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Confusing differences in French

What's the difference between an or année, jour or journée, matin or matinée, soir or soirée?
Because - What's the difference between parce que and car?
C'est / il est?
hear or listen, entendre or écouter?
to return - rendre or retourner?
another / again - do I use autre or encore?
Do I use de or des with beaucoup / combien etc.
...ne pas... what's the difference between je ne peux pas le faire and je peux ne pas le faire?
When do I use l'on and l'un instead of 'on' and 'un'?
The difference between information and renseignement
To leave - partir, s'en aller, laisser, quitter and sortir
Thank you for...  + de or pour?
What's the difference between quand and lorsque?
The pronunciation of plus

An or Année, jour or journée, matin or matinée, soir or soirée?

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between an and année as well as the other longer versions of jour and journée because they emphasize slightly different concepts.
The way I understand it is the short versions give just a basic statement of time (just statements of fact). The longer versions place an emphasis on that particular period of time or it is just more descriptive for example, I could talk about doing something for two years so I would use 'an'. If I wanted to say that my son was the first in his year (his class) then I would use année because I'm putting emphasis on the whole year. I am describing what happened that year.
Short versions - statements of fact
Long versions - descriptions or emphasis
l'an = the year
l'année = the whole year
le jour = the day
la journée = the whole day
le matin = in the morning
la matinée = the whole morning
le soir = in the evening
la soirée = the whole evening
Note that the long versions do not always mean "the whole..." e.g. hier, il s'est passé quelque chose dans la soirée = something happend in the evening

Je suis en France depuis huit jours = I've been in France for eight days
il a vingt ans = he is twenty years old (in French, you have years)
J'ai fait du ski toute la soirée = I skied all evening (all the whole evening)

I think that it would be clearer to divide up the uses in to four categories. You can choose the box which matches your meaning. There are exceptions and sometimes even a choice between the two.

With most adjectives (also this, that...)

Use the LONG versions for these:

la bonne année = the New Year (also "le nouvel an" = "the New Year")
l'année bissextile = leap year
l'année fiscale = the tax year
l'année passée = last year
l'année scolaire = the school year

À l'année prochaine = see you next year, as a greeting but you may see a phrase l'an prochain = the next year

You use cette with année:
ce jour / matin / soir = this day / morning / evening
cette année = this year
Cette année, j'arrête de fumer = this year, I'll stop smoking
Il fait très froid cette année = It is very cold this year
I just want to point out here that 'nuit' has nothing to do with this difference between long and short versions because you only have one version of it. I mention it here in case you get confused with this word. Cette nuit means tonight if you use it in a sentence in the future or last night if you use it in the past.

We use an or année with the adjectives prochain, dernier and nouveau.
With all the other adjectives, the only possibility is année.
L'an dernier / l'année dernière, j'ai étudié en Espagne.
L'an prochain / l'année prochaine, je serai en Espagne.
Tous les ans / chaque année, je vais a la mer. (but NOT "chaque an")
Le Nouvel An se fête dans le monde entier (and we say "Bonne année!")

Jour de l'An, Nouvel An (January 1st)
Nouvelle Année
en ce début de l'an 2009 ...
en ce début de l'année 2009 ...

My, your, his etc.

Use the LONG versions for these BUT they are feminine words so as you may know, one feminine thing (or noun) can have the choice between mon, ma, son, sa etc. You choose the one that flows better. With année, you use mon, son and ton (the letter n flows in to année better).
Elle est la première de son année = She's the first in her year (or class)


If you are not specifying which year, morning etc. use the LONG versions:
certaines années = certain years (some but not others)

Tous, toute...
BUT be careful with the word 'all' or 'every'. The short versions are just for counting but the long versions (as mentioned at the start) are emphasizing 'all that time'.
tous les jours = everyday
toute la journée = all day (all that day)

Questions with a preposition

Use the LONG versions like "En quelle année...? = In which year...?" except:
Quel jour est-il? = What day is it?

