What amazed and concerned me was that this language course was written, like the previous one, by someone who has been teaching French for donkey’s years yet still makes basic mistakes. Here’s a – far from exhaustive – list I compiled as I went along:
* du and de; des and de; c'est and il/elle est; dans le and au are not interchangeable and are subject to precise rules.
* the adjective that follows c’est is always masculine singular.
* ‘After ten minutes’ is not après dix minutes but au bout de dix minutes.
* Tu penses? is not English; the correct verb is croire: Tu crois?.
* les soirs, elle va... is a literal – and incorrect – translation for ‘in the evenings, she goes...’; it’s le soir, elle va...
* depending on context, ‘next’ is prochain or suivant (they’re not interchangeable either).
* In the past tense, se faire mal (to hurt oneself) goes like this: je me suis fait mal, tu t’es fait mal, il/elle s’est fait mal, nous nous sommes fait mal, vous vous êtes fait mal, ils/elles se sont fait mal. Yes, that's it, fait is invariable. Elle s’est faite mal hurts me a lot. LOL!
* Passer (to pass) is only followed by a direct object in passer le temps, passer un examen, otherwise it’s passer devant. In giving directions, you say, ‘Vous passez devant l’église...’ not ‘Vous passez l’église...’
* proper names never take an ‘s’ in the plural – except names of dynasties: les Bourbons.
* The French love commas and use them much more liberally than the Anglo-Saxons.
Most bits of very simple French text written to illustrate specific grammar rules sounded clumsy and were often wrong.
What makes someone whose French is not 100% perfect think they can produce such a course? Who commissions them? Would it occur to me to write an English language course, even though I am just as qualified as those writers to teach English? Erm, no. The only foolproof way for such material to be up to scratch would be for it to be written by two native speakers – one for each language.
Obviously, if the author had been correct all through, I would have missed out on a job. I should be grateful, really. Hmm...