How to Structure French Sentences: Subject, Verb, and Object

how to use common French prepositions

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In this grammar lesson you will learn how to structure French sentences.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • what the common French prepositions are
  • how to use common French prepositions
  • how common French in French sentences
  • how you can immediately test your knowledge on how to use common French prepositions
  • the way to download Anki files for how to use common French prepositions

Please refer to the French A2 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about how prepositions fit in A2 grammar.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about how to use common French prepositions!

Table of Contents

How to Structure French Sentences

Before I show you how to structure French sentences, I would first like to show you how it’s done in English.

English is an SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) language.

Please have a look at the sentences in the table.

SubjectVerbObject
Paul eatsthe meal
Alexandrareadsthe book
Hecatchesthe ball
My sisterstudiesphilosphy
Theycleanthe room

The first part of the sentence is the subject. A subject is a person or thing that is doing the verb.

The second part of the sentence is the verb. These are action words, they cause something to happen in a sentence.

The third part of the sentence is the object. The object is the thing that the verb works/acts on. These are generally nouns.

So, we can say the English is an SVO language.

French is also an SVO language.

Please take a look at the table below.

SubjectVerbObject
Paul mangele repas
Alexandralitle livre
Ilattrapeles balles
Ma soeurétudiela philosphie
Ilsnettoientla chambre

The sentences are exactly the same as before, and also in the same order.

How to Replace Objects in French Sentences

It is also possible to replace the object in French sentences.

You can replace object nouns in French with object pronouns (le, la, l’, and les).

SubjectObject (Pronoun)Verb
Paul lemange
Alexandralelit
Illes attrape
Ma sœurl’étudie
Theylanettoient

Essentially this is what happend:

  • le repas -> le
  • le livre -> le
  • les balles -> les
  • la philosphie -> l’
  • la chambre -> la

When you do this, the French sentence structure becomes SOV (Subject-Object-Verb).

This is useful if you don’t want to actually say the noun, but you just want to refer to it.

You can avoid repetition this way.

In the following lesson this is discussed in more detail.

For now it suffices to know that you can replace object nouns with object pronouns.

Sentences Overview of How to Use Common French Prepositions

The final section of this lesson on how to structure French sentences is about seeing the SVO and SOV sentences in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding on how to structure French sentences through examples.

Paul mange le repas.Paul le mange.

Paul eats the meal. – Paul eats it.

Alexandra lit le livre.Alexandra le lit.

Alexandra reads the book. – Alexandra reads it.

Il attrape les balles. – Il les attrape.

He catches the balls. – He catches them.

Ma soeur étudie la philosphie.Ma sœur l’étudie.

My sister studies philosophy. – My sister studies it.

Ils nettoient la chambre. – Ils la nettoient.

They clean the room. – They clean it.

Test Your Knowledge on How to Use French Sentences

It’s not enough just to read the article on this lesson.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want.

Anki File for How to Structure French Sentences

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A2 you can practice every French A2 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

At this moment the Anki File for this lesson doesn’t exist yet. However, in due time this will be available on Language Atlas.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or don’t know how to use Anki or merge Anki files please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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