With numbers

You have choice between the two here. If you are just describing an amount of time, use the short versions but if you want to emphasize the duration, use the long versions:
il a vingt ans = he is twenty years old
Une femme de vingt-deux ans = A twenty-two year old woman.
en l'an huit cent = in the year 800
l'an mil neuf cent= in 1900 (although in speech, the French usually say things like nineteen twelve like we do by grouping numbers in to two).
trois ans = three years BUT trois années difficiles = three difficult years (this sentence uses année because you have used an adjective, and it is descriptive)

J'ai passé seize merveilleuses journées à Paris = I've spent 16 marvellous days in Paris

With an adverb that relates to time or days

An adverb is like an adjective but it doesn't change in the feminine or plural because it usually describes verbs. Words like tomorrow or yesterday can be used with the SHORT versions such as "hier soir = last night" or "demain matin = tomorrow morning".
On vous voit samedi soir / On se voit samedi soir = We'll see you Saturday evening
On vous voit le lendemain soir = Well see you the following evening

Incidentally, in the eighties is "dans les années quatre-vingt" but the twentieth century is "au vingtième siècle".


These are words that relate one thing with another like on in "the plate is on the table". The preposition on relates the word plate with the word table.
Use the SHORT versions:
pendant dix ans = during ten years
trois fois par an = three times a year
il a été condamné à 20 ans de prison = he has been sentenced to 20 years in prison

Because - parce que, car or puisque ?

'Parce que' and 'car' are not the same. They are different types of words. Sometimes they are interchangeable and  sometimes they are not. Here is an explanation of them.

Parce que = because (this shows why something happened, one thing caused another)
'Parce que' is a word that explains why something is done (an explanation or motive), giving more information.
'Parce que' can begin a sentence. This type of word is a "subordinating conjunction" which means that it introduces another part of a sentence which needs the part before it to make sense.

Il ne est pas venu parce qu'il est malade. = He did not come because he is ill (explaining why he didn't come)
Parce qu'il est malade, il ne peut pas venir = Because he is ill, he cannot come

Car = because / for ('car' justifies why something happened or a belief)
'Car' is mainly found in formal and written French. It indicates a reason or judgment so you use it to justify why you think something.
It sometimes translates as "for" in English. Note that it also means 'coach' - a vehicle in which you can travel or a few other things like 'car (de ramassage) scolaire' = school bus.
'Car' cannot begin a sentence because this type of word is a "coordinating conjunction" (like 'and / or / but') which means the part of the sentences before and after it are of equal importance.

Elle est inquiète car son fils n'est pas encore rentré = She is worried because her son hasn't returned yet (he hasn't returned, this justifies her worry)
Il ne va pas venir, car il est très occupé = He is not coming, for he is very busy (justifying why he cannot come)

Puisque = since / seeing that
This is another "subordinating conjunction" and you can begin a sentence with it.
You use it to show an obvious explanation or justification. It also reinforces an assertion.

Puisque c'était son erreur, il m'a aidé = Since it was his mistake, he helped me.
mais puisqu'il m'attend ! = but he's waiting for me
Viens m'aider puisque tu es là = Come and help me seeing that you are there

A comparison between the two
Marie est malade, car je ne l’ai pas vue de la journée = Marie is ill, for I have not seen her all day.
Here, the sentence gives a reason for why Marie was not seen. I justify my belief that Marie is ill.

If I used 'parce que', this creates a lack of harmony in the sentence. Using 'parce que' here does not logically conclude why Marie is ill. You could say for example that:
Marie est malade parce qu’elle a trop mangé = Marie is ill because she has eaten too much. Using 'parce que' explains why she is ill. A logical conclusion.

