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100 Must-Know French Adjectives

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Can you imagine how boring life would be without adjectives? You could never describe what you like or what you want, and giving an opinion on anything would be as bland and binary as clicking a “Like” button.

You probably already know several French adjectives and are aware of their importance. French adjective placement isn’t obvious, but it’s not rocket science either. As soon as you get familiar with the irregular adjectives list and how to handle their feminine and plural forms, they’ll unveil their secrets to you.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about how to use and adapt adjectives to your needs. Then, I’ll give you the ultimate list of the 100 most common and useful French adjectives. Not only will they allow you to describe things, people, and situations more accurately, but they will also give more color and texture to your speech.

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Use Adjectives in French
  2. French Adjectives to Know for Evaluating
  3. French Adjectives of Size and Shape
  4. Key French Adjectives to Describe Physical Qualities
  5. Adjectives in French for Ordering
  6. French Adjectives for Comparing Things
  7. French Adjectives to Describe Condition
  8. French Adjectives to Describe People
  9. French Adjectives to Describe Situations
  10. Describing the Colors in French
  11. Describing Food in French
  12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French


1. How to Use Adjectives in French

Adjectives

1- Before or After: Where do French Adjectives Go?

How do French adjectives work? Where do they go?

The majority of French adjectives need to be placed AFTER the noun they describe.

For example:

  • Un truc bizarre
    “A weird thing”
  • Une science exacte
    “An exact science”
  • Une table ronde
    “A round table”
  • Un ciel bleu
    “A blue sky”

However, some of the most common French adjectives come BEFORE the noun.

  • Une jolie fille
    “A pretty girl”
  • Une belle journée
    “A beautiful day”
  • Un grand voyage
    “A long travel”
  • Un nouveau monde
    “A new world”

In our French adjectives list, these will be marked in purple.

A small number of adjectives have a different meaning depending on whether they’re placed before or after.

  • Un ancien hôpital
    “A former hospital”
  • Un hôpital ancien
    “An ancient hospital”

Finally, some marginal adjectives must be placed before or after the noun depending on the noun itself.

  • Des cheveux courts
    “Short hair”
  • Une courte pause
    “A short break”
  • L’année prochaine
    “Next year”
  • La prochaine fois
    “Next time”

2- Masculine or Feminine

Most French adjectives have different feminine and masculine forms.

Both will be written in the list, as follows: Masculine - Feminine

  • Petit - Petite
    “Small”
  • Fin - Fine
    “Thin”

When the masculine and feminine forms are identical, only one form will be shown.

  • Bizarre
    “Strange”
  • Facile
    “Easy”

3- Plural or Invariable

Most of the essential French adjectives have a different spelling in plural form. They simply take a final -s.

  • Petits - Petites
    Des petites maisons
    (Small houses)
  • Bizarres
    Des animaux bizarres.
    (Strange animals)

When a singular adjective ends with a -s or an -x, it doesn’t change in plural form:

  • Un animal heureux (A happy animal)
    • Des animaux heureux (Happy animals)
  • Un mur épais (A thick wall)
    • Des murs épais (Thick walls)

Two Mice on Cheese

Deux souris heureuses (”Two happy mice” )


2. French Adjectives to Know for Evaluating

Improve Pronunciation

Masculine - Feminine

Bon - Bonne

1. “Good”

2. “Right,” “Correct”

1. J’ai un bon niveau.
“I have a good level.”

2. J’attends le bon moment.
“I’m waiting for the right moment.”

Mauvais - Mauvaise

1. “Bad”

2. “Wrong,” “Incorrect”

1. C’est un très mauvais film.
“This is a very bad movie.”

2. Tu as pris le mauvais tournant.
“You have taken a wrong turn.”

Génial - Géniale
“Awesome”
C’est génial de te rencontrer !
“It’s awesome to meet you!”
Horrible
“Horrible”
Vous devez brûler cette horrible chose.
“You have to burn this horrible thing.”
Bizarre
“Weird,” “Strange”
L’ornithorynque est un animal très bizarre.
“The platypus is a really weird animal.”

The word “bizarre” is also present in the English language with a similar meaning, but it wasn’t imported from French. Was it originally Basque, Spanish, or Portuguese? Its bizarre etymology is still debated and mysterious.

Facile
“Easy”
Plus facile à dire qu’à faire.
“Easier said than done.”

Here is another way to use facile in a familiar context:

Il doit peser facile 200 kg !
“He’s got to be 200 kilos, easy!”

Difficile
“Difficult,” “Hard”
C’est une situation difficile.
“It is a difficult situation.”
Possible
“Possible”
Avec elle, tout est possible.
“With her, anything is possible.”
Impossible
“Impossible”
Il est impossible de survivre à une telle chute.
“It’s impossible to survive such a fall.”

Impossible n’est pas Français
“There is nothing impossible for the French,” or literally “Impossible is not French.”

This is a famous quote attributed to Napoléon. It can be used as a mantra when we have to do something so difficult it borders on impossible.

Simple
“Simple”
Une histoire simple mais émouvante.
“A simple yet moving story.”
Compliqué - Compliquée
“Complicated”
On est pas vraiment ensemble…c’est compliqué.
“We’re not really together…it’s complicated.”
Cher - Chère
“Expensive”
C’est beaucoup trop cher pour ce que c’est !
“This is way too expensive for what it’s worth!”

This word has nothing to do with American singer and Goddess of Pop, Cher.

Woman Looking Out At A Coastal City

Il fait beau ! (”The weather is good!” )

    → To practice with adjectives about the weather, make sure to visit our vocabulary list about Weather Conditions. It’s freely available on FrenchPod101.


3. French Adjectives of Size and Shape

Grand - Grande

1. “Large,” “Big”

2. “Tall”

3. “Great,” “Major”

1. Elle a un grand jardin.
“She has a big garden.”

2. J’ai l’air plus grande avec mes talons.
“I look taller with my heels.”

3. Blade Runner est un grand film de science-fiction.
Blade Runner is a major science-fiction movie.”

Do not confuse Grand with its English homonym “Grand.”

In English, “grand” means “impressive,” “important,” or “large in degree.”
For example: “A grand opening,” “The Grand Canyon,” or “This palace is very grand.”

Gros - Grosse

1. “Big”

2. “Fat”

1. J’aime les grosses voitures.
“I love big cars.”

2. Il est tellement gros qu’il ne voit plus ses pieds.
“He’s so fat he can’t see his feet anymore.”

Petit - Petite

1. “Small,” “Little”

2. “Little,” “A kid”

1. Ma copine aime les petits chats.
“My girlfriend loves small cats.”

2. Quand j’étais petit, j’allais pêcher avec mon père.
“When I was little, I went fishing with my dad.”

Epais - Epaisse
“Thick”
Une épaisse nappe de brume.
“A thick cloud of mist.”
Fin - Fine
“Thin”
Une fine couche de givre.
“A thin layer of frost.”

You should not confuse French homonyms fin (”thin” ) and la fin (”the end” ).

Proche
“Near”
La fin est proche !
“The end is near!”
Loin
“Far”
J’habite loin du centre-ville.
“I live far from the city center.”
Long - Longue
“Long”
Ca va être une longue journée.
“It’s going to be a long day.”
Court - Courte
“Short”
Il a les cheveux courts.
“He has short hair.”
Etroit - Etroite
“Narrow,” “Tight”
Le sentier est de plus en plus étroit.
“The trail is getting narrower and narrower.”
Large

1. “Wide,” “Broad”

2. “Extensive,” “Large”

1. Cette route n’est pas assez large pour deux voitures.
“This road is not wide enough for two cars.”

2. Ce parc offre un large choix d’activités.
“This park features an extensive selection of activities.”

As tricky as it may sound, the primary meaning of large is not “large,” but “wide.”
However, in some specific cases, it can also be used for “large.”

Adult and Baby Rhinoceros

Grand et petit (”Big and small” )


4. Key French Adjectives to Describe Physical Qualities

Doux - Douce
“Soft,” “Smooth,” “Gentle”
Elle a la peau très douce.
“She has very soft skin.”
Dur - Dure

1. “Solid,” “Hard”

2. “Difficult,” “Tough”

1. Demain, le béton aura séché et sera dur.
“Tomorrow, the concrete will be dry and hard.”

2. C’est tellement dur de se lever le matin.
“It is so hard to wake up in the morning.”

Plein - Pleine
“Full”
Est-ce que le verre est à moitié plein ?
“Is the glass half-full?”
Vide
“Empty”
Non, le verre est à moitié vide.
“No, the glass is half-empty.”
Léger - Légère

1. “Light”

2. “Minor,” “Mild,” “Slight”

1. Une robe légère et confortable.
“A light and comfortable dress.”

2. Nous avons juste un léger problème.
“We just have a slight problem.”

Lourd - Lourde

1. “Heavy”

2. “Annoying” [Familiar]

1. C’est un instrument très lourd.
“It is a heavy instrument.”

2. T’es lourd, avec tes blagues débiles.
“You’re annoying, with your stupid jokes.”

Rapide
“Fast,” “Quick”
Rapide comme l’éclair !
“Fast as lightning!”
Lent - Lente
“Slow,” “Sluggish”
Elle est lente mais minutieuse.
“She’s slow but thorough.”
Chaud - Chaude
“Hot,” “Warm”
Je préfère me doucher à l’eau chaude.
“I prefer to shower with warm water.”

Wait, how can chaud mean both “hot” and “warm?”

In English, “hot” often has a connotation of “too hot.”

Chaud doesn’t have this connotation. It can be used for “warm”:
Ce manteau me garde bien au chaud. (”This coat keeps me nice and warm.” )

And for “hot”:
Il fait tellement chaud ici, je suis en sueur. (”It’s so hot here, I’m sweating.” )

Then, we have another word for when it gets cooler: Tiède (”lukewarm,” “tepid” ):
Je lave mon linge à l’eau tiède. (”I wash my clothes with lukewarm water.” )

Froid - Froide
“Cold”
Gardons la tête froide.
“Let’s keep our heads cool.”
Sec - Sèche
“Dry”
L’apéro idéal ? Saucisse sèche et rosé.
“The perfect apéritif? Dry sausage and rosé wine.”
Humide
“Wet,” “Moist,” “Humid”
L’herbe est encore un peu humide.
“The grass is still a bit wet.”
Fragile
“Fragile,” “Delicate”
Attention, ce vase est très fragile.
“Be careful, this vase is very fragile.”

Attention : Fragile (”Warning: Fragile” )


5. Adjectives in French for Ordering

Premier - Première
“First”
C’est ma première fois.
“It’s my first time.”
Dernier - Dernière

1. “Last,” “Final”

2. “Latest”

1. Il est le dernier de son espèce.
“He’s the last of his kind.”

2. Voici les dernières nouvelles.
“Here is the latest news.”

Second - Seconde
“Second”
La seconde guerre mondiale.
“The Second World War.”
Deuxième
“Second”
Le deuxième tireur se tenait juste ici.
“The second shooter was standing right here.”

Should you use Second or Deuxième?

There used to be some vague traditional reasons to use one over the other, but even the “Académie Française” (the official patron for the French language) stated that there’s no difference anymore.

All you need to know is that second sounds slightly more sophisticated than deuxième.

Prochain - Prochaine
“Next”
A quelle heure est le prochain train ?
“At what time is the next train?”
Précédent - Précédente
“Previous”
La solution précédente était bien meilleure.
“The previous solution was much better.”
Avant-dernier - Avant-dernière
“Penultimate,” “Second to last”
L’avant-dernier niveau est le plus difficile.
“The second to last level is the most difficult.”

Calendar with January 1st Highlighted

Le premier janvier (”January the first” )


6. French Adjectives for Comparing Things

Même
“Same”
C’est toujours la même histoire.
“It’s always the same story.”
Autre
“Other”
Une autre victime a été découverte.
“Another victim has been found.”
Différent - Différente
“Different”
Nous vivons une époque différente.
“We’re living in different times.”
Seul - Seule

1. “Only”

2. “Alone,” “Lonely”

1. C’est la seule solution.
“This is the only solution.”

2. Tu ne te sens jamais seul avec un chat.
“You never feel lonely with a cat.”

Meilleur - Meilleure

1. “Best”

2. “Better”

1. C’est le meilleur jeu de 2019.
“This is the best game of 2019.”

2. Il est meilleur que le précédent épisode.
“It is better than the last episode.”

Should you use Meilleur or Mieux when both mean “Better?”

In most cases, you can use meilleur when comparing nouns, and mieux when modifying verbs:

Je chante mieux que toi.
“I sing better than you.”
Je suis un meilleur chanteur.
“I’m a better singer.”

Pire
“Worst”
C’est le pire jour de ma vie.
“This is the worst day of my life.”
Unique
“Unique,” “Only,” “Single”
Il est fils unique.
“He’s an only child.”
Spécial - Spéciale
“Special”
Voici l’agent spécial Fox Mulder.
“Here is special agent Fox Mulder.”
Particulier - Particulière

1. “Specific,” “Particular”

2. “Private,” “Special”

1. Roger a un sens de l’humour assez particulier.
“Roger has a rather particular sense of humor.”

2. Il est l’assistant particulier de la présidente.
“He’s a special assistant for the president.”

Red Star On Top of Many White Stars

Tu es unique (”You are unique” )


7. French Adjectives to Describe Condition

Nouveau / Nouvel - Nouvelle
“New”
J’adore ta nouvelle robe !
“I love your new dress!”

Nouveau or Nouvel?

If the next word is singular and starts with a vowel sound, you should use nouvel.
For example: Le nouvel an. (”New year.” )

Otherwise, you should use Nouveau.

Neuf - Neuve
“Brand-new”
Cette robe est neuve.
“This dress is brand-new.”
Pauvre
“Poor”
Il est si pauvre qu’il vit dans la rue.
“He’s so poor he’s living in the street.”
Riche

1. “Wealthy”

2. “Diverse,” “Abundant”

1. Le Koweït est un pays riche.
“Kuwait is a wealthy country.”

2. Les Galapagos ont une faune incroyablement riche.
“The Galapagos have an incredibly diverse fauna.”

Propre

1. “Clean”

2. “Own,” “Personal”

1. Des vêtements propres.
“Clean clothes.”

2. Mes propres vêtements.
“My own clothes.”

Sale
“Dirty”
Je ne veux pas d’argent sale.
“I don’t want dirty money.”
Dégueulasse [Familiar]
“Disgusting,” “Nasty”
Ce fromage est vraiment dégueulasse.
“This cheese is really disgusting.”
Cassé - Cassée
“Broken”
J’ai une jambe cassée.
“I have a broken leg.”

Greasy Mechanic's Hand Holding a Tool

J’ai les mains sales. (”I have dirty hands.” )


8. French Adjectives to Describe People

1- Describing Physical Traits

Jeune
“Young”
C’est un jeune artiste prometteur.
“He’s a young promising artist.”
Vieux / Vieil - Vieille
“Old”
Un vieux guitariste.
“An old guitar player.”

Vieux or Vieil?

If the next word is singular and starts with a vowel sound, you should use vieil.
For example: Un vieil accordéoniste. (”An old accordionist.” )

Otherwise, you should use vieux.

Beau / Bel - Belle
“Handsome” - “Beautiful”
Elle a de belles mains.
“She has beautiful hands.”

Beau or Bel?

If the next word is singular and starts with a vowel sound, you should use bel.
For example: Un bel homme. (”A handsome man.” )

Otherwise, you should use beau.

Moche
“Ugly”
Il est pas si moche que ça.
“He’s not that ugly.”
Fort - Forte

1. “Strong”

2. “High,” “Important”

1. C’est pratique d’avoir un homme fort à la maison.
“It’s handy to have a strong man at home.”

2. Une forte augmentation
“An important increase”

Faible

1. “Weak”

2. “Low,” “Small”

1. Ils sont faibles et pitoyables.
“They are weak and pitiful.”

2. Un faible pourcentage
“A small percentage”

Mince
“Slim,” “Thin”
Elle est grande et mince.
“She’s tall and slim.”
Mignon - Mignonne
“Cute,” “Sweet”
Tu as vu le serveur ? Il est mignon.
“Did you see the waiter? He’s cute.”

An Elderly Man Holding a Cane

Un vieil homme (”An old man” )

2- French Adjectives About Personality & Attitude

Gentil - Gentille
“Nice,” “Kind”
Elle a rencontré un gentil garçon.
“She met a nice guy.”
Méchant - Méchante
“Mean,” “Wicked”
A la fin, il combat le méchant sorcier.
“At the end, he’s fighting the evil sorcerer.”
Con - Conne [Familiar]

1. “Dumb”

2. “Jerk”

1. J’ai l’air con avec cette chemise ?
“Do I look dumb with this shirt?”

2. Oublie-le, c’est un sale con.
“Forget about him, he’s a nasty jerk.”

Drôle (de)

1. “Fun,” “Funny”

2. “Strange”

1. Elle est drôle et insouciante.
“She’s funny and carefree.”

2. Tu fais une drôle de tête. Ca va ?
“You have a strange look on your face. Are you okay?”

Why is it drôle de tête?

This irregular structure is specific to the second meaning of drôle. It takes an additional de between the adjective and the noun.

  • Un drôle de type (”A strange dude” )
  • Une drôle d’histoire (”A strange story” )
Fou - Folle
“Crazy,” “Mad”
Un savant fou
“A mad scientist”
Sympa
“Nice”
Il est super sympa !
“He’s super nice!”

Sympa is short for sympathique.

This slightly more casual version has become much more common than the original word.

    → You’ll find many more words to describe your friends’ personalities in our free vocabulary list on Personality Traits, with examples and audio recordings.

3- French Adjectives of Emotion & Mood

Heureux - Heureuse
“Happy”
Un imbécile heureux
“A happy idiot”
Triste
“Sad”
Un clown triste
“A sad clown”
Calme
“Calm”
Restez calme et tout ira bien.
“Stay calm and everything is gonna be alright.”
Excité - Excitée
“Excited”
Je suis tellement excité de les rencontrer !
“I’m so excited to meet them!”
Content - Contente
“Glad”
Je suis contente de te voir.
“I’m glad to see you.”
Malade
“Sick,” “Ill”
Sa fille est très malade.
“His daughter is very ill.”
Mort - Morte
“Dead”
Il est mort par strangulation.
“He was strangled to death.”

Woman Meditating

Restez calme, restez zen (”Stay calm, stay zen” )


9. French Adjectives to Describe Situations

Public - Publique
“Public”
Une affaire de santé publique
“A matter of public health”
Privé - Privée
“Private”
Un club privé
“A private club”
Important - Importante
“Important”
Une affaire très importante
“A very important matter”
Dangereux - Dangereuse
“Dangerous”
Tu joues un jeu dangereux.
“You’re playing a dangerous game.”
Ennuyeux - Ennuyeuse

1. “Boring”

2. “Inconvenient,” “Annoying”

1. Je vous épargne les détails ennuyeux.
“I’ll spare you the boring details.”

2. Ca devient ennuyeux, ces pannes de courant.
“These blackouts are getting annoying.”


10. Describing the Colors in French

Reading

Noir - Noire
“Black”
Le cygne noir
“The black swan”
Blanc - Blanche
“White”
Un drapeau blanc
“A white flag”
Bleu - Bleue
“Blue”
Un ciel bleu
“A blue sky”
Rouge
“Red”
La sorcière rouge
“The red witch”
Vert - Verte
“Green”
Le frelon vert
“The green hornet”
Jaune
“Yellow”
La fièvre jaune
“The yellow fever”

Three Different Glasses of Red And White Wine

Le vin rouge et le vin blanc (”Red wine and white wine” )


11. Describing Food in French

Sucré - Sucrée
“Sweet,” “Sweetened”
Je préfère un petit déjeuner sucré.
“I prefer a sweet breakfast.”
Salé - Salée
“Salty,” “Salted”
Un demi-litre d’eau salée
“Half a liter of salted water”
Epicé - Epicée
“Spicy,” “Spiced”
La cuisine Indienne est très épicée.
“Indian cuisine is very spicy.”
Fade
“Bland,” “Tasteless”
C’est un peu fade sans la cannelle.
“It’s a bit bland without the canella.”
Gras - Grasse
“Fat”
C’est trop gras pour mon régime.
“This is too fat for my diet.”
Délicieux - Délicieuse
“Delicious”
Merci pour ce délicieux repas !
“Thank you for this delicious meal!”
Ecoeurant
“Sickening”
Il y a tellement de sucre que c’est un peu écoeurant.
“There is so much sugar that it’s a bit sickening.”

