Everyday Basics: 6 Incredible Sites for Your Essential French Grammar Lessons
As a French learner, you have at least one other crucial item to keep with you at all times: French grammar.
New sentence structures, verb endings and tense agreements make up entire languages—so you’ve gotta understand them.
But where should you begin?
We’ve got six incredible resources to share with you, where you can get amazing French grammar lessons online.
- Why Learn French Grammar?
- 6 Must-know Sites for Valuable French Grammar Lessons
Why Learn French Grammar?
Grammar is the building block in French, so if you get to grips with it in the early stages, it will be much easier to progress to the next level.
Making grammar a part of your learning plan will also enable you to understand French sentence structures from the start, and make seemingly random rules clear in the future. Once you can apply a rule to each scenario, French becomes a lot more manageable.
Native conversations in French can be hard to break into, and the French are notorious sticklers for correct grammar. Speaking with correct tense usages matters more than you would think, so learning grammar will help you communicate clearly and get your point across.
Mastering French grammar can feel a lot scarier than it actually is. Like with most things that give you fear, once you start, it will become a lot more accessible. So to get you started, here are six sites with stellar French grammar lessons. We’ll start with beginner-friendly sites, and gradually progress into intermediate resources.
6 Must-know Sites for Valuable French Grammar Lessons
1. Learn French with Alexa
Making your way into the world of French grammar can be daunting at first, so it pays to try something really special. Formed as a series of fun and interactive YouTube videos, Learn French with Alexa will teach you everything you need to advance in French.
Having moved to the UK in the early ’90s, Alexa soon started giving natives lessons in French. Pretty soon, she found her teaching services so popular that she began teaching full-time, and has since founded her incredibly successful website. Alexa’s lessons for beginners are some of the best around.
If you’re learning on your own, videos are a great option, as they recreate a version of the real-life teaching experience. Speaking in a mixture of English and French, she highlights important words and phrases with on-screen text and repetition. Words and exercises are presented in a “call and response” structure, meaning that beginners get a chance to listen to and repeat the vocabulary that Alexa focuses on throughout the lesson.
Mastering basic French is all about getting the present, past and future tenses under control first. Alexa focuses each grammar lesson on the essential tenses, giving you a great, sturdy foundation. Better yet, Alexa’s comprehensive approach is perfect for beginners to the language, as she gives you full linguistic and social explanations of the words and exercises included in the lessons.
2. Tex’s Grammar Tutorial
If you’re on the hunt for a comprehensive look at beginner French grammar, Tex’s Grammar Tutorial is your go-to site. An off-shoot of the University of Texas’s learning program, the website was designed by French experts to cover all of the essential grammar points that students of French would be exposed to.
While a lot of the information from Tex’s Grammar Tutorial can be found online, there is also a supplementary podcast which contains all of the grammar content you will need. Although listening exercises are recorded entirely in French, the content of the lessons is relatively simplistic and is spoken at a very slow speed. Podcast content is supplemented by downloadable PDF exercises and guides, making it very easy to follow the arc of the lesson.
All grammar pages on the website are constructed with written tables, English language explanations, dialogue snippets and examples of the rules in use. Each page comprehensively covers the grammar rule, presenting it in a number of different ways to ensure you understand everything clearly.
If you like a mixture of learning styles, then this is the website for you. Using written information, aural tools and interactive testing, Tex’s Grammar Tutorial will really test all of your knowledge and give you the grammar foundation you need.
3. A Vos Plumes!
If you have a little more time to dedicate to your learning activities, you might want to consider an interactive website. Balancing written, recorded and visual content, A Vos Plumes! offers a thorough introduction to beginner grammar.
Founded by a professor of French, the site is packed full of essential learning tools for both students and teachers, focusing particularly on writing in French.
Much of the content on the website is focused around videos which incorporate both sound and writing. Individual lessons are presented with full grammatical explanations in English. Similar English language grammar is used to support the same rules in French, and can be used as a guide throughout the exercise.
Videos, meanwhile, are presented entirely in French, which is spoken at a clear, steady speed to help ease beginners into lessons. Spoken grammar points are supported by on-screen text which breaks down each linguistic rule.