The problem is the difference between cause and justification.
'Car' can be replaced with 'en effet' = because (introducing an explanation). Note that 'en effet' also is used for 'in fact' or in a responce to someone - "en effet, j'avais la grippe" = yes that's right, I had the flu.
Marie est malade ; en effet, je ne l’ai pas vue de la journée. = Marie is ill, because I have not seen her all day

Have a look at these:
Marie n’a pas été choisie par le jury parce que l’un des membres est son cousin. = Marie has not been chosen by the jury because one of the members is her cousin (a logical conclusion)

Marie n’a pas été choisie par le jury, car l’un des membres est son cousin. = Marie has not been chosen by the jury, for one of the members is her cousin (one of the members is her cousin and you justify your belief that she wasn't chosen because of this)

Je m'en vais en Californie et je n'ai pas acheté de parapluie, car j'ignore s'il pleuvra = I'm off to California and I haven't bought an umbrella for I don't know if it will rain.
Here 'car' explains or justifies what has been said.
Parce que j'ai manqué d'argent, je n'ai pas acheté de parapluie. = Because I'm short of money, I haven't bought an umbrella
'Parce que explains why I haven't bought an umbrella (a logical conclusion)
Je n'ai pas acheté de parapluie parce que je n'en ai pas trouvé dans les boutiques de l'aéroport. = I haven't bought an umbrella because I haven't found one in the aeroport shops (another logical conclusion)

Note that a word is not necessary:
j"ai pas le temps de taper la discute, je suis en retard" = "no time for chit-chat, I'm late"
"Because" is not necessary here, it's the same in French, for "parce que" as well as "car".

je suis anglais car je suis née en Angleterre = I am English because I was born in England
je suis anglais parce que je suis née en Angleterre = I am English because I was born in England

Hear or listen

These words can be translated by other words but the ones I want to list here are the ones that just mean to hear or listen with your ears (and not "did you hear about the... ? = tu es au courant du / de la ... " etc.)
Hear - entendre
Listen - écouter
entendre to hear / understand
Est-ce que vous entendez de la musique? = do you hear music?
Vous y entendez quelque chose? = Do you understand this at all?
entendu! = agreed!
s'entendre = to get along (with) or hear oneself
s'entendre avec quelqu'un = to get along with someone (which gives the expression "s'entendre comme chien et chat = to not get along at all")
s'entendre sur ...= to agree upon ...
écouter to listen to
écouter quelqu'un / quelque chose des cédés / des chansons = to listen to someone / something / CDs / songs

To return - rendre or retourner?

There are a few ways to translate this depending on what you mean. I get these two particular verbs mixed up sometimes:
rendre = to come back
retourner = to go back
rendre to come back - and many other translations like to pronounce (judgement) / restore (health) etc.
rendre quelque chose à quelqu'un = to give something back to someone
rendre la monnaie = to give change

se rendre = to give oneself up
se rendre quelque part = to go somewhere
se rendre à = to comply or bow to (in arguments etc.)
se rendre compte de quelque chose = to realize something

le rendez-vous = appointment
prendre rendez-vous avec quelqu'un = to make an appointment with someone
Il a rendez-vous à cinq heure = he has an appointment at 5 o'clock
retourner to go back - and other translations like to turn over, shake etc.
note that you use être with retourné(e)(s) when you want to say I / he /  she etc. has returned BUT use avoir when the verb does something to something (this is a normal use - reflexive verbs and verbs that can't do anything so something use être and verbs that can do something use avoir, a few like descendre can use both with a change in meaning)

retourner quelque chose à quelqu'un = to return something to someone (like rendre in this case)
retourner quelque part / à ... = to go back / to (à ... is also used with activities)
retourner quelque chose = to turn something over (like an omlet / your room / your pockets inside out) - use AVOIR with this
Ils sont retournés dans leurs pays = they have returned to their countries
Il est retourné à sa place = he returned to his seat

se retourner = to turn around
s'en retourner = to go back

Again / same thing / something else

To express 'again' is quite easy. There are a handful of verbs that express this but for most of them, use 'de nouveau' or 'encore' for example:
Je l'ai de nouveau écrit
Je l'ai encore écrite
} I have written it again

