Talking about family and pets in French

Home learning focus

Learn to talk about family and pets in French

This lesson includes:

  • one video
  • four activities.

Learn

Watch this video to find out how to to talk about family members and pets with examples of using masculine and feminine nouns.

To talk about family members, use a form of avoir (see the table below) followed by un (for male ‎family members) or une (for female ones) and then the family member.

If you have ‎more than one, say the number and then make sure you use the plural.‎

Find out more about avoir

to haveavoir
I havej'ai
you havetu as
he hasil a
she haselle a

With half brothers and sisters and also stepbrothers and stepsisters, use demi for ‎both male and female.‎

  • J’ai un frère - I have a brother.‎
  • Tu as une sœur ? - Do you have a sister?‎
  • Il a trois demi-frères - He has three half-brothers.‎
  • Elle a un demi-frère et deux sœurs - She has a stepbrother and two sisters.‎

You can also say dans ma famille, il y a (in my family, there is/are) with mon for ‎masculine family members, ma for feminine ones, and mes for plural.‎

  • Dans ma famille, il y a mon père, ma sœur et mes trois frères - In my family, there ‎is my dad, my sister and my three brothers.‎
FrenchEnglish
un pèrea dad
une mèrea mum
un frèrea brother
une sœura sister
un demi-frèrea half-brother or step-brother
une demi-sœura half-sister or step-sister
un beau-père / une belle-mèrea step-father / step-mother
une famille d’accueila foster family
des parents adoptifsfoster / adoptive parents

Describing your extended family

To talk about your relatives, such as aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, you can use ‎the following words:‎

FrenchEnglish
un grand-pèregrandfather
un oncleuncle
un cousinmale cousin
une grand-mèregrandmother
une tanteaunt
une cousinefemale cousin
des grands-parentsgrandparents
des cousinscousins (male and female)‎

You could describe your extended family in a paragraph as follows:‎

J’ai une très grande famille !‎
Il y a mon père et ma mère, mes deux sœurs et moi.‎
J’ai aussi huit cousins, trois tantes et quatre oncles.
De plus, j’ai trois grands-parents - un grand-père et deux grands-mères.

Translation:
I have a very big family!‎
There is my dad and my mum, my two sisters and me.
Also, I have eight cousins, three aunts and four uncles.
In addition, I have three grandparents - one grandfather and two grandmothers.‎

Talking about family relationships

To talk about relationships with family members, use je m’entends bien avec (I get on ‎well with), or je ne m’entends pas bien avec (I don’t get on well with) followed by the ‎family member(s).‎

  • Je m’entends bien avec mes parents - I get on well with my parents.‎
  • Je ne m’entends pas bien avec mon frère - I don’t get on well with my brother.‎

To give reasons why you (don’t) get on with someone, use parce que (because) and a ‎reason. This is often an adjective, and the adjective changes depending on whether the ‎people are masculine, feminine or plural.‎

  • Je m’entends bien avec mon frère parce qu’il est amusant - I get on well with my ‎brother because he is funny.‎
  • Je m’entends bien avec ma sœur parce qu’elle est amusante - I get on well with ‎my sister because she is funny.‎
  • Je m’entends bien avec mes cousins parce qu’ils sont amusants - I get on well with ‎my cousins because they are funny.‎
  • Je m’entends bien avec mes tantes parce qu’elles sont amusantes - I get on well ‎with my aunts because they are funny.‎

Describing your pets

To talk about your pets, you can use j’ai (I have) to say what pet you have, or je voudrais ‎‎(I would like) to say what pet you’d like to have.‎

To ask someone if they have a pet, you can say:‎

  • Tu as un animal ? - Do you have a pet?‎

To reply, you could use one of the following sentences:‎

  • J’ai un chat - I have a cat.‎
  • Je voudrais un poisson rouge - I would like a goldfish.‎
  • Je n’ai pas de chien - I don’t have a dog.‎
  • Je n’ai pas d’animal - I don’t have a pet.‎

Here are some more pets in French:‎

FrenchEnglish
un chatcat
un chiendog
un serpentsnake
un lapinrabbit
un chevalhorse
un cochon d’Indeguinea pig
un hamsterhamster
un poisson rougegoldfish
un perroquetparrot
une sourismouse
une araignéespider
une tortuetortoise

To describe your pet, you need to use mon for masculine animals, ma for feminine ‎animals and mes for plural animals. Then you need a form of être (to be), followed by an ‎adjective, which changes depending on whether the pet is masculine, feminine or plural.‎

  • Mon chien est grand - My dog is big.‎
  • Ma tortue est grande - My tortoise is big.‎
  • Mes serpents sont grands - My snakes are big.‎
  • Mes araignées ne sont pas grandes - My spiders are not big.‎

Here are some useful adjectives you could use to describe your pets:‎

FrenchEnglish
grand(e)‎big
petit(e)small
amusant(e)funny
mignon(ne)cute
sympa / affectueux / affectueusefriendly
ennuyeux / ennuyeuseboring
paresseux / paresseuselazy
intelligent(e)intelligent
bruyant(e)noisy

Practise

Activity 1

Highlight the pronouns

Highlight the correct pronoun (mon, ma or mes) for each family member in the sentences below.

Activity 2

Family quiz

Find out how much you know about family and pets in French in this short quiz.

Activity 3

Worksheet: Family tree

Have a go at this worksheet from Beyond. It covers the family members and masculine and feminine pronouns.

You can print it out, or draw and write your answers on a piece of paper.

Your family tree
document

Activity 4

Practise what you know

Practise what you have learnt about families with this interactive from Seneca.

Family members

There's more to learn

More lessons for Year 8 and S2
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KS3 French on BBC Teach
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