On the 27th June we made a small game with props, ultimately asking "what have you packed in your suitcase?" The idea was to introduce some vocabulary that may be helpful on holiday, because you forgot it, lost it or needed to buy it.

At the same time, we used the past tense for the first time, the one we used is called the perfect tense, and we used possessive pronouns (my, your, our, etc).

Past tense - the Perfect tense

Although there are differences in how French manages this past tense, the structure is very similar. In English we would say "I have done...(something)" - which uses the present tense of "to have"  (here it = "I have") plus a past tense for "to do", which is "done".

So, I have + done = I have done...

This part in French is very similar. I have = J'ai - easy enough so far. Then we need to add a past tense for "to do". To do = faire, and the past tense for "faire" is "fait". (this is called the past participle) 

So, J'ai + fait = j'ai fait = I have done.

In English "I have brought ..." uses "I have" again, plus the past tense of "to bring" = "brought". 

So, I have + brought = I have brought.

In French "to bring = apporter," and the past tense of "apporter" is "apporté".

So, J'ai + apporté = j'ai apporté... = I have brought.


Simplifying things, the past participle does not change, only the "I have" part does.

So, I have done = j'ai fait, you have done = vous avez fait, we have done = nous avons fait, etc, etc. Fait stays the same throughout, only the "I have" part changes.



French nouns (things) are either masculine, feminine or plural and the possessive pronoun changes to suit the thing it refers to.

Mon chapeau = my hat, because "mon" is masculine and "le chapeau" is masculine.

Ma voiture = my car, because "ma" is feminine and "la voitrue" is feminine.

Mes lunettes = my spectacles, because "lunettes" are plural and "mes" is plural.

For your... something it uses votre and vos. Good news, masculine and feminine are the same for your. So...

Votre chapeau = your hat, because "votre" is both masculine and feminine.

Votre vopiture = your car, because "votre" is both masculine and feminine.

Vos lunettes = your spectacles, because "lunettes" are plural and "vos" is plural.


So the exercise...

The notes below show two sets of questions and vocab that we worked through.

Q : Est-ce que vous avez fait votre valise ? = Have you done (packed) your suitcase ?

A : Oui, j'ai fait ma valise = Yes I have done my suitcase

Q : Qu’est-ce que vous avez apporté pour les vacances ? = what have you brought for the holidays ?

A : J'ai apporté mon / ma / mes (m / f / plural)… = I have brought my …



Sun cream = la crème solaire

Shampoo = le shampooing

Sun glasses = les lunettes de soleil

T shirts = un T-shirt

Shorts = un short 

Sandals = les sandales (f), les espadrilles (f)

flip-flops = les (f) tongs (remember Australians call flip flops thongs)

Swimming costume = le maillot de bain, la costume natation

Electrical adaptor = un adaptateur (m) électrique

Insect repellent = l'insectifuge

Swimming goggles = les lunettes de plongée (plonger = to dive)

Raincoat = un imperméable

Sun hat = un chapeau de soleil

Baseball cap = une casquette de baseball

The frisbee = le frisbee

The book = le livre


Q : Avez-vous apporté votre/vos … = have you brought your …(m or f / plural)

A : Oui, je l’ai apporté (or « je les ai apporté » for plural)

Or A : Non, je n’ai pas apporté ça = no, I have not brought that

Or A: Non, j’ai oublié ça = no, I have forgotten that



The beachball = le ballon de plage

Sun creams = La crème solaire

after-sun = la crème après-soleil

self-tanning cream = la crème autobronzant (bronzer = to tan)

Sensitive skin = la peau sensible

Anti dandruff shampoo = le shampooing anti-pelliculaire

Headache = un mal à tête

Quelque chose pour mal à tête = something for a headache

Gloves = les gants

Coat = un manteau