Family Members

Everyone likes to talk about their family! Family life is very important to the French, so today we will be learning how to talk about how many brothers, sisters, etc, you have.

First let’s start with your mom and dad:

      1. la mère
 = mother

      2. le père
 = father

Since we were talking about masculine and feminine nouns in the last lesson, riddle me this: is la mère masculine or feminine?

The right answer is feminine. Why? Because of the article la before the noun. And the article la is only ever used for feminine nouns.

How about le père?

The right answer is masculine. Why? Because of the article le before the noun, which is only ever used for masculine nouns.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Something that’s masculine (the word for “father”) just happens to be masculine, and vice versa for the word for “mother”!


As we learn the words for other family members, see if you can spot which ones are masculine and feminine.


And now for other members of the family:

      3. la sœur
 = sister

      4. le frère
  = brother

      5. la tante
  = aunt

      6. l'oncle (masc)
  = uncle

      7. la grand-mère
 = grandmother

      8. le grand-père
  = grandfather

      9. le cousin
  = male cousin

      10. la cousine
  = female cousin


Now we can use these words to talk about members of our family! Remember to drop the article le or la when talking about how many cousins, brothers, etc you have. You would never say j’ai trois le frères, for example.


      11. Combien de frères et sœurs avez-vous?
 = How many brothers and sisters do you have?

      12. J'ai trois frères et quatre sœurs
 = I have three brothers and four sisters.

      13. Combien de sœurs avez-vous?
 = How many sisters do you have?

      14. Je n'ai pas de sœurs
 = I don’t have any sisters.

      15. Combien de cousines avez-vous?
 = How many female cousins do you have?

      16. J'ai cinq cousines
 = I have five female cousins.

      17. Combien de cousins avez-vous?
 = How many male cousins do you have?

      18. Je n'ai pas de cousins
 = I don’t have any male cousins.


If you want to say my mother or my father (as we tend to do), we would need to use the possessive pronouns ma, mon, or mes. Use ma for feminine nouns and mon for masculine nouns. For plural nouns (for example, if you want to say “my female cousins”), for any noun regardless of gender, you would say mes.

      19. Ma mère s'appelle Laura
 = My mother is named Laura.

      20. Mon père s'appelle Gabriel
 = My father is named Gabriel.

      21. Mes cousines s'appellent Anna, Jeanne, et Patricia
 = My female cousins are named Anna, Joan (or Jean), and Patricia.

      22. Mes frères s'appellent Daniel et Michel
 = My brothers are named Daniel and Michael.


You can also use ma, mon and mes for anything that belongs to you.

Mon chat s’appelle Dominic. = My cat is named Dominic.

Mes trois chiens s’appellent Woof, Rover, et Clifford. = My three dogs are named Woof, Rover, and Clifford.



Listen to the following about Raquel describing her family, then complete the quiz and writing activity.

      23. La famille de Raquel
      24. Click here to listen to the conversation if the above does not work


Writing activity


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