Girl Eating Peas

C’est délicieux à en pleurer ! (”It’s so delicious I would cry!” )

    → Everything you need from the kitchen is in our vocabulary list for Utensils and Tableware, with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation!


12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide to French adjectives, you’ve learned everything there is to know on the topic including French adjectives position and agreement. You’ve also reviewed an extensive list of the most common and useful ones.

Did we forget any important French adjectives? Do you feel ready to describe everything around you and talk about what you like and want, using what you’ve learned today?

A good way to practice with adjectives is to start with the basics and slowly add more complexity to your sentences:

  • Une voiture rouge. (”A red car” )
  • Une voiture rouge et sale. (”A red and dirty car” )
  • Une voiture rouge et blanche, très belle mais un peu sale. (”A red and white car, very beautiful but a bit dirty” )

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. The vocabulary lists are also a great way to revise the words and learn their pronunciation.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice using adjectives in French with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with the pronunciation.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Adjectives in French

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

French Conjunctions Chart: Guide to French Conjunctions

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Do you know what a conjunction is? Many people don’t, even though they use them every day, hundreds of times a day! Stick around to see our French conjunctions charts and more information on important French conjunctions.

Languages are all about connecting people, allowing them to understand each other and bond over a friendly conversation. Similarly, conjunctions connect words together, allowing them to make sense and become more than the sum of their parts.

French connecting words—also called conjunction words—are an important part of the language. You could learn as many vocabulary lists as you can possibly remember, but if you don’t know how to connect them with the right linking words, you’ll quickly feel limited in what you can express.

Is that enough to convince you it’s time to learn French conjunctions?

In this article, you’ll learn the most common French conjunctions and how to use them, with real-life examples. We’ll look at how to list things, how to express conditions and consequences, and much more. Oh, and we’ll also talk about food and love along the way!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

Table of Contents

  1. What are French Conjunctions?
  2. Common French Conjunctions for Listing Things
  3. Setting Conditions with Basic French Conjunctions
  4. Useful French Conjunctions for Expressing Causality
  5. Objection, Your Honor!
  6. What is Your Purpose?
  7. Conjunctive What Now?
  8. How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More French


1. What are French Conjunctions?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions act as links between similar words or groups of words. They can convey various meanings and perform an array of actions, from listing things to expressing conditions or causality. If words were bricks, conjunctions would be the cement holding them together. If they were lasagnas, conjunctions would be the melty layer of cheese binding everything together. I’m sure you get the idea.

Now, I could bore you with the technicalities of French coordinating conjunctions, French subordinating conjunctions, and even French conjunctive phrases, but it wouldn’t help you remember any of them. And knowing the categories or their grammatical origin doesn’t bring much to the table. So why don’t we jump right in?

Here’s our list of common French conjunctions and some examples of French sentences with conjunctions.


2. Common French Conjunctions for Listing Things

Improve Listening

Let’s talk about food, and how to list food. These conjunctions can be used to list anything, from dates to people, locations, and ideas, but we’ll stick to edible goodies for now. :)
et (and)

  • Des fruits et des légumes
    “Fruits and vegetables”
  • Du pain, du vin et du fromage
    “Bread, wine, and cheese”

ou (or)

  • Fromage ou dessert ?
    “Cheese or dessert?”
  • Des pâtes, du riz ou des frites ?
    “Pasta, rice, or French fries?”

ni (nor)

  • Il ne mange ni viande ni poisson.
    “He eats neither meat nor fish.”

The ni __ ni __ structure is a sort of “neither __ nor __,” but can often be translated with a simple “or,” such as: “He doesn’t eat meat or fish.”

You can use ni anytime you want to say “no” to several listed elements. And I say several, because it can be extended to more than just two:

Il ne mange ni viande ni poisson, ni oeufs, ni fromage.

“He doesn’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or cheese.”

Another useful expression with ni is ni l’un ni l’autre, which translates to “neither one, nor the other.”
It’s a perfect pick when you want to deny two things without repeating them:

- Tu préfères la viande ou le poisson ?
“Do you prefer meat or fish?”

- Ni l’un ni l’autre.
“Neither.”

Table Full of Food

Avoir l’embarras du choix (“To be spoilt for choice”)

soit (either.. or)

  • Je prépare soit du thé, soit du café.
    “I’ll make either tea or coffee.”
  • Soit des pommes, soit des poires, soit des bananes.
    “Either apples, or pears, or bananas.”

Soit is the jealous version of ou that makes you choose exclusively. You won’t get any more than one of the items listed, so choose carefully!

Also keep in mind that the word soit can have a different meaning: “very well.”

For instance:
Donc, tu préfères du café ? Soit.
“So, you prefer the coffee? Very well.”

Don’t worry, though, with the context, there’s little to no chance that you could get them mixed up.

           To learn more appetizing words and how to pronounce them, make sure to check out our free vocabulary list on Food Utensils and Tableware on FrenchPod101.


3. Setting Conditions with Basic French Conjunctions

Improve Listening Part 2

“If,” “then,” and “else” are the bread-and-butter of every programmer, but are also involved in countless situations in our daily lives. They are among the most important conjunctions and, luckily, they behave similarly in French and English.

si (if)

  • S’il n’y a plus de café, je prendrai du thé.
    “If there is no more coffee, I will have tea.”
  • Je ne sais pas si je dois acheter du café ou si nous en avons assez.
    “I don’t know if I should buy coffee or if we have enough.”

alors (then; so)

  • Si tu ne bois rien d’autre, alors essaye au moins le vin.
    “If you don’t drink anything else, then at least try the wine.”

Whereas si works just like”if,” alors is a mixed bag and can translate to “then” or “so.”

You can use it like “then,” but it gets a bit too formal for conversational style:

  • Il y aura alors évidemment un dessert.
    “Then, obviously, there will be a dessert!”
  • Vous oublierez alors tous vos soucis.
    “You will then forget all your worries.”

Many times, alors can be translated as “so,” and tends to express consequence:

  • Je n’ai pas bu, alors je rentre en voiture.
    “I haven’t drunk, so I’m driving back home.”

Then, you have the cases of alors at the beginning or the end of a sentence:

  • Alors, comment tu trouves le vin ?
    “So, how do you like the wine?”
  • Tu reprendras bien un verre, alors !
    “You will have another round, then!”

sinon (otherwise; literally “if not” when translated)

  • Reprends un café, sinon tu vas t’endormir avant la fin.
    “Take another coffee, otherwise you will fall asleep before the end.”
  • Je ne bois pas de vin, sinon je rentre à pied.
    “I don’t drink wine, otherwise, I’m walking back home.”

Get a good boost of energy with our vocabulary list on Coffee. It has plenty of phrases and recordings to practice your pronunciation!

Desk Covered in Empty Coffee Cups

Un dernier pour la route ! (“One for the road!”)


4. Useful French Conjunctions for Expressing Causality

“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Just like conjunctions tie words together, causality is what ties the world together: actions causing reactions, and causes having consequences, in an endless domino effect.

But before we collapse under the weight of these philosophical considerations, let’s keep it light and talk about our lame excuses for not doing sports!

car (because) [Formal]

  • Je ne peux pas courir car j’ai mal aux pieds.
    “I cannot run because my feet hurt.”

parce que (because) [Less formal than car]

  • Je ne vais pas à la gym parce qu’il fait trop chaud.
    “I’m not going to the gym because it’s too hot.”

puisque (since; as)

  • Puisque c’est un jour férié, le stade est sûrement fermé.
    “Since it’s a holiday, the stadium is probably closed.”

comme (as; since)

  • Comme je suis fatigué, je suis resté à la maison.
    “As I’m feeling tired, I have stayed home.”

quand (when)

  • Quand j’ai trop mangé, je ne peux faire de l’escalade.
    “When I have overeaten, I cannot go climbing.”

lorsque (when)

  • Lorsqu’il pleut, je ne vais pas m’entraîner.
    “When it is raining, I’m not going to training.”

Wooden Dominoes

Une réaction en chaîne (“A chain reaction”)

donc (so; therefore)

  • J’avais mal aux pieds, donc je suis resté chez moi.
    “My feet were hurting, so I stayed home.”

alors (so; therefore)

  • Il pleuvait, alors j’ai eu la flemme.
    “It was raining, so I got lazy.”

du coup (so; therefore)

  • J’étais épuisé, du coup j’ai fait la sieste.
    “I was exhausted, so I took a nap.”

Keep in mind that you’ll usually have to choose whether you use a conjunction for the cause or the consequence, not both.

For example—back to philosophy—in the famous quote from René Descartes (or Gomez Pereira, depending on who you ask): Je pense, donc je suis. (I think, therefore I am.) You wouldn’t say “Because I think, therefore I am.” The same goes for French.

In this sentence, you have two possible slots for a conjunction: 1 je pense, 2 je suis.
And you can fill soit 1, soit 2 (either 1 or 2).

Therefore, you could rephrase this famous quote like this:

  • Puisque je pense, je suis.
    “Because I think, I am.”
  • Comme je pense, je suis.
    “As I think, I am.”
  • Parce que je pense, je suis.
    “Since I think, I am.”

Or like this:

  • Je pense, alors je suis.
    “I think, then I am.”
  • Je pense, du coup je suis.
    “I think, so I am.”

If Descartes could read that last one, he would be spinning in his grave.

Or even put it upside down:

  • Je suis car je pense.
    “I am because I think.”
  • Je suis parce que je pense.
    “I am because I think.”

Computer Chip

A.I.s think. Therefore, are they?


5. Objection, Your Honor!

Next stop: how to use French conjunctions to attach two conflicting ideas by expressing an opposition or objection.

mais (but)

  • J’ai un faible pour Leah mais elle est fiancée.
    “I have a thing for Leah but she’s engaged.”
  • Il travaille lentement mais sûrement.
    “He’s working slowly but steadily.”

The next two words, cependant and or, are best used in professional and formal speech or you may sound too stiff. I, for one, never use them in conversations, but only for formal writing.

cependant (however) [Formal]

  • Je voudrais cependant lui parler.
    “However, I would like to talk to her.”

or (now; but; however) [Formal]

This one can be used in two distinct ways:

1- or can introduce new information that will change the situation and have consequences, whether they are directly mentioned or not.

For instance:

  • Elle partit seule dans les bois. Or, le loup y rôdait.
    “She went alone through the woods. However, the wolf was lurking around.”

This new information about the wolf is important for what comes next in the story.

2- or can also introduce a new piece of information into reasoning and allow a conclusion to be drawn.

For example:

  • La victime a été étranglée. Or, notre principal suspect est manchot. Donc, il ne peut pas être l’assassin.
    “The victim was strangled. However, our prime suspect is a one-handed man. Therefore, he cannot be the killer.”

Objection ! (“Objection!”)


6. What is Your Purpose?

pour (for; to; so that)

  • Je m’entraîne pour devenir plus fort.
    “I train to grow stronger.”
  • C’est bon pour ta santé.
    “It is good for your health.”
  • Un pour toi et un pour moi.
    “One for you and one for me.”
  • Parle plus fort pour que je t’entende.
    “Speak louder so that I can hear you.”

par (by; out of; with; using)

  • Je te prends par la main.
    “I take you by the hand.”
  • Les fruits sont mangés par des vers.
    “The fruits are eaten by worms.”
  • Il a fait un choix par colère.
    “He made a choice out of anger.”
  • La réunion commence par un discours.
    “The meeting starts with a speech.”


7. Conjunctive What Now?

We’re almost done with our French conjunctions list, but before we can wrap it up, I need to tell you about “that.” Indeed, the French conjunction que (that) is so ubiquitous that I can’t stress enough how useful and important it is!

First, let’s have a look at its raw form, and then you’ll see how it combines with nearly half of the words from the French dictionary to create as many expressions. It’s quite similar to how phrasal verbs operate in English, but much simpler.

que (that)

  • Tu penses qu’il va pleuvoir?
    “Do you think that it will rain?”
  • Je sais que tu es là.
    “I know that you are here.”

/!\ In English, you could omit “that” and say “Do you think it will rain?” or “I know you are here.” However, in French, you can never leave it out. The sentences above without que would not be grammatically correct.

You’ll also use que to compare two things. For example:

  • Je bois plus de bière que d’eau.
    “I drink more beer than water.”
  • La bière n’est pas aussi chère que le vin.
    “Beer is not as expensive as wine.”

If you’re doubling up on conditions, you have to use que before the second condition:

  • Comme je suis fatigué et que j’ai mal aux pieds, je ne vais pas à la gym ce soir.
    “Since I’m tired and my feet hurt, I’m not going to the gym tonight.”

And if you’re not convinced yet, here’s a short list of the most common expressions including que. I can’t list them all here, but believe me, there are many.

Let’s talk about love, for a change!

Book with Pages Making a Heart

Give some love to your French grammar book!

French conjunctions chart about love:

Dès que “As soon as” Dès que je t’ai rencontrée, je suis tombé amoureux.
“As soon as I met you, I fell in love.”
Depuis que “Since” Depuis que je te connais, je ne suis plus le même.
“Since I’ve known you, I’m not the same man.”
Jusqu’à ce que “Until” Jusqu’à ce que la mort nous sépare.
“Until death do us part.”
Afin que “So that” Elle travaille dur afin qu’il ne manque de rien.
“She works hard so that he doesn’t lack anything.”
Pour que “So that” Je ferais tout pour que tu m’aimes.
“I would do anything so that you love me.”
Vu que “Seeing that”
“Since”
“As”
Vu qu’ils vivent ensemble, ils sont devenus très proches.
“As they live together, they have grown very close.”
Tant que “As long as”
“So much as”
Je t’aimerai tant que je vivrai.
“I will love you as long as I live.”
Alors que “While”
“Whereas”
Je ne trouve pas le sommeil alors que je suis épuisé.
“Whereas I’m exhausted, I cannot sleep.”
A moins que “Unless” Quitte-la, à moins que tu l’aimes toujours.
“Leave her, unless you still love her.”
Bien que “Although” Il m’a brisé le coeur, bien que ce ne soit pas la première fois.
“He broke my heart, although this is not the first time.”

           Warm the romantic cockles of your heart with our free vocabulary list on Love! You’ll find many great quotes in French with audio recordings.


8. How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about French conjunctions, from how to list things to causality, conditions, and objection. You should have a much better idea now of French conjunctions and their meanings, as well as how to use a conjunction in French.

Did I forget any important linking words that you know? Do you feel ready to give more meaning to your words and bond with your French friends?

A good French conjunctions practice is to make phrases of your own, using each of them. Don’t hesitate to warm up with easy sentences and gradually add more complexity:

  • Lorsque (when)
  • Lorsque je te vois (when I see you)
  • Lorsque je te vois, mon coeur s’emballe. (When I see you, my heart is racing.)

If you take it easy and go at your own pace, you’ll get used to conjunctions and it will open a whole new world of meaningful sentences.

FrenchPod101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and free resources to boost your studies and keep your French learning fresh and entertaining!

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. You can practice conjunctions, and more, with your private teacher, using assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples to help improve your pronunciation. Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

French Etiquette: 7 Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting France

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When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But what is it they do, now that eating in horizontal position while watching gladiators fight has gone out of style? I must confess I don’t know, just as you may not know what the French are doing in France. Now you may be wondering, “So, what is French etiquette?” Luckily, I can help with that!

French etiquette and table manners aren’t things you can improvise. Dining etiquette, for instance, varies wildly from one country to the next, and French dining etiquette rules have the reputation of being quite rigorous.

To be fair, there are some misconceptions and many exaggerations out there about the importance of social etiquette in France. If you believe everything you read, you probably think we’re still wearing wigs and tights, and that you could go to prison for placing your fork on the wrong side of the plate.

The truth is: It all depends on what you’re doing in France and who you socialize with. French rules of etiquette are obviously not the same in the Kebab joint on the corner of the street as those at the fancy Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée where you can’t enter without a suit and a tie.

In this guide, we’ll simply cover the daily interactions of someone visiting or living in the country: Basic French etiquette. From French restaurant etiquette, to French etiquette rules for public transport, French business etiquette tips, or how to act in the shops. Stick with me and you’ll learn how to behave like a French gentleman with proper French etiquette in no time!

Table of Contents

  1. Around the Table: Etiquette in French Dining
  2. French Etiquette and Manners in Public Places
  3. French Greetings and Etiquette: Greeting People
  4. French Etiquette Tips When Visiting People
  5. French Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts for Public Transports
  6. Proper French Etiquette in a Shop
  7. French Etiquette in Business: Conducting Business
  8. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

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1. Around the Table: Etiquette in French Dining

Thanks

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to see the French dining étiquette making it first on the list. We do indeed have a lot of table rules: some of them are carefully taught by our parents, others are unspoken and wrongfully considered obvious.

But this isn’t especially a French obsession. Displaying good manners around the table matters all around the world, and France is by no means an exception.

I won’t waste your time on the countless French table etiquette rules that—as subjective as they are—are more about common sense than local customs, such as:

  • Don’t forget to compliment your host on their cooking skills, and if the food is gross, don’t be too vocal about it.
  • Don’t splash sauce all over yourself or the tablecloth.
  • You should refrain from stealing the silverware or sticking your fork in anybody’s eye.

Now that this is out of the way, let’s jump right into our Do’s and Don’ts around the French table!

  • Don’t
    Don’t start eating or drinking before everyone is served.

As trivial as it may sound (even to me, although I was raised by these standards), this one is a big deal!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a burger joint or a many-stars restaurant, with friends, family, or business associates. It’s considered polite to wait until everyone is served before you start eating.

At home, you can speed up the process by serving the people around you. At the restaurant, you should wait until everyone gets their plate before you jump on yours. In a bar, you should wait until everybody’s facing a pint before raising your glass for a toast or a sip.

  • Don’t
    Don’t eat with your mouth open, slurp, or produce lots of noise.

It may sound obvious to many Western cultures, but don’t take it for granted. In Japan, for instance, a country considered to have strict etiquette rules, it’s polite to slurp loudly on your Rāmen (noodle soup) to show that you’re having a good time. However, any other mouth noise is frowned upon. Confusing, right?

In France, when it comes to French etiquette at the table, you should simply refrain from producing any slurping, chewing, gargling, or burping sounds at the table, or really, in any public place.

  • Do
    You should be prepared for a lengthy meal.

French dining is no joke. This is especially true for holidays and special occasions, such as Christmas dinner or birthday parties. But many casual meals with friends or a simple lunch with coworkers can easily escalate to a never-ending food-fest and drag on until the middle of the afternoon.

