Language Groups


A Lesson for French Speakers

Listen to this story about an embarrassing thing that happened when I went out for a bite.

Warm-Up Questions

Answer these questions. They will help you understand the conversation.


A Few Words

contribute (v) – to be one of the reasons why something happensunnecessarily (adv) – not wanted or needed
startled (adj) – surprised and a little scaredmidsection (n) – the part of the body between the chest and waist
shiver (v) – to shake when you’re cold, sick or scared

False Friends

There are English and French words that have the same or similar spelling, but they have different meanings. For this reason, they can be confusing if you’re learning English, so let’s practice a few of these words called “false friends” or “faux amis.”

grave (adj) – serious / grave (n) – tomb
attend (v) – to go to an event, participate / attendre (v) – to wait
grand (adj) – great, magnificent / grand (adj) – big, tall
location (n) – place / location (n) – rental
jolly (adj) – joyful / joli (adj) – pretty, attractive
deceive (v) – to trick, make others believe something that is false / decevoir (v) – to disappoint
pretend (v) – to make something appear different than it is / pretendre (v) – to claim
envy (v, n) – to want or wanting what someone else has / envie (n) – a wish or desire

For more false friends, check out this list.


Present Continuous

In French, the present continuous or present progressive doesn’t exist. As a result, French speakers often use present simple when they shouldn’t and have troubling understanding when to use the continuous form.

You can learn how to form the present continuous in Beginner Lesson 4. Here I’ll focus on the difference between present continuous and present simple.

Present SimplePresent Continuous
Form: Subject + Main Verb (add -s or -es for he/she/it)Form: Subject + Is/Are + Main Verb with -ing
For truth or facts
He is thirty years old.
For actions happening now.
The sun is shining.
For permanent states or things
I don’t like chocolate.
For temporary actions
She is studying English this year.
For habits or routines
They usually get up at 8.
For annoying habits (using “always”)
She’s always talking loudly on the phone!
For schedules or timetables
The plane leaves at 11.
For future plans already arranged
I am having dinner with her tomorrow.

Remember that some verbs are usually NOT continuous:

Non-Action Verbs:
– State of Being (be)
– Emotion (love, hate, like, etc.)
– Sense (hear, see, taste, sound, look etc.)
– Mental Action (agree, guess, understand, know, etc.)
– Possession (have, own, belong)
– Measurement (cost, weigh, owe)