French Sentence Structure – Faire Causative Construction

Cette petite fille s’est fait gronder à cause de sa voisine qui bavardait.
This little girl was scolded because of her neighbor who was chatting.

Comparing French and English Sentence Structure

It can be interesting to look at French sentences and their English translations while comparing the two. Once you have identified corresponding words, you will realize how many similarities there are French and English. You’ll also notice some big differences, and those are worth examining more closely.



This = Cette

Cette means this or that, and in this case it indicates a singular feminine subject.

Lesson:  Demonstrative adjectives


little girl = petite fille

While most French adjectives go after the noun they describe, petite is a BAGS adjective that is placed before the noun.

Lesson:  BAGS adjectives

Lesson:  Descriptive adjectives


was scolded = s’est fait gronder

This looks complicated, but in fact it’s just a reflexive pronoun that uses the verb faire. This is because the little girl didn’t scold herself. She got herself scolded by someone else.

Lesson:  Faire causative

Lesson: Se faire


because of = à cause de

We can’t use parce que to mean because in this sentence because of the word of. Did you know there are many ways to say because in French?

Lesson: 8 ways to say “because” in French


her neighbor = sa voisine

In this sentence, voisine is a feminine singular noun. To show possession, we use a possessive adjective. The adjective must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. Remember that we use sa because the voisine is feminine, and not because she’s the little girl’s neighbor.

Lesson: Possessive adjectives


who = qui

Qui is a relative pronoun, a word that introduces a dependent clause and connects it to an independent clause. Qui can stand in as a subject, and is followed by a verb.

Lesson: Relative pronouns QUI – QUE – OÙ – DONT


was chatting = bavardait

When you want to say that someone is doing or was doing something, this is a good indication that you need to use the imperfect tense because you’re describing a situation in the past. It’s important to note that even though the English words is and was are used in the translation, there is no need for the verb être.

Lesson: French imperfect tense




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