French meals are slow to start and even slower to finish. Before you get to the starters, you may rinse your throat with the apéritif (appetizer): often a glass of wine or liquor, such as Pastis or Ricard, with some kind of snack (peanuts, smoked ham, olives, you name it). And before you’re excused from the table, there will be a LOT of talking.

Unless you’re with close friends on a casual event, it’s usually considered rude to leave the table before the meal ends. Of course, if you have a reasonable excuse to do so, nobody will throw rocks at you, but it’s generally better not to be in a rush.

Friends Giving a Toast

Santé ! (“Cheers!”)

One more thing before we move on. If you’ve read any other guide about French dining etiquette, you must be wondering: But what about touching the cheese with my fingers, keeping my hands on the table, serving women first, or wiping the sauce with bread?

Well… Many authors seem to be living in the 19th century and will shower you with strict instructions that only apply to high-end restaurants or a presidential dinner in Versailles. They fail to mention that most of these rules are way too uptight for a meal with friends or even a business lunch.

However, if you’re interested in learning more about the subtleties of French dining etiquette, there’s a great number of books to pick from!


2. French Etiquette and Manners in Public Places

Hygiene

A lot of your time in France is likely to be spent in public places of all sorts: avenues, parks, squares, and halls. Let’s see how to behave without attracting unwanted attention or angry stares.

  • Don’t
    Don’t sniffle your snot repeatedly, just blow your nose.

/!\ If you get grossed out just reading about snot, I suggest that you just skip to the next section.

Whether it’s healthier to blow your nose in a tissue or to sniff hard and spit it out is still debated, and just like everything related to body fluids and germs, it’s really important to get it right when traveling abroad.

In many countries, blowing your nose is considered rude and disgusting, and there’s usually nothing wrong with sniffling as much as it takes to keep it inside.

In France, however, you’ll find that many people get irritated if you continue to sniffle your snot when you have a runny nose. And I can relate. The sound just gets on my nerves and makes me want to scream “Just blow your freaking nose already!”

However, this doesn’t mean that you should blow your nose right at the dinner table. That would be bad etiquette.

Wiping your nose with a tissue is fine, but if you need more relief, just excuse yourself for a moment and find a private corner or move a few steps away and blow it quietly. Your friends will usually prefer one short blow to a sniffling concerto.

Woman Blowing Her Nose

Elle se mouche. (“She’s blowing her nose.”)

  • Do
    You should be quiet and keep your voice down.

This is a good example of French etiquette and customs I had always taken for granted until I visited South America. Until then, I had only been in countries where it’s considered polite to speak quietly and refrain from yelling, shouting, or laughing out loud.

You can imagine the cultural shock of coming to a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to loudly express your emotions and where the noise level in the street is often much higher than in my home country. Just as it’s shocking to the French if you break this rule in their streets by being too loud.

It’s good French manners and etiquette to keep your voice down, not to a whisper, but to what we consider a reasonable level. Look around you when you’re outside, follow your friends’ lead, and you’ll get it right.

  • Do
    You can kiss and hug in public (within reason!).

The French are known for being very relaxed about public displays of affection. It’s common to see people kiss, hold hands, hug, or cuddle in the street or on the bus, and nobody will mind if you get tender with your lover in a public place. That makes it easy to practice your French kiss skills!

Be careful, however: This only applies to kissing, hugging, and innocent stroking. If it gets more physical or erotic, or if there’s any nudity involved, it won’t be considered acceptable anymore (and possibly not legal, either).

Public displays of affection for same-sex couples is still a work in progress. Although the country is reasonably progressive in LGBT rights, two men or women kissing in public could still raise some eyebrows from the older or more conservative fringe of the population, especially outside of big cities.

Couple in the Shower

Think Green, turn off the shower!


3. French Greetings and Etiquette: Greeting People

When it comes to French etiquette, greetings in France can be a confusing or stressful experience if you’re not prepared for our typical air-kissing technique: La bise. I have covered it extensively in another article on How to Say Hi. Check it out to learn the ins and outs of this oh-so-French custom.

  • Do
    You should greet everyone when you join a group.

When you join a group of French, it’s considered good French social etiquette to say “Hello” to everyone, and introduce yourself (simply stating your name is often enough), to whomever you haven’t met before.

At a business meeting, shake hands with everyone present when arriving and leaving. The French handshake is brief—one up and down movement—with a firm grip and eye-contact.

With friends and acquaintances, a handshake is the most popular greeting among men, and kissing on the cheek is common between women or between men and women.

  • Don’t
    Don’t overuse the formal Monsieur and Madame.

You’ve probably read somewhere that the proper way to greet someone is to use Bonjour (Hello) with either Monsieur (Sir) or Madame (Madam). This is true if you want to explicitly express respect toward the other person, but with friends or coworkers of the same rank, you could sound stiff or overly formal.

There’s generally nothing wrong with using Monsieur or Madame when addressing shops’ or restaurants’ staff, but I usually find it too solemn for my taste.

Mademoiselle (Miss) has an old-fashioned ring to it and has lost a lot of its appeal after it started being overused in cheap pickup lines. I believe if someone is young enough to be called Mademoiselle, you don’t need to be formal and use the title. And if you want to use it with galant intentions, you’ve been warned!


4. French Etiquette Tips When Visiting People

A person’s home is their castle, and when invited to your friend’s or colleague’s, it’s best to avoid missteps.

  • Do
    You should bring a small gift to your host.

When invited for dinner, it’s polite to thank your host with a gift of some sort. There’s no strict rule on what you should bring, but for formal occasions, flowers or a bottle of wine are safe bets. In more casual company, wine works just as well as any liquor or delicacy (chocolates, an interesting appetizer).

Among friends, it’s common in France to make the meal a collaborative experience: someone brings the starters, others are in charge of the main, dessert, wine, appetizer, or cheese. Coordination is crucial. Double-check what you should bring so you don’t end up with a triple ration of cheese but no wine.

Man Giving Woman Flowers

You don’t actually have to kneel when offering flowers to your host!

  • Don’t
    Don’t be late or leave them hanging.

Punctuality is highly appreciated in France, especially in business, but also among friends. When invited for dinner, it’s fine to show up slightly later than the set time. But in any other situation, you should do your best to be right on time.

If you’re running late or have to cancel, always inform your friends and don’t leave them hanging, waiting for you to show up. Even if you’re only one person among many, it’s polite to inform at least your host or the event organizer if you’re not going to make it on time, or at all.


5. French Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts for Public Transports

If you’re visiting France as a tourist, there’s a good chance you’ll spend some of your time in public transports. All the rules about behavior in public places apply, but here are a few other recommendations to make everything smoothly polite.

  • Do
    You should wait in line when buying tickets or boarding.

This one actually applies to any line of people waiting for something, whether you’re waiting for your train tickets, your lunch, or your baguette. Be respectful to people around you and wait in line for your turn.

If you’re in a serious rush, you could ask them politely if they mind you taking over, but you should accept their decision if they refuse.

When boarding your train or bus, don’t act like you’re in a barbaric mob - quietly wait in line by the doors. During rush hours, things could get messy, especially when the subway gets cramped, and some will try to take over so they don’t have to wait for the next train. But most of them will wait in a somewhat orderly line anyway.

  • Don’t
    Don’t listen to your music on speakers or have loud phone conversations.

Remember when I mentioned that you should stay quiet and avoid yelling or shouting? Let’s add some more transport-specific rules of savoir-vivre (good manners).

If you want a soundtrack to make your ride more entertaining, you should keep it to yourself by using headphones. Playing music on your phone’s speaker or giant boombox is considered tasteless and rude.

As for loud conversations, you’ll get a pass if you’re among friends, having a lively conversation. But when talking on the phone, you’re expected to keep your voice down as most people feel like they don’t need the details of your personal life.

People Sleeping on the Metro

Shhh…don’t wake them up.

  • Do
    You should give your seat to grandma.

On the city bus, tramway, or metro, where seats aren’t assigned, it’s polite and considerate to leave your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.

Most public transports have priority seats dedicated to them, but you should be ready to offer them any other seat, regardless of how it’s labeled. However, you’re free to use any priority seat as long as they’re not taken. When doing so, just be extra aware of your surroundings and be ready to offer it to someone in need.

    → Check out our vocabulary list on the Train or Bus Station to learn more vocabulary for your rides in public transports.


6. Proper French Etiquette in a Shop

Bad Phrases

  • Do
    You should greet the staff and treat them well.

To understand how to properly interact with staff from any shop, restaurant, or administration, you have to know that France doesn’t live by the British-American rule of “The customer is always right.” In France, the client is a guest in the shop, and it’s often more important to the clerk to be treated with respect than to make the sale.

It’s hard to stress how important it is to understand this shift of power when interacting with sellers or waiters, especially when coming from the U.S. or the U.K., where client-staff interactions are handled in a wildly different manner.

In a nutshell: Politely greet them, smile, and treat them well. I’m not saying that you should be obsequious or overly submissive. Just treat them like human beings and acknowledge that they deserve respect for providing a service.

  • Don’t
    Don’t bargain or discuss the prices.

This one is a no-brainer. Unless you’re buying fake Ray-Bans on a Sunday market, prices aren’t up for discussion and bargaining is just not a thing in France.

In most cases, prices are clearly displayed in shops to spare you the need to ask for them. And if you’re not happy with them, it’s more polite to walk away and compare your options than to start arguing with the employees.

Store Clerk Writing

Jean-Pierre looks like a nice guy but you don’t want to see him angry…


7. French Etiquette in Business: Conducting Business

Business

  • Don’t
    Don’t use aggressive selling techniques.

There are many countries where it’s fine to jump on your customer as they walk through the door, or start talking numbers as soon as you start a business lunch. However, when it comes to French etiquette, business is supposed to be handled with more tact, and the French don’t respond well to this kind of behavior.

We don’t like to make hasty and impulsive decisions, especially in business. Deals are rarely finalized in the first meeting, and high-pressure sales tactics are likely not to work at all. It may even provoke enough reluctance to just ruin your efforts.

  • Do
    You should embrace criticism and interruptions.

This rule of etiquette in French business might sound a little counterintuitive, but this is what makes it so important!

When presenting your ideas, either in a meeting or in a less formal setting, don’t get upset or frustrated if your colleagues interrupt you to ask questions or give some insight.

Constructive criticism is highly regarded in France, and you should be ready to openly discuss the merits and flaws of your ideas. This is how your coworkers show their interest.

Hectic Business Meeting

Just keep your cool, you’re on the same team!


8. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned the Do’s and Don’ts for a wide range of daily life situations, from French meal etiquette to manners in the office, the street, or the train. Get familiar with these social norms and you’ll become more confident, knowing that you’re behaving respectfully, without being afraid of rude mishaps.

Did I forget any important situations? Do you feel ready to amaze your friends with your impeccable savoir-vivre (good manners), using everything you’ve learned today?

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. Our vocabulary lists are also a great way to revisit the words and learn their pronunciation.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice your knowledge about French cultural norms with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with the pronunciation of important phrases.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

All about Dates: Days of the Week in French and More!

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Some dates grow on trees, others are arranged on Tinder, but today, we’re interested in the ones that live and thrive on the French calendar. If you’re planning to travel to or leave France, or if you have occasional interactions with French speakers, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually have to deal with calendar dates in French, including how to write days of the week in French.

This could happen if someone inquires about your anniversaire (birthday), if you have to fill out a formulaire (form), or make a rendez-vous (appointment). Dates go with your signature on most official documents, and knowing how to write them will also make the booking of your train tickets a much smoother experience.

Learning to write dates in French is simply an unavoidable aspect of learning the language, and it will make every aspect of your life much easier in the French-speaking world.

Today, we’re going to learn how to tell or write the date, from the mythological names and numbers of the days of the week, to the years and months in French. In the process, you’ll learn many common phrases about the dates, as well as the most popular questions and how to answer them.

By the end of the article, you’ll be perfectly date-proof and ready to answer any historical question from the French Jeopardy game! Without further ado, our guide on days, months, and dates in French, and every phrase you’ll need to know!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Tell the Date
  2. How to Say the Days of the Week
  3. How to Say the Months
  4. How to Say the Years
  5. Must-Know Phrases to Talk about Dates
  6. Celebrating Life and Wine in France!
  7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

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1. How to Tell the Date

Numbers

Once you know the words for the days and months, telling the date in French is nothing complicated. Especially for those starting from American English, there’s just a few differences when it comes to dates in French language. Here are the most significant rules for writing dates in French to keep in mind:

1- Dates in French Format: Day, Month, Year

How are dates written in French?

Unlike the Month, Day, Year trinity of American dates, French starts with the day, then the month, and then the year. We write all three in a row, without commas or any other separator.

For example, here are some examples of how to write dates in French:

  • 14 juillet 1789 [French Revolution’s Bastille Day]
  • 27 décembre 1975 [Queen releases Bohemian Rhapsody]

For now, don’t worry about the translation of the months or how to pronounce the years. We’ll cover all that in a moment!

2- To Le or not to Le

How to say dates in French depends on the formality of the occasion. In formal situations, giving dates in French can be done one of the following two ways:

  1. Nous sommes + day of the week + le + day’s number (#) + month + year.
  2. Nous sommes + le + # + month + year.

For instance, saying dates in French may look like this:

  1. Nous sommes Lundi le 25 mai 1977.
    “It’s Monday, May 25, 1977.”
  2. Nous sommes le 25 mai 1977.
    “It’s May 25, 1977.”

[Star Wars - A New Hope hits the theaters.]

In informal situations, expressing dates in French will look like this:

  1. C’est + day of the week + le + # + month + year.
  2. On est + day of the week + le + # + month + year.

For instance:

  1. C’est mardi le 21 décembre 2012.
    “We are Tuesday, December 21, 2012.”
  2. On est mardi le 21 décembre 2012.
    “We are Tuesday, December 21, 2012.”

[Mayan-based prophecy for the end of the world.]

Bowl of Dates

Datte (date fruit) not date (calendar date).

3- How to Abstract from the Date

There are many ways to go about talking about dates in French. Some involve the whole set of information, as we’ve seen above, including the name of the day, number, month, and year. Others involve only one or two components, and knowing those structures will literally save the day.

Here’s how to talk about the day:

  • On est lundi.
    “It is Monday.”
  • Je vais à la piscine le mardi.
    “I’m going to the pool on Tuesdays.”
  • Il va au marché tous les samedi.
    “He’s going to the market every Saturday.”
  • Nous sommes le 12.
    “It is the 12th.”

Now, about the month:

  • On est en janvier.
    “It is January.”
  • Le mois de juillet.
    “The month of July.”

And finally, the year:

  • On est en 2019.
    “It is 2019.”
  • En l’an 2012
    “In the year 2012.”

Or why not some combinations, using dates and years in French?

  • Nous sommes en mars 2015.
    “It is March 2015.”
  • J’ai un rendez-vous le 23 octobre.
    “I have an appointment on the 23rd of October.”

4- How to Write the Date

To write dates in French on formal documents or letters, we use the following structure:

  • Day of the week + le + # + month + year.

Example:

  • Lundi le 15 mai 2030.
    “Monday, May 15, 2030.”

You can also write the date in a condensed format. It’s very similar to English, but with a twist: Once again, the order is day / month / year.

It looks like this : DD/MM/YY

For instance:

  • 05/07/96 (July 5, 1996) [Dolly the sheep is cloned.]
  • 23/04/05 (April 23, 2005) [YouTube is officially launched.]

Calendar with a Date Circled

Un calendrier (a calendar)


2. How to Say the Days of the Week

Weekdays

When reading dates in French, you’ll have to know the names of the days of the week. Just like the months, French days don’t start with a capital letter.

lundi           Monday
mardi           Tuesday
mercredi           Wednesday
jeudi           Thursday
vendredi           Friday
samedi           Saturday
dimanche           Sunday

All these names come from Latin, and many from Roman mythology, and it’s not only good to know about it to impress your friends at a dinner party; it will also help you remember them!

  • Lundi (Monday) is the day of the Moon.

    Luna is the Latin word for “moon,” becoming lune in French, becoming lundi.

    In English, “Monday” is the Moon Day, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. It derives from Old English “Mōnandæg” and Middle English “Monenday,” based on Latin dies lunae which translates to “day of the Moon.”

  • Mardi (Tuesday) is the day of the God of War.

    While the Greek God of War, Ares, was being torn apart by a vengeful Kratos, his Roman counterpart, Martius (or Mars in French) was becoming mardi.

    In English, they use the Norse God of War, Tyr (or Tiw), later becoming Tiwesdaeg, and finally: “Tuesday.”

  • Mercredi (Wednesday) is the day of the Messenger God.

    From the Roman messenger God, Mercury (Mercure in French), it becomes mercredi.

    In English, it comes from the Norse God, Odin the chief God of Asgard (also called Woden or Wotan), later becoming Wodnesdaeg, and then “Wednesday.”

  • Jeudi (Thursday) is the day of the God of Thunder.

    From the Roman God-in-chief Jupiter (equivalent of the Greek Zeus), it became Jeudi.

    In English, the Norse God of Thunder was Thor (long before he joined the Avengers). It became Thorsdaeg and “Thursday.”

  • Vendredi (Friday) is the day of Beauty.

    From the Roman Goddess of Beauty, Venus, it became vendredi.

    In English, the Norse Goddess of Marriage and the Hearth, Frigga (wife of Odin), later became Frigedaeg and then “Friday.”

  • Samedi (Saturday) is the day of Time.

    Both French and English words come from the Roman God of Time and Harvest, Saturn. While the English “Saturday” didn’t stray too far from its godly origins, the French version went a bit wild and evolved into samedi.

  • Dimanche (Sunday) is the day of the Lord.

    Not as sunny as the English word, but wrapped in a shroud of mystical mystery, the French dimanche comes from the Latin Dies Dominicus, which means the “Day of the Lord.”

A Minotaur and Soldiers

La mythologie (Mythology)

          → To learn how to pronounce the names of the days, make sure to check out our free vocabulary list on Talking about the Days on FrenchPod101.

          → For the numbers of the days, stop by our vocabulary list on numbers with audio recordings.


3. How to Say the Months

Months

Unlike in English, French months don’t start with a capital letter. You’ll also certainly be happy to know that they’re way easier to handle than our exceptions-riddled years. Let’s jump right in:

janvier           January
février           February
mars           March
avril           April
mai           May
juin           June
juillet           July
août           August
septembre           September
octobre           October
novembre           November
décembre           December

Here are a few sentences using the names of the months:

  • On est en juillet.
    “It’s July.”
  • L’année prochaine, il va neiger en janvier.
    “Next year, it will snow in January.”
  • L’été commence fin juin et se termine fin septembre.
    “Summer starts at the end of June and ends at the end of September.”
  • On habite ensemble depuis mai 2012.
    “We’ve been living together since May 2012.”

          → Go the extra mile with FrenchPod101 and learn how to pronounce the French months with our vocabulary list on Talking about Months.


4. How to Say the Years

If you want to talk about the years and historical dates of all kinds, you’ll have to learn the numbers. There’s no way around it. Luckily, we have a comprehensive article about French Numbers that will teach you how to count from one to infinity!

Sure, you could just learn some key dates, such as the current one or the year of your birthday, but they’ll be much easier to remember once you know how the numbers work.

1- How to Pronounce the Years

Years are usually pronounced like any other big number, as follows:

2019           Deux-mille-dix-neuf

But then, there’s a special case for all the years from 1100 to 1999.