There is some confusion with the use of autre and encore.
If you want to say "I would like another glass of wine" then you use encore:
Je voudrais encore un verre de vin rouge = I would like another glass of red wine
BUT if you used 'un autre verre...' then the waiter may look at the glass, wonder what's wrong with it and replace it because this use means that you want a supplementary glass or a different glass.
Let's look at autre and encore more closely:
encore It can mean 'still'
elle dort encore = she's still sleeping
pas encore = not yet

It can mean 'again' or 'still more'mentioned above like 'encore une fois' = (once) again
Il ira encore demain = He will go again tomorrow
encore de la glace? = some more ice-cream?
encore trois jours = three more days
Pourrais-je avoir encore une serviette? = May I have an extra towel?

It can make something more intensive (note the use of 'de'):
encore plus fort = even louder
encore du pain, s'il vous plaît! = more bread please!

It can show a restriction, meaning things like "even so" etc.
encore pourrais-je le voir si ... = even so, I might be able to see him if ...
Il ne suffit pas d'être calme, encore faut-il être réservé = it is not enough to be calm, you have to be reserved

Also putting 'et encore' at the end of a sentence can mean "but only just!" or "if that"
Ça vaut €10, et encore = it's worth €10, if that

Incidentally, the French do not say "encore" at a comedy show etc. They say "bis". If you say encore! then this man mean "not again!"
autre autre chose = something else BUT
l'autre chose = the other thing so
Je voudrais autre chose = I would like something else
Avez-vous autre chose = Have you something else?

as mentioned above, you can say je préférais un autre verre = I would prefer another / different glass - so if you want the same thing again, you would say "Je voudrais encore un verre de vin rouge".

This has a few other uses. like autre part = somewhere else.

à d'autres! = you're having me on!
j'en ai vu d'autres = I've seen worse

Do I use de or des with beaucoup or combien etc?

This technically is an adverb + de + noun. The short answer is use 'de' with a word that is singular or plural except with the word 'bien' which uses the de +le / la / les contraction because this is using a "partitive article" which just means "some / any". Don't worry about grammatical terms. Remember that de contracts to d' if it makes the sentence flow better. Note that 'en' can be used because this replaces de + noun.

Adverb meaning
assez de enough e.g. j'ai assez d'amis = I have enough friends
autant de as / so much, as / so many (also used in comparisions)
il y a autant d'hommes que de femmes = there are as much men as there are men
beaucoup de a lot of e.g. il y en a beaucoup = there are many / a lot of them
Je n'ai pas beaucoup de temps = I haven't much time
bien de + le /la / les a lot of / a good many e.g. bien du mal = a lot of harm, bien du temps = quite a time, bien des gens = a good many people
but there are uses without le / la / les e.g.
dire du bien de quelqu'un / quelque chose = to speak well of somebody / something
combien de how much / many e.g. combien de langues parlez-vous? = how many languages do you speak?
or "quelles langues parlez-vous?"
moins de less / fewer
peu de little / few
plus de more e.g. plus de pain = more bread, plus de 5 personnes = more than / over 5 people
tant de so much / so many
il y a tant de nourriture! = there is soo much food!
You can end with "... de trop" meaning "... too much / many or 'en trop' - du lait en trop = too much milk
trop de too much / many
j'ai acheté trop de pain = I have bought too much bread

... ne pas ...

