How To Use French Linking Words (39 Examples + Anki File)

How to use French Linking Words

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Do you want to know how to use French linking words?

Are you tired of just being able to use the same (boring) linking words such as: et, mais, quand, parce que, and ou? Or, do you simply want to improve your vocabulary?

Well good luck, in this lesson I present to you the definitive list of French linking words.

This lesson provides an overview of all the linking words in French in all of the different categories.

I will explain each category and give examples of words you can use. The words will then be used in a sentence so you can see it in a proper context.

Furthermore, I put all of them in an Anki File called “how to use French linking words” which you can download and add to you collection.

Also, at the end you will find a graph which contains all of the French linking words. I advise you to download this so you can always have something to fall back to when you need to use French linking word.

Once you are done with this lesson you will know exactly how to use French linking words!

Table of Contents

Overview of all French Linking Words

In this lesson regarding how to use French linking words you will find 17 categories of French linking words.

Every category will be explained and then examples will be added so you can understand it.

There are 78 sentences in 39 examples to show you how to use French linking words.

I made all examples myself except one which is from a famous book – let’s see if you can figure out which one it is!

Addition

The words in the category deal with addition, or summations in sentences.

  • et = and
  • Aurélie et Jean se promènent avec leur chien.
  • Aurélie and Jean are walking their dog.
  • puis = then
  • Je vais à Boston et puis à New York.
  • I am going to Boston and then to New York.

Alternative

When you are dealing with many choices the words in this category are used.

  • ou = or
  • Je voudrais aller à Paris ou à Rome cette année.
  • I would like to go to Paris or Rome this year.

Please don’t confuse this with which means where.

  • soit … soit … = either … or…
  • Elle aime soit se reposer, soit se promener.
  • She likes either relaxing or taking walks.

But

When you are talking about a purpose or a goal the words in this category are used.

  • pour = so
  • Je m’entraîne pour pouvoir gagner.
  • I’m training so I can win.
  • afin de = in order to
  • Je vous écris afin de postuler pour le poste de directeur.
  • I’m writing to you in order to apply for the job of director.
  • afin que = so that/ in order to
  • Je te donne mes clés afin que tu puisses entrer.
  • I’m giving you my keys so that you can come in.

A lot of the words in this category require the use of the subjonctif. In the picture I have highlighted which ones require the subjonctif.

The first two examples (pour and afin de) only require the indicatif. So you can just use them if you don’t know the subjonctif.

Cause

If you want to talk about why something happened or what the cause of something was then the words in this category are used.

In speaking people often use parce que, and in writing car.

  • parce que = because
  • I am feeling good because I just ate.
  • Je me sens bien parce que je viens de manger.
  • car = because
  • Je t’écris car tu me manques.
  • I’m writing to you because I miss you.

When something happens due to a positive thing one uses grâce à. However, when something happens due to a negative thing one uses à cause de.

  • grâce à … (positif) = thanks to … (positive)
  • Grâce à vous, nous avons réussi!
  • Thanks to you we made it!
  • à cause de … (négatif) = due to … (negative) / because of … (negative)
  • La fête a été annulée à cause de la tempête.
  • The party was cancelled because of the storm.

Comparaison

If you want to make a comparison then the words in this category are used.

For comparisons using adjectives one can use the following linking words.

  • plus (adjectif) que = (adjective)-er than/more (adjective) than
  • Tokyo est plus grand que Toulouse.
  • Tokyo is bigger than Toulouse.
  • aussi (adjectif) que = as (adjective) as  
  • Ma mère est aussi intelligente que mon père.
  • My mom is as smart as my father.
  • moins (adjectif) que = less (adjective) than       
  • Elle est moins grande que moi.
  • She is less tall than me.

For comparisons using adverbs  one can use the following linking words.

  • plus (adverbe) que = more (adverb) than / (adverb)-er than
  • Elle court plus vite que moi.
  • She runs faster than I do.
  • aussi (adverbe) que = as (adverb) as    
  • Je pratique aussi bien que mon frère.
  • I practice as well as my brother.
  • moins (adverbe) que = less (adverb) than         
  • Paul mange moins fréquemment que Charles.
  • Paul eats less frequently than Charles.

Concession

When talking about a concession the words in this category are used.

  • même si = even if
  • Je continuerai à essayer même si j’échoue.
  • I will keep trying even if I fail.
  • malgré + nom = despite + noun
  • Je t’aime malgré le fait que tu aimes la fin de Game of Thrones.
  • I love you despite the fact that you like the ending of Game of Thrones.

Conclusion

When you conclude an argument the words in category are useful – especially when you write an essay.

  • en conclusion = in conclusion
  • En conclusion, nous devons investir dans l’énergie nucléaire.
  • In conclusion, we must invest in nuclear energy.
  • pour conclure = to conclude
  • Monsieur le Président, je voudrais formuler quelques brèves observations pour conclure le débat.
  • Mr Speaker, I would like to make a few brief comments to conclude the debate.