These dates can be pronounced in two ways, depending on whether you’re counting the thousands or the hundreds.

Here’s an example with the year 1910:

  • The “thousands” way: Mille-neuf-cent-dix.
    This literally means “one-thousand” (mille) “nine-hundred” (neuf-cent) “ten” (dix).
  • The “hundreds” way: Dix-neuf-cent-dix.
    This one literally means “nineteen hundred ten.” Instead of counting one-thousand and then nine-hundred, you’re counting “nineteen-hundred.”

Both forms are correct and equally accepted, but you should use the “hundreds” way only in oral communication. You always write years the “thousands” way. If you want to be safe, I recommend to always use the “thousands way,” but it’s good to know that some weird people count differently.

More examples of these two ways:

Date           Thousands way           Hundreds way
1408           Mille-quatre-cent-huit           Quatorze-cent-huit
1760           Mille-sept-cent-soixante           Dix-sept-cent-soixante
1911           Mille-neuf-cent-onze           Dix-neuf-cent-onze

Couple Drinking Wine

N’oublie pas la date de ton rencard. (Don’t forget the date of your date.)

2- Année or An?

There are two ways to say “year” in French: Un an and Une année.

There’s no strict rule about whether you should use one or the other, but in most cases:

  1. An is used with a specific number of years.

    Examples:

    • J’ai vingt-deux ans.
      “I am 22 years old.”
    • Il y a trois ans.
      “Three years ago.”
    • Dans dix ans.
      “In ten years.”
  2. Année is used without numbers in many different expressions.

    Examples:

    • L’année prochaine
      “Next year”
    • Toute l’année
      “All year”
    • Cela fait des années.
      “It has been years.”
    • Les années 60
      “The sixties”


5. Must-Know Phrases to Talk about Dates

We’ve seen how to assemble a French date from the day, the month, and the year. Now, it’s time to get more practical with some of the most important phrases and expressions about dates, as well as the common questions and answers.

1- Le Premier

In English, all days are said using ordinal numbers, from 1st to 31st. This isn’t always the case, but for both Americans and the British, it’s the most common way to tell the date.
In French, all days use regular numbers, except for the first day of the month.

  • Le premier mai
    “The first of May”
  • Le deux mai
    “The second of May”
  • Le trente-et-un mai
    “The thirty-first of May”

2- What Day is it Today?

If you’re a time traveler or you just got out of a Game of Thrones marathon and lost track of the days, this is likely to be your first question.

Just keep in mind that asking for the date in a foreign language is as tricky as asking for directions. You’ll find it easy to ask, but not to understand the answer. So, carefully learn your months, get fluent with French numbers, and you’ll do just fine!

[Formal]

  1. Quelle est la date aujourd’hui ?
    “What is the date today?”
  2. Quel jour sommes-nous (aujourd’hui) ?
    “What day is it today?”

[Casual]

  1. C’est quoi la date aujourd’hui ?
    “What is the date today?”
  2. On est quel jour (aujourd’hui) ?
    “What day is it today?”

Note that in form 1, the word aujourd’hui (today) is important. In most situations, the other person will get from the context that you’re asking about today, but there are some cases where you could be asking for Nicolas Cage’s birthday or about the next Hanson live concert.

In form 2, the word aujourd’hui is implied and could be omitted without creating any confusion. This is because the literal translation of this form really is: “What day are we?”

Common answers are:

[Formal]

  • Nous sommes le 15 septembre.
    “Today is the 15th of September.”

[Casual]

  • On est le 15 septembre.
    “Today is the 15th of September.”

A Different Calendar Flipping Pages

You can also ask for more specific information, such as the day’s number or the year. Here’s how to do so:

[Formal]

  • Le combien sommes-nous aujourd’hui ?
    “What day is it today?”
  • En quelle année sommes-nous ?
    “What year is it now?”

[Casual]

  • On est le combien aujourd’hui ?
    “What is the date today?”
  • On est en quelle année ?
    “What year is it now?”

Be careful with question two. Don’t use it until you’re ready to tell your friends about your years of hardcore gaming in a bunker or your decade of solitary confinement in a Siberian prison.

3- Le Prochain

To talk about the next whatever, you can use the word prochain (next). It could be the next week, month, weekend, year, decade, or century. Here’s how:

  • La semaine prochaine
    “Next week”
  • Le mois prochain
    “Next month”
  • L’année prochaine / L’an prochain
    “Next year”

To talk about the next days, you’ll more likely use demain (tomorrow) or après-demain (the day after tomorrow, or literally: “after-tomorrow” when translated).


6. Celebrating Life and Wine in France!

How could I write about the dates without mentioning all of our yearly events and celebrations?

We have a fairly long list of holidays in France. Some are of religious origin, but lost most of their spiritual varnish and are now celebrated by everyone. Many of them have become an excuse for indulging in delicious food (nothing wrong with that!) or blind consumerism (I’m looking at you, Christmas). But celebrations such as la chandeleur (Candlemas) and its delicious Crêpes, or l’épiphanie (Epiphany), should absolutely not be missed.

If you want to learn more about the main events of the French calendar, be sure to check out our excellent article about the Must-Know French Holidays and Events in 2019.

And for some lesser-known celebrations that will leave you happy and tipsy, stick with me for a while as we take off for the wine-growing regions of France!

1- Les Vendanges

The vendange (grape harvest) is the process of harvesting grapes for the production of wine (the word doesn’t apply to the table grape). The same word is used for the grape that’s harvested during this process.

L’époque des vendanges (or “The grape harvest season” in English) depends on the region, the weather conditions, and everything affecting the maturity of the grape. However, the vendanges traditionally takes place between the months of September and October (one month earlier than fifty years ago, courtesy of global warming).

  • Entre septembre et octobre
    “Between September and October”

The grape can be harvested by hand or with machines. The former is the traditional method that is still used for high-quality vintage or sparkling wine, as both require a rigorous selection of grapes. It’s also used when the terrain doesn’t allow a mechanical harvest.

The latter is much faster and cheaper, but skips the selection process, mixing grapes of various levels of maturity and resulting in the final product being of lower quality.

A Vineyard

Le vignoble (The vineyard)

Every year, during les vendanges, wine-growers from all the wine regions of France hire thousands of short-term workers to help them with the manual harvest in a warm and cheerful atmosphere. It involves working eight hours a day, garden shears in hand, which is equally rewarding and exhausting, but definitely a cool way to jump on the winemaking train!

Contracts range from eight to fifteen days, and usually, no previous experience is required. However, it takes a good level of fitness, because the job is as physical as it gets.

Check out the official website of our national job agency: Pole-emploi. Or if you’re targeting a specific area, head to the regional page of your choosing, such as Auvergne, Rhones-Alpes or Grand-est.

2- Le Beaujolais Nouveau

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, the Beaujolais nouveau (new Beaujolais) makes a big entrance. For the next few days, the French will be drinking this ruby red fruity wine with a solemn enthusiasm.

  • Le troisième jeudi de novembre
    “The third Thursday of November”

The Beaujolais nouveau, or Beaujolais primeur, is produced in the vignoble du Beaujolais (Beaujolais vineyard) and can be sold right after the end of the vinification process. Thus, each year, restaurants and bars traditionally advertise the arrival of the new vintage of the beloved Beaujolais.

A Sign Written in French

The new Beaujolais has arrived!

The official “launch” of the wine takes place in the town of Beaujeu, historical capital of Beaujolais, during the traditional celebrations of the Sarmentelles. There, after a procession of wheelbarrows filled with vine branches is ceremoniously set on fire, the first barrels of Beaujolais are pierced at midnight, and the rest is history.

3- Wine Festivals

The Beaujolais is just one among many wine festivals throughout France. Another famous event is the Grand Tasting or Festival des grands vins (Superior Wines Festival) which takes place each year in the Louvre, where the most prestigious winemakers put on a show.

Check out The Wine Agenda from the LRVF website for more information on the numerous events and celebrations for wine-lovers in France!

Wine and Grapes on Top of a Barrel

Festival du vin (Wine festival)


7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about dates, from the days, to the years and months. You’ve also learned some practical sentences for asking about the date and giving it. Do you feel ready to talk about dates and deal with big-number years? Practice dates in French by dropping us a comment with today’s date.

A good way to practice using the dates is to go step-by-step. Start with the days:

  • On est le 18.
    “Today is the 18th.”
  • On est mercredi 18.
    “Today is Wednesday, the 18th.”

Most of the time, this is the expected answer when someone asks you about the date.

Then, when you’re feeling comfortable with the days, try adding the month, and finally, the year:

  • On est le 18 décembre.
    “Today is the 18th of December.”
  • On est le 18 décembre 2019.
    “Today is the 18th of December, 2019.”

It’s all about taking it easy and going at your own pace until you become fluent with dates.

FrenchPod101 also has tons of free vocabulary lists with audio recordings, and more free resources to boost your studies and keep your French-learning fresh and entertaining!

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. You can have your private teacher help you practice with dates, and much more! This service includes assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples for you (as well as a tutor to review your own recordings to help improve your pronunciation).

Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

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French Family Guide: Talking About Your Family in French

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Your romance with a lovely French local has gained momentum and the time has come for one of the most terrifying milestones of ‘serious’ relationships: meeting your mother-in-law. Whether she’s a gatekeeper mom or just genuinely interested in her daughter’s “one and only,” chances are, you’ll be asked a lot of questions that will make you say: “Damn, how do I say mother in French? Or father or family in French?”

When meeting your parents-in-law, or any random person before a work meeting or over a beer, the trick is to find some common ground and get the other person to talk about something they can relate to. Hence, before you get to know a person and learn about your common interests, talking about their family or yours is a highly effective icebreaker.

Besides, have you ever noticed how often our relatives randomly pop into seemingly unrelated conversations? “My wife this,” “My mother that,” “My brother has the same thing,” and “My cousin has done that too!” As soon as you get comfortable with the vocabulary and the basic structures, it will unveil a whole lot of conversation opportunities and a wealth of follow-up questions to keep it going!

Learn how to describe family in French with FrenchPod101’s guide to family in French for beginners, and never lack the proper word again!

Table of Contents

  1. French Family Vocabulary: Complete Family Word List
  2. Beyond the Blood
  3. How to Talk About Family
  4. The French Family is Changing Rapidly
  5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French Vocabulary

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in French


1. French Family Vocabulary: Complete Family Word List

Before we get to talk about our family or inquire about somebody else’s, we’re gonna need some serious vocabulary! But don’t worry about the size of the list, just pick and remember whichever ones apply to your situation and the ones you’re typically going to ask about (siblings, kids?). You’ll learn the rest in due time as you continue talking about family in basic French.

1- The Inner Circle

Here are the most basic family members in French, the ones you’ll likely talk the most about.

La famille “The family”
Un parent “A relative”
Mes parents
Mes vieux
“My parents”
“My folks” [Slang. Literally: “My old-ones”]
La mère
Ma maman
“The mother”
“My mom”
Le père
Mon papa
“The father”
“My dad”

/!\ Do not confuse mon parent, meaning “my relative,” and mes parents meaning “my parents.

Un parent meaning “a relative,” and des parents meaning “relatives,” both refer to relatives of any kind, while mes parents (possessive plural) means: “my parents” (in the sense of: mother and father).

Examples:

  • Je vais voir mes parents.
    “I’m going to see my parents.”
  • J’ai des parents dans la région.
    “I have relatives in the region.”
  • Comment vont ses parents ?
    “How are his parents doing?”
  • Tu vis chez tes parents ?
    “Are you living with your parents?”
  • Tu vis chez des parents ?
    “Are you living with relatives?”

Father and Son Skipping Stones

Tel père, tel fils. (Like father, like son)

Les frères et soeurs “The siblings”
La soeur
Une grande-soeur
Une petite soeur
Ma soeur aînée
“The sister”
“An older sister / A big sister”
“A younger sister / A little sister”
“My elder sister”
Le frère
Un grand-frère
Un petit frère
Mon frère cadet
“The brother”
“An older brother / A big brother”
“A younger brother / A little brother”
“My youngest brother”

As you can see, there’s no specific word for “siblings” and we simply use “brothers and sisters.” For example, you could ask someone:

  • Tu as des frères et soeurs ?
    “Do you have siblings?”
Les enfants
Mes gosses
“The children”
“My kids”
Ma fille “My daughter”
Mon fils “My son”

/!\ Be careful with the slang word gosses or “kids.”

In France, it’s very common and not overly familiar to use. However, in Canadian French, it has a completely different meaning and is vulgar slang for “testicles.” You can imagine how confusing these meanings could lead to some awkward misunderstandings.

2- French Extended Families

Extended family in French culture is important, so here are some words to help you start conversations about your loved ones outside your inner circle.

La marraine “The godmother”
Le parrain “The godfather”

I’m talking about the one sending money on your birthday, not Marlon Brando.

Les grand-parents “The grandparents”
La grand-mère
Ma mamie
Ma grand-maman
Mémé
“The grandmother”
“My granny”
“My grandma”
“Granny”
Le grand-père
Mon papy
Mon grand-papa
Pépé
“The grandfather”
“My grandpa”
“My granddad”
“Gramps”
Les arrière-grand-parents “The great-grandparents”
(Literally: “The back-grandparents” when translated.)
L’arrière-grand-mère
Mon arrière-grand-maman
“The great-grandmother”
“My great-grandma”
L’arrière-grand-père
Mon arrière-grand-papa
“The great-grandfather”
“My great-granddad”
Les petits-enfants “The grandchildren”
(Literally: “The little children” when translated.)
La petite-fille “The granddaughter”
Le petit-fils “The grandson”
Les arrière-petits-enfants “The great-grandchildren”
L’arrière-petite-fille “The great-granddaughter”
L’arrière-petit-fils “The great-grandson”
La tante
Ma tata / tatie / tantine
“The aunt”
“My aunt” (childish version)
L’oncle
Mon tonton
“The uncle”
“My uncle” (childish version)
La cousine “The cousin” (female)
Le cousin “The cousin” (male)

Make sure to visit our vocabulary list about Family Members, with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation. It’s available for free on FrenchPod101.

Family Celebrating Around A Table

Famille nombreuse, famille heureuse. (Big Happy Family)


2. Beyond the Blood

Families extend beyond the people you share a blood relationship with. Let’s dive into the various types of these unrelated relatives.

1- Couples

Whether you’re in a relationship, engaged, married, single, divorced, separated, widowed, in a civil union, or in the type of situation Facebook describes as c’est compliqué (it’s complicated), talking about your marital status will often be useful.

Ma petite amie
Ma copine
“My girlfriend” (Literally: “My little friend” when translated.)
Mon petit ami
Mon copain
“My boyfriend”
Mon ex “My ex-boyfriend / girlfriend”
Ma femme
Mon épouse
“My wife”
Mon mari
Mon époux
“My husband”
Ma fiancée “My fiancée”
Mon fiancé “My fiance”
Ma compagne
Ma partenaire
Ma concubine
“My companion”
“My partner”
“My concubine”
Mon compagnon
Mon partenaire
Mon concubin
“My companion”
“My partner”
“My concubine”
Mon ex-femme
Mon ex-épouse
“My ex-wife”
Mon ex-mari
Mon ex-époux
“My ex-husband”
Ma maîtresse “My mistress”
Mon amant “My lover”

2- In-laws

Once you get married, you strap yourself to a whole bunch of “in-laws” that, with a bit of luck and a lot of work, might become as close as your own relatives.

Les beaux-parents “The parents-in-law”
La belle-mère “The mother-in-law”
Le beau-père “The father-in-law”
La belle-soeur “The sister-in-law”
Le beau-frère “The brother-in-law”
La belle-fille “The daughter-in-law”
Le beau-fils “The son-in-law”

Don’t you think that “beautiful mother” (belle-mère) or “handsome father” (beau-père) have a nicer ring to them than the legalish “mother-in-law” or “father-in-law?” As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like it helps to counter the negative association that many people have with the idea of having parents-in-law.

Man Kissing His Mother-In-Law on the Cheek

Meeting your “beautiful mother” (Belle-mère - Mother-in-law)

3- Recomposed Family

Blended or reconstituted families (when the parents have children from previous relationships, but all the members come together under one roof) are increasingly common in France, and are slowly becoming the new normal. They bring unexpected stepfathers, stepbrothers, and usually a lot of complications to work through everyone’s differences. But it can also make broken families whole again and take a turn for the better.

La belle-mère “The stepmother”
Le beau-père “The stepfather”
La belle-fille “The stepdaughter”
Le beau-fils “The stepson”
La demi-soeur “The stepsister”
Le demi-frère “The stepbrother”
La demi-soeur “The half-sister”
Le demi-frère “The half-brother”

/!\ Hold on! There’s something confusing here: does belle-mère stand for “mother-in-law” or “stepmother?” Both!

As inconvenient as it sounds, French uses the same set of words for parents-in-law and step-parents. But it’s not a problem, because it’s usually obvious from the context, right? Not always, and quite often, you’ll have to clarify who you’re talking about when referring to your “steps” or “in-laws.”

/!\ Wait…what about la demi-soeur? Is it the “stepsister” or the “half-sister?” Both!

Demi literally means “half” and demi-soeur perfectly translates to “half-sister.” But then, we don’t have words for the step brothers & sisters, and it’s common to use demi-frère and demi-soeur, to make up for the lack of better words.

I personally use zéro-demi (or “zero-half” in English) to emphasize the difference, but there’s nothing official about it, and you won’t find it outside of this article!


3. How to Talk About Family

French Parents

Now that we have a strong arsenal of new words at our disposal, let’s see how you can use them in a conversation. First, we’ll see how to talk about your marital status, then how to mention them in various ways, and finally how to ask questions and learn more about your friends’ families.

1- Your Marital Status

You could be asked about your marital status by friends or colleagues, for paperwork by any administrative office, or by a potential romantic interest on a date. Either way, no time to get it mixed-up!

Start with:

Je suis _______.
“I am _______.”

And just pick from the list:

en couple “In a relationship”
marié
mariée
“married”
fiancé
fiancée
“engaged”
célibataire “single”
divorcé
divorcée
“divorced”
veuf
veuve
“a widow”
pacsé
pacsée
“In a civil union”

For example:

  • Je suis marié.
    “I am married.” [Masculine]
  • Je suis divorcée.
    “I am divorced.” [Feminine]
  • Je suis célibataire.
    “I am single.” [Same for both genders.]

Most of these words are self-explanatory, but let’s talk about the civil union for a minute. The pacs or PACS (Pacte Civil de Solidarité, or “Civil Solidarity Pact” in English) is, with the classic civil marriage, one of the two forms of civil union in France.

It was created in 1999, originally to give the same rights and legal protection to same-sex couples. Creating a new type of union instead of changing the traditional marriage was a clever way to not upset the conservative segment of the population, and it proved extremely successful.

Nowadays, the PACS is getting increasingly popular, especially for straight couples who find it more flexible and less bureaucratically heavy than getting married. They represent more than 95% of the total couples getting a PACS. Numbers are also showing that the PACS is slowly taking over traditional marriage.

Wedding Celebration

Je suis mariée. (I am married.)

2- Questions and Answers About Family

With all the words that we’ve learned in the first part of this article, you’ll be able to talk about your family and ask the other person about their parents or brothers and sisters. Let’s have a look at the most common structures:

Est-ce que tu as _______ ?
“Do you have _______?”

Or simply:

Tu as _______ ?
“Do you have _______?”

