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


Elements of a Sentence | Les éléments d'une phrase

Types of Sentences | Les types de phrases


In French, as in English, there are four types of sentences:
  • a declarative sentence | une phrase déclarative,

  • an interrogative sentence | une phrase interrogative,

  • an exclamatory sentence | une phrase exclamative,

  • and an imperative sentence | une phrase impérative.


Declarative Sentence | La phrase déclarative

A declarative sentence makes a statement. A declarative sentence ends with a period [.].

The snow falls gently on the rooftops. | La neige tombe doucement sur les toits.

The sun shines in the (mostly) clear sky. | Le soleil brille dans le ciel peu nuageux.

Paul plays in the pile of multicoloured leaves. | Paul joue dans le tas de feuilles multicolores.

The water in the pool is warm. | L’eau dans la piscine est tiède.


Interrogative Sentence | La phrase interrogative

An interrogative sentence asks a question. An interrogative sentence ends with a question mark [?].

In French an interrogative sentence may be created in different ways:

Will it be sunny tomorrow? | Est-ce qu’il fera soleil demain?

Are the children playing in the snow? | Est-ce que les enfants jouent dans la neige?


  • by inverting the subject/pronoun and the verb

Will it be sunny tomorrow? | Fera-t-il soleil demain?

Are they playing in the snow? | Jouent-ils dans la neige?


*Note: A hyphen is used when a subject pronoun follows a verb. When the French verb ends with an e or an a and the subject pronoun is either il, elle or on, the letter t is inserted between the verb and the pronoun. A hyphen is placed before and after the t (e.g., fera-t-il, mange-t-elle, regarde-t-on).


  • by adding a personal pronoun (which agrees in number and gender with the subject of the verb) after the verb

Is Paul playing in the pile of leaves? | Paul joue-t-il dans le tas de feuilles?

Is the water warm? | L’eau est-elle tiède?


Whom did you invite? | Qui as-tu invité?

What do you want? | Que voulez-vous?

What are you thinking about? | À quoi penses-tu?

Which book do you want? / Which one do you want? | Quel livre veux-tu? Lequel veux-tu?

Which apple do you want? / Which one do you want? | Quelle pomme veux-tu? Laquelle veux-tu?

Which pencils do you like? / Which ones do you like? | Quels crayons aimes-tu? Lesquels aimes-tu?

Which programs do you prefer? / Which ones do you prefer? | Quelles émissions préfères-tu? Lesquelles préfères-tu?

How are you? | Comment allez-vous? , Comment ça va?

Where does she live? | habite-t-elle?

Why is the sky blue? | Pourquoi le ciel est-il bleu?

When are you leaving? | Quand partez-vous?

How many tickets does he want? | Combien de billets veut-il?

How many team mates have you invited? | Combien d’équipiers as-tu invités?


Exclamatory Sentence | La phrase exclamative

An exclamatory sentence conveys a strong feeling. An exclamatory sentence ends with an exclamation mark [!].

The weather is so nice today! | Comme il fait beau aujourd’hui!

Pierre-Oh and Pierrette are so funny! | Pierre-Oh et Pierrette sont tellement drôles!


Imperative Sentence | La phrase impérative

An imperative sentence gives a command. An imperative sentence may end with a period [.] or an exclamation mark [!] .

Close the door, please. | Fermez la porte, s’il vous plaît.

Be careful! | Fais attention!

Let's go see the event. | Allons voir l’évènement.


*Note: An imperative sentence is formed with the imperative tense of a verb. The subject or subject pronoun is implied but not used in the imperative.


The four types of sentences may be in a positive form or in a negative form.


A Negative Sentence | La phrase négative

A negative sentence expresses a negative opinion or states that something is not true or incorrect. In French, a negative sentence is usually created by adding two negation words with ne or n’ placed in front of the verb.


Key negation words | Les mots de négation les plus communs

ne / n’ … pas


I dislike disorder. | Je n’aime pas le désordre.


ne / n’ … plus


It is no longer sunny. | Il ne fait plus soleil.


ne / n’ … jamais

jamais … ne / n’


The dog never sleeps on the bed. | Le chien ne dort jamais sur le lit.

The athlete never doubts his/her success. | Jamais l’athlète ne se doute de sa réussite.

ne / n’ … rien

rien … ne / n’


The birds have not eaten anything. | Les oiseaux n’ont rien mangé.

Nothing happened. | Rien n’est arrivé.

ne / n’ … personne

personne … ne / n’


I did not see anybody. | Je n’ai vu personne.

Nobody listens to me. | Personne ne m’écoute.

ne / n’ … aucun

aucun … ne / n’


I have no idea. | Je n’ai aucune idée.

No program is associated with that file. | Aucun programme n'est associé à ce fichier.

ni … ni … ne / n’

ne / n’… ni … ni…

Neither Pierre-Oh nor Pierrette came to the game. | Ni Pierre-Oh ni Pierrette ne sont venus à la joute.

The weather is neither wet nor cold. | Le temps n'est ni pluvieux ni froid.