If you have progressed to the point where you are able to understand basic conversational French topics, you know the words for most common nouns, you have a basic grasp of all the French verb tenses and grammatical structures, and feel comfortable constructing and speaking basic sentences of your own, you have probably progressed to the advanced French level.
Advanced French lessons are a little more difficult to find than beginner or intermediate level lessons, and you will probably need to at least partly teach yourself. Here are some ideas for perfecting your French proficiency on your own:
On this site
- Check out our lessons on the less common French verb tenses, including the past subjunctive and the passé simple.
- Look over our vocabulary lessons to see if there are any words you don’t know.
How to improve your French at an advanced level
- Increase your vocabulary in topics that are of interest to you or that you are likely to need to communicate. Read a French forum or a blog about the topic, and keep track of all the words you don’t know and the idiomatic phrases you encounter, and then quiz yourself on them.
- You will be much more motivated to expand to an advanced French vocabulary level if you are pursuing subjects you find interesting.
- Then, as soon as you feel comfortable, begin posting (in French) your comments, and learn from the mistakes you make. It’s not fun to do something knowing you’ll make plenty of mistakes, but it’s one of the fastest ways to learn.
- Listen to naturally spoken French, which you may encounter in TV shows, movies, or even YouTube videos.
- However, don’t use English subtitles, which will delay your learning. Using French subtitles can help you understand what’s going on and to distinguish individual words, but these too are a crutch that you should eventually try to eliminate.
- Studying advanced grammar is one of the less exciting techniques, but if you want to be able to speak and write at a much more advanced level, you need to take the time to understand the more high-level French grammar points.
- AP French textbooks are where you may have the most luck finding advanced French grammar lessons explained in a thorough but concise manner. Be sure to construct your own sentences to make sure you can apply these techniques on your own.
- Read French novels, and make note of the words you don’t know, but only look them up if you are absolutely lost. Force yourself to use context clues and figure out the main purpose of each sentence, and add the words you didn’t know to your list for memorization.
- And of course, if you have any chances to connect with native French speakers, do it! Use a video or email chat service, take lessons from a local student, whatever it takes.
Lastly, remember that with foreign languages especially, there is truth in the old maxim, “Use it or lose it.” You will be able to learn and retain your knowledge in French much better if you expose yourself to the language in some fashion every day – find a website, book, or TV show to keep practicing.