To become fluent in French you need to improve your French vocabulary and grammar. You need to develop an understanding of basic French words in order to get started. Seeking guidance from French books can be an effective strategy to understand French writings and develop a command of French gradually.
Learning from textbooks is one of the most effective ways to gain knowledge and broadens one’s perspective. In this guide, we will explore some of the best books to learn French without compromising your comfort and learning pace.
We have categorized these French books in terms of learner levels. Some books can help you to learn French grammar while some will help you to enhance your French vocabulary list. Let’s start with some of the books that beginners can consult to learn French.
Textbooks for Beginners
Allez, viens! French 1
This textbook is aimed at middle and high school students but serves as an excellent starting point for adult learners. It will not make you fluent in French, but it will make you proficient, with plenty of coverage of colloquial language and interesting topics to keep you engaged with the content. It also motivates you to learn new vocabulary by providing context clues.
Easy French Step-by-step
This book is the best-seller on Amazon.com in the French Language Instruction category. It is popular for a reason. This book guides you through different modules in a logical manner. It introduces over 300 verbs in descending order of importance.
When you are first starting out, verbs are essential. This textbook will provide you with a foundation in grammar and vocabulary while building on itself chapter by chapter. It includes excessive exercises and solutions, making it ideal for practice.
If you prefer your books to be more visually appealing, this may be a better choice than Easy French Step-by-Step because it contains more graphics. This text is best if you already have a basic understanding of French, but it’s also great for beginners because it covers beginner’s French very well.
Many of the modules are more focused on oral interactions, with a performance-oriented approach to teaching. You must find a language-learning buddy to practice with if you’re outgoing. Unlike other textbooks, its emphasis is on phrases and vocabulary that you might actually use in real life.
Contacts: Langue et culture françaises
This textbook includes great visuals, important cultural references, pronunciation assistance, and a useful French-English dictionary in the back, so you don’t have to go back from textbook to dictionary again and again.
If you’re looking for listening exercises, make sure you get the supplemental audio as well. Such exercises are essential if you want to understand French in the very first place.
Textbooks for Intermediates
En bonne forme
If you need help with grammar and are ready to incorporate more advanced vocabulary into your French, this is the solution.
En bonne forme is a fantastic resource for all things French grammar, and it walks you through the tenses and rules with excellent examples, explanations, and attention to detail.
Mise en scène: cinéma et lecture
If you are studying French, chances are you will enjoy French cinema as well. French can open doors to wonderful filmmaking eras and styles. While watching French movies is certainly a practical way to learn French, having a more organized approach is sometimes preferable.
This textbook will serve this purpose for you. It uses French-language films and corresponding texts to help you broaden your cultural and vocabulary knowledge, with activities to tie it all together.
Moments Litteraires: An Anthology for Intermediate French
This is an anthology of French masterpieces spanning the middle ages to the present day. It also includes pre-reading and post-reading activities to help you make the most of your reading time.
It is a great resource for you to improve your grammar and expand your French vocabulary.
Textbooks for advanced learners
Le Bon Usage
This guide ranges from 1600-1800 pages (depending on what edition you get). It was first published in 1936 and has been thoroughly revised since then. There is even an online version.
It may appear frightening, but if you are serious about your French, whether you’re a struggling beginner or a fluent professional, this book will have the answers to any little question about usage you may have presented in an organized manner.
If you want something a little more advanced, this book might be a good choice for you. It’s a little easier to digest than Le Bon Usage because it’s written for English speakers.
It contains a great number of French examples from a wide range of texts and will provide detailed answers to all of your grammar questions. It is also a more typical textbook size (706 pages), with a very useful index of phrases, vocabulary, and topics to help you find what you need to know a little easier.
Short Stories in French
This is a great book for more casual French reading. It contains excellent short stories in both French and English. It is a great resource to help you out with comprehension.
You can also learn French online via italki. The guidance from online French teachers will make you learn French vocabulary, grammar, and sentence formation in an organized manner. Here, you can experience free trial sessions from your favorite tutor to get the feel before enrolling officially.
Larousse French-English Dictionary
A good dictionary is essential for any French learner. While there are numerous French translation apps available, nothing beats the old-fashioned way of translating. They have editions for middle schoolers, and college students, a concise version, a pocket version, and a big old hardcover if you like having big red books on your shelf.
Mastering French Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach
This book contains over 5,000 words and phrases. They are all organized by theme to make it easier for you to digest and memorize. This book is a great resource to get some vocabulary help. It is recommended to memorize these 5000 French words gradually and keep on revising them.
La Conjugaison Pour Tous
“La conjugaison pour tous” covers everything you need to know about verb conjugations. “La conjugaison pour tous” not only covers the same number of verbs as the best online conjugators, but each entry goes above and beyond by providing contextual information about how the verb is used. All tenses are covered, as well as additional information not commonly found in other conjugation books.
La Grammaire Pour Tous
“La grammaire pour tous,” another popular extension in the Bescherelle series, has sold millions of copies in French immersion schools. “La grammaire pour tous” explains syntax, punctuation, and sentence structure with simple examples, allowing you to write advanced French more quickly.
Exercises in French Phonics
This book is an excellent resource for improving your pronunciation. It is a small, portable book that you can take with you on all your French-speaking conversation sessions.
L’orthographe Pour Tous
This book explains various ways to write a given sound, as well as lists of homonyms. Homonyms are words with similar pronunciations but different meanings.
Each word in the glossary has a number that leads to its entry, which includes the spelling rules for the word group to which it belongs. “L’orthographe pour tous is one of the few books that go beyond memorization to help you organize your French spelling study.
These are the few best books to learn French efficiently. You can consult these books based on your level of French knowledge. There are several resources that can help you learn French prepositions as well, but you need to structure your French learning systematically, gradually moving from beginner to advanced levels.
Many people perceive French as a hard language to learn. But, this is not true. You need to use the right resources to get your command of French. The above-mentioned French books are highly beneficial for learners to learn French at their own pace. Make sure to generate notes for yourself while reading these books so that you can memorize them afterward.