French Grammar Explained /

Regular -ER verbs I

Bonjour, I'm glad to see you're still studying French.
To be honest, I'm a bit scared of French.
Oh no don't be! It can seem a little intimidating at the beginning, but we'll keep things simple for now. Look below, French verbs are pretty straight-forward:
Most verbs in French are formed according to predictable rules. There are three types of these regular verbs, each with different endings. In order of frequency, these types are:
-er verbs
-ir verbs
-re verbs
Phew, only three!
Yes! If you learn how to form one single verb of one group you will automatically know how to form hundreds of verbs of the same group.
Fantastique !
We'll begin with the first group, the -er verbs, it is the majority of the French verbs. Let's focus on the first person singular (I), the second person singular (you) and the formal form (you).
Regular -er Verbs present indicative
je, j'
What's the j' about?
That is used when a word starts with a vowel, a-e-i-o-u, or when the first letter is silent, like the h in habiter. So it's je parle and j'habite.
And what's the difference between tu and vous? Can I use whichever I want? There's no difference in English.
No, you can't. vous is far more polite and is used most of the time, even if you know the person. tu, however, is reserved for close friends and family.
So can I just learn the vous form? I won't speak French with my family any time soon...
Hahaha, sure! My general rule is: when in doubt, use vous. You won't risk offending anyone that way!
For Grammar Nerds
In grammar terms, we call this process of forming verbs conjugation. If you analyze the verb form parle, you can see that it is conjugated in the first person.
To summarize our introduction with "technical" words, we could say: today we learnt all about the conjugation of -er verbs in the first (je) and second (tu) person singular and the second person plural (vous).