For example:

  • Tu as des frères ?
    “Do you have brothers?”
  • Est-ce que tu as des cousins ?
    “Do you have cousins?”
  • Tu as des enfants ?
    “Do you have children?”

You can answer with:

J’ai _______.
“I have _______.”

Examples:

  • J’ai une soeur aînée.
    “I have an elder sister.”
  • J’ai deux frères.
    “I have two brothers.”
  • Je n’ai pas d’enfants.
    “I don’t have children.”
  • J’ai trois mères.
    “I have three mothers.”
    This one is guaranteed to raise a lot of questions at a dinner party.

3- Talking About Family Members

There are many ways you could mention your relatives, and a number of things you may want to talk about, but here are a few examples to help you get the basic structures and elaborate from there:

  • Mes parents habitent à Toulouse.
    “My parents are living in Toulouse.”
  • Mes parents sont divorcés.
    “My parents are divorced.”
  • Mon père est décédé l’an dernier.
    “My father died last year.”
  • Ma grand-mère est Brésilienne.
    “My grandmother is Brazilian.”
  • Mon grand-père est photographe.
    “My grandfather is a photographer.”
  • Mes grand-parents vivent en Floride.
    “My grandparents live in Florida.”
  • Ma soeur aînée a deux ans de plus que moi.
    “My elder sister is two years older than me.”
  • Mon demi-frère a bientôt vingt ans.
    “My half-brother will be twenty soon.”
  • Ma femme s’appelle Maurice.
    “My wife is called Maurice.”

Check out our Top 10 Quotes About Family on FrenchPod101.

Family Photo with Dark Lighting

Mes parents habitent en Transylvanie. (My parents are living in Transylvania.)


4. The French Family is Changing Rapidly

Over the last few decades, the very concept of family in France has evolved, mutated, and broadened its definition. The family unit in French culture is now a mix of modernity and tradition, and while some are celebrating those changes, others are claiming that this once “sacred” institution got lured by progress and lost its way.

Before 1950, the French family was traditionally composed of two parents and often many children, as abortion remained illegal until 1975. Couples were getting married young, often before their 20s, and didn’t divorce. The woman usually stayed home and was subject to the authority of her working husband.

Between 1950 and 2000, families began changing quickly. Divorces became increasingly frequent, as well as single-parent families. After WWII, women began emancipating, claiming more importance and freedom in and out of the household. More and more mothers started working, and the patriarchal system gave way to a more balanced separation of tasks and authority. French laws began evolving at the same time, reflecting these changes of mentalities.

After 1980, divorces and remarriage became commonplace, and three types of families were now frequently found all over France: “traditional” families, single-parent families (children raised by only one parent, usually the mother), and blended families (remarried partners living with children from former relationships).

Nowadays, the definition of the family has expanded a lot, thanks to the PACS (civil union) and the 2013 law on marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. 80% of women from 25 to 49 years old are working (even though income inequality remains an issue), and families are forming later in life.

The average age that mothers have their first child is around 30, and households rarely have more than one or two children. Children born outside of the traditional structure of a married couple are more and more frequent, with the rise of civil union or common-law union.


5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French Vocabulary

Family Quotes

In this guide, you’ve learned a lot about how to talk about your family or ask about your friends’ relatives, from the giant word list to the most common questions and answers.

Did I forget any important words or expressions? Do you feel ready to get out there and reveal your most intimate family secrets, using everything you’ve learned today?

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. Our vocabulary lists are also a great way to revisit the words in this article and learn their pronunciation.

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice talking about your family in French with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with your pronunciation.

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

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French Travel Phrases: Your Survival Kit for Smooth Trips

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If you’re reading this, you already know why you want to travel to France, be it the beauty and diversity of its landscapes, the appeal of its cuisine, or its wealth of history. But you may find yourself in need of helpful French travel phrases, and fast!

As a travel destination, France is notorious for a reason and it will delight the casual beach-goers and culture vultures alike. But to be fair, it’s not the cheapest travel destination and the language barrier can be challenging. Even though the number of English speakers has been rising rapidly over recent years, we’re still lagging behind most of our European neighbors. Even in the most touristic spots, you might bump into a waiter, a taxi driver, or a ticket seller who doesn’t speak anything but French.

This is where our French travel phrases will come in handy!

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to travel around France, from the basic daily words to specific topics such as transportation, restaurants, hotels, and much more. You’ll also find more French travel tips to help you find your way around your new favorite country with these key French travel phrases!

Without further ado, let’s move on to our list of French travel phrases.

Table of Contents

  1. Survival Basics: Simple French Travel Phrases
  2. Lost in Translation
  3. Shopping
  4. Moving Around
  5. Hotel / Hostel
  6. Restaurants
  7. Asking for Directions
  8. Emergencies
  9. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French Vocabulary

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A Photo of Arras

Arras, in the “Hauts-de-France” region.


1. Survival Basics: Simple French Travel Phrases

In this chapter, I gathered a list of basic French travel phrases and words that can prove useful in most encounters in France. These French phrases for travel are just what you need to get started on your journey here. Later on, we’ll examine more specific scenarios and make sure you’re well-equipped for anything that could come your way! You’ll certainly be glad to know this survival French for travelers!

1- Being Polite

As I’ve mentioned in other articles, France invented the word “étiquette” and is still a place where courtesy matters…a lot. I’m not saying all French behave like white knights of exquisite politeness, but knowing how to greet and thank your French hosts and friends will take you a long way, while doing so in their language makes you instantly more likable.

Bonjour ! “Hello!”
Bonsoir ! “Good evening!”
Comment tu t’appelles ? [Casual]
Comment vous appelez-vous ? [Formal]
“What is your name?”
Enchanté. “Nice to meet you.”
Au revoir. “Goodbye.”
Merci (beaucoup). “Thank you (very much).”
Non merci. “No, thank you.”
S’il te plaît. [Casual]
S’il vous plaît. [Formal]
“Please.”
Je t’en prie. [Casual]
Je vous en prie. [Formal]
“You are welcome.”
Excuse-moi. [Casual]
Excusez-moi. [Formal]
“Excuse me.”
(Je suis) désolé. “(I am) sorry.”

These are just the ten most useful phrases. To read more on this topic or to practice some of these French travel phrases with pronunciation, please have a look at the following resources on FrenchPod101:

2- General Toolkit

Now that you’ve shown your good manners, let’s look at a few more essential French phrases for travellers. Here are some common words and expressions to gracefully make your way through France.

Oui / Non “Yes / No”
J’aime / Je n’aime pas “I like / I don’t like”
Pourquoi ? “Why?”
Quelle heure est-il ? “What time is it?”
Où sont les toilettes ? “Where are the toilets?”

This is a small sample of the most common general phrases. You can find out more on our List of 24 Key Phrases with audio recordings, on FrenchPod101.


2. Lost in Translation

Even if you’re well-prepared and almost fluent, there will be times when your interlocutor doesn’t make sense to you, and you’ll have to make them repeat. Heck, even as a native speaker, I’m helpless with the thickest cases of southern French accents! So just know that even knowing the best French travel phrases won’t always save you from the awkwardness of asking someone to repeat what they said.

It’s perfectly fine to ask someone to talk slower, repeat themselves, or rephrase what they were saying. Most French people will be happy to see you putting in the effort and will help you understand.

Tu peux répéter ? [Casual]
Pouvez-vous répéter (s’il vous plaît) ? [Formal]
“Can you repeat (please)?”
Un peu plus lentement, s’il te plaît. [Casual]
Un peu plus lentement, s’il vous plaît. [Formal]
“A bit slower, please.”
Je suis désolé, je ne comprends pas. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
Que signifie ___ ?
Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire ?
“What does ___ mean?”
“What does it mean?”
Comment on dit ___ en Français ? [Casual]
Comment dire ___ en Français ? [Formal]
“How do you say ___ in French?”
“How to say ___ in French?”
Tu parles Anglais ? [Casual]
Est-ce que tu parles Anglais ? [Casual]
Vous parlez Anglais ? [Formal]
Parlez-vous Anglais ? [Formal]
“Do you speak English?”

A Person Confused By Something Someone Is Saying

Je ne comprends pas ( “I don’t understand” )


3. Shopping

From the sparkling fancy boutiques of the Champs-Elysées to the dusty antiques of a typical Brocante (”Garage sale”), from the sprawling suburban malls to the modest Bouquinistes ( “Book sellers” ) along the Seine river, France caters for all tastes and budgets.

French shopping is usually a painless experience: Prices are displayed almost everywhere and credit cards are widely accepted, even in small bakeries or convenience stores. We don’t do five hours of siesta in the middle of the day, and unless you’re strolling around the Eiffel Tower in the crowd of souvenir sellers who won’t let you leave without a dozen dust collectors, shop owners aren’t likely to jump on you.

Combien ça coûte ?
Combien coûte ce ___ ?
“How much is it?”
“How much is this __?”
Combien coûte un kilo ?
Combien ça coûte à l’unité ?
“How much is it for a kilo?”
“How much is it for one?”
J’en voudrais XX. “I would like XX of this.”
A emporter / Sur place “To take away / To eat here”
Je peux payer par carte ? “Can I pay with card?”
Je vais payer en liquide.
Je vais payer en espèce.
“I will pay with cash.”

A Fruit Stand On A Street Market

Le marché ( “The market” )

For more shopping words, check out our free Shopping vocabulary list.

While shopping in France, you’ll also need to know how to handle prices or quantities. Make sure to read my previous article about French Numbers: From 0 to Infinity, and Beyond and the complementary vocabulary list.


4. Moving Around

No list of basic French phrases for tourists would be complete without information on talking about your ride. Whether you travel by bus, train, taxi, or plane, you need to be able to ask your way around, inquire about the timetables and details of the trip, navigate until you board the correct ride, and figure out when to get off.

Here are the most popular ways to move around France:

  • Le train ( “Train” )
    This is the fastest, most comfortable, and usually most scenic way to travel from one city to another. However, compared to buses, it can be pretty expensive, especially when booked at the last minute. Although locals will often complain of the trains being late or canceled, our national network is actually pretty strong and reliable compared to those of some of our close neighbors.
  • Le bus intercité ( “Intercity bus” )
    Bus travel has been developing rapidly in recent years and offers cheap prices to compete with the train and car sharing services. For instance, you can book an overnight trip from Paris to Nice for 28€ while a train on the same date would be around 60€.
  • Moving around the city with Les transports en commun (”The public transport”): Bus, Métro, or Tram ( “Bus,metro, or Tramway” )
    The subterranean metro or Trams are only available in big cities, but you can always move around with a local bus. Without the monthly or annual card, individual trips can be purchased for around 2€ in the metro or tram station, or directly on the bus.
  • Le taxi ( “Taxi” ) is the expensive alternative to public transportation that you only want to take when you’re going to the airport in the middle of the night or going back home dead drunk after an intense night out.
  • Questionable business practices aside, Uber is a much cheaper and more convenient substitute to taxis, and it’s well-developed in France.
  • L’avion ( “Plane” )
    Keeping in mind the dire environmental cost, traveling by plane is by far the fastest way to cover long distances and the prices of the Billets d’avion ( “Plane tickets” ) have continued to drop steadily over the years. Prices are especially low if you can book around a month in advance.

A Train Passing A House

Le train ( “The train” )

Now, where do you want to go?

La gare (ferroviaire) “The railway station”
Le terminal de bus
La station de bus
“The bus terminal”
“The bus station”
La station de taxis /métro / tram “The taxi / metro / tramway station”
L’arrêt de bus “The bus stop”
L’aéroport “The airport”

Then, using your brand new words, find your way there:

Je voudrais aller à l’aéroport. “I would like to go to the airport.”
Pouvez-vous m’indiquer la gare ? “Could you show me where the railway station is?”
Où est la station de métro la plus proche ? “Where is the closest metro station?”
Pouvez-vous m’appeler un taxi ? “Could you call a taxi for me?”
Je cherche le terminal de bus. “I’m looking for the bus terminal.”

Now, you have to ask the right questions before buying your tickets:

Où puis-je acheter un billet ? “Where can I buy a ticket?”
Aller simple / Aller-retour “One-way trip / Round trip”
Combien coûte le billet pour Dunkerque ? “How much is the ticket to Dunkerque?”
A quelle heure part le prochain train pour Dunkerque ? “At what time is the next train to Dunkerque leaving?”

Personally, I don’t see why anyone would go to Dunkerque, but I’ll let you be the judge of that (or rather don’t!).

And finally, you’ll just have to figure out where your ride is leaving from and when you should get off:

Est-ce le bon quai pour aller vers Issy ? “Is this the right platform to go to Issy?”
Est-ce que ce train s’arrête à Issy ? “Does this train stop in Issy?”
Pouvez-vous me prévenir quand nous arriverons à Issy, s’il vous plaît ? “Could you please tell me when we’ll arrive at Issy?”
Porte d’embarquement “Boarding gate”

To learn more vocabulary about transportation, please check out our lists of vocabulary for Airplanes, Bus or Train Stations, and Crossing Borders.


5. Hotel / Hostel

Preparing For Travel

As the most visited country in the world (nothing wrong with a bit of bragging!), France has no shortage of accommodation of all shapes, sizes, and prices. You’re not likely to run out of options when looking for a place to spend the night. But you may still want a couple of French travel tips and phrases regarding your stay.

Prices vary greatly depending on the season and proximity to the tourist attractions, but considering the quality of the transport network all over the country, it’s usually fine to sleep outside of the city center.

While the Gîtes ruraux (”Rural houses” used as vacation rentals) and Chambres d’hôte ( “Bed & Breakfast” ) are popular choices among locals for their summer vacations, the most common options are still L’hôtel ( “The hotel” ) and its budget version, L’auberge de jeunesse (”The hostel” or “Youth hostel”).

The City Of Nice

Nice, on the Mediterranean coast.

Most visitors in France will book their room through the usual Booking.com or HostelWorld, but there are times when you just want to stroll around and find the perfect place all by yourself. Here’s how to ask for a room in French:

Avez-vous une chambre disponible pour XX personnes ? “Do you have a room available for XX people?”
Lits séparés / Lit double / Dortoir “Twin beds / Double bed / Dorm room”
J’ai une réservation au nom de Bob Wilson. “I have a booking in the name of Bob Wilson.”

Next step: you probably have some questions about the room.

Est-ce que la chambre a ___ ?

  • Une fenêtre
  • Un balcon
  • Une salle de bain
  • Un ventilateur
  • L’air conditionné
“Does the room have ___?”

  • “A window”
  • “A balcony”
  • “A bathroom”
  • “A fan”
  • “Air-conditioning”
Est-ce que je peux voir la chambre ? “Can I see the room?”
Combien coûte une nuit ? “How much is it for one night?”
Combien coûte une nuit par personne ? “How much is it per person for one night?”
Est-ce que le petit déjeuner est inclus ? “Is breakfast included?”
A quelle heure est le petit déjeuner ? “At what time is the breakfast?”


6. Restaurants

Survival Phrases

You’ve found a nice room with a convenient location in this cute family-run hostel. You’ve dropped your bags and are now ready for more adventures. But wait, what’s that sound? Is that the infamous Beast of Gevaudan or your growling stomach?

If there’s one thing France is acclaimed for, it has to be the food! Good food is at the heart of our friends, family, and even business meetings; alongside wine, it stands as the cornerstone of our philosophy of Art de vivre (”The Art of Living”).

Some people imagine French meals as fancy and snobbish, but this is mostly untrue. From the biggest cities to the tiniest towns, you can always find a good Brasserie ( Literally “Brewery” ) to serve you a generous portion of typical and unpretentious food such as Cassoulet (A mixture of white beans and sausage simmered in goose fat), Steak au poivre (”Pepper steak”), or Tartare de boeuf (”Beef tartare”), served with a glass of Beaujolais.

Many restaurants have the menu displayed outside, which is really convenient if you want to quietly check your options before entering. When they don’t, you can simply ask for it before sitting; if you don’t like what you see, just give it back, thank them politely, and leave.

Est-ce je peux voir le menu, s’il vous plaît ? “Can I please see the menu?”
Merci, bonne soirée ! “Thank you, have a good evening!”

Otherwise, if you like what they offer, go ahead! Most restaurants will take you to a table, while simple Brasseries, Pubs, or fast food places will let you seat yourself.

1- How to Order Drinks

Before you order the food, the first question you’ll usually hear is:

  • Voulez-vous boire quelque chose ? ( “Do you want something to drink?” )
  • Voulez-vous commander quelque chose à boire ? ( “Would you like to order a drink?” )

It’s worth noting that when you order a meal, water is always free in France (we have a law explicitly stating it). I’m talking simple tap water in a pitcher, and not sophisticated bottled sparkling water, but this is an amazing feature of French restaurants, especially if you’re on a budget! And you can get refills.

To ask for your free water, don’t just ask for water; sneaky waiters could take your order as mineral water and charge you for it. Instead, use this phrase:

Une carafe d’eau s’il vous plaît. “A jug of water, please.”

The important word here is Carafe (”Jug”), as it differentiates this from a paid order of mineral water. Also, don’t worry: water is properly filtered all over the country and it’s always fine to drink from the tap.

Oh, and you know what else is always free? Delicious French bread!

French Fries

Did you know that French Fries are not French?

2- How to Order Food

Alright, now, let’s get some food on this table!

If you have any specific diet or allergy, it’s probably best to start with this:

Je suis allergique aux cacahuètes. “I’m allergic to peanuts.”
Est-ce que ce plat contient des cacahuètes ? “Does this dish contain peanuts?”
Avez-vous des plats végétariens ?
Avez-vous des plats végans ?
“Do you have vegetarian dishes?”
“Do you have vegan dishes?”

And here’s how to order something from the menu:

Quel est le plat du jour ? “What is today’s special?”
Je voudrais un plat du jour.
Je voudrais un menu du jour.
“I would like today’s special.”
“I would like today’s menu.”
En entrée, je voudrais une salade.
En plat, un steak au poivre.
En dessert, une tarte aux pommes.
“For a starter, I would like a salad.”
“For main, a pepper steak.”
“For dessert, an apple pie.”

Your stomach has stopped growling, your belly’s full of French delicacies, and your mind is at peace. It’s time to thank the chef and ask for the bill:

C’était délicieux, merci ! “That was delicious, thank you!”
L’addition s’il vous plait.
Pouvons-nous avoir l’addition, s’il vous plait ?
“Check, please.”
“Can we get the check, please?”
Peut-on avoir des additions séparées ? “Can we have separate bills?”

You can find more vocabulary and practice your pronunciation with our vocabulary list on Restaurants and key phrases for restaurants.


7. Asking for Directions

As Mandy Hale says, “Sometimes when you lose your way, you find yourself.” But sometimes, you just get severely frustrated and waste your day trying to reach this freaking museum your GPS keeps making you circle around.

One way or another, you’ll always end up relying on the help of locals to reach well-concealed destinations. Let’s start with the most common questions:

Je cherche le Panthéon.
Où se trouve le Panthéon ?
Pouvez-vous m’indiquer le Panthéon ?
“I’m looking for the Pantheon.”
“Where is the Pantheon?”
“Could you tell me where the Pantheon is?”
Comment aller au Panthéon ? “How can I go to the Pantheon?”
Dans quelle direction se trouve le Panthéon ? “Which way is the Pantheon?”

