A Celebr “-ATION” of French Nouns

Today’s French concept is quite useful and one of my personal favorites. Now, I don’t advocate for being lazy when it comes to learning a language but I do appreciate a good shortcut to make things easier. Let’s explore how most English “-ATION” nouns convert to French easily (with some minor accent and spelling changes). But that’s not all, folks, because all French “-ATION” nouns are feminine so you don’t have to worry about gender.  Formidable!

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

  • Most English words ending in “-ATION” convert to French with minimal or no changes in spelling
  • All French nouns ending in “-ATION” are feminine
  • Removing the suffix and replacing it with “-É” gives us the verb in passé composé for most nouns

GETTING STARTED

Remember, although most of these English nouns transition without any changes, some words may need accents and/or letter changes here-and-there.

I’ve provided an example list of French nouns below – let me know if I’ve made any errors and I’m happy to fix them! Following the steps above, read through the list and you’ll notice how the root for the passé composé exists in each word.

Table1

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

An exercise to drill this concept into notre cerveau? Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle:

  • In the 2nd column, write all the French nouns listed above
  • In the 1st column, look at the corresponding noun, replace the suffix and write a simple passé composé phrase:

COLUMN 1                         COLUMN 2

j’ai accusé                              l’accusation
tu as communiqué              la communication
il a créé                                  la création

Don’t forget accents and be mindful of spelling (e.g. the “c” in the communication becomes a “q” in the passé composé)! The point of this exercise is to train ourselves to seamlessly replace the suffix with “-É” for passé composé. By the end of the list, we should see a noticeable difference in how long it takes to convert.

SO THERE WE HAVE IT

  • Most English words ending in “-ATION” convert to French with minimal or no changes in spelling
  • All French words ending in “-ATION” are feminine
  • Removing the suffix and replacing it with “-É” gives us the verb in passé composé for most nouns

Feel free to look up more English-French words that follow the same sense as the above and the gods of French nouns and passé composé will thank you.

As always, let me know if you have any comments/corrections/feedback below!

M. Matt

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