Four illustrations for the French verb “être”

The principle of the Français illustré

The principle of the Français illustré is to use illustrations to support the understanding of French. Very often the word and illustration Association is obvious. For example: The word pomme (apple) and an illustration of an apple.

Or the verb manger (to eat) and a illustration of a person eating.
But for some words, it is much more difficult to illustrate them. The verb être (to be), one of the basic verbs of French, can not be easily illustrated, because this verb can express different ideas

The identity

If I say, “Je suis Jérôme’’ (I am Jérôme),

the verb être (je suis / I am) allows to introduce a relation of identity. The mathematical sign ‘equal’ is here ideal to illustrate this identity relation.

The quality

But if I say, “Le pull est bleu’’ (The sweater is blue),

the adjective bleu (blue) does not represent the identity of the sweater, but a quality of the sweater. It is a color that is attributed to the sweater. To illustrate this relationship, I chose another mathematical sign: greater than or equal to. Viewed in the other direction: less than or equal to, this sign illustrates that the quality ‘blue’ is part of the sweater.

The localisation

Another meaning of the verb être is the localisation. In the sentence “Où est le chat ? ” (Where is the cat?),

the verb être (est/is) introduces a localisation relationship between the cat and the interrogative word. I chose for this meaning of the verb être the very well-known illustration:

To indicate

Finally, the verb être is very often used in the expression “c’est” (it is) which allows to show, to indicate something.

The illustration of the hand with the stretched index seemed to me the best way to illustrate this meaning.

In the sentence “C’est une chaise” (It is a chair), the finger shows the chair.

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