Signs In France

Je suis perdu. ( “I am lost.” )

As I often noticed while traveling, asking for directions is always the easy part, but making anything of the other person’s answer can prove much more challenging. Here are some examples of the answers you could receive:

Allez tout droit, puis prenez la première rue à gauche. “Go straight, then take the first street on the left.”
Tournez à droite quand vous sortez de la gare. “Turn right when you leave the train station.”
Traversez la rue en face de la gare. “Cross the street in front of the train station.”

To understand these kinds of instructions, it all comes down to knowing the right keywords, such as Droite (”Right”), Gauche (”Left”), En face (”In front”), Tout droit (”Straight”), and a few others.

Check out our lists of vocabulary for Position Words and Direction Words on FrenchPod101 to learn more about this.

And here’s more vocabulary and recordings about Key Places in Town, as well as the French Tourist Attractions.


8. Emergencies

In case of an emergency, you don’t want the language to get in the way of you and the help you need. Let’s have a look at the main emergency words (which may just be the most important French travel phrases when you need them) and how to use them.

A l’aide !
J’ai besoin d’aide !
“Help!”
“I need help!”
Le médecin
Pouvez-vous appeler un médecin ?
Où puis-je voir un médecin ?
“The doctor”
“Can you call a doctor?”
“Where can I see a doctor?”
L’hôpital
C’est une urgence.
Je dois aller à l’hôpital.
Appelez une ambulance !
“The hospital”
“It’s an emergency.”
“I need to go to the hospital.”
“Call an ambulance!”
La pharmacie
Où est la pharmacie la plus proche ?
Des médicaments
J’ai une assurance de voyage.
“The pharmacy”
“Where is the closest pharmacy?”
“Medication”
“I have travel insurance.”
La police
Appelez la police !
Où puis-je trouver le commissariat ?
“The police”
“Call the police!”
“Where can I find the police station?”
Il n’y a plus de fromage dans le frigo ! “There is no more cheese in the fridge!”

Emergency

C’est une urgence ! ( “It’s an emergency!” )

For more words on this topic, make sure to visit our free list of vocabulary about The Words and Phrases to Help You if You are in an Emergency.

If you’re in need of medical assistance, you’ll be glad to know about the Common Health Problems and some basic vocabulary about Medicine.


9. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French Vocabulary

French travel phrases in language learning are so important, and in this guide, you’ve learned a LOT of French travel phrases. I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming! Using these travel phrases to learn French will surely benefit you, but you don’t have to remember them all, as long as you keep these phrases accessible in a notebook or on your phone.

Did I forget any important words or expressions? Are you ready to get out there and ask locals about your travel needs?

Make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and learn new words. The vocabulary lists are also a great way to revise and listen to the words. And you’re in luck, because we have tons of lists about traveling:

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Practice creating French travel phrases with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, or record them for you, so you learn the correct pronunciation.

Log

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

French Numbers: From 1 to Infinity…and Beyond!

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Numbers are everywhere, in countless aspects of our daily life: from counting time to money, people, or things. As it is, they’re a vital part of our communication skills, especially in our modern societies where digital worlds and capitalism are prominent.

Let’s not sugarcoat it: French numbers aren’t the easiest to learn and, once again, the proverb “There is an exception to every rule” applies perfectly. However, stick with me for a while and you’ll quickly learn how to count to with French numbers from 1 to 100. From there, I’ll show you how easy it gets to keep going higher and higher, as far as our minds can fathom…and more!

Table of Contents

  1. Counting from 0 to 9
  2. How to Count with Your Fingers in France
  3. Counting from 10 to 20
  4. How to Use Numbers: Your Age
  5. Counting up to 100
  6. How to Use Numbers: Phone Numbers
  7. Counting up to 1000 and Beyond
  8. How to Use Numbers: Prices
  9. Why is it Taboo to Talk Money in France?
  10. How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More about Numbers

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1. Counting from 0 to 9

French Numbers

Undoubtedly the most important of all, these ten numbers are the foundation of everything we’ll learn in this article. Just swallow that frog and the rest will be a walk in the park! Here are examples of both the numerical version of the numbers and how the French write numbers.

  • 0 Zéro
  • 1 Un
  • 2 Deux
  • 3 Trois
  • 4 Quatre
  • 5 Cinq
  • 6 Six
  • 7 Sept
  • 8 Huit
  • 9 Neuf

Find out about and practice your accent using our list of numbers with audio recordings on FrenchPod101.com.


2. How to Count with Your Fingers in France

Counting on your fingers is something you usually take for granted…until you go to France. It’s nothing really complicated: just one of these tiny cultural differences that may leave you confused when you see it for the first time.

In North America and many other places, people count like this:

  1. Index finger up
  2. Index and middle fingers up
  3. Index, middle and ring fingers up

In France we have a different start:

  • Thumb up
  • Thumb, and Index finger up
  • Thumb, Index, and middle fingers up

What comes after is a matter of preference. Some French will do 4 from the thumb to ring finger while some people fold their thumb and use all 4 other fingers.

Be careful when you get to 6, as you’ll use the second hand with your thumb up!

This Is How I Count to 3 with French Fingers

This Is How I Count to 3 with French Fingers


3. Counting from 10 to 20

Remember when I said the rest would be a walk in the park? Well, maybe I got slightly carried away, as numbers from 10 to 20 are still a little irregular. But the rest will be a piece of cake, I promise!

  • 10 Dix
  • 11 Onze
  • 12 Douze
  • 13 Treize
  • 14 Quatorze
  • 15 Quinze
  • 16 Seize
  • 17 Dix-sept
  • 18 Dix-huit
  • 19 Dix-neuf
  • 20 Vingt

These numbers are only irregular until 16 (Seize), then, simply combine 10 (Dix) and the appropriate number, separated by a hyphen “-”.

For example, 10 combined with 8 becomes Dix-huit.


4. How to Use Numbers: Your Age

Here’s how to ask someone their age:

Casual “How old are you?” Formal “How old are you?”
Tu as quel âge ? Quel âge avez-vous ?

There’s nothing tricky about how to answer:

  • J’ai 20 ans. (“I’m 20 years old.”)

This literally means: “I have 20 years.”

  • J’ai is the contraction of Je and ai, which means: “I have.”
  • ans is the plural of the word An which means: “Year.”

/!\ Remember that the French can be a bit more demanding about politeness than some other countries and it can be seen as rude or insensitive to ask a woman about her age.

Find out more about this in our list of 10 lines to introduce yourself or in my previous article about how to introduce yourself in French!

Quel Age As-tu ?

Quel Age As-tu ?


5. Counting up to 100

We are back for more big numbers!

  • 30 Trente
  • 40 Quarante
  • 50 Cinquante
  • 60 Soixante
  • 70 Soixante-dix
  • 80 Quatre-vingt
  • 90 Quatre-vingt-dix
  • 100 Cent

There’s no magic trick here. You’ll have to memorize them, but if you take a closer look, some of them sound like their base number:

  • Trois ► Trente
  • Quatre ► Quarante
  • Cinq ► Cinquante
  • Six ► Soixante

Then enter the crazy ones:

  • Soixante-dix literally means “Sixty-ten” (60 + 10 = 70)
  • Quatre-vingt means “Four-twenty” (4 * 20 = 80)

Ready for 90?

  • Quatre-vingt-dix means “Four-twenty-ten” (4 * 20 + 10)

Well, this is mathematically correct, I can’t argue with that. But what a mess! Blame it on the ancestral celtic counting system.

In Switzerland and Belgium, French speakers made smarter choices and came up with original numbers. I’m only mentioning it for the sake of exhaustivity but they are NOT used in France and many French are unaware of their very existence.

  • Swiss numbers: 70 = septante, 80 = huitante, 90 = nonante
  • Belgian numbers: 70 = septante, 90 = nonante

So… Twenty Multiplied by Four... Plus Ten… Divided by the Square Root of Pi..?

So… Twenty Multiplied by Four… Plus Ten… Divided by the Square Root of Pi..?

Now, let’s fill in the gaps and see how to make numbers such as 23 or 75.

Up to 69, French numbers are regular. Then, it gets a bit out of control, but nothing you can’t handle!

Numbers from 21 to 69

  • 21 Vingt et un
  • 22 Vingt-deux
  • 23 Vingt-trois
  • 24 Vingt-quatre
  • 25 Vingt-cinq
  • 26 Vingt-six
  • 27 Vingt-sept
  • 28 Vingt-huit
  • 29 Vingt-neuf

Vingt et un (21) literally means “Twenty and one.”

All others are just a combination of Vingt (“Twenty”) and the respective number, separated with a hyphen, as in Vingt-cinq (25).

All numbers up to 69 follow the same rule. For example:

  • 31 Trente et un
  • 54 Cinquante-quatre
  • 67 Soixante-sept

Numbers from 71 to 99

Because 70 and 90 are respectively “60 and 10” and “80 and 10,” the next numbers follow the same rule:

  • 71 isn’t written as “60 and 10 and 1” but as “60 and 11”: Soixante et onze.
  • 94 isn’t written as “80 and 10-4” but as “80-14”: Quatre-vingt-quatorze.

But once again, it wouldn’t be French without exceptions! Luckily, this time, there are only two:

  • 81 should be “80 and 1” like all other numbers ending with 1, but it’s not. Instead, it’s written like any other figure: Quatre-vingt-un
  • 91 follows the same route and instead of being “80 and 11,” it’s just “80-11”: Quatre-vingt-onze.

Here’s a tab with all of these numbers up to 99:

●71 Soixante et onze ●81 Quatre-vingt-un ●91 Quatre-vingt-onze
●72 Soixante-douze ●82 Quatre-vingt-deux ●92 Quatre-vingt-douze
●73 Soixante-treize ●83 Quatre-vingt-trois ●93 Quatre-vingt-treize
●74 Soixante-quatorze ●84 Quatre-vingt-quatre ●94 Quatre-vingt-quatorze
●75 Soixante-quinze ●85 Quatre-vingt-cinq ●95 Quatre-vingt-quinze
●76 Soixante-seize ●86 Quatre-vingt-six ●96 Quatre-vingt-seize
●77 Soixante-dix-huit ●87 Quatre-vingt-sept ●97 Quatre-vingt-dix-sept
●78 Soixante-dix-huit ●88 Quatre-vingt-huit ●98 Quatre-vingt-dix-huit
●79 Soixante-dix-neuf ●89 Quatre-vingt-neuf ●99 Quatre-vingt-dix-neuf

And cent! (100)


6. How to Use Numbers: Phone Numbers

The 10-digit French phone numbers are usually given in five groups of numbers. For instance: 03 27 42 24 06 57.

In any group starting with zéro (0), the zéro is pronounced. For example, the number above will be: Zéro-trois, vingt-sept, quarante-deux, vingt-quatre, zéro-six, cinquante-sept.

Note: Some numbers in 800 can sometimes be told otherwise, but there’s no reason to worry about that. Everybody will be just fine if you read it like any other number.

But what are phone numbers good for, if not to ask a cute girl or a handsome guy for their Whatsapp number? Here are a few lines you could use in an informal / casual situation:

  • Je peux avoir ton numéro ? (“Can I have your number?”)
  • Tu peux me donner ton numéro ? (“Can you give me your number?”)
  • Tu me passes ton numéro ? (“Will you give me your number?”)

Je Peux Avoir Ton Numéro ?

Je Peux Avoir Ton Numéro ?


7. Counting up to 1000 and Beyond

Once you know how to count up to 100, you know how to count up to 999. Here’s how:

  • 200 Deux-cent
  • 300 Trois-cent
  • ( … )
  • 900 Neuf-cent

Then, you can easily assemble big numbers by just combining what you already know:

    207 Deux-cent-sept

    556 Cinq-cent-cinquante-six

    983 Neuf-cent-quatre-vingt-trois

Now, I promised you “infinity and beyond,” so let’s reach the stars with some enormous numbers!

1,000 Mille

10,000 Dix-mille

100,000 Cent-mille

1,000,000 (106) Un million

1,000,000,000 (109) Un milliard

1,000,000,000,000 (1012) Un billion

( … )

10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 (10100) Un gogol

And how do they combine? Just like every other number!

  • 2019 Deux-mille-dix-neuf
  • 1,286,347 Un million- deux-cent-quatre-vingt-six-mille-trois-cent-quarante-sept

If you want a nice visual recap of all of these numbers, consider subscribing to our Premium content and check out this video about French numbers in 3 minutes!

“To Infinity and Beyond!” (Buzz Lightyear)

“To Infinity and Beyond!” (Buzz Lightyear)


8. How to Use Numbers: Prices

With all these big numbers, you’re ready for any kind of shopping in France, even if you want to buy a brand new Airbus. So, let’s see how to deal with prices, with examples.

Let’s say you’re in a shop, wondering about the price of a Playstation:

  • Combien ça coûte ? (“How much is it?”)
  • Combien coûte cette Playstation ? (“How much is this Playstation?”)
  • Combien vaut cette Playstation ? (“How much is this Playstation worth?”)
  • Quel est le prix de cette Playstation ? (“What is the price of this Playstation?”)

Most common answers would be:

  • La Playstation est à 300€. (“The Playstation is 300€.”)
  • Elle coûte 300€ (“It costs 300€.”)
    In this last example, the sentence starts with “Elle” because “Playstation” is feminine in French but you can also use the neutral form and say: Ca coûte 300€.

For more vocabulary about shopping, check out our list of words and expressions for online shopping with audio recordings on FrenchPod101.com.


9. Why is it Taboo to Talk Money in France?

Talking about your salary is common in North America and no big deal in many other countries, but in France there remains some kind of taboo or at least a veil of secrecy around it. Many French get slightly uncomfortable if you bring the topic to the table. But why is that?

The origins of this malaise aren’t entirely clear. Some sociologists claim it comes from our humble farming origins where most French were working the land and money wasn’t really a thing. Others say it’s of religious nature, tracing it back to when Catholicism was prominent in the country and mainly turned to poor people. Some suggest that under the influence of Marxism, wealth and profit are seen as immoral or unethical.

1. What do People Say About it?

If you ask French workers why they don’t want to talk about their salary, there can be a wide variety of answers but the main reason seems to be that people consider they’re not paid enough for what they offer to their employer.

We tend to believe that our salary somehow reflects what we’re worth and that revealing your low salary is like admitting your limitations as a person. If my salary is supposed to match my skills, what does it say about me if I’m not earning much? At best, it means I’m not paid enough and that’s a sign of weakness. At worst, it means I get a fair payment for my mediocre performance.

But what if you’re paid well? In this case, talking money becomes a taboo for different reasons. Some wealthy French will avoid the topic out of fear of arousing jealousy or envy. Some think it would make their poorer friends uncomfortable or dissatisfied with themselves, while others simply claim it’s a personal subject and doesn’t have to be made public.

However, most of the time, it can be a topic of conversation between trusted friends or family, and you shouldn’t always see it as an unbreakable taboo.

Differences in Salary

Differences in Salary


10. How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More about Numbers

In this guide, you’ve learned how to play with numbers in French, from the basic figures up to the most ridiculously oversized ones!

Do you feel ready to ask someone for their phone number, or inquire about prices while shopping on the Champs Elysées?

If you want more French numbers practice, why not try writing the age and years of birth of some of your friends, or try to translate and pronounce big numbers from French shops?

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher answer your questions about numbers, or any other topic! Be sure to visit FrenchPod101.com for many other effective learning tools so that you can master French in no time!

About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

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How To Post In Perfect French on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak French, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in French.

At Learn French, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. Post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your French in the process.

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1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in French

Eating out is fun, and often an experience you’d like to share. Take a pic, and start a conversation on social media in French. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…and perhaps your taste in restaurants!

François eats at a restaurant with his friends, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

POST

Let’s break down François’s post.

Soirée restau entre mecs ;)
“Night out at a restaurant with the guys ;)”

1- soirée restau

First is an expression meaning “night out at the restaurant.”
In France, many people go out to eat with their friends on Fridays and Saturdays because there’s no work the following day. Students, however, like to have parties on Thursday evenings.

2- entre mecs

Then comes the phrase - “with the guys.”
In general, French men like to meet up with their male friends at least once a month to catch up and relax.

COMMENTS

In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

1- Et moi alors? :p

His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “What about me? :p”
Use this expression to joke with your partner about being excluded.

2- Ca a l’air délicieux!

His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “It looks delicious!”
Use this expression to show your appreciation of the appearance of the food.

3- Ca a l’air délicieux!

His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Where is it?”
Use this question to find out more about a location - in this case, the restaurant.

4- Bon appétit!

His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy your meal!”
This is an old-fashioned wish for a good and enjoyable meal.

VOCABULARY

Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • soirée: “party”
  • restau: “restaurant”
  • mec: “guy”
  • moi: “me”
  • avoir l’air: “look”
  • délicieux: “delicious”
  • appétit: “appetite”
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit a French restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in French

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it, and your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping sprees! Share these French phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Léa shops with her sister at the mall, posts an image of the two of them, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Journée shopping avec ma petite soeur adorée :D
    “Shopping day with my beloved little sister :D

    1- journée shopping

    First is an expression meaning “shopping day.”
    In France, people like to go shopping over the weekends in malls, either with their friends, their partners or by themselves, when they’re looking for something in particular.

    2- avec (ma petite soeur) adorée

    Then comes the phrase - “with my beloved (little sister).”
    Use this phrase to say that you really enjoy being with a person.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Sympa !

    Her boyfriend, François, uses an expression meaning - “Nice!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling positive about the poster’s comment.

    2- Profitez-bien :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy :)”
    Use this expression to wish someone a good experience, short and sweet.

    3- Il faudra que tu me montres ce que tu as acheté !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “You’ll have to show me what you bought!”
    Use this expression to be conversational and show interest in the poster’s activities.

    4- Par ce temps pourri ? Vous avez du courage ! :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “With this crappy weather? You’re brave :p”
    Use this expression if you want to tease the poster in a friendly manner.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • journée: “day”
  • soeur: “sister”
  • sympa: “nice”
  • profiter: “enjoy”
  • montrer: “show”
  • acheter: “buy “
  • temps: “weather”
  • courage: “courage”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in French

    Sports events, whether you’re the spectator or the sports person, offer fantastic opportunity for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in French.

    François plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Au programme d’aujourd’hui: beach-volley !
    “On today’s agenda: beach volleyball! ”

    1- Au programme d’aujourd’hui

    First is an expression meaning “on today’s agenda.”
    Use this phrase to explain your plans for the day. This phrase is generally followed by a noun but can be followed by a list if it’s a busy day.

    2- beach-volley

    Then comes the phrase - “beach volleyball.”
    In social media, nouns are often used by themselves to point out something particularly important.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Un peu de sport ne te fera pas de mal mon vieux :p

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “Some sports won’t hurt you, old boy :p”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling negative or pessimistic about the poster’s choice of sport. It could also be meant to tease the poster.

    2- Ton équipe a gagné ?

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Did your team win?”
    Ask this if you want the poster to share

    3- Amuse-toi bien :)

    His girlfriend, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Have fun :)”
    Use this expression as a short well-wish.

    4- Trop bien, la prochaine fois je veux venir moi aussi !

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “That’s (so) great. I wanna come next time!”
    Use this expression to show your excitement for the game, and to share your desire to join the next one.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • programme: “program”
  • beach-volley: “beach volleyball”
  • mon vieux: “old boy”
  • équipe: “team”
  • gagner: “win”
  • s’amuser: “have fun”
  • trop bien: “great”
  • la prochaine fois: “next time”
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in French

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Léa shares a song she just heard at a party, posts an image of the artist, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    J’adore cette chanson.
    “I love this song.”

