Season 4 – Episode 40 – Coffee Break French

In the final episode of the series we join Matthieu who is replying to Gabrielle’s email – for the last time! As ever Mark and Pierre-Benoît are on hand to discuss the episode and it’s finally time to tackle the tricky issue of c’est vs il est among many other language points.  If you’re interested in finding out more about what happens next in the Coffee Break French series, please click here.

How to slow down a lesson to understand a tricky word using Apple Podcasts app

Have you ever listened to one of our lessons and found it difficult to understand a particular word or sentence because it’s spoken too fast by a native speaker? It’s very easy to slow down a podcast in order to listen to part of the audio at 50% of the normal speed and this video shows you how.

Watch our Video Guide below

How to listen to our lessons and read the notes or transcripts simultaneously

Our premium members have access to lesson notes or transcripts for each lesson of the course. It’s very easy to listen to the lessons and access the notes simultaneously on an iPad and this video will show you how. In this video we assume that you’re using the Apple Podcasts app on your iPad to store your lesson content. For more information about this, please watch this other Video Guide.

Watch our Video Guide below

Step by step guide

The steps are as follows:

  1. From the Podcasts app, tap on the lesson you want to listen to.
  2. Once the lesson has started to play, tap the back arrow (top left) to go back to the list of files.
  3. Now tap the transcript. It will open initially in Safari.
  4. If you wish you can open the pdf lesson guide in iBooks and store it there with your other pdf files and ebooks.

Newsletter Activity 8 – estar a punto de hacer algo

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In this newsletter activity we have another useful construction for you: estar a punto de hacer algo. This means “to be about to do something” or “to be on the point of doing something” and so can be used to refer to an imminent action. Note that this structure needs to be followed by an infinitive.

Veamos unos ejemplos:

  • Andrea está a punto de terminar la carrera de medicina, solo le queda un examen – Andrea is about to finish her medicine degree, she only has one exam left
  • tienes que darte prisa, están a punto de salir – you need to hurry, they are about to leave
  • estaba a punto de llamarte por teléfono cuando llegó mi vecino – I was just about to call you when my neighbour arrived 

This construction is very easy to use, just remember to conjugate the verb estar. ¿Y vosotros? ¿Qué estáis a punto de hacer? Have a closer look at the tenses used in the examples and then try to come up with your own sentences. ¡Esperamos vuestros comentarios!

Newsletter Activity 8 – si + present tense

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Today we are going to practise how to express a hypothesis in French using si, to say for example, “if you come, I’ll make a cake”.

There are three possible formulas we can follow:

  • si + present tense, followed by present tense
  • si + present tense, followed by future tense
  • si + present tense, followed by imperative (command form)

These formulas are used to express an action which will come true in the present or future as a result of something else happening. Let’s look at some examples: 

  • si tu viens, je fais un gâteau – if you are coming, I am making a cake
  • si tu viens, on regardera un film – if you come, we will watch a film
  • si tu viens, préviens-moi – if you’re coming, let me know 

Of course, it is also possible to invert the structure: 

  • je fais un gâteau si tu viens
  • dis-le-lui si tu l’aimes
  • le professeur ne sera pas content si tu ne le fais pas

The important thing to remember is that in this context si needs to be followed by a verb in the present tense. Now that you have seen some examples, try to build your own example sentences to practise this construction. Allez!

Season 4 – Episode 39 – Coffee Break French

In the penultimate episode of the series we join Pierre-Benoît and Mark as they discuss Gabrielle’s email to Matthieu. The text gives us the opportunity to look at the complicated pronouns lequel, laquelle, lesquels and lesquelles, negative infinitives, the expression faire des folies and lots more.

CBI 1-20 | Buying train tickets and Review

In lesson 20 of Coffee Break Italian you’ll continue to learn useful words and phrases to deal with buying tickets for public transport. You’ll also join Katie in a conversation which puts to the test much of the Italian you’ve learned so far on the course.