Look and Listen... | Regardez et écoutez ...


Elements of a Sentence | Les éléments d'une phrase

Sentence Structure | La structure d’une phrase

The structure of a French sentence is similar to the structure of an English sentence. A sentence is a series or a group of words that express one or more ideas. The main groups of words or components in a typical

French sentence are:
  • the suject group | le groupe nominal sujet [GNs]

  • the verb group | le groupe verbal [GV]

  • the complement group | le groupe complément de la phrase [GC de P]


The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about. The predicate tells something about the subject. The complement clarifies the sentence.

A sentence contains two essential parts: the subject (subject group) and the predicate (verb group). A third element, the complement (complement group) is optional.


A simple French sentence generally follows a structural pattern. The subject usually comes first, the verb second, then the complement.

For example:


Pierre-Oh is playing in his bedroom. | Pierre-Oh joue dans sa chambre.

Pierre-Oh jouedans sa chambre.

suject group | le groupe nominal sujet [GNs]

verb group | le groupe verbal [GV]

complement group | le groupe complément de la phrase [GC de P]



The complement can be moved in the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence.

In his bedroom, Pierre-Oh is playing. | Dans sa chambre, Pierre-Oh joue.

Dans sa chambre, Pierre-Ohjoue.

complement group | le groupe complément de la phrase [GC de P]

suject group | le groupe nominal sujet [GNs]

verb group | le groupe verbal [GV

It is raining today. | Il pleut aujourd’hui.

Ilpleutaujourd’hui.

suject group | le groupe nominal sujet [GNs]

verb group | le groupe verbal [GV]

complement group | le groupe complément de la phrase [GC de P]



The complement can be moved in the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. Today it is raining. | Aujourd’hui, il pleut.

Aujourd’hui, ilpleut.

complement group | le groupe complément de la phrase [GC de P]

verb group | le groupe verbal [GV]

suject group | le groupe nominal sujet [GNs]