3.3 Grammar

The grammar requirements for GCSE are set out in two tiers: Foundation Tier and Higher Tier.

GCSE students will be expected to have acquired knowledge and understanding of French grammar during their course. In the exam they will be required to apply their knowledge and understanding, appropriate to the relevant tier of entry, drawing from the following lists. The examples in brackets are indicative, not exclusive. For structures marked (R), only receptive knowledge is required.

Students will be expected to develop and use their knowledge and understanding of this grammar progressively throughout their course.

3.3.1 Foundation Tier Nouns


singular and plural forms Articles

definite, indefinite and partitive, including use of de after negatives Adjectives



comparative and superlative: regular and meilleur

demonstrative (ce, cet, cette, ces)

indefinite (chaque, quelque)


interrogative (quel, quelle) Adverbs

comparative and superlative


interrogative (comment, quand)

adverbs of time and place (aujourd’hui, demain, ici, là-bas)

common adverbial phrases Quantifiers/intensifiers

très, assez, beaucoup, peu, trop Pronouns

personal: all subjects, including on


relative: qui

relative: que (R)

object: direct (R) and indirect (R)

position and order of object pronouns (R)


demonstrative (ça, cela)

indefinite (quelqu’un)

interrogative (qui, que)

use of y, en (R) Verbs

regular and irregular verbs, including reflexive verbs

all persons of the verb, singular and plural

negative forms

interrogative forms

modes of address: tu, vous

impersonal verbs (il faut)

verbs followed by an infinitive, with or without a preposition


  • present
  • perfect
  • imperfect: avoir, être and faire
  • other common verbs in the imperfect tense (R)
  • immediate future
  • future (R)
  • conditional: vouloir and aimer
  • pluperfect (R)
  • passive voice: present tense (R)
  • imperative
  • present participle. Prepositions

common prepositions eg à, au, à l', à la, aux; de, du, de l', de la, des; après; avant; avec; chez; contre; dans; depuis; derrière; devant; entre; pendant; pour; sans; sur; sous; vers

common compound prepositions eg à côté de; près de; en face de, à cause de; au lieu de Conjunctions

common coordinating conjunctions eg car; donc; ensuite; et; mais; ou, ou bien, puis

common subordinating conjunctions eg comme; lorsque; parce que; puisque; quand; que; si Number, quantity, dates and time

including use of depuis with present tense

3.3.2 Higher Tier

Students entering for Higher Tier assessments will be required to apply all grammar and structures listed for Foundation Tier, in addition to the new grammar and structures listed for Higher Tier. Adjectives

comparative and superlative, including meilleur, pire Adverbs

comparative and superlative, including mieux, le mieux Pronouns

use of y, en

relative: que

relative: dont (R)

object: direct and indirect

position and order of object pronouns

demonstrative (celui) (R)

possessive (le mien) (R) Verbs


  • future
  • imperfect
  • conditional
  • pluperfect
  • passive voice: future, imperfect and perfect tenses (R)
  • perfect infinitive
  • present participle, including use after en
  • subjunctive mood: present, in commonly used expressions (R). Time

including use of depuis with imperfect tense.