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This is the follow up article to the last one.

 

Let’s get straight into it. Above is the Standard conjugation Table/System that is used in most French textbooks and classes. In this article, I propose a different system and argue why it is better than the Standard system. Here is the system I propose:

New Table.png

Before explaining how it works, let’s go back to the Standard System. The Standard System uses the to-form also called the infinitive as it’s root form. To obtain other forms, you take the to-form, cut off the ending and replace it with the appropriate ending. If the activity in question is giving and you want to say “I give”, you begin with 

 

  1. The infinitive (root form)

       donner 

  2. Remove ending

       donn (-er)

  3. Add the I-form ending 

       donne

 

The process is the same for all other subject forms (you, he, she, we, etc).

 

Back to the New System. In the New System, the root form is not the to-form, instead it’s the I-form. The conjugation process is simpler. Using the example of conjugating donner, to obtain “I give”, the process is:

 

  1. The root form

        donne 

 

And that’s it!

 

To get the you-form, the process is 

  1. The root form

       donne 

  2.  Add an s

       donnes

 

The other subject forms can be obtained by following the table similarly. In the New System, for all but the we (nous) form, the process involves 2 steps as compared to 3 steps using the Standard System. An interesting thing about the New System is that the to-form (infinitive) which was the root form in the Standard System is a conjugated form in the New System.

 

You may be reading this and thinking, “what’s the big deal? It’s a tiny improvement.” To that I say, yes, it is, but if you go through a whole grammar book and apply the same optimisation approach, the small gains add up to give big gains. Learning a new language requires you to learn dozens (if not hundreds) of rules and processes. If you could learn French using a system that required you to learn 5% fewer rules, wouldn’t that be better?

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