French Nouns For Persons Rules & Stative Verbs




    French nouns for persons of a certain nationality are capitalized, but in French, national adjectives and language names are not capitalized.

C'est une Anglaise. — She's an Englishwoman.
C'est une voiture anglaise. — It's an English car.
Ce sont des Françaises. — They are Frenchwomen.
Elles parlent français. — They speak French.

Remember that nouns for nationalities (and also professions and religions) can appear after être without a determiner. In this usage, they are adjectives and are not capitalized.

Je suis chinois. — I am Chinese.
Mon oncle est italien. — My uncle is Italian.
Refresher: Stative Verbs

Because French lacks continuous tenses, most French verbs can translate to either simple or continuous tenses in English (and vice versa).

Mes amis dorment. — My friends sleep. / My friends are sleeping.
Il parle le russe. — He speaks Russian. / He is speaking Russian.

However, as you learned in "Verbs: Present 2", English stative verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. You can only use them in simple tenses.

Mes amis aiment dormir. — My friends like to sleep. (Not "are liking".)
Il sait parler russe. — He knows how to speak Russian. (Not "is knowing".)

Generally, if a verb refers to a process, it's a dynamic verb; if it refers to a state or condition, it's a stative verb. The most common stative verb is "to be", but here are some other common examples:

Possessing: belong, get, have, own, possess
Feeling: hate, like, love, need, want
Sensing: feel, hear, see, smell, taste
Thinking: believe, know, recognize, think, understand

However, some verbs can be either stative or active depending on context. For instance:

"To have" can be dynamic when it means "to consume".
"To feel" is stative, but "to feel sick" or "to feel better" are dynamic.
"To be" can be dynamic when it means "to act".

This restriction on using stative verbs in English continuous tenses will be particularly important in the next few units.
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