Condition

When you want to express a conditional thought or idea then this category is used. Please note the use of the conditional.

  • si (imparfait), + (conditionel) = if (imperfect), + (conditional)
  • Si j’étais riche, j’achèterais un bateau pour voir le monde.
  • If I were rich I would buy boat to see the world.
  • au cas où + (conditionnel) = if + (conditional)
  • Appelle-moi au cas où tu aurais besoin de conseils.
  • Call me in case you need advice.

Conséquence

When speaking about consequences these linking words are used. Generally people in France use du coup to talk about consequences.

  • alors = so
  • Alors, Emmanuel est allé à Nice quand l’été a commencé.
  • So, Emmanuel went to Nice when the summer began.
  • donc = so
  • Jean est parti tôt, donc j’ai dû faire la lessive moi-même.
  • Jean left early, so I had to do the laundry myself.

Classification

This is useful when you need to write an essay. Generally you will give three arguments for or against something.

  • premièrement = firstly
  • Premièrement, nous devons investir dans l’éducation pour améliorer notre pays.
  • Firstly, we need to invest in education to improve our country.

You can use deuxièmment and troisièmement to start your second and third argument.

Explication

If you wish to clarify something then these linking words are used.

  • c’est-à-dire = that is to say
  • Une fête aura lieu vendredi prochain, c’est-à-dire le 19 juin.
  • A party will be held next Friday, that is to say, on the 19th of June.

Illustration

If you wish to further illustrate your point, or provide an example then these linking words are used.

  • par exemple = for example
  • Elle aime regarder des films romantiques, par exemple Titanic.
  • She loves to watch romantic films, for example Titanic.
  • notamment = especially
  • Vincent van Gogh est bien connu, notamment pour son impact sur le post-impressionnisme.
  • Vincent van Gogh is well known, especially for his impact on post-impressionism.

Justification

If you want to justify an idea or an argument then you can use the words in this category.

  • parce que = because
  • Je ne peux pas venir parce que je suis très fatigué.
  • I cannot come because I am very tired.
  • puisque = since
  • Aide-moi puisque tu sais cuisiner.
  • Help me since you can cook.

Liaison

When you like to connect ideas/arguments with each other these linking words are used.

  • en effet = as a matter of fact/ indeed
  • Je vous écris car j’ai un problème dans l’appartement. En effet, il y a une fuite d’eau.
  • I’m writing to you because I have a problem in the apartment. As a matter of fact, there is a water leak.
  • en fait = in fact
  • Il est vraiment bon aux échecs. En fait, il est le champion du monde.
  • He is really good in playing chess. In fact he is the world champion.

Opposition

When you want to provide a contrast between two things then these linking words are used.

  • mais = but
  • Normalement, je devrais aller au match, mais demain je suis occupé.
  • Normally I would go to the match, but tomorrow I am busy.
  • alors que = whereas
  • Je suis timide alors que mon frère est extraverti.
  • I am shy whereas my brother is an extravert.

Restriction

When speaking about restrictions or exceptions these linking words are used.

  • sauf = except
  • Vous pouvez tout filmer sauf le palais royal.
  • You can film everything except the royal palace.
  • cepedant = however/but
  • Mon Uber a du retard. Cependant, j’y serai assez tôt.
  • My Uber’s running late. However, I’ll be there soon enough.

Temps

When talking about time these linking words are used.

  • quand = when
  • Quand pouvez-vous nous rejoindre ?
  • When can you join us?
  • lorsque = when
  • Lorsque j’avais six ans j’ai vu, une fois, une magnifique image, dans un livre sur la Forêt Vierge qui s’appelait “Histoires Vécues”
  • When I was six years old I once saw a magnificent picture in a book about the virgin forest called “Stories Lived”

Final Comments

That was it, now you know how to use French linking words!

Regarding the other words in the list please don’t think that you need all of them to speak French.

It is helpful to widen your vocabulary though therefore I made this lesson on how to use French linking words.

Please use linguee to see the other words in the proper context if you are curious about them.

Also I hope you were able to figure out which sentence belonged to a famous book! Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Anki File

If you want to know how to use French linking words in practice then downloading and using the Anki File on this subject is incredibly important.

This deck contains 117 cards inluding the following card types:

  1. Creation Cards
  2. French to English
  3. English to French

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.

Now I will describe the process to download the “how to use French linking words” Anki File. If you haven’t already, please download Anki from here.

  1. Press the “Download French Linking Words” button to download the file.
  2. After you have downloaded it, please double click on the file and it will open in Anki.
French Linking Words

Graph With All Of The French Linking Words

This is the graph which I made which contains all of the linking words. If you want to know how to use French linking words then saving this will help you a lot.

Some words are written in blue. This means that you have to use the subjonctif if you use them.

Other words are written in green. This means that if the condition has been met, or the event has already happened then you use the indicatif. Otherwise you have to use the subjonctif.

You can right click on the image and then save it to your computer.

How to use French Linking Words

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