Now, I'm sure that you remember that the words "Il" and "Elle" in the above sentences mean, "he" and "she" in English. (We can also substitute the actual names of these guys and girls if we want to use them instead of "il" and "elle".)

I bet I know what you are thinking: Since we have multiple persons doing the same thing, it would be much easier to lump them together in one quick sentence and say that they ALL do the same thing, right? Of course that's right! I will show you how this is done "en français" in a moment. First, let's look at how we would form such a sentence in English: "They eat some pizza"! Easy enough! In French, however, we have several different ways to say the same thing. I'll show you what I mean. We'll start with the guys:

Say that we want to show that both Gille and Luc eat pizza AND we want to say it in one sentence instead of two seperate ones. Here's how we'd do it:

Track 79
Ils mangent des pizzas.

"Il" becomes "Ils" and "mange" becomes "mangent"! That's it!

Next up, the ladies:

Track 79 (cont.)
Elles mangent des pizzas.

"Elle" becomes "Elles" and "mange" becomes "mangent"! (Pretty slick!)

Now, what happens if we have a boy AND a girl together? Let's see:

Track 79 (cont.)
Ils mangent des pizzas.

You see, whenever we are talking about a guy and a girl together we use the "ils" (also called the masculine) form. Why you ask? Good question! Nobody really knows for sure. (My wife is certain that the reason for this grammar rule is that it was made up by a man. Whatever!)

Now, you ask, "What if we are talking about the activities of more than two men?" Doesn't matter. We ALWAYS use "ils". It goes the same way if we are talking about two or more women. We ALWAYS use "elles". And, last but not least, if we have men and women together, we ALWAYS use "ils. "Ah", you say to yourself, "but what if we have multiple women and only one man". We still use "ils". This ALWAYS happens whenever a man is involved. We could have a room full of 100 women who sing. We would say, "Elles chantent" to describe what they are doing. HOWEVER, should even one man enter the room to sing with these ladies, we have to change the word, "elles" to "ils" (see why my wife believes that it was a man who made up this rule?)

One last thing and then we will move on to the next assignment. You notice that when the verb is changed from singular ("e" ending as is used with "il" and "elle") to a plural ending ("ent" as is used with "ils" and "elles"), the verb sounds exactly the same! Don't you just love that? It sure makes things easier when speaking! I'm sure that you also noticed that the pronouns, "il" and "ils" sound the same as do "elle" and "elles." This is almost always the case as long as the verb that follows these words begins with a consonant (except for the letter "h"). If the word begins with a vowel, such as the verb, "étudier", the letter "s" at the end of "ils" or "elles" will be spoken and it will sound like the letter "z". Hear what I mean:

Track 80
The "il/elle, ils/elles" Graph  
Il étudie. Ils étudient.
Elle aide le garçon. Elles aident le garçon.

I'll look for you in leçon 5!

Introduction / Leçon 1a / Leçon 1b / Leçon 1c / Leçon 1d / Leçon 1e / Leçon 1f / Interlude 1.1 / Interlude 1.2 /
Leçon 2 / Leçon 3 / Interlude 3.1 / Interlude 3.2 / Leçon 4 / Leçon 5 / Interlude 5.1 /