Complément essentiel vs circonstanciel: How to Use Them

complément essentiel vs circonstanciel how to use them

Some Fench grammar topics can be very tricky to understand, especially with all the different French complements that can be used in sentences. In this article, we’ll explain and discuss two types of French grammatical complements, the Complément essentiel, and the Complément circonstanciel. For you to be able to use them correctly, you need to understand the differences between the both and keep in mind that they’re very different.

Two different types of complements

These complements are two different grammatical tools used to complete the use of a sentence. But you have to keep in mind that as much as the Complément essentiel is very important in a sentence and can’t be omitted.

But when you’re talking about using the Complément circonstanciel you have to know that it provides additional information about the verb but doesn’t need to be in a sentence if it’s not something crucial to give the right meaning to your sentence.

  • Compléments essentiels, are typically introduced by the preposition “à” this is usually a word that comes after the verb and adds information about the subject or the object of the sentence.

Il parle à ses parents.

He talks to his parents.

In this sentence, the Complément Essentiel is “ses parents” which gives more information about who the subject is talking to.

Vous écoutez la musique.

They listen to music.

Right here, the extra information is that the subject is listening to music, which makes “la musique” the Complément Essentiel.

  • Compléments circonstanciels, these complements are usually introduced by other prepositions like “de” or “en” and usually give extra information about the verb in the sentence. But contrary to the Essentiel, this can be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence. It typically comes after the verb and provides information about the circumstances in which the action is taking place or the way it’s performed.

Je parle de mes vacances.

I’m talking about my holidays.

Right here, the extra information is that the subject is talking about their holidays, therefore, the Complément Circonstanciel is “de mes vacances“.

Il m’écoute en marchant.

He listens to me as he walks.

The extra information in this sentence is that the subject is walking as he’s listening. The Complément Circonstanciel is “en marchant“.

It’s very important to understand and use the right complement to get your point across swiftly and with ease.  Because using the wrong complement can change the meaning of the sentence or just give it the wrong meaning altogether.

Now you can use these complements to get your point of view across with ease

As we come to the end of this lesson, we hope that you now feel more comfortable using these French Compléments to give a little bit of extra information about your sentences. Remember that it’s important to use the right complement in a sentence to avoid general confusion or changing the meaning of the sentence. Remember that practice makes perfect and with practice, you can start using these like a native speaker.

Learn more about Using the Complément du nom Déterminatif in French

Related Posts

AP Spanish Language Practice

Looking to improve your Spanish skills to take your AP exam? Getting the highest score is just a click away! Find the best AP Spanish

English vs Spanish Language

Are you an English speaker and looking to learn Spanish? As siblings descended from Romance languages, they naturally share similarities. Check them out in our

French and Spanish Language Comparison

Do you wanna know how the two most passionate languages are similar? Let’s talk about the differences and similarities between these romance languages! Welcome to

When did Kobe Learn Spanish

Loving father, ideal husband, amazing man, successful Lakers player, businessman, and he also speaks Spanish! Do you know who he is? How could he do

ALTA Spanish Language Test Questions

Are you taking your ALTA language exam? Don’t let it catch you off guard. Check out the ALTA Spanish Language Test Questions for your high

I Hate the Spanish Language

Do you think Spanish is a beautiful and linguistically rich language? What about the negative opinions that hinder your choice to learn it as a

Get a Certificate in French Language

If you ask yourself why should you take the certification course in French, we’ll help you decide in which cases is useful and in which

What does “Doux” mean in French?

Discover the meaning of “doux” in French and its various uses. Learn how to use this common word in everyday conversation and improve your French

Need in French: Avoir Besoin

It’s in the human need to have needs, right? Learning how to express your needs in French is by all means an important step in

German riddles

Looking for some fun ways to practice your German language skills? Check out our collection of German riddles and tongue twisters! Test your wit and

Cheers in French: 8 happy ways to say it

Celebrate in French style! This blog showcases 8 happy ways to say “cheers” in French, perfect for impressing your French-speaking friends. Santé! How to say

Different Ways to Use Fois in French

Fois is a very common French word, used in different contexts. English speakers oftentimes confuse it with the word “temps”. In this lesson, you’ll learn

Funniest French jokes

In this article, we will share some of the funniest French jokes  that will have you laughing out loud. Let’s get started! Funniest French jokes

Funniest Spanish jokes

¡Hola! You’re in for a treat if you love to laugh and speak Spanish. We’ve compiled a list of the funniest Spanish jokes that will

Jokes about French

In this article, we’ll explore the humorous side of French culture through a collection of jokes about French. Let’s get started! Jokes about French Welcome

News in French: free resources

In this article, we will explore a variety of websites, podcasts, TV channels, and other resources that you can use to stay informed about news

Short German jokes

Laugh your way through language learning with our collection of short German jokes. Discover the funniest puns, one-liners, and more in our guide! German humor

The basic Spanish hand gestures

In this blog post, we will explore the most important Spanish hand gestures, and their meanings, providing a guide to effectively communicate with Spanish speakers

Beautiful French words with meaning

Discover the beauty of the French language by learning its meanings. Learn the beautiful French words and its meaning. Beautiful French words A lot of

How do you say “good” in French?

Learn how to say “good” in French with our easy guide. Perfect for beginners and travelers looking to improve their language skills. “Good” in French

How to say “Cat” in French

How to say cat in French? What’s the word for a kitten in French? Learn more about the basic terminologies of our favorite fur pet

Learn French with PDF resources

Do you know that you can learn French with PDF resources? In this article, we will explore the advantages of using PDF resources to learn

Funny French jokes

Welcome to our article on Funny French jokes! Are you ready to simultaneously laugh and learn a little bit about French culture? French humor can

Funny German jokes

Welcome to our article on Funny German jokes! Get ready to chuckle at some of the funniest German jokes. German jokes Germany has a rich

Quotes in France by famous people

In this article, we will explore some of the most memorable and inspiring quotes in France from French people that have been passed down through

Quotes in Spain by famous people

In today’s post, you’ll learn some famous quotes in Spain by famous people. Quotes in Spain Spain has a rich cultural history and has produced

Best German proverbs

This article will explore some of the most popular German proverbs and delve into their meanings and origins. Check this out! German proverbs German proverbs

French Riddles

Learning some French riddles and playing with a French-speaking friend are great ways to practice if you know a little French. French riddles A good

How to translate Good Evening in French

Welcome to our article on translating “Good Evening” into French! Suppose you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking country or want to impress your friends

Some facts about the French mafia

Let’s discover some facts about the French mafia. facts about the French mafia The French Mafia is one of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.

Some facts about the Spanish mafia

Let’s discover some facts about the Spanish mafia. Facts about the Spanish mafia The Spanish mafia is one of the most active and widespread criminal

Some facts about the German mafia

Let’s discover some facts about the German mafia.  Facts about the German mafia The German Mafia (; Maffia; from Italian mafiusi, “clan”) is a criminal