French Conjunctions - A Complete Guide

May 5th, 2023 - Vera

Conjunctions are an essential part of the French language. They are used to link words, phrases, and clauses together to create more complex and sophisticated sentences. In this article, we will discuss the different types of conjunctions in French and their various use cases.

1. Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions in French are used to join words, phrases, and clauses that are equal in grammatical rank. There are seven coordinating conjunctions in French: mais (but), ou (or), et (and), donc (so), or (now), ni (neither/nor), and car (for/because). Let’s take a look at some examples:

Exemple: Je voudrais aller au cinéma, mais je n’ai pas assez d’argent. (I would like to go to the cinema, but I don’t have enough money.)

Exemple: Tu peux choisir entre le café ou le thé. (You can choose between coffee or tea.)

Exemple: J’ai acheté des fruits et des légumes au marché. (I bought fruits and vegetables at the market.)

Exemple: Il pleut, donc je vais rester à la maison. (It’s raining, so I’m going to stay home.)

Exemple: Or, il n’a jamais été facile de trouver un travail. (Now, it has never been easy to find a job.)

Exemple: Je n’aime ni les olives ni les champignons. (I don’t like neither olives nor mushrooms.)

Exemple: Je vais prendre le train, car c’est plus rapide que le bus. (I’m going to take the train because it’s faster than the bus.)

2. Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions in French are used to connect a dependent clause to an independent clause. They express a relationship of time, cause, consequence, condition, or opposition. Some common subordinating conjunctions in French are que (that), lorsque (when), comme (like/as), si (if), and puisque (since). Let’s take a look at some examples:

Exemple: Je pense que tu devrais venir avec nous. (I think that you should come with us.)

Exemple: J’ai vu un film intéressant lorsque j’étais à Paris. (I saw an interesting movie when I was in Paris.)

Exemple: Elle chante comme un oiseau. (She sings like a bird.)

Exemple: Si tu viens à la fête, je serai heureux. (If you come to the party, I will be happy.)

Exemple: Je ne vais pas sortir, puisque j’ai beaucoup de travail à faire. (I’m not going out since I have a lot of work to do.)

3. Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions in French are used to join twoelements that are equal in importance and structure. They come in pairs and are often used to emphasize a point or create balance in a sentence. Some common correlative conjunctions in French are soit…soit (either…or), tantôt…tantôt (sometimes…sometimes), and non seulement…mais aussi (not only…but also). Let’s take a look at some examples:

Exemple: Soit tu viens avec moi, soit tu restes à la maison. (Either you come with me or you stay at home.)

Exemple: Il travaille tantôt la nuit, tantôt le jour. (He works sometimes at night, sometimes during the day.)

Exemple: Il est non seulement intelligent, mais aussi travailleur. (He is not only intelligent, but also hardworking.)

4. Adverbial Conjunctions

Adverbial conjunctions in French are used to connect two clauses or sentences, indicating the relationship between them. They are often used to express time, cause, consequence, or opposition. Some common adverbial conjunctions in French are quand (when), après que (after), pendant que (while), parce que (because), ainsi que (as well as), and cependant (however). Let’s take a look at some examples:

Exemple: Je me lève tôt quand j’ai un rendez-vous. (I get up early when I have an appointment.)

Exemple: Après que j’ai fini mon travail, je rentre chez moi. (After I finish my work, I go home.)

Exemple: Il regarde la télévision pendant que je prépare le dîner. (He watches television while I prepare dinner.)

Exemple: Je ne sors pas ce soir parce qu’il pleut. (I’m not going out tonight because it’s raining.)

Exemple: J’aime le chocolat noir ainsi que le chocolat au lait. (I like dark chocolate as well as milk chocolate.)

Exemple: Il est intelligent, cependant il manque de confiance en lui. (He is intelligent, however he lacks self-confidence.)

In conclusion, conjunctions are essential in creating complex and sophisticated sentences in French. Coordinating, subordinating, correlative, and adverbial conjunctions each serve specific functions and indicate the relationship between two clauses or sentences. By mastering the use of conjunctions, you can improve your French writing and speaking skills, and create more diverse and engaging texts.

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