You may have noticed something like:
Je ne peux pas le faire
je peux ne pas le faire

well the second example is just negating the second verb:
je ne peux pas le faire = I can't do it (first verb is negative)
je peux ne pas le faire = I may possibly not do it (second verb is negative)

You do not wrap the second verb in ne ... pas if it is negative. Some more examples:
Veuillez ne pas renvoyer le produit au lieu d'achat = Please don't return the product to the place of purchase
Je préférais ne pas l'acheter { I would prefer not to buy it
I would rather not buy it

BUT! you do wrap the verb with other adverbs such as:
aucun(e) = none
ni = nor / neither
nul = no
nulle part = nowhere
personne = nobody
que = only
rien = nothing
Je regrette de ne voir personne = I'm sorry not to see anyone (not to see nobody)

Also the word 'sans' does not have 'ne'
sans rien dire = without saying anything
I wondered if rien is in front of the verb because you say "je n'ai rien dit = I have not said anything" and rien is in front of the verb.

Information and renseignement... la différence, s'il y en a une, doit être très subtile...

To me the difference is that information is a specific piece of information, whereas renseignements is more general.

Une information refers to a single piece of information, while des informations is equivalent to information. Une information can indicate an official inquiry or investigation, knowledge obtained from something or someone.
This is used with knowledge given on the TV, radio or a newspaper.
Information can often (if not always) be used instead of renseignement, the opposite is not true.
Les informations = the news on TV. That's where "les infos" comes from.
Une information = piece of news
à titre d'information = for your information
agence d'information = news agency
journal d'information = quality (or serious) newspaper
voyage d'information = fact-finding trip

Information, clarification given on something or someone.
Someone in the street could give you 'un renseignement'. Normally you would not ask for 'une information' but using 'information' instead is spreading quickly.
Prendre des renseignements (sur) = to make enquiries (about)
Les renseignements = directory enquiry/assistance (to call directory enquiries = appeler les renseignements). Directory inquiries can also be called Service des renseignements.
Les Renseignements Généraux (RG) = name of the French domestic intelligence service
When you call a service to get information by phone, in France it's named "renseignements".
So if you want to say something like "Please could you send me some information on..." then you would use renseignements, not information, since you don't know exactly what the information will be.
Se renseigner sur = to get information on
(guichet des) renseignements = information desk

To leave - partir, s'en aller, laisser, quitter and sortir

Here is a table for reference before I explain the individual words:
French General meaning Opposite meaning (antonym)
partir to leave / depart / die (euphemism) arriver
s'en aller to leave / die (euphemism) / retire
S'en aller ≈ partir, but slightly more informal
laisser to leave something behind
quitter to leave someone or something (for a long time)
sortir to leave a place / object, to exit entrer

This generally means to leave or depart. You do not follow this with an object such as a place but you can follow it with other types of words such as a preposition.
Vous partez ou vous restez ? = Are you leaving or staying?
Le train pour Paris part à quelle heure ? = What time does the train to Paris leave?
Il part dans dix minutes du quai numéro 8 = It leaves in ten minutes from platform 8
Tu pars en vacances ? = Are you going on holiday?
Oui, Je partirai pour / à ... = Yes, I'll be going to ...
Je pars lundi = I'm leaving on Monday
Je pars de Paris = I'm leaving (from) Paris

S'en aller
You can say this construction instead of partir but it sounds a little more informal (a bit like saying "I'm off now"). It has other meanings like to die. It is a harder construction than partir.
Il faut que je m'en aille = I've got to go
Il s'en est allé content = He left content / happy
Je m'en vais de Paris = I'm moving away from Paris
Vous vous en allez en vacances ? = Are you leaving on vacation?
Va t'en ! = Go away!

