How to Use the French Pronoun en

How to Use the French Pronoun "en"

If you want your French to sound more advanced, one of the best ways is to understand how to use the French pronoun “en.”

Sure, you can construct proper sentences without these tiny words, but you’ll be doomed to forever sound like a beginner. And who wants that? Not us – our goal is to get you speaking fluidly as fast as possible.

So this week, we’re going to focus on how to use “en.”

EN replaces de + noun

1. In relation to QUANTITY or NUMBERS or ADJECTIVES

When discussing quantities of something, “de + noun” phrases are almost inevitable. In this context, “de” represents the preposition “of”, which indicates that a quantity, number or adjective is being discussed.

The adjective, adverb or quantity is always repeated at the end, even if that amount is none. To illustrate:

Combien de tomates voulez-vous? J’en voudrais six.”
(How many tomatoes do you want I would like six [of them])

Combien paires de chaussures as-tu? J’en ai beaucoup.
(How many pairs of shoes do you have?I have a lot [of them])

Est-ce que Marie a des frères? Oui, elle en a deux
(Does Marie have brothers? Yes, she has two [of them].)

J’ai acheté trois jolies robes, j’en ai acheté trois.
(I bought three nice dresses, I bought three nice ones)

Est-ce que tu as un Euro? Oui, j’en ai un.
(Do you have a Euro? Yes, I have one.)

Est-ce que vous avez une voiture? Non, nous n’en avons pas
(Do you (all) have a car?  No, we don’t have one.)

NOTE: It is NOT correct to say: “J’ai un” or “Non, nous n’avons pas une”. You must use “en” to indicate the quantity.

2. In relation to a THING, a LOCATION, or VERBS PRECEDED by DE

Je me souviens de ta première voiture…je m’en souviens
I remember your first car… I remember it

J’ai peur de la mort…j’en ai peur
I am afraid of death… I am afraid of it

Je reviens du Brésil…j’en reviens
I am coming back from Brasil… I am coming back from there

Est-ce tu as besoin d’aide? Oui, j’en ai besoin
Do you need some help? Yes, I need some

Ils s’occupent du projet? Non, ils n’en s’occupent pas. Jean s’en occupe
Are they handling the project? No, they’re not handling it. Jean is handling it.

Paul parle-t-il de son travail?
Does Paul talk about his job?

Oui, il en parle tout le temps!
Yes, he talks about it all the time!

Careful

When it comes to replacing a noun of person, you keep ‘DE’ and use the tonic form of the pronoun:

J’ai peur de ce professeur…J’ai peur de lui
I am afraid of this teacher…I am afraid of him

Elle est jalouse de sa soeur…elle est jalouse d’elle
She is jealous of her sister…she is jealous of her.

3. With PARTITIVE ARTICLES

A partitive article in French (du, de la, des) is an unknown quantity of something. In English, this translates to “some” or “any.” “En” replaces the partitive article and the noun. For example:

Avez-vous de la confiture?  Oui, j’en ai.
(Do you have any jam? Yes, I have some).

Boit-il du vin?  Non, il n’en boit pas.
(Does he drink [any] wine? No, he doesn’t drink any.)

Est-que tu as acheté du pain?  Non, j’en ai oublié d’acheter. J’en peux acheter plus tarde.
(Did you buy some bread? No, I forgot to buy some. I can buy some later.)

Do you have any questions about how to use the French pronoun “en”?  If so, feel free to write them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you! Or, of course, you can always contact us to discuss French lessons.

 


Opening a French Bank Account: Key Vocabulary & Information

It’s September. A time for fresh start. A different season. And new people.

 Every year at this time, Paris is hit with a huge wave of new expats. We know that right now there are thousands of you out there – students, families, professionals and a lucky few just hanging out – trying to get settled into your new life here.

 Of the many items on the new expat to-do list, opening a French bank account is one of the most important…and one of the most puzzling if you don’t understand the relevant vocabulary.

 Let’s rectify that, shall we?

