What the French?! - Marc Olivier & Andrew Livingston

What the French?!

By Marc Olivier & Andrew Livingston

  • Release Date: 2013-08-23
  • Genre: Foreign Languages
Score: 4.5
From 29 Ratings


What The French?! is not your grandpa's textbook. It isn't your textbook, either; it's the book you wish they made you use. Think of it as more of a pal who knows French grammar inside and out, who tells it to you straight and doesn't treat you like an idiot, but who is also perfectly fine with you learning at your own pace. 

This book has everything you need to learn French grammar from the ground up (high school through at least second-year college) or to refresh your memory after taking a break from studying French, whether that’s one semester or forty years.

It's comprehensive:
verb conjugation in all major tenses (and moods!) verb usage in sentences nouns, with special attention to irregular forms personal pronouns relative pronouns articles (definite, indefinite, and partitive) adjectives, with special attention to irregular forms adverbs prepositions details and exceptions asking questions bossing people around and tons more, seriously. You're tired of reading this list, right?
What The French?! features: 
plenty of interactive quizzes  memorably weird example sentences  illustrations all over the place
This book is NOT a guide to French culture, literature, vocabulary, or politics and will NOT give you sound relationship advice. No mimes were harmed in the making of this book...but we really wanted to.
about the authors:
Marc Olivier has a PhD in French Literature from the University of Washington, and is a tenured French professor with awards in teaching and distance learning. He writes academic articles that nobody reads on random topics like eighteenth-century entomology, horror films, and death by nostalgia.
Andrew Livingston is currently a PhD student in Linguistics. In addition to teaching advanced French grammar as an undergraduate, he has played electric banjo in a band and draws a daily webcomic. Andrew’s other languages of interest include Arabic, Bislama and this one obscure Polynesian language you’ve probably never heard of. NOTE: To view the book in portrait mode, go to any page, tap to see the menu bar appear, click the "A" in the menu bar and click "scrolling view".


  • Hilarious and concise -- quoi de mieux?

    By dollydollydollydollydolly
    This book is fantastic -- clear, concise, and thoroughly entertaining. When was the last time you laughed out loud while reading a French grammar book? An essential resource for any student of French. Bravo!
  • Je suis intelligent

    By collinhead
    Thank you, "What the French", for having made me smart at French. Thak you also for making me happy and entertained. Good job.
  • Great content, but...

    By efgarcia2017
    ...not formatted for the iPad/iPhone. I read my eBooks holding my iDevice in "portrait" mode. This book is only formatted to be read in landscape mode, which is fine for a computer, but bad for reading on an iPad iPhone, which shrinks it down when held in portrait mode. I hope they can address this and send an updated version.
  • The long awaited cure

    By The man in the long black coat
    I was sick with the lengthy grammar books giving no insight, taking forever to read one chapter, and teaching pretty little in that duration. What The French is the best combination of grasping the grammar and also gaining intution how to use it. The explanations and descriptions provided are the best I encountered so far. Along with the unique pedagogical approach they take, it’s just fun to read, fun to learn. Thanks a lot!
  • Extremely effective: hilarious and easy to read

    By Derek Sorensen
    I agree with the other reviews, the book is funny and easy to read. There are subtle jokes throughout the text that make you laugh out loud while reading and make learning grammar really enjoyable. Who knew that was even possible? I started reading more than two hours ago and lost track of time I was enjoying it so much. The light and humorous approach makes the technicalities of grammar much easier to digest. Everything is explained in a simple, down-to-earth way that lets you progress quickly instead of endless, mindnumbing exercises that language books generally have. Overall, an excellent book! I highly recommend it. It covers the material you need to know and it really is an enjoyable read.
  • Bravo

    By adraken
    A truly impressive accomplishment. This is the only grammar textbook I know of that is laugh-out-loud funny. Marc and Andrew describe grammatical concepts with brutal honesty instead of trying to shoehorn the ugliness of real language into neat and tidy boxes. Other textbooks obfuscate their subjects by ladling on very technical linguistic jargon. This is an excellent companion to language self-learning services like Duolingo that don’t do a great job explaining more advanced concepts. Finally you can get some much needed clarity and a great reference instead of just muddling through.
  • Moins con qu’il n’en a l'air

    By Levainlee
    Cheeky approach to French grammar (can a stick figure have a cheek?). Smart, to the point, accurate, never dull—très spirituel.
  • What a great resource!

    By leprofesseur33
    This is a fantastic resource! As others have mentioned, the humor and plain, easy to understand explanations are a much appreciated addition to a "grammar" textbook. As a French teacher I was very pleasantly surprised by "What the French?!" and will definitely recommend it to students!
  • So much better than a traditional textbook!

    By Sputterp
    This is a fantastic tool for review and for clarifying what the traditional language textbook is telling you. The material is presented in a humorous manner, but don't let that fool you into thinking the book isn't seriously helpful. In fact, I think the humor makes it more helpful - it's not just the proverbial spoonful of sugar that helps the grammar go down, the humor actually helps you to remember the grammar better. The explanations are clear and concise AND IN PLAIN ENGLISH! This book is a happy necessity for anyone seriously studying French!
  • Nuts and Bolts of Grammar - w/French Panache

    By Gallico16
    As a teacher of French, I was very excited to find this excellent, new companion volume to teaching the language. Embodying the spirit of counter-culture France, this book does not replace the traditional textbook - but it doesn't let it take itself too seriously either. Excellent pragmatic explanations paired with comical illustrations, What the French?! is where I'll be sending my more gifted (and cynical) beginning and intermediate French students from now on.