This word is a common word and can be used for different things. It's main meaning is to let / allow. It can mean to leave something behind and you usually follow it up with something.
Laissez-moi finir ! = Let me finish!
Laissez-moi du gâteau ! = Leave me some cake!
J'ai laissé ma valise dans le train = I left my suitcase on the train
I left my key = J'ai laissé ma clé{  chez Michel
 à la reception
= at Michel's house
= at the reception
Elle m'a laissé dans le supermarché
Je vous laisse ma place = You can have my seat
Il m'a laissé tous les livres = He left me all the books
Laissez tomber = Forget about it
Laissez-moi tranquille ! = Leave me alone!
Il a laissé les enfants jouer dans le jardin = He let the children play in the garden
Laissez-moi vous aider = Let me help you
Laissez-moi vous faire une douce violence = Let me twist your arm / tempt you a little

This common verb means to leave something or someone behind but implies for a long time. You follow this up with an object except on the phone when you say "ne quittez pas !" = "hold on / don't hang up!"
Il a quitté sa femme = He left his wife
Il quitte la France = He's leaving France
J'ai quitté l'école à quinze ans = I left school at 15
Les clients doivent quitter leur chambre avant midi = The guests must check out of their rooms before 12 o'clock
Mon fils ne quitte pas sa chambre = My son never leaves his room
Je vous quitte ma place = You can have my seat (same as above - Je vous laisse ma place)
Je vous quitte pour cinq minutes pour fumer = I'm going to leave you for five minutes to smoke
Cette nausée ne le quitte pas = He always has nausea / he can't get over this sickness (literally: this nausea doesn't leave him)

This means to exit / leave something (that is why you see "sortie" = exit on doors).
This is one of those few words where you use être for to have when there is no word that follows (meaning that person has left) or avoir when you are taking something out of somewhere. Make sure you change "sorti" only if you use être:
Il est sorti de son pays = He has left the country
Il est sortis de son pays = They have left the country
Elle est sortie de son pays = She has left the country
Il a sorti la voiture du garage = He has got the car out of the garage
Laissez-moi sortir ici, s'il vous plaît = Let me off here please
Vous devez sortir de l'eau = You have to get out of the water
Je sors ce matin = I'm going out this morning
Ils sont partis dans la matinée = They left in the morning
Je vais sortir en bicyclette = I'm going out for a bike ride

Thanking someone with 'de' or 'pour'?

It is quite simple, use 'de' for an action and 'pour' for something you can touch:
Merci bien de votre assistance = thanks a lot for your help
Merci beaucoup de nous avoir aidés = Thanks a lot for helping us (notice the past participle agrees with 'nous' because it is a direct object before 'avoir')
Je vous remercie de votre attention = thank you for your attention
Je vous remercie de m'avoir invité = thank you for inviting me
Merci beaucoup pour le cadeau = thank you very much for the present
Je vous remercie pour le dîner = I thank you for the dinner
Remerciez-le de ma part pour les chaussures = thank him for me for the shoes

Merci beaucoup = thank you very much
Merci bien = thanks a lot (this could be sincere or sarcastic)

Quand or lorsque?

Quand and lorsque have similar meanings and can often be interchanged. Lorsque can sound a little more formal. There may be some regional variation or sometimes to avoid a k...k sound after que e.g. Il ne s'est fâché que lorsque ...
Quand can be more general and lorsque can be a little more specific.

When two things happening at the same time, you can use either one:
Il était cinq heures quand / lorsque mes amis sont arrivés = It was 5 o'clock when my friends arrived
Je mangais quand / lorsque il m'a téléphoné = I was eating when he phoned me.
Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris peuvent danser = When the cat is not here, the mice can dance

If the event has not happened yet, the verb after quand or lorsque is in the future:
Quand / lorsque vous aurez finis, vous pourrez partir = When you will finish, you can leave (both verbs in the future)
Note the sequence of time is followed using the "will've" tense (future anterior) if you have already used the "will" tense (the future tense):
Je vous dirai quand / lorsqu'il sera arrivé = I'll tell you when he has arrived (will have arrived)
Or you can say sentences in this order if you wish:
Quand / lorsqu'il sera arrivé, je vous dirai