 

 Must-Know French Bank Account Vocabulary

Un justificatif de domicile = a proof of address

You’ll need this critical piece for most administrative procedures. They can be: electricity bill (facture d’électricité), a receipt of the payment of your rent (quittance de loyer), income tax receipt (avis d’imposition sur le revenu), tenant insurance receipt (certificat d’assurance locative). Usually, the bill must be less than three months old. Note: phone bill are in general not accepted.

Un compte bancaire = a bank account.  

 This general term covers a variety of accounts, including checking/current accounts (compte à vue/ compte courante), savings accounts (compte d’épargne), and fixed term saving accounts (compte d’ terme).    

 

Un compte joint = a joint bank account.

 With this type of account, a couple may have equal access to the bank account. But when signing up, pay particular attention to whether the account is for X “ou” Y, or X “et” Y.   With an “ou” account, either partner may sign legally check. If it’s an “et” account, both partners must sign each check for it to be valid.

 

Un compte sur livret = a government-regulated savings account.

Unlike other savings accounts, livret accounts usually have a deposit maximum, but the interest rates may be slightly higher. Most livret accounts are tax-free.

 

Une carte bancaire = A bank card.   Upon opening your account, you will receive your carte bancaire. This card is used to withdraw money from the bank from a distributeur automatique (ATM). It also serves as a debit card, with payments either being withdrawn from your account immediately, or in a lump sum at specific date.

 

Les frais bancaires = Bank Charges/Fees.

 When signing up for your account, be careful. Most French banks will hit you with a dazzling array of frais bancaires. This may include account administration fees, direct deposit fees, and foreign currency transfer fees. At most banks there’s even a charge for having a carte bancaire! Be sure to about fees and charges associated with your account in advance. Fees pile up if you accept a bank’s “package” even if the basic checking account is free.

 

Relevé d’Identité Bancaire (RIB) = Bank account details. This is a handy slip of paper that contains your – surprise, surprise – relevant bank account details, such as your bank number, branch code and account number. RIBs are used for prélèvements (direct debits) from your account or virements (transfers) to your account. You’ll be asked for a RIB to set up automatic bill payment deductions for gas, electric, telephone, etc., or if your employer wants to make direct deposits into your account. RIBs are usually found at the back of your checkbook, but some banks allow you to print them at ATM machines or print them online.

Key Phrases to Know When Opening A French Bank Account

 

I would like to open a checking account

Je voudrais ouvrir un compte.

• What are the charges and fees for this account?

Quels sont les frais et charges pour ce compte ?

 • How much must I deposit to open an account?

Combien dois-je déposer pour ouvrir un compte?

 • How long will it take to receive my checkbook ?

Combien de temps faut-il pour recevoir mon chéquier (carnet de chèques)?

 

 

French Phrases You May Hear When Opening Your Bank Account

• Puis-je avoir une pièce d’identité ?

 May I have your identity card /proof of identity ?

• J’ai besoin d’une facture d’EDF ou gaz….

 I need (to see) an electricity or gas bill…

• Vous devez remplir ces formulaires.

 You must fill out these forms.

• Combien voulez-vous déposer pour commencer ?

 How much do you want to deposit to start ?

 

If you need help with French bank account vocabulary or speaking with your banker, contact us! We can help you practice the specific conversations you need to know to settle into your life in France!  

 


7 French Autumn Words You Must Learn

In this last week of August, as the summer heat begins to release its grip, the shops fill with back-to-school items, and the leaves on the trees turn orange-yellow, our thoughts cannot help but turn to le changement des saisons (the change of the seasons).  

 L’automne (autumn) is one of the most pleasant seasons in Paris. Le temps est un peu frais mais beau (The weather is a little cool, but beautiful), en septembre et octobre, il n’y a pas beaucoup de pluie (in September and October there isn’t much rain) and les musées (the museums) aren’t as crowded as in summertime.  

 If you’re in France this fall, you’ll find that certain French autumn vocabulary words pop up again and again. Don’t be left out of the conversation! Learn the following 7 French autumn words and understand their place in French culture.

1. La Rentrée – The Return

In France, August is the time of vacation. Many pharmacies, boulangeries and other shops completely shut down; large cities are drained of nearly everyone except tourists; the métros and buses are empty, while French beaches heave with glistening bodies.  