    1- J’adore

    First is an expression meaning “I love.”
    Use this phrase when you’re really into something.

    2- cette chanson

    Then comes the phrase - “this song.”
    The pronoun before the noun indicates that you’re talking about one thing in particular.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Moi aussi ! Il faut qu’on aille au concert ensemble !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Me too! We need to go to the concert together!”
    Use this expression to indicate that you share the poster’s enthusiasm for the music, and wants to be part of the group attending the concert.

    2- C’est pas trop mon genre de musique ;)

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “It’s not really my type of music ;)”
    Use this expression to share a personal opinion about the music.

    3- C’est la première fois que je l’entends mais j’aime bien :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “It’s the first time I’m listening to it, but I like it :)”
    This is another personal experience and opinion to share.

    4- Personnellement, je préfère la musique classique.

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “I prefer classical music.”
    Use this expression to share a personal preference for different music.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • adorer: “love”
  • chanson: “song”
  • ensemble: “together”
  • genre: “kind”
  • musique: “music”
  • bien aimer: “like”
  • musique classique: “classical music”
  • Which song would you share? And what would you say to a friend who posted something about sharing music or videos?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. French Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends. Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers in French!

    François goes to a concert, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Au concert tant attendu :D
    “At the long-awaited concert :D

    1- au concert

    First is an expression meaning “at the concert.”
    Sometimes, to answer the question “Where are you?”, you can respond briefly by using a preposition followed by the name of the place you’re at.

    2- tant attendu

    Then comes the phrase - “long awaited.”
    In France, people generally enjoy going to concerts, especially when their favorite singer is in town. The most popular music genres are pop and rock, but France has a wide variety of bands that play different kinds of music. American music is also very popular in France.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- J’ai hâte que ça commence !

    His girlfriend, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait for it to start!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling enthusiastic and impatient for the event to start.

    2- Vous êtes au concert de qui ?

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Awesome :)”
    Use this expression to indicate your positive feelings in a short manner.

    3- Vous êtes au concert de qui ?

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Whose concert are you at?”
    Use this question for more details about the location of the concert.

    4- Prends plein de photos !

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Take lots of pictures!”
    Use this expression to show your interest in the topic, and instruct the poster to keep an image record of the event.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • concert: “concert”
  • avoir hâte: “look forward”
  • commencer: “start”
  • génial: “awesome”
  • de qui: “whose”
  • plein de: “a lot of”
  • photos: “pictures”
  • If a friend posted something about a concert , which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in French

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Use these French phrases to start a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Léa accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Mon téléphone est cassé ! :’(
    “My phone is broken! :’(”

    1- mon téléphone

    First is an expression meaning “my phone.”
    In France, smartphones are becoming increasingly popular. There are many brands, colors and sizes suited for different people’s preferences.

    2- est cassé

    Then comes the phrase - “is broken.”
    This phrase is used to express that something is not working anymore. It can be used with different objects: electronic devices, toys, kitchenware, etc.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Oh non :(

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Oh no :(”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling sympathetic with the poster’s poor luck.

    2- On va aller faire du shopping ce week-end !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s go shopping this weekend!”
    Use this phrase to suggest that you will accompany the poster to a shop for a new phone.

    3- Comment tu as réussi à faire ça ? :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “How did you manage to do that? :p”
    Use this expression if you want to know how the phone broke, but not in an interrogative manner.

    4- Tu as perdu beaucoup de données importantes ?

    Her boyfriend, François, uses an expression meaning - “Did you lose a lot of important data?”
    Use this expression to show your concern about what the poster might have lost from the phone.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • téléphone: “phone”
  • casser: “break”
  • shopping: “shopping”
  • week-end: “weekend”
  • réussir: “manage”
  • perdre: “lose”
  • donnée: “data”
  • important: “important”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to describe an accident in French. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in French

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with how life goes. And to alleviate the boredom, we write about it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in French!

    François gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Pfff… rien à faire à la maison… des idées ?
    “Pfff… nothing to do at home… any ideas?”

    1- Pfff… rien à faire à la maison

    First is an expression meaning “pfff… nothing to do at home.”
    In French social media, onomatopoeias can be written down, and the verb is omitted to emphasize the main idea.

    2- des idées?

    Then comes the phrase - “any ideas?.”
    During their free time, French people often enjoy relaxing at home, hanging out with friends, watching TV, playing video games, reading books, going to the cinema, playing sports or doing other kinds of activities.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Non désolé :p

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “No, sorry :p”
    Use this expression to show you are void of any ideas to relieve boredom.

    2- On sort ce soir ?

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “You wanna go out tonight?”
    This is an invitation to go out with the poster in order to keep busy.

    3- Je suis sûre que tu trouveras quelque chose d’intéressant à faire ;)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “I’m sure you’ll find something interesting to do ;)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic that the poster will soon be busy.

    4- Et si vous lisiez un livre ?

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “How about reading a book?”
    This is a suggestion or idea to combat boredom.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • rien: “nothing”
  • maison: “home”
  • idée: “idea”
  • désolé(e): “sorry”
  • sortir: “go out”
  • quelque chose: “something”
  • lire: “read”
  • livre: “book”
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in French

    Sitting in public transport after work, feeling like chatting online? Well, converse in French about how you feel, and let your friends join in!

    Léa feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    La journée était longue, je suis morte…
    “It was a long day, I’m dead…”

    1- La journée était longue

    First is an expression meaning “It was a long day.”
    In France, people can legally work 35 hours per week (generally from Monday to Friday) and are entitled to five weeks of paid leave per year, which they can take whenever they want. Families with children generally go on vacation for a few weeks during the summer when their children are on holiday and don’t have to go to school.

    2- je suis morte

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m dead.”
    Sometimes people express themselves in strong, exaggerated language to convey their feelings.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Reposez-vous bien, nous avons une réunion importante demain.

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Rest well. We have an important meeting tomorrow.”
    These phrases convey plans for the next day at work, relevant to the poster.

    2- ça va?

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Are you ok?”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling concern for the poster.

    3- Vivement ce week-end ^^

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait for this weekend ^^”
    Use this expression to be encouraging, implying that rest is in sight for everyone.

    4- Moi aussiiiiii !

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Me tooooooo!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling the same as the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • journée: “day”
  • long: “long”
  • mort(e): “dead”
  • se reposer: “rest”
  • réunion: “meeting”
  • vivement: “can’t wait for”
  • aussi: “too”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to say you’re exhausted in French! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in French

    So life happens, and you manage to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in French.

    François suffers a painful injury, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    J’ai super mal à la cheville :(
    “My ankle hurts really badly :(”

    1- J’ai super mal

    First is an expression meaning “It hurts really bad.”
    To talk about pain in French, the speaker begins his sentence with a personal pronoun because he’s talking about his own feelings.

    2- à la cheville

    Then comes the phrase - “at my ankle.”
    To talk about where something hurts, you generally use this preposition, then the noun (preceded by the corresponding article).

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu es allé chez le médecin ?

    His girlfriend, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Have you seen a doctor?”
    Use this question to obtain more information about the action the poster has taken regarding their injury. It also shows concern.

    2- Mon pauvre…

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Poor you…”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling sympathy with the poster.

    3- Ça arrive, c’est pas la fin du monde !

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “It happens. It’s not the end of the world!”
    Use this expression to remind the poster that it is not the worst injury.

    4- Tu guériras sûrement rapidement :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “You’ll probably recover soon :)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic about the poster’s prospects of speedy recovery.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • avoir mal : “be hurting”
  • cheville: “ankle”
  • médecin: “doctor”
  • pauvre: “poor”
  • ça arrive: “it happens”
  • fin: “end”
  • monde: “world”
  • guérir: “recover”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in French

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Léa feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Ce temps est déprimant.
    “This weather is depressing.”

    1- Ce temps

    First is an expression meaning “This weather.”
    The weather varies greatly depending on where you are in France. In Paris, which is in the north of France, it is often cloudy, rainy or cold. In the south, temperatures are generally warmer.

    2- est déprimant

    Then comes the phrase - “is depressing.”
    On rainy days, people generally like to stay at home, relax and not do much. Instead of going out, they prefer watching TV, reading, cooking, playing video games or board games etc.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Moi j’aime la pluie :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “I like the rain :)”
    Use this phrase to express a preference for rainy weather.

    2- Au moins il n’y a pas besoin d’arroser les plantes :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “At least there’s no need to water the plants :p”
    Use this expression if you are being frivolous and wish to keep the conversation light.

    3- C’est parfait pour une soirée film ;)

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “It’s perfect for a movie night ;)”
    Use this expression as a suggestion to comfort the poster.

    4- Moi aussi je ne suis pas motivé pour faire quoi que ce soit.

    Her boyfriend, François, uses an expression meaning - “I’m not motivated to do anything either.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling the same as the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • temps: “weather”
  • déprimant: “depressing”
  • pluie: “rain”
  • arroser: “water”
  • plante: “plant”
  • soirée film: “movie night”
  • motivé(e): “motivated”
  • quoi que ce soit: “anything”
  • How would you comment in French when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about a negative feeling, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in French

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings, talk about it!

    François changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of him and Léa together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    “En couple avec Léa”.
    “”In a relationship with Léa.”"

    1- En couple

    First is an expression meaning “In a relationship.”
    In France, it’s common to post about relationship statuses when something changes to see how everyone reacts.

    2- avec Léa.

    Then comes the phrase - “with Léa..”
    French people also like to add the name of whom they are with. Not only to satisfy their friend’s curiosity, but also to show that they are proud to be with that person.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Je m’en doutais.

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “I suspected it.”
    Use this expression to show the announcement is not surprising.

    2- C’est pas trop tôt !

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “It’s about time!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling positive about the relationship.

    3- Bien joué mon vieux ;)

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Well done, buddy ;)”
    Use this expression to congratulate the poster.

    4- Vous formez un beau couple :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “You’re a nice couple :)”
    Use this expression to compliment the couple.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • en couple: “in a relationship”
  • se douter de: “suspect”
  • C’est pas trop tôt: “It’s about time”
  • bien joué: “well done”
  • mon vieux: “buddy”
  • former: “form”
  • couple: “couple”
  • What would you say in French when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread it!

    12. Post about Getting Married in French

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in French.

    Léa is getting married today, so she eaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Je me marie aujourd’hui :D
    “I’m getting married today :D

    1- Je me marie

    First is an expression meaning “I’m getting married.”
    Nowadays, with the PACS system (a contractual form of civil union), fewer people are getting married than in previous generations. For those who do, they typically get married later in life. In France, it’s socially acceptable to have children without being married.

    2- aujourd’hui

    Then comes the phrase - “today.”
    The date is optional but can be used to emphasize that it’s a very special day.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheur :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “I wish you tons of happiness :)”
    Use this expression as a warmhearted well-wish to the couple.

    2- Tu as l’air magnifique dans cette robe !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “You look gorgeous in that dress!”
    Use this expression to compliment the bride.

    3- Je suis super contente pour vous 2 :)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “I’m really happy for you two :)”
    Use this expression to show that you are pleased for the sake of the couple.

    4- Vive les mariés ! :D

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Long live the newlyweds! :D
    This is an uncommon way to congratulate the couple and wish them a long marriage.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • se marier: “get married”
  • beaucoup: “a lot”
  • bonheur: “happiness”
  • magnifique: “gorgeous”
  • robe: “dress”
  • content: “happy”
  • vive les mariés: “long live the newlyweds”
  • How would you respond in French to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the marriage…

    13. Announcing Big News in French

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in French.

    François finds out he and his wife are going to have a baby, posts an image of the two of them together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Dans quelques mois nous serons 3 ;)
    “In a couple of months there will be 3 of us ;)”

    1- Dans quelques mois

    First is an expression meaning “In a couple of months.”
    To show that you’re excitedly awaiting something, you’ll often start by talking about the date.

    2- nous serons 3

    Then comes the phrase - “there will be 3 of us.”
    In French, sometimes people don’t always write exactly what they mean. Instead, they will hide the meaning a bit, inviting others to interact.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu vas être papa ? :o

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “You’re gonna be a dad? :o
    Use this expression if you feel humorous and pretend to be unbelieving.

    2- C’est une fille ou un garçon ?

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Is it a girl or a boy?”
    Use this question to gather more information.

    3- Je suis sûre que vous serez des parents géniaux :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “I’m sure you’ll be great parents :)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic about the couple’s parenting skills.

    4- Félicitations :D

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations :D
    Use this expression to congratulate the couple in a traditional, understated way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • mois: “month”
  • papa: “dad”
  • fille: “girl”
  • garçon: “boy”
  • être sûr(e): “be sure”
  • parents: “parents”
  • félicitations: “congratulations”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will get you a lot of traction on social media. But wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting French Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it! Share your thoughts in French.

    Léa plays with her baby, posts an image of the little angel, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Ma petite princesse.
    “My little princess.”

    1- Ma petite

    First is an expression meaning “my little.”
    Nowadays many women focus on their careers and may delay having children until they’re 30 years old.

    2- princesse

    Then comes the phrase - “princess.”
    French people often use a variety of cute nicknames or terms of endeardment like “sweetie” or “honey”. Some nicknames that might sound strange to English speakers include “my cabbage” or “my flea”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Elle est trop chou !

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “She’s so cute!”
    Use this phrase to agree with the poster about the baby’s powers of charm.

    2- Je viens faire du baby-sitting n’importe quand ^^

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “I’ll come to babysit anytime ^^”
    Use this expression to be helpful.

    3- Quel beau sourire!

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “What a beautiful smile!”
    Use this expression to pay the baby a compliment.

    4- Elle est le portrait craché de son papa :)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “She’s the spitting image of her daddy :)”
    This phrase is a neutral comment which relates to the baby’s resemblance to the father.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • petit(e): “little”
  • princesse: “princess”
  • chou: “cute”
  • baby-sitting: “babysitting”
  • n’importe quand: “anytime”
  • beau: “beautiful”
  • sourire: “smile”
  • portrait craché: “spitting image”
  • If your friend is the mother or father, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in French! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. French Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    François goes to a family gathering, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Pique-nique avec la famille :)
    “Picnic with the family :)”

    1- Pique-nique

    First is an expression meaning “picnic.”
    Starting a sentence with a noun shows that it’s the most important part of what you want to say.

    2- avec la famille

    Then comes the phrase - “with the family.”
    In France, people have family reunions that can last for hours. There are many dishes in a typical French course, and family gatherings are a great opportunity to catch up with relatives you don’t see that often.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Passe le bonjour à tout le monde de ma part stp !

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Say hi to everyone please!”
    Use this expression if you know the family and wish to send them greetings.

    2- J’ai une tête affreuse sur cette photo !

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “I look horrible in this picture!”
    Use this expression to be self-deprecating about your own appearance.

    3- Super! Le temps est idéal pour un pique-nique :)

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Great! The weather is perfect for a picnic :)”
    Use this expression to share your enthusiasm for the good weather.

    4- Profitez-bien de votre week-end !

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy your weekend!”
    Use this expression as a traditional wish that the poster enjoy their time with the famly over the weekend.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • pique-nique: “picnic”
  • famille: “family”
  • passer le bonjour: “say hello”
  • tout le monde: “everyone”
  • tête: “head”
  • affreux: “horrible”
  • idéal: “ideal”
  • profiter: “enjoy”
  • Which phrase is your favorite to comment on a friend’s photo about a family reunion?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in French

    So, the family are going on holiday. Do you know how to post and leave comments in French about being at the airport, waiting for a flight?

    Léa waits at the airport for her flight, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Départ dans une heure :)
    “Departure in an hour :)”

    1- Départ

    First is an expression meaning “departure.”
    French people typically go to southern France or to other warm places in Europe during their holidays. Most European countries are close to each other and don’t require visas for EU citizens, which makes it easier to go to different places.

    2- dans une heure

    Then comes the phrase - “in an hour.”
    French airlines are usually on time. Delays or cancellations can happen but are not that common.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Bon voyage !

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Have a nice trip!”
    Use this expression to be old fashioned.

    2- Tu vas où exactement ?

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Where exactly are you going? ”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling warmhearted.

    3- Je veux un souvenir !

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “I want a souvenir!”
    Use this expression if you demand a gift from the poster, bought at the holiday destination.

    4- La chance ! Moi aussi je veux y aller !

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “You’re so lucky! I wanna go too!”
    Use this expression to indicate that you envy the poster and wants to join them. You’re not seriously asking to go; it’s just an expression that emphasizes envy in a nice way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • départ: “departure”
  • heure: “hour”
  • bon voyage: “have a nice trip”
  • où: “where”
  • exactement: “exactly”
  • souvenir: “souvenir”
  • chance: “luck”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in French!

    Hopefully the rest of the trip is better!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in French

    So maybe you’re strolling around at a local market, and find something interesting. Here are some handy French phrases!

    François finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Je me demande à quoi ça sert…
    “I wonder what this is for…”

    1- Je me demande

    First is an expression meaning “I wonder.”
    Use this expression when you aren’t sure about something.

    2- à quoi ça sert

    Then comes the phrase - “what this is for.”
    In France, people sell all kinds of things at flea markets. Sellers are usually trying to get rid of old stuff they don’t use anymore by selling them for cheap rather than throwing them away.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Aucune idée !

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “No idea!”
    Use this expression when you have not clue regarding the identity of the find.

    2- C’est joli :)

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Where did you find that?”
    Use this question if you wish to know where the item was found.

    3- C’est joli :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “It’s pretty :)”
    Use this expression to indicate your liking of the item.

    4- Ca a l’air vieux.

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “It looks old.”
    This is an opnion regarding the item’s appearance - in this case, it looks aged.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • se demander: “wonder”
  • quoi: “what”
  • servir à: “be used for”
  • aucun : “no”
  • trouver: “find”
  • joli: “pretty”
  • avoir l’air: “look”
  • vieux: “old”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting find?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in French

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in French, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Léa visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Où suis-je ? ^^
    “Where am I? ^^”

    1- Où

    First is an expression meaning “Where.”
    When French people travel, they love seeing touristy stuff. Everyone who goes to Paris has certainly been to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

    2- suis-je?

    Then comes the phrase - “am I?.”
    It’s common on social media for people to add obscure pictures of where they are so that others can guess and share their opinions about that place.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu t’amuses à ce que je vois ;)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Too easy ;)”
    Use this expression if you think the location is easily identifiable. Or you could be bluffing!

    2- Sur la photo ! lol

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “On the picture! lol”
    Use this expression if you are in a joking, frivolous mood.

    3- Tu t’amuses à ce que je vois ;)

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “I see that you’re having fun ;)”
    Use this expression just to comment in a positive way.

    4- C’est une très belle ville, n’est-ce pas ?

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “It’s a beautiful city, isn’t it?”
    Use this to make conversation by stating a fact and asking for agreement. Often, this is a rhetorical question, but it could be a good conversation starter too.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • trop: “too”
  • facile: “easy”
  • sur: “on”
  • à ce que je vois: “from what I can see”
  • ville: “city”
  • n’est-ce pas: “isn’t it”
  • Which phrase would you prefer when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in French

    So you’re doing nothing yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in French!

    François relaxes at a beautiful place, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Moment de détente :)
    “A moment of relaxation :)”

    1- Moment

    First is an expression meaning “Moment.”
    On French social media, it’s a common practice to shorten sentences by starting with a noun that expresses duration to explain what you’re doing.

