Your Brain on French Grammar

More

My grammar is really bad. But you can't really learn French without learning the grammar. I have spent the last two weeks trying to discern the difference between le complemente d'object direct and le complemente d'object indirect and les verbs transitif et intransitif. It's been grueling work for my 37-year old brain. But it's also been immensely rewarding. It's like watching the dissection of a language, and thus the folkways of a people.


I am fond of making wishes, and looking wistfully back at my school days. Here's another wish: Instead of saying "You must learn this, because it's the rules," I wish someone had said, "You should learn this because it will explain how the language you are speaking, right now, actually works." That's what it is--"How stuff works." Not "How to make people not sneer at you."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

From This Author

Just In