In early September, the situation reverses. People return to the cities, tanned and rejuvenated. Shops fling open their doors, children return to school, the streets fill with people, and real life begins again. This is la rentrée.

During période de rentrée, which is more or less the first three weeks of September, it’s common to hear phrases like:

Bonne rentrée!” (Enjoy your return to school!)

Je suis trop chargée en ce moment. On se voit après la rentrée.” (I’ve too much on my plate at the moment. Let’s see each other after the return)

2.  Les Vendanges – The grape harvest

 Who doesn’t know that wine is a fundamental part of the French identity? No one. But many people don’t realize that in France celebration of wine begins long before that first delectable glass is poured. In September and October, les vendanges – the grape harvest –is celebrated in various ways all throughout France.   One of the most famous festival, La Feria des Vendanges takes place in Nîmes in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France.

 But Paris has it’s own celebration as well with the Fêtes des Vendanges de Montmartre, which will occur this year from 7 – 11 octobre. The hilly, picturesque neighborhood of Montmartre has a small vineyard that produces about 1500 bottles of wine each year. It’s a modest amount, but the joy of its making is big.

 So, if you want to practice your wine vocabulary, indulge in a little wine tasting, or just soak up the lively atmosphere of a wine-themed street fair, head over to Montmartre on these dates and check it out.

 3.    Reine-Claude – Greengage plums

Starting in late summer, these delectable little green plums make their annual appearance in market stalls throughout France. With their green peau (skin) and golden flesh, les reine-claudes look as if they’re bursting with the last bit of summer sunshine. And they taste like it, too. Invariably sweet and juicy, you’ll enjoy them by the kilo. If you want the pleasure to last, consider that they make an excellent confiture (jam.)

 

4.    Les Feuillages d’Automne – Fall foliage

As we mentioned, l’automne is the perfect time to go on long promenades in the French countryside. Not only is the weather pleasantly fraiche (cool), but the feuillage d’automne can be lovely.

If you’re in Paris, a little walk through the crackling, leaf-strewn lanes of the Jardin de Tuileries an give you a cozy autumnal feeling. But if you feel the need to be completely surrounded by nature, there’s nothing like a stroll in the forêt de Fontainebleau , the woodlands of the famous château, to make you feel far, far away from city life.

5.   Champignons sauvages – Wild mushrooms

 In l’automne, the French go crazy for wild mushrooms, whether eating them or picking them (la chasse aux champignons) or debating the merits of their favorites.  At the marché, you’re spoiled for choice for champignons sauvages.

Among many others expect to find an abundance of fat-bottomed cèpes (porcini); golden, crinkly-topped girolles (chantarelles); and the darkly shriveled but oh-so-delicious morilles (morels). In November, la saison des truffes (truffle season) begins. If you can cough up the money for this extraordinary-tasting fungus (truffles cost upward of $2,000 per kilo), it’s a must-try.

 6.  Nuit Blanche – White Night/ All-nighter

 If you’re a student in France, you’ve probably become quickly familiar with the term “nuit blanche,” which means you’ve stayed up all night or pulled an “all-nighter.” (Studying, no doubt!) But in Paris in autumn, Nuit Blanche has a greater meaning.

 In mid-September, signs go up everywhere reminding people that the annual “Nuit Blanche” is approaching. This refers to a night in early October where Paris turns into an all-night arts festival. Scores of museums, galleries, theaters and public spaces remain open all night, giving people a unique view of the city at night and opportunity to interact with Parisian spaces differently.

Nuit Blanche 2015 takes place on samedi 3 octobre.

7.  “Il est arrivé!” – It’s here!

In mid-November, you’ll likely see these words written in large swooping letters in the windows of numerous wine shops and cafés throughout Paris. Who’s here? The annual arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau, of course.

Every year, on the third Thursday of November at precisely one minute after midnight, the nationwide celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau wine begins. Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine, only six or seven weeks old, made of Gamay grapes. Traditionally, it was a vin ordinaire (a simple table wine) drank in Beaujolais to celebrate the end of les vendanges. Since the 1970’s, however, it has become a commercial and marketing sensation. Wine-lovers now celebrate this first wine of the season all around the world.

What are some of your favorite French autumn words and phrases?  Share with us below!