Getting up was much easier today. After having a leisurely breakfast with much less squeaking than yesterday (though Sheila and I are both definitely a little sick), we got ready and headed to Sweet Briar to meet up with Joan and Kyle for lunch at 12:30. The elevator is broken, and Sweet Briar is on the seventh floor… so Sheila and I waited for Kyle and Joan to come downstairs. We thought about going to the cafeteria at Alliance Française and we headed over, but the place was packed, so we went to a panini place nearby. I was luckily able to buy a salad that was pretty good. It was about six euros, and that was with a half baguette (that I gave to Kyle), and a brownie for dessert (that I gave to Joan). I told Joan and Kyle how my monologue went down yesterday (which is incredibly entertaining, so go read about it here if you haven’t already) while we ate, then Kyle went home and Joan went to a library to do some work, so I headed up to Sweet Briar’s library to wait for my class to start. Charlotte (friend from Joan and Kyle’s university that we got to know in Tours who is studying in Nice) is coming to visit this week, and we said we would get tattoos together (not the same ones, just get our own tattoos at the same time) when she visited Paris, so I did some research on parlors in the area since I’ve figured out what I want for my quote, and where I want it.
We went over one last thing from the intensity adverbs lesson from last week. When you’re talking about so much of something, and you put it in past tense like “we ate so much chocolate” (nous avons mangé tellement/tant de chocolat) that adverb goes after all of the verbs. If you change that sentence to “we ate so much in Paris” so we’re not directly talking about a quantity (what you ate and how much) anymore, the position of your adverb changes… “Nous avons tellement/tant mange à Paris!” After that, we moved on to comparative adverbs, the whole superiorité (>), égalité (=), infériorité (<) thing. These adverbs are very similar to the intensity adverbs in the way that there’s something that works for all four of the cases (verbe, nom, adjectif, adverbe) and there are two things that only work for two of the cases. I’ll break all four of them down here, then summarize it quickly…
Case 1: Verb: He works more than/just as much as/less than you.
(>) Il travaille plus que toi. (=) Il travaille autant que toi. (<) Il travaille moins que toi.
Case 2: Noun: He drinks more coffee than/just as much coffee as/less coffee than tea.
(>) Il boit plus de café que de thé. (=) Il boit autant de café que de thé. (<) Il boit moins de café que de thé.
Case 3: Adjective: He is richer than/just as rich as/less rich than you.
(>) Il est plus riche que toi. (=) Il est aussi riche que toi. (<) Il est moins riche que toi.
Case 4: Adverb: He speaks faster than/just as fast as/less fast than you.
(>) Il parle plus vite que toi. (=) Il parle aussi vite que toi. (<) Il parle moins vite que toi.
Summary: You’re going to use plus que for all of the cases of superiorité, and moins que for all of the cases of infériorité. It’s the égalité that gets tricky. Notice how you’ll use autant que for the first two cases, and aussi que for the last two, just like tant and si from our lesson about the intensity adverbs. Note the placement of the verbs/nouns etcetera in the sentences, and where the modifiers go. A couple notes on Case 2: Noun… If you’re going to say “He drinks more coffee than YOU” you don’t need to have the de follow the que in the sentence. The proper sentence is “Il boit plus de café que toi.” That de is attached to the noun “coffee,” NOT the “plus que” phrase. Also, the de is ALWAYS de, never des, du, or de la. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating more strawberries than cherries, that sentence will read “Il mange plus de fraises que de cerises.” Before you freak out and go “but strawberries and cherries are plural!” …we know. That’s why there’s an “s” at the end of each of those words. One last note on pronunciation… If you want to sound like a French person, you’re going to have to play around with your “plus” a little bit. Sometimes you’re going to have to drop the “s” sound on the end of it. Attention, this isn’t to be taken into account when you’re going to be doing a liaison (when the word following plus starts with a vowel). So when do you drop that “s” sound? Whenever your “plus” refers to something negative, when it means “I don’t do something anymore,” like “I don’t love him anymore.” Je ne l’aime plus. That “plus” sounds more like “ploo.” In the case of our comparative adverbs, where do we drops the “s” sounds in plus? ONLY IN CASES 1 (Verb) AND 2 (Noun) BUT NEVER IN CASES 3 OR 4 (Adjective and Adverb), and that’s still only if you want to do it. We learned one last thing today, and that was how to deal with sentences set up like “It is forbidden to smoke in the classroom” versus “You can’t smoke here, it’s forbidden.” The main mess up here is that we get things like il est interdit de and c’est interdit confused all the time. The rule of thumb is to use il est + adjectif + de + infinitif when you’re continuing your sentence after it, but to use c’est + adjectif when you’re ending your sentence right after that phrase. So in the case I mentioned above… The first sentence would be Il est interdit de fumer dans le salle de classe, and the second would be Vous ne pouvez pas fumer ici, c’est interdit.
Katie and I felt like doing some shopping after class since she wanted to find a new coat. We stopped by H&M and Zara, and I ended up buying a couple sweaters since it’s starting to get colder, a belt so I could wear a couple pairs of jeans I brought with me that don’t fit very well any more since I’ve lost so much weight, and a couple new hair accessories. We headed home after that. On my way home, a French woman actually stopped me and asked me a question I never thought I’d be asked… “Madame, ou trouvez-vous vos jolies bottes?” (Madame, where did you find your pretty boots?) I WAS WEARING MY RAIN BOOTS. You know, the boots with the colorful paw prints that scream “I’m an American.” That’s actually what I told her because I was so flabbergasted. “Pas ici! Les bottes ne sont pas françaises! Je suis américaine!” (Not here! The boots aren’t French! I’m an American!) I did manage to give her the ASPCA website address since I told her I’d actually bought the boots online… I just hope she managed to figure out she needs to go to the online store to find them and doesn’t just think I’m an idiot that sent her to the ASPCA website… Madame made a really good dinner tonight, we had chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce, and some potatoes with some cheese afterward. She asked about lunch, and then gave me the idea to go buy some of my own gluten-free bread soon and start making sandwiches to take with me since it should save me some money.
Hello, Wednesday. You snuck up on me again, you bugger.
À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire. Corneille: Le Cid