The secret to building better sentences in French ?


Last Updated: August 31, 2022

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« Frédéric, how can I build a correct sentence in French? »

It is a very common (and valid one) question but beyond building some simple sentences « I give some chocolate to my sister = Je donne du chocolat à ma sœur », you won’t get very far with this logic.

If you are looking to build more natural and complex sentences in French you have come to the right article, my dear. I will share with you one big tip, and try to convince that you need to change your approach when it comes to French.

the secret to building better sentences in french

The best way to make complex and natural sentences is…


I am huge believer in reading when it comes to learning French and there are some good reasons for that:

#1 "Reading is fun" (Captain Obvious)

Reading is an activity that most of you like to do, right, but what about using this hobby as a learning tool? There are tons of resources online to read (magazine, newspapers, blog…) so no matter what your passions are, I am sure you can find some useful reading materials in French.

Let’s say you like movies, what about reading about some movie reviews in French. You can learn tons of vocabulary about this topic by reading one article per day. Sure, it might difficult at the beginning, but you will notice a pattern (= how the sentences are structured). You will learn how to express more sophisticated sentences/vocabulary related to a topic that you like.

#2 Imitate the writing style

By imitating the writing style of several authors, you will know how to structure your sentences more fluently.

Perhaps you won’t get why they use this structure, but I am sure you can find some online community (Facebook / google+ …) which can help you get some ideas, the exact same way that you learnt from your parents and people around you when you were younger. You can learn from them without learning the Grammar rules.

#3 A nice way to build a learning habit

You have a smartphone or a computer and you check the news there? What about doing that in French? Reading is the easiest way to learn French. Waiting for someone? Read. Waiting for the elevator to arrive? Read! In the toilet? Read! Driving your car? Rea…. Hmm, maybe not, use my podcast instead   😛

You can just read 5 or 10 minutes and you will be amazed at how quickly you can improve your French. Spend a good amount of time reading, and then spend few moments to verify the vocabulary that you often see in the articles.

#4 Help for memorization and spelling

The more you read, the more you will see the same vocabulary over and over again,

It will help you to:

  • avoid spelling mistakes
  • memorize the vocabulary (since you see the vocabulary again and again).

Your brain will start to get accustomed to French.

#5 Build vocabulary in a context.

French, like English, has a lot of vocabulary, with different meanings depending of context or idiom. All of which can be very confusing without any context. Reading an article will add the context you sometimes need to fully grasp the idea.

Some examples below:

coffee café

Café or

The French Cafe


mixed nuts

Nuts or



So what makes you avoid reading?

I know that sometimes it is not easy to find the right article on the internet to suit your level.

Another issue is checking the vocabulary in a dictionary in case you are really stuck about the meaning of some sentences or idiom. So ta-da!

I have a Reading and Listening Course which is just perfect for you. Read all about it below. 

What’s in this course?

The reading lessons are perfect for beginner and intermediate level French.

It's a painless way to improve your French vocabulary and your confidence at reading and listening.

No dictionary necessary: Each story/reading lesson is broken down with French and English Glossary. See example below;

Même si Laura est trop mauvaise cuisinière. Elle ne souhaite pas rater l’occasion de revoir toute sa famille. Elle réfléchit beaucoup mais ne trouve pas de solution.

  • est habitué = get used
  • se nourrir = feed
  • rater l’occasion = miss the opportunity
  • réfléchit = think “

Never forget the vocabulary again: Vocabulary recap at the end of each lesson.

Practice your writing: Try to make your own summary. Compare it with an example for each chapter;

Variety of situations:  Themes revolve around topics such as Travelling, Cooking, Shopping, Love, School, Relationships, and more. 

Diverse Grammar structure and vocab: A good mix of dialogue and description. Improve your reading comprehension for newspaper articles, but also French spoken in the street.

Practice your pronunciation and your listening with the free MP3!

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • As one of the advocates and mentors of Reading to Learn, a powerful literacy teaching program used in schools (Australia), I just wanted to second your arguments for reading. Even though this program is developed in English, and for both native speakers and learners of English, the program can be applied to any language, native or foreign, because of its basic linguistic premises. Those premises are that we improve our vocabulary and the sophistication of the structure of our sentences by being ”surrounded” by sophisticated (authentic / academic) language. In a natural environment, we can be surrounded and, therefore, be influenced by articulate people or simple a genuine use of language. When this is missing, as in the case of learning a foreign language, we have to ”surround” ourselves with genuine use of language – by listening to it and by reading in that language. Our brain then unconsciously ”borrows” these genuine structures of the language that we come across in reading and listening, and uses them. We can also do it consciously and practise using these structures in writing (or speaking).
    Great blog, Frederic.

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