If there’s a specific grammar subject that you’re searching for, A Vos Plumes! probably has it. With an archive spanning every type of lesson you could think of, no grammar stone is left unturned. It’s the best way to ensure that you are fully on board with beginner grammar content and ready to progress to the next level.
The combination of video lessons with written rules and take-away quizzes makes A Vos Plumes! a good place to look if you’re not sure what type of lessons suit you best.
4. Bonjour de France
Bonjour de France is a really great all-round website, and caters to many different learning styles. With a focus on grammar and the technicalities of the French language, it’s the perfect resource to use if you really want to take a look at the nitty gritty of learning grammar.
Created specifically by French teachers and native speakers for foreigners learning the French language, the site is presented as a free digital magazine, and covers topics from grammar to idioms and business vocabulary.
Written entirely in French, Bonjour de France exposes you to French vocabulary in every scenario. Lessons are presented with initial grammatical explanations, a multiple choice exercise and a more complex written activity. The best way to learn a language is through total immersion, so reading the explanations in French will be so valuable to your progress, and well worth the extra effort.
Although there is a great intermediate level section on the website, Bonjour de France contains content which is suitable for any learning level. So if you find yourself powering through your lessons, you can move on to the next level at ease.
Focused on written examples with helpful links to various other resources, Bonjour de France is the place to come to be really involved in your learning process.
5. Coffee Break French
A French podcast that covers multiple types of learning activities, Coffee Break French is suitable for any level. If you’re an intermediate learner, it’s best to start at season three, which kicks off at an appropriate level. If you need a refresher in any lessons, the first two seasons are easily accessed.
Presented by a native English speaker, the lessons have a good smattering of both French and English. As the seasons progress, the percentage of French spoken gradually increases.
After each dialogue, there is an in-depth look at vocabulary and narrative points, which are picked apart. In the early seasons, teacher Mark spends a lot of time looking at linguistic meanings, but as the seasons progress he focuses more and more on grammatical rules and native idioms.
If you’re on the hunt for a more detailed analysis of the French, you can subscribe to the members-only material, which costs $112 and includes 40 audio lessons, 40 extended lessons and 40 lesson guides.
At the end of a group of lessons, Mark goes back through old content in an interactive quiz format, asking you to complete a number of spoken exercises based on what you already know. Tests are presented in question and answer format, asking you to translate an English statement into French, and think about possible variations in uses of the grammar. After each quiz, full information is available, including a detailed explanation of grammar points and possible vocabulary alternatives.
When grammar rules become more complex, hearing them pronounced out loud can often prove to be really useful. After a number of lessons, Mark presents grammar-focused episodes which run through topics like verb conjugations and uses of the subjunctive.
If you’re looking for an interactive website with detailed explanations, then About.com is for you. Complete with an archive of grammar material created specifically for intermediate learners, the website is a great place to get all of the essential information and then practice what you’ve learned.
Grammar lessons consist of in-depth written guides, which might not be the most inspirational learning material ever, but they are undeniably useful. Presented in English, each lesson gives a comprehensive explanation of the featured grammar rules, and include a number of written examples in both English and French.
Examples pick apart each element of the grammar rule and explain its specific use in the sentence, which ensures you have a total grasp on what’s going on.
Of course, written explanations on their own can prove a little dry after time and it’s a good idea to shake things up. While the site doesn’t contain quizzes of its own, each lesson has links to tons of learning resources, such as videos, written tests and reading exercises.
Looking at French grammar from every learning angle, the site goes beyond most other resources by covering every topic imaginable.
Taking grammar seriously is worth the time, and if you start with good intentions it will soon become just another part of your study plan. Luckily, with a lesson type out there to suit every type of learner, there’s a way in for everyone!
But don’t just read and memorize grammar rules: you need to see these constructions used in context. By seeing and processing them in action, you’re engaging with the concepts in a way that makes them stick easier in your brain.
Besides chatting with French speakers, you can experience grammar in context by consuming French media, such as books, TV shows and music, which are easy to find online. There’s also the authentic video library housed in the language learning program FluentU. Each clip is equipped with interactive subtitles that provide vocabulary translations and basic grammar details, so you can break down spoken phrases word-for-word.
So choose a lesson and get started today. Watch as your understanding of French grammar grows and grows!