French Grammar from RapideFrench.com


Coordinating conjunction

These are words that are used to join clauses with equal value.

carbecauseil dort car il est fatigué = he sleeps because he is tired
doncso, therefore il est fatigué donc il dort = he is tired so he sleeps
etandje suis heureux et tu es triste = I am happy and you are sad
butje suis heureux mais tu es triste = I am happy but you are sad
nineither…norIl ne veut ni de moi ou de toi = he doesn't want neither me nor you
parce quebecauseil dort parce qu'il est fatigué = he sleeps because he is tired
ornow, yet, howevertout le monde croit qu'il est gentil, or il a agi particulièrement mal.
= everybody believes he is kind, yet he behaved particularly badly.
ouorvoudrais-tu du thé ou du café ? = would you like tea or coffee?

French students learn a handy mnemonic (which doesn't contain parce que or et): "Mais où est donc Ornicar ?", in Quebec they vary it slightly to "Mais où est donc Carnior ?"

Subordinating conjunction

These join a subordinating clause (dependent clause) to a main clause.

commeas, sincecomme je suis grand, c'est facile de jouer au basket = as I am tall, it is easy to play basketball
lorsquewhenil retenait son souffle lorsque il nageait = he held his breath when he swam
puisqueas, sincetu peux venir puisque tu n'as rien à faire = you can come as you have nothing to do
quandwhenil retenait son souffle quand il nageait = he held his breath when he swam
quand je nagerai, je retiendrai mon souffle = when I swim I will hold my breath
quethatil est évident que vous êtes un espion ! = it is obvious that you are a spy!
quoiqueeven thoughquoique nous soyons en automne, il fait très chaud = although it is Autumn, it is very warm.
siifsi j'étais riche, j'achèterais un château = if I were rich, I would buy a castle
ainsi que(just) asainsi que je t'ai déjà dit = just as I've already told you.
alors quewhileil est arrivé alors que nous partions = he arrived as we were leaving


  • Si has other meanings in different contexts, for example 'so', 'as', 'yes'.
  • Quand and lorsque both mean ‘when’. 'Quand' is used more frequently when speaking. Note that only 'quand' can be used to frame a question.
  • Notice the second example for quand. In English one says 'when I swim' which is the present tense even though we are talking about the future in this case. In France one specifies the future. The same applies to lorsque.