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Robert G.

Degree: French (Bachelors) - Oxford, Keble College University

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About me

I'm Robert, and I'm a third year undergraduate reading French at Keble College at the University of Oxford. I'm currently on my year abroad, and I'm offering online tutoring to students over the internet direct from Avignon, France! During my two years in Oxford, I've benefitted enormously from the rigour of the French course, and I hope to pass on my particular expertise in French reading, writing, speaking and listening to students in tutorials. Over the coming year I will be completely immersed in the French language, so the language that you learn from me will be up-to-date and authentic! On the European languages framework, I'm officially classed as a 'C1' in French language, which means I'm just shy of being native-level!

I can help tutees improve their French to improve their grades, and hopefully enjoy it along the wayWe can look at any part of reading, writing, listening or speaking that needs to be improved, and we can also do specific exam preparation for GCSE, National 5, AS, Higher, A2 or Advanced Higher.

I'm keen to offer a mix of traditional language work, which is absolutely crucial for anyone's fundamental understanding of the language, as well as conversational work to improve your fluency, and essay writing skills to help you get the edge in your exam.

I’m also willing to help out with UCAS applications: I can help with personal statements, and I’m particularly useful for applicants who need interview preparation for Oxford in the arts subjects.

Subjects offered

SubjectLevelMy prices
French A Level £24 /hr
French A Level £24 /hr
French A Level £24 /hr
French A Level £24 /hr
Economics GCSE £22 /hr
French GCSE £22 /hr
French GCSE £22 /hr
French GCSE £22 /hr
French GCSE £22 /hr
-Oxbridge Preparation- Mentoring £24 /hr
-Personal Statements- Mentoring £24 /hr
-Personal Statements- Mentoring £24 /hr
.MLAT (Modern Languages) Uni Admissions Test £26 /hr

Qualifications

QualificationLevelGrade
EnglishAdvanced HigherA
FrenchAdvanced HigherA
EconomicsAdvanced HigherA
MusicHigherA
MathematicsHigherA
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No

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Ratings and reviews

4.9from 22 customer reviews

Isobel (Parent) October 30 2016

fantastic as always.

Isobel (Student) October 30 2016

Another fantastic tutorial, Robert clearly puts in a lot of time preparing for our sessions, and I'm very grateful! Thank you!

Alison (Parent) October 24 2016

Robert is incredibly patient and helpful.

Isobel (Student) October 18 2016

Fantastic tutorial, got through a lot!
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Questions Robert has answered

Using être as an auxiliary in the perfect tense

If you have already dabbled in the use of the perfect tense, you might be wondering, “When do I know which of the two auxiliaries to use?” The answer all depends on the verb you use. Most verbs in the perfect tense are perfectly happy with having ‘avoir’ as their auxiliary, but as with all ot...

If you have already dabbled in the use of the perfect tense, you might be wondering, “When do I know which of the two auxiliaries to use?” The answer all depends on the verb you use.

Most verbs in the perfect tense are perfectly happy with having ‘avoir’ as their auxiliary, but as with all other parts of language learning, there are exceptions. In this case, some verbs do not allow their auxiliaries to be ‘avoir’, but rather ‘être’.

The most obvious example of this is when you want to say that you went somewhere in the perfect tense, such as “I went to the cinema.”

One half of forming this sentence is business as usual: you substitute the ending of the verb for the correct past participle ending to make it a past participle. However, in the case of the verb ‘aller’ (to go) in French, along with several others, you must use ‘être’ instead.

The process is the same as with avoir, you just have to use être in its place.

So, to say “I went to the cinema”, you must say “Je suis allé* au cinéma”.

For the remaining persons, the same sentence looks like this:

-         “You went to the cinema” – “Tu es allé* au cinéma”

-          “He/she went to the cinema” – “Il/elle est allé* au cinéma”

-         “We went to the cinema” – “Nous sommes allés** au cinéma”

-         “You (all) went to the cinema” – “Vous êtes allés** au cinéma”

-         “They went to the cinema – “Ils/elles sont allés* au cinéma”

*If you are referring to someone or something feminine, you must add an extra ‘e’ to the end of the past participle – even if you are referring to yourself. We call this agreement.

