Being French is easy. You just eat croissants for breakfast, drink coffee in a big wide cup, drink lots of wine, gesticulate frequently, philosophise a lot, and shrug your shoulders every now and then and say “pouf!” with a great show of ambivalence and perhaps a hint of disdain. I love the facial expressions of the really good actors in French films. (There is a bit of German for you in the caption on the picture, trust the croissants in the nicest pic option not to be French!).
OK, so here we go to the more grammatical sense of “being”. This will be basic to anyone who knows French already but we will run through the main subject pronouns in French and the present tense of the verb to be. Later we will do this with the other four languages one by one, and then we will recap by looking at them side by side to see if there are any related patterns or particular quirks. Once you know these verbs and some adjectives you can say lots of things (be they polite or derogatory).
être (to be)
je suis (i am)
tu es (you are, you being singular and informal/familiar)
il est, elle est (he is, she is)
nous sommes (we are)
vous êtes (you are, you being plural, or singular, formal use)
ils sont, elles sont (they are, the former being masculine, the latter feminine, if it was a combination of men and woman you would use ils)
The social etiquette of when to use tu or vous is a little complicated, as it is with some of their equivalents in the other languages. We will cover that in depth in another post later on but generally you would use vous with strangers or on formal occasions, and tu with people whom you are already friendly and familiar with.