Meaning Which one Example
Two events happening simultaneously quand / lorsque
(direct or implied)
quand Quand arrivera-vous ? = When will you arrive?
Je ne sais pas quand il arrivera = I don't know when he will arrive
or "every time that..."
quand Je ne me sens pas bien quand je voyage en train = I don't feel well when I travel by train
Je ne me sentirai pas bien quand je voyagerai en train = I will not feel well whenever I travel by train
Whenever can be translated by "chaque fois que" or "toutes les fois que"
Whereas / when lorsque J'ai parlé lorsqu'il a fallu chuchoter = I spoke whereas I should have whispered
Je parlerai lorsqu'il faudra chuchoter = I'll speak when I should whisper
'Whereas' can be translated by "alors que" or "tandis que"
A short length of time lorsque Lorsque here can mean "au moment où" or "à l'époque où":
lorsque je m'endors, je ronfle aussitôt = I snore the moment I fall asleep
A longer length of time quand Quand je dors, ça dure des heures = When I sleep, it can last a few hours
Note: Le jour où je l'ai rencontré = On the day when I met him

C'est or il est?

C'est and il est are not interchangable although c'est is used often in speech with an adjective e.g. il est facile de faire, c'est facile de faire = it's easy to do. The plural of c'est is 'ce sont'. The plural of 'il est' is 'ils sont'.
These words can form expressions that may not refer to anyone in particular but 'il est' may refer to 'he is' rather than 'it is' so you can use other words like 'je suis' etc.
Note that if you introduce a noun, use c'est because it's does not refer to someone or something mentioned earlier:
C'est une voiture = It's a car

Or use il est / elle est / ils sont / elles sont if you have mentioned it or are referring to it:
J'ai une nouvelle voiture. Elle est rouge = I have a new car. It is red.
Used with... C'est Il est (or with people: il / elle est, ils / elles sont)
an adjective ... with a situation
C'est étonnant = It's surprising

In speech, c'est + adjective + que / de is often used instead of il est
... with a person or impersonal expression
Il est sympathique = he is nice (or 'sympa')

... with an adjective + que / de - you always put in a 'de' between an adjective and the infinitive (unchanged verb)
It est facile de critiquer = It's easy to critisize
Il est possible qu'il parle français = it's possible that he speaks French (parle is in the subjunctive after this particular adjective)
In speech, c'est is often used like this too
c'est possible que ...
an adverb ...with an adverb that's modified
C'est trop tôt = It's too early

C'est à Noël qu'ils viennent = It's at Christmas that they are coming (adverbial expression)
(saying when something is happening is an adverb, e.g. ils viennent à cinq heures = they are coming at 5'o clock)
... with an adverb
Il est déjà parti = he is already left (elle est déjà partie = she's already left)
Il est ici = He is here
Il est tôt = It's early
It est temps que je parte = It's time I went (partes is in the subjunctive tense)
a noun ... with a modified noun or introducing a noun
C'est un masseur = He's a masseur
C'est une bonne réceptionniste
C'est une voiture = It's a car
Ce sont des chevaux = those are horses

... with time expressions
C'est janvier = It's January
C'est le printemps = it's spring
C'est le 3 janvier = It's the 3rd of January
... with a noun already mentioned or impersonal sentence
Il est masseur = He's a masseur (elle est masseuse = she's a masseuse)
Il est huit heures = It's eight o'clock
Il est midi = It's noon
A noun mentioned earlier
Son portefeuille ?  Il est sur la table = Your wallet? It's on the table.
—Je ne retrouve plus mon portefeuille = I can't find my wallet
—Il est sur la table = It's on the table
In the above case, il est is used because the noun is masculine. You use elle / ils / elles depending on the gender and number of the noun mentined earlier
Les clés ?  Elles sont sur la table = The keys? They are on the table.

To translate 'there are' in a very literary style, you can use 'il est'
Il est des gens qui parlent français = There are some people who speak French
Normally you use 'il y a':
Il y a des gens qui parlent français
a preposition Note that this is an adverbial expression, so it belongs in the adverb section mentioned above:
C'est à Noël qu'ils viennent = It's at Christmas that they are coming
Il est à Londres = He is in London (elle est à Londres = she's in London)
Il est en Angleterre = He is in England
the name of someone C'est Martine = It's Martine
a pronoun C'est moi ! = It's me!