With the verb ‘être’, the thing that ‘être’ is describing must ‘agree’ with the gender of what it is describing – just like how you must always ‘agree’ with adjectives.

In this case, ‘allé’ would become ‘allée’

For example:

-         A woman would write “Je suis allée au cinéma”

-         To talk about how a girl went to the cinema, you would say “Elle est allée au cinema”

-         If a group of girls was talking about how they went to the cinema, they would say “Nous sommes allées** au cinéma”

-         If you were telling a group of girls about how they all went to the cinema, you would say “Vous êtes allées** au cinéma”

-         If you were talking about a group of girls who went to the cinema, you would say “Elles sont allées** au cinéma”

**If the pronoun you are using is plural, i.e. if it is either ‘ils’, ‘elles’, ‘nous’, or the plural form of ‘vous’, you must add an ‘s’ to the end of the past participle, even on top of any feminine agreement, like in the previous example.

In this case, ‘allé’ would become ‘allés’, or ‘allées’, if a feminine agreement is needed.

For example:

-         A group of people talking about how they all went to the cinema would say “Nous sommes allés au cinéma”

-         Someone telling a group of people that they all went to the cinema would say “Vous êtes allés au cinéma”

-         Someone talking about a group of people going to the cinema would say “Ils sont allés au cinéma”

The question is, what verbs use être as an auxiliary?

In general, verbs which explicitly describe movement (coming, going, leaving, dying, being born, returning, ascending, descending etc.) use être as their auxiliary.

The following is an exhaustive list of all such verbs, and as an aide-memoire, you can refer to them as the ‘DR & MRS VANDERTRAMP’ verbs.

Devenir – to become

Revenir – to come back

Mourir – to die

Retourner – to return

Sortir – to go out / exit

Venir – to come

Arriver – to arrive

Naître – to be born

Descendre – to go down / descend

Entrer – to enter

Rentrer – to go back

Tomber – to fall

Rester – to stay

Aller – to go

Monter – to climb

Partir – to leave

You must never use ‘avoir’ as an auxiliary for these words.

Another group of verbs which always takes ‘être’ as an auxiliary are those verbs which are reflexive, e.g. se lever, se laver, se demander etc.

In such cases, you simply substitute the main verb which immediately follows the reflexive pronoun with the appropriate conjugated form of ‘être’, followed by the past participle of the main verb, as per usual in the perfect tense.

For example:

‘Je me lève’ (I get up) becomes ‘Je me suis levé’ (I got up).

Note: all of the rules regarding agreement as discussed previously must also apply to perfect reflexive constructions because ‘être’ is the auxiliary in such cases.

E.g. ‘Elles se demandent’ (they (the girls) wondered) becomes ‘Elles se sont demandées’

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2 years ago

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Using the perfect tense with avoir

For a native speaker of English trying to speak in the past in French, it can be tricky to know which form of the past to use in French without prior knowledge. This is because there is no single, one-size-fits-all tense to describe things which happened in the past In French, there are three...

For a native speaker of English trying to speak in the past in French, it can be tricky to know which form of the past to use in French without prior knowledge. This is because there is no single, one-size-fits-all tense to describe things which happened in the past

In French, there are three forms of the past tense you will come across:

- The perfect tense (le passé composé), describes completed actions in the past

- The imperfect tense (l'imparfait), describes something you were continuously doing in the past, or describes the way things used to be in the past.

- The past historic tense (le passé simple) - is only ever used in literature to describe action in the context of a narrative, and is never spoken, unless you are reading aloud a novel, for example.

The Perfect Tense (Le passé composé)

This is perhaps the simplest of the past tenses, and as a learner of French, this is probably the first one of them which you will learn. Its function is to let you talk about something which happened on one occasion in the past; something that you did which is now completed or finished.

For example:

"I ate the apple." is a completed action in the past, because you consumed the apple, and there is no longer an apple there to be eaten; you are no longer eating it and are probably now still picking the bits of skin out of your teeth.

