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French Beginners (Year 1) Short Course

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Covid-19 update: The learning doesn’t have to stop, join our online community. We will be delivering courses remotely until further notice. Live tutor support and virtual lessons will take place during advertised teaching hours. The classes are taught in small groups, so you’ll get lots of support from your tutor. Book now.

Start learning French with our French Beginners short course. The course is made up of three parts (parts 1-3), taught at progressive levels. Take one part or enrol on all three to complete the full beginners syllabus.

Why choose this course?

Whether you're learning French for travelling, working abroad or with foreign companies, the French Beginners course will enable you to communicate confidently on a basic level in everyday situations, socialise and not feel out of place in the country you are visiting.

This short course is an introduction to the French language and way of life for the purpose of practical communication. Challenging but rewarding, the course is perfectly suited to those looking to develop a basic command of French.

The full beginners course is made up of three 10-week beginners’ modules – part 1, part 2 and part 3. Enrol on the full syllabus (parts 1-3) to gain a complete knowledge of French for beginners at the best price. Our teaching takes place one evening a week, ideal for those with various commitments or working full-time.

All of our language short courses are taught by qualified native speakers and delivered at City, University of London’s main campus, in the heart of the capital.

Course overview

You'll develop essential speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as well as a solid understanding of the structure of the language.

In part 2, you will learn alphabet/sound system, talking about yourself and your family, jobs, nationalities, daily activities; tastes and plans.

In part 3, you will gain an understanding of weekly activities and duties; food and drink, object and situations; parts of the body and ailments, making appointments; making plans for the weekend, travel, shopping; and past events.

Is it the right level for me?

If you have no prior knowledge of French you must start with part 1, or the full syllabus (parts 1-3).

If you have some basic knowledge of French and you are already familiar with the content in part 1 you may choose to enrol on part 2 or part 3. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

Please make sure you have the correct level by using our online guidelines.

  • Tina Anzinger

    “ Agnes not only taught us the language, but also gave an understanding of the French culture, which I very much enjoyed. The classes were responsive to each persons’ skills and interests which allowed for good personal development. ”

    Tina Anzinger

    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Part 1

Topics covered

  • Alphabet;
  • Pronunciation and accents;
  • Talking about yourself and your family;
  • Jobs, countries and nationalities;
  • Daily activities;
  • Likes and dislikes;
  • Interests and activities;
  • Formal and informal culture in France.

Grammatical structures

  • Basic irregular verbs: être, avoir, aller, faire;
  • Regular verb in -ER endings in the present tense;
  • Present of frequent daily life verbs;
  • Irregular verbs in the present tense: prendre, venir, boire;
  • Use of aller for the near future;
  • Definite and indefinite articles;
  • Partitive article;
  • Possessive adjectives;
  • Masculine and feminine, singular and plural of nouns;
  • Asking a question, some interrogative adverbs;
  • Basic negative forms;
  • Comparatives;
  • Introduction to adjectives;
  • Stock phrases: il y a, il y avait… , c’est, c’était…;
  • Useful keywords: toujours, souvent, beaucoup, parce que…;

Learning objectives

  • Greeting people;
  • Introducing yourself, your family and others;
  • Talking about nationalities and jobs;
  • Describing your house and your neighbourhood;
  • Selecting food and wine in a shop/ restaurant;
  • Dressing up for the four seasons;
  • Talking about your daily routine;
  • Calendar and telling the time;
  • Talking about your interests and making plans.

Part 2

Topics covered

  • Weekly activities and duties;
  • Food and drinks;
  • Objects and situations;
  • Parts of the body and ailments;
  • Making appointments;
  • Making plans for the weekend;
  • Travel;
  • Shopping;
  • Past events, eating and going out culture in France.

Grammatical structures

  • Present of modal verbs: vouloir, pouvoir, devoir, savoir;
  • Present tense of verbs ending in -IR and -RE;
  • Pronominal verbs or reflectives: se laver, s’habiller, se preparer…;
  • Direct and indirect pronouns le, la, l’, les and lui, leur;
  • Further key words: pourquoi, avec qui, depuis quand…;
  • Introduction to the perfect tense, passé composé;
  • Consolidation of adjectives and their agreement;
  • Further comparatives;
  • Location or place adverbs.