How do I pronounce the word plus?

There are a few ways. Sometimes the s is pronounced "ploos" and sometimes it is pronounced with a liaison which means the s is pushed in to the following word when it is easier to say (when the following word starts with a vowel sound) which is explained on my articles about liaisons. Sometimes it does not matter which way you pronounce it.
When plus is used as an adverb in front of another word, the s is usually pronounced when it has a positive meaning (like 'more' or 'extra' and the s is often not pronounced when it has a negative sense (so the 's' is subtracted in the negative). I think that Laura K. Lawless invented that rule.
Here is a little table to summarize:

It has a liaison ("ploo" or "plooz") with ...

Adverb of negation
il ne les voit plus = He doesn't see them any more
(ne)... plus
plus de + noun
plus que = (only) il n'y a (guère) plus que huit jours avant les vacances = there's only (about) a week to go before the holidays

and with...
qui plus est (same as 'de plus') = furthermore
plus ou moins = more or less
Plus on est de fous, plus on rit = The more the merrier.
It's pronounced "ploos" when it is a ...

conjunction (joining words together like the English word "and")
quatre plus cinq font neuf = four plus five is nine
tous les voisins, plus leur enfants = all the neighbours plus their children

masculine noun (as in "the plus")
les plus de ... = the plus points of...
Quels sont les plus de ce produit par rapport aux autres ? = what does this product have that the others don't?

And with...
d'autant plus ! = All the more reason! (that you should)
plus que jamais = more than ever
Pronounce it either as "ploo" OR "ploos":
au plus = at the most
de plus (same as 'qui plus est') = furthermore, additional (j'ai un stylo de plus = I have an additional pen)
de plus en plus = more and more
en plus = extra
en plus de = on top of / in addition to ("en plus de cela..." = on top of all that...)
tout au plus = at the very most
une fois de plus = once more
Other ways

Adverbs (superlative use - the best, the most)
It is pronounced "ploo(s)" before a consonant (optional 's'), "ploo-z" before a vowel and "ploos" at the end of a phrase.

ce que j'aime le plus ... = what I like best / the most ...

Adverb (comparative usage)
French way, ploo and plooz,  "ploos" at the end of a phrase, "ploo(s)" before que (optional 's')

il devrait lire plus = he should  read more
vous travaillez plus (que nous) = you work more (than us)
J'aime la musique plus que tout au monde = I like music more than anything else

plus + adjective or adverb
il est plus large (que l'autre) = it's wider (than the other one)

Only as "ploo"
plus + adverb = more + adverb
tant et plus de = ever so much
je ne sais plus où j'habite (ploo because it is a negative word)


There are some NEGATIVE uses without the 'ne' because there is no verb with which to use it.
Plus besoin (de) = (there's) no more need (to/of)
Plus de + noun = (there's) no more + noun
Plus maintenant  = not any more
Plus que + noun = (there are) only … more
Plus de lait, merci = no more milk, thanks

What may make things even more confusing is that in informal speech, the 'ne' is often not spoken. This makes the pronunciation of the 's' to be more important as this distinguishes between a negative and positive meaning e.g.
Je voudrais plus de sucre (ploo) - this may be interpreted as "I would not like any more sugar"
Y a-t-il plus de confiture ? (ploos)= Is there any more jam? - without the 's' this may be interpreted in a negative sense and you may get a reply "mais, si" where si means oui in a reply to a negative question.

Here's more examples:
Je n'ai plus d'argent. (ploo)
J'ai plus d'argent. (ploos) - no 'ne' here as it is more colloquial

Je t'aime plus (ploos) = I love you more.
Je t'aime plus (ploo) = I don't love you anymore.

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