In this way, because the action of eating the apple is now finished, you must use the perfect tense in French to communicate that. 

Forming the perfect tense

If you are new to non-present tenses in French, this is where things get a little bit more interesting. In order to form the perfect tense and communicate a completed action, we must make use of two new elements:

- A past participle

- An auxiliary verb

First of all, what is a past participle? In simple terms, this is the part of the phrase which changes the original verb, in this case 'manger' (to eat), from a form which communicates a present tense, to a form which communicates a past meaning.

What is the past participle of 'manger' then? 

How a past participle is spelled differs depending on which group of verbs it comes from. 

- If a verb ends in '-er', we say that it belongs to the first group of verbs

- If a verb ends in '-ir', we say that it belongs to the second group of verbs

- If a verb ends in '-re', we say that it belongs to the third group of verbs

To write or be able to speak a past participle, we must use the following method:

- Find out what verb group the verb we are changing belongs to (-er,-ir,-re)

- Remove the ending (-er,-ir,-re)

- For '-er' verbs, add [é] in place of the original ending (manger -> mangé)

- For '-ir' verbs, add [i] in place of the original ending (cueillir -> cuelli)

- For '-re' verbs, add [u] in place of the original ending (vendre -> vendu)

In this case, we've picked a rather easy example just for demonstration purposes: 'manger'. 

Because it is a verb which ends in '-er', it comes from the first group of verbs, which means we form its past participle like this:

-> manger (original verb)

-> mang(er) (checking the ending of the verb, which is '-er'

-> mang(é) (adding the correct past participle ending)

Okay, so now we have our past participle, 'mangé', but we're not finished just yet. In order to complete our phrase, we need what is called an auxiliary.

Why do we need an auxiliary when we already have a past participle? 

In French, tenses do not neatly match those in English. In French, when we want to show that we did something in the past, which is now finished, we must use the perfect tense, unless we are writing a novel (they require a special tense called the 'passé simple' which we will cover another time). 

So, with our sentence 'I ate the apple', we are actually saying 'I have eaten the apple' when we use the perfect tense. Saying ‘I have eaten the apple’, you’re actually using the perfect tense in English.

This means that if we omit the auxiliary, we are in effect saying something which sounds completely silly, much like saying 'I eaten the apple'.

As you might have gathered from this previous example, the auxiliary verb we use is 'avoir' (to have) - except for certain verbs which use 'être’, which requires a separate lesson.

So in order to say ‘I have eaten the apple’, we need the first person singular form of ‘avoir’ (je), which leaves us with ‘j’ai’.

So, now we have our auxiliary and past participle, we can now form our completed sentence!

I ate the apple (I have eaten the apple) -> “J’ai mangé la pomme.”

If we want to use different verbs, we need only know which group they are from.

For example, consider these two additional sentences:

-       “I picked the apple” becomes “J’ai cueilli la pomme” because ‘cueillir’ belongs to the second group (‘-ir’ group) of verbs, so the ending in the past participle changes from ‘-ir’ to ‘-i’

-       “I sold the apple” becomes “J’ai vendu” la pomme” because ‘vendre’ belongs to the third group (‘-re’ group) of verbs, so the ending in the past participle changes from ‘-re’ to ‘u’

If we want to refer to different people (I, you, we, he/she, we, you, they), we need only change the conjugation, that is to say how the verb changes depending on the person it refers to, of the auxiliary. If you are comfortable with using the verb ‘avoir’ with all of the different people and their pronouns, you’re all set!

Note: the following examples ONLY apply if we are using ‘avoir’ as an auxiliary.

-       I ate the apple: “J’ai mangé la pomme”

-       You ate the apple: “Tu as mangé la pomme”

-       He/she ate the apple: “Il/elle a mangé la pomme”

-       We ate the apple: “Nous avons mangé la pomme”

-       You (all) ate the apple: “Vous avez mangé la pomme”

-       They ate the apple: “Ils/elles ont mangé la pomme”

Et voilà! You will hopefully now be able to start forming your own simple sentences using the perfect tense!

 

 

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2 years ago

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