Learning objectives

  • Asking for help, for information;
  • Inviting, arranging to meet and replying to an invitation;
  • Leaving and receiving phone messages;
  • Saying what you want to do, can do or must do;
  • Describing people, clothes and buying habits;
  • Visiting the doctor;
  • Ordering meals and making travel reservations;
  • Obtaining information on prices and quantity;
  • Describing a sequence of events in the past;
  • Handling short social exchanges in present, past and immediate future tenses.

Part 3

Topics covered

  • Directions;
  • Travel;
  • Describing places and journeys;
  • Past, present and future events;
  • Email writing;
  • Text messaging;
  • Tourism and general culture of France.

Grammatical structures

  • Consolidation of the present tense;
  • Consolidation of perfect tense;
  • Introduction of the perfect tense for the reflexive verbs;
  • Introduction to the regular future tense;
  • Basic relative clauses using qui and que;
  • Complete review of the past tense;
  • More pronouns such as moi, toi, …eux;
  • Stock phrases: J'en ai; j’en voudrais cinq, j'y vais…;
  • Adverbs of quantities.

Learning objectives

  • Understanding/giving directions;
  • Giving advice and expressing opinions;
  • Agreeing and disagreeing;
  • Summarising a piece of written information;
  • Talking about past actions;
  • Giving small presentations;
  • Expressing obligation and interdiction;
  • Making complaints;
  • Making plans for the future;
  • Expressing nuances.



Prerequisite knowledge

Modules are taught at progressive levels, if you have no prior knowledge you must start at part 1 or enrol on the full syllabus (parts 1-3).

If you wish to join part 2 of the French Beginners course, you must have completed part 1 or be familiar with the content taught in part 1, specified in the What will I learn? section.

If you wish to enrol on part 3 of the short course, you must have completed both parts 1 and 2 or be familiar with the content taught in these two modules, found in the What will I learn? section.

Please check your level by using our online guidelines before enrolling.

English requirements

You will need to respond to instructions and read course documents in English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

The emphasis in the Beginners French course is on listening and speaking. The lessons focus on language that is required in authentic situations.

Classroom activities during this evening course will include:

  • role-playing;
  • class room discussion;
  • pair and group work;
  • work on pronunciation and intonation;
  • grammar in context.

Listening to audio clips and watching videos are an important element in our lessons. More comprehensive grammar exercises and reading texts are generally set as homework.

Your progress will be assessed on an on-going basis through homework and performance in class. You will receive verbal feedback from your lecturer when appropriate and written feedback with your homework. All evaluation will take place in a relaxed and informal setting.

There is no formal assessment and no qualification is issued at the end of the course, but you will be awarded an official City, University of London certificate on completion of the course. You must attend over 70 per cent of the classes to be eligible for the certificate.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

The tutor will provide learning material in class.

Tutor information

  • Marie-Pierre Pérez

    Marie-Pierre Pérez qualified at the Orléans University in Orléans and La Sorbonne University in Paris. She has been teaching French in London for the past eleven years at several higher education institutions such as Westminster University. She has also been providing language training at international companies.

    Marie-Pierre has a passion for theatre and has qualified at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique in Orléans. She has performed as leading actress and led many French drama workshops within French Institutes abroad - Morocco, Germany, Lebanon, Mexico, Switzerland.

  • Agnès Shepherd

    Agnès Shepherd studied at University College London. She has been teaching French as a foreign language for the past 18 years in a broad spectrum of institutions such as Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, University of Westminster, Havering Sixth Form College, businesses such as Axa CS and EDF Energy. She also runs her own French workshops and cultural tours.

    Agnès has a light touch approach to teaching making students' participation a priority, creating a relaxed atmosphere in which students can thrive.

Next steps

This French Beyond Beginners Short Evening Course is the perfect course for students with only a limited knowledge of French wanting to expand their language skills.…