    2- de détente

    Then comes the phrase - “of relaxation.”
    To relax, people in France enjoy walking in the park, sunbathing, going to the spa, and other such activities.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Tu le mérites ;)

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “You deserve it ;)”
    Use this phrase to express warm feelings towards the poster.

    2- C’est le même endroit où tu vas chaque année ?

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Is it the same place you’ve been going to every year?”
    Use this question to garner more information from the poster.

    3- J’arriiiiiiiiiiiiiiive :D

    His wife’s high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “I envy you :p”
    Use this expression if you feel envious of the poster.

    4- J’arriiiiiiiiiiiiiiive :D

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Comiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing :D
    Use this expression if you are feeling frivolous, and wish to join the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • moment: “moment”
  • détente: “relaxation”
  • mériter: “deserve”
  • même: “same”
  • endroit: “place”
  • année: “year”
  • envier: “envy”
  • arriver: “arrive”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in French When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Léa returns home after a vacation, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Qu’on est bien chez soi !
    “How nice it is at home!”

    1- Qu’on est bien

    First is an expression meaning “How nice it is.”
    This phrase is equivalent to “home sweet home,” but cannot be translated literally into English. It’s typically used when speaking to oneself.

    2- chez soi

    Then comes the phrase - “at home.”
    When French people travel, they either like to bring souvenirs from where they went or write postcards to their family and friends.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Contente de te revoir ! :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Welcome back! :)”
    This is a traditional welcoming phrase when someone returns from a trip away from home.

    2- Tu nous as manqué.

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “We missed you.”
    Use this expression to indicate your feelings to the poster about missing them.

    3- Prochaine étape: défaire la valise… amuse-toi bien :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Next step: unpack the suitcase… have fun :p”
    Use this comment to make conversation in a playful way.

    4- C’était comment ? ^^

    Her husband’s high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “How was it? ^^”
    Use this question if you want to know more about the trip.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • chez soi: “at home”
  • content(e) de te revoir: “welcome back”
  • manquer: “miss”
  • prochain: “next”
  • étape: “step”
  • défaire: “unpack”
  • valise: “suitcase”
  • comment: “how”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    What do you post on social media during a public celebration day such as Candlemas?

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in French

    It’s a national celebratory day and you wish to post something about it on social media. What would you say?

    François leaves this comment about the meal served on Candlemas.

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Au menu du jour: des crêpes pour la Chandeleur :D
    “On the menu today: crepes for Candlemas :D

    1- Au menu du jour:

    First is an expression meaning “On the menu today:.”
    Beginning with this phrase shows that you are offering something different than usual.

    2- des crêpes pour la Chandleur

    Then comes the phrase - “crepes for Candlemas.”
    Candlemas takes place 40 days after Christmas. It used to be a Christian celebration and a symbol of prosperity for the coming year. Now, however, it’s just a day where you make crepes; no one really cares about the origin. People generally eat their crepes with Nutella, jam, honey, sugar, etc. But in some recipes you don’t add sugar to the dough, so you can make salty crepes like ham and cheese.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ouaaaaaais ! Merci.

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Yaaaaay! Thanks.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling good about the food.

    2- Je peux passer ? J’ai de la confiture faite maison ;)

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Can I stop by? I have homemade jam ;)”
    Use these phrases to make arrangements with the poster.

    3- Tu en as raté combien en essayant de les retourner ? :p

    His nephew, Jean, uses an expression meaning - “How many did you mess up trying to flip them? :p”
    Use this expression to joke with the poster.

    4- Moi aussi j’en veux !

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “I want some too!”
    Use this expression to show you think the food looks desirable.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • menu: “menu”
  • crêpe: “crepe”
  • Chandeleur: “Candlemas”
  • confiture: “jam”
  • fait maison: “homemade”
  • rater: “mess up”
  • retourner: “flip”
  • If a friend posted something about a holiday, which phrase would you use?

    Candlemas Day and other public celebration days are not the only special ones to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in French

    Your friend or you are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Léa goes to her birthday party, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Merci à tous d’être venus :)
    “Thank you all for coming :)”

    1- Merci à tous

    First is an expression meaning “Thank you all.”
    This is a polite expression to show one’s gratitude.

    2- d’être venus

    Then comes the phrase - “for coming.”
    In France, house parties with sweets, cakes, presents and games are popular among children. Adults also enjoy house parties and invite their friends over for food, music and conversation. Otherwise, they meet up with their friends somewhere else to do something special.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Joyeux anniversaire !

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Happy birthday!”
    This is the simple and traditional birthday wish.

    2- Tu as été gâtée ? ;)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Have you been spoiled? ;)”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling warmhearted.

    3- Tu ne rajeunis pas :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “You’re not getting younger :p”
    Use this expression to make playful fun of the poster’s age.

    4- Merci pour l’invitation ^^

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Thanks for the invitation ^^”
    Use this expression to be ironic and a bit sarcastic, if you were not really invited, or to really thank the poster for the invitation to the party.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Merci: “thank you “
  • joyeux anniversaire: “happy birthday”
  • gâter: “spoil”
  • rajeunir: “rejuvenate”
  • invitation: “invitation”
  • If a friend posted something about birthday greetings, which phrase would you use?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in French

    Impress your friends with your French New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    François celebrates the New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Bonne année à tous !
    “Happy New Year, everyone!”

    1- Bonne année

    First is an expression meaning “Happy New Year.”
    In France, people light fireworks at midnight to celebrate the New Year. Some New Year’s gatherings happen at big places in big cities. Some people celebrate with their friends at home by having a nice dinner and following the countdown on TV. Afterwards, people wish their friends a happy new year by texting or writing on social media.

    2- à tous

    Then comes the phrase - “to everyone.”
    It’s considered courteous to wish people a happy new year on social media where everybody can read the post.

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Bonne année à toi aussi :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year to you too :)”
    This is the traditional reply to a New Year wish from anyone.

    2- Bonne santé !

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Good health!”
    This is another common wish appropriate to this time of year.

    3- Meilleurs Voeux !

    His supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Best wishes!”
    Yet another traditional New Year wish, that’s also appropriate for other special occasions.

    4- Quelles sont tes bonnes résolutions ? ^^

    His college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “What are your New Year’s resolutions? ^^”
    Ask this question if you want to start the conversation about this favorite topic.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Bonne année: “Happy New Year”
  • santé: “health”
  • meilleur: “best”
  • voeu: “wish”
  • bonne résolution: “New Year’s resolution”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    But before New Year’s Day comes another important day…

    24. What to Post on Christmas Day in French

    What will you say in French about Christmas?

    Léa celebrates Christmas with her family, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Léa’s post.

    Noël en famille :D
    “Christmas with the family :D

    1- Noël

    First is an expression meaning “Christmas .”
    On the 24th of December, people usually enjoy a big meal in the evening. Then they go to bed and in the morning they open the presents that Santa Claus brought. Some families have another big meal on the 25th for lunch as well. Afterwards, they spend the rest of the day with their families.

    2- en famille

    Then comes the phrase - “with the family.”
    In France, Christmas is the most important family event of the year. Many shops are closed because it’s the one time of the year that everyone in France is spending time with their families.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Léa’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Joyeux Noël :)

    Her neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “Merry Christmas :)”
    This is the traditional Christmas wish.

    2- Le père Noël t’a apporté beaucoup de cadeaux cette année ? :p

    Her high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Did Santa Claus bring you many presents this year? :p”
    Use this expression to make conversation about receiving gifts, which is a common tradition over Christmas.

    3- Le père Noël t’a apporté beaucoup de cadeaux cette année ? :p

    Her college friend, Rémi, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t eat too much :p”
    Use this expression if you want to playfully warn your friend about their eating habits. Usually not meant seriously.

    4- Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année !

    Her supervisor, Pierre, uses an expression meaning - “Happy Holidays!”
    This is another traditional wish appropriate to this time of year.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Noël: “Christmas”
  • Joyeux Noël: “Merry Christmas”
  • Père Noël: “Santa Claus”
  • cadeau: “present”
  • manger: “eat”
  • bonnes fêtes de fin d’année: “happy holidays”
  • If a friend posted something about Christmas greetings, which phrase would you use?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    25. Post about Your Anniversary in French

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which French phrases are meaningful and best suited for this purpose!

    François celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down François’s post.

    Dîner en amoureux pour nos 1 an de mariage.
    “Candelit dinner for our one-year wedding anniversary.”

    1- dîner en amoureux

    First is an expression meaning “candelit dinner.”
    In France, people don’t eat out at nice restaurants that often as they can be expensive. But on special occasions, like a wedding anniversary, couples usually enjoy a nice dinner and other fancy activities afterwards.

    2- pour nos un an de mariage

    Then comes the phrase - “for our one-year wedding anniversary.”
    Anniversaries are a big deal in France. Couples often celebrate their love by doing something special together as well as by giving each other gifts like jewelry, perfume, flowers etc…

    COMMENTS

    In response, François’s friends leave some comments.

    1- J’ai hâte.

    His wife, Léa, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait.”
    Use this expression to show you eagerly anticipate the occasion.

    2- Comme c’est romantique !

    His neighbor, Céline, uses an expression meaning - “How romantic!”
    Use this comment to express your positive opinion of the anniversary.

    3- Déjà? Le temps passe super vite !

    His wife’s high school friend, Inès, uses an expression meaning - “Already? Time flies so fast!”
    Use this expression to make conversation in a humorous way.

    4- Joyeux anniversaire de mariage les amoureux :)

    His high school friend, Elodie, uses an expression meaning - “Happy wedding anniversary you lovebirds :)”
    This is a traditional wish for a wedding anniversary, used with a term of endearment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • dîner: “dinner”
  • en amoureux: “romantic”
  • mariage: “wedding”
  • romantique: “romantic”
  • temps: “time”
  • vite: “fast”
  • anniversaire de mariage: “wedding anniversary”
  • amoureux: “lovebirds”
  • If a friend posted something about Anniversary greetings, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn French! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

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    Apologize in French: How to Say Sorry in French

    Thumbnail

    “An apology is the super glue of life. It can repair just about anything.” (Lynn Johnston)

    Whatever our reasons are, it’s never easy nor pleasant to apologize. Even in our native language where we can express all the subtleties needed to tone things down and smooth off the rough edges, “Sorry” still seems to be the hardest word.

    Now, imagine you have to offer your apologies in another language, like French. Would you know how to say “sorry” in French? Of course, you won’t want to risk any further mishap or an unfortunate choice of words that could put you in a tougher spot.

    Learning how to say “sorry” in French will not only help you go through delicate situations when you’ve made a mistake or behaved poorly. It will also provide you with a collection of ready-made formulas that you can use as a polite lubricant in everyday interactions. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how to tell someone you’re sorry in basic French. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your French Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

    1. The 3 Most Important Words
    2. Take Responsibility
    3. Sorry Gestures
    4. How to Accept an Apology
    5. Make it Official
    6. French Culture of Apologies
    7. How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More about Apologizing

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

    Man Saying Sorry


    1. The 3 Most Important Words

    When it comes to learning how to say “sorry” in French, vocabulary is, of course, a huge player. Although they can take many different forms, apologies in France mainly come down to only three words:

    • Excuse (“Apology”)
    • Désolé (“Sorry”)
    • Pardon (“Pardon”)

    Once you start practicing their variations, outlined below, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. As you’ll see, there are variations for saying a formal apology in French, as well as casual variations.

    1- S’excuser (“To apologize”)

    Here are Casual and Formal variants of “Excuse me” with their literal translations:

    Casual “Excuse me” Formal “Excuse me”
    Je m’excuse. (“I excuse myself.”) Je m’excuse. (“I excuse myself.”)
    Excuse-moi. (“Excuse me.”) Excusez-moi. (“Excuse me.”)
    Veuillez m’excuser. (“Please, excuse me.”)
    Toutes mes excuses. (“All my apologies.”)
    Je vous présente mes excuses. (“I present you my apologies.”)

    Je m’excuse (“I excuse myself”) may sound weird once literally translated, but this is the most popular way to say that you’re sorry. In French, it doesn’t actually sound like you’re asking for forgiveness and forgiving yourself in the same sentence!

    2- Pardonner (“To forgive”)

    Here are Casual and Formal variants of “Forgive me” with their literal translations.

    Casual “Forgive me” Formal “Forgive me”
    Pardon. (“Forgiveness.”) Pardonne-moi. (“Forgive me.”)
    Je te demande pardon. (“I ask for your forgiveness.”) Pardon. (“Forgiveness.”)
    Pardonnez-moi. (“Forgive me.”) Je vous demande pardon. (“I ask for your forgiveness.”)

    How to use it:

    Sentences with S’excuser (“to apologize”) or Pardonner (“to forgive”) can all be used to express that you’re sorry about your actions or the situation.

    For example: If you accidentally bump into someone and spill their coffee, you could say: Oh, toutes mes excuses ! or Je vous demande pardon !

    Excuse-moi and Excusez-moi are two common polite formulas that you can use in everyday situations, just as their English counterpart, “Excuse me.”

    Pardon (“forgiveness”) works just as well for casual or formal encounters.

    For example: You want to reach for your cheese in the fridge and someone you don’t know is standing in the way. You could say: Excusez-moi to catch his attention.

    With a friend, you would use the casual Excuse-moi for the same result.

    In both cases, you could also say: Pardon (“forgiveness”).

    3- Être désolé (“To be sorry”)

    Last but not least, Désolé (“Sorry”) is another cornerstone of the French apologies and works for casual and formal situations.

    • Désolé [Male] / Désolée [Female] (“Sorry”)
    • Je suis désolé(e) (“I am sorry”)

    Now, depending on the gravity of the situation, you may not want to sound overly laid-back when saying “I’m sorry” in French. Here are some ways to emphasize your apologies along with how to combine that apology with Désolé.

    • Vraiment (“Really”) — Je suis vraiment désolé. (“I am really sorry.”)
    • Sincèrement (“Sincerely”) — Je suis sincèrement désolé. (“I am sincerely sorry.”)
    • Réellement (“Truly”) — Je suis réellement désolé. (“I am truly sorry.”)
    • Tellement (“So”) — Je suis tellement désolé. (“I am so sorry.”)

    On the other hand, if the incident is so trivial that it doesn’t even deserve Désolé, you might want to go for our super-casual Oups (“Oops”).

    Not sure when you should say “Sorry?” Have a look at our list of phrases to say when you are angry on FrenchPod101. If you hear some of these directed at you, there’s a good chance you might want to apologize for something!

    Not Sure To Say Sorry


    2. Take Responsibility

    3 Ways To Say Sorry

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s see how to go a step further. If you ask for forgiveness, you may want to accept the blame and acknowledge that you’re guilty of your bad deeds. Here’s how:

    • Je regrette. (“I regret.”)
    • Je suis navré. (“I’m sorry.”)
    • C’est ma faute. (“It’s my fault.”)
    • Je ne le ferai plus. (“I won’t do it again.”)
    • Je n’aurais pas dû dire ça. (“I should not have said that.”)
    • Comment puis-je me faire pardonner ? (“How can I be forgiven?”)

    In an informal setting, you could use a bit of slang (with care, as both of these terms are very familiar):

    • J’ai merdé. (“I’ve messed up.”)
    • J’ai déconné. (“I’ve screwed up.”)

    You can find more examples and useful phrases on our list of Common ways to say Sorry, as well as an audio recording to practice your accent.


    3. Sorry Gestures

    When working on your apology in learning French, gestures are an important aspect to consider. Although there’s no ‘official’ gesture to express that you’re sorry or to ask for forgiveness, having your body language in line with your words never hurts. In France, here are a few gestures to pick up:

    • Hold your hands up, as if you’re held at gunpoint.
    • Place one hand over your heart.
    • Open your hands in front of your hips, palms up or down.
    • Slightly extend one hand, palm up, toward the other person.
    • Hold your hands together perpendicularly in front of you.

    Remember to look at the other person in the eyes while apologizing. Keeping eye contact inspires trust and evokes a deeper connection. The other person will be more likely to believe in the sincerity of your apologies with a straight and confident look than with shifty eyes.

    Eye Contact


    4. How to Accept an Apology

    Now, what do you do when you’re on the other side of the apology? If you believe in the sincerity of the other person and feel ready to accept their apologies, you need to know how to proceed. And if you’re apologizing to someone, you need to understand what they might say in reply.

    In the case of a trivial matter that didn’t really require an apology:

    • C’est rien. (“It’s nothing.”)
    • C’est pas grave. (“It’s nothing serious.”)
    • Pas de soucis. (“No worries.”)

    For something more serious, here are a few examples:

    • J’accepte tes excuses. / J’accepte vos excuses. (“I accept your apologies.”)
    • Merci de t’être excusé. / Merci de vous être excusé. (“Thank you for apologizing.”)
    • Ne t’en fais pas. / Ne vous en faites pas. (“Don’t worry.”)
    • Je comprends. (“I understand.”)


    5. Make it Official

    Saying Sorry

    While most situations allow you to show some creativity with your apologies, there are some cases where it’s codified and doesn’t leave much room for improvisation.

    1- Condoléances (“Condolences”)

    Expressing your condolences is just as socially codified in France as anywhere else in the world. Here are a few examples of condolences sentences that you may want to use, should the need arise:

    • Je vous présente mes sincères condoléances.
      (“I offer you my sincere condolences.”)
    • En ces moments difficiles, je vous apporte tout mon soutien.
      (“During these difficult moments, I offer you my full support.”)
    • Je partage votre douleur et vous adresse mes sincères condoléances.
      (“I feel your pain and offer my sincere condolences.”)

    On a personal note, while these are certainly appropriate as a token of respect toward strangers or distant acquaintances, I would recommend something warmer and more personal for your friends.

    Unfortunately, there’s no prefabricated formulas for this but you can find some resources in our free vocabulary list for the Day of the Dead.

    Pink Roses

    2- Professional Apologies

    Any company is eventually bound to present apologies, be it toward customers, partners, or investors. Once again, professional apologies are highly codified and are usually expressed with formulas without too much soul.

    There’s no strict template but they usually look like these:

    • Veuillez nous excuser de la gêne occasionnée.
      (“Please, excuse us for any inconvenience.”)
    • Je suis au regret de vous informer que ___
      (“I’m sorry to inform you that ___”)
    • Nous vous présentons nos excuses pour ce désagrément.
      (“We offer you our apologies for this inconvenience.”)
    • Je vous prie de nous pardonner pour ___
      (“Please, forgive us for ___”)


    6. French Culture of Apologies

    We’ve all heard before how the French are rude or insensitive, and especially if you’re coming from a country where the customer-centric approach reigns supreme, you’re bound to miss the exquisite courtesy you’ve been lulled by before coming to France.

    1- The French VS The Customers

    “And then, he slammed in on the table like an angry French waiter!”

    As much as it makes me laugh, it also saddens me a little that my compatriots are mainly famous for their bad manners and rough tempers. And it’s not just waiters; it applies to most of our daily interactions as customers, from the supermarket to the bank, the phone company or the tickets booth in the subway.

    Being born and bred in France, it never struck me as a problem or even an oddity. But when I traveled to countries with a strong customer-centric philosophy such as Australia or Japan, I immediately noticed the difference:

    • In Australia, I was being called “Sweetheart” or “Love” by a cashier I was seeing for the first time.
    • In Japan, it seemed to me that the staff would apologize for bringing me the bill, then apologize for taking my money, and apologize again for giving the change back.
    • In France, I consider myself lucky when they look me in the eyes and I’d be shocked if they ever thank me for anything, even more so apologize.

    All things considered, this is just a different approach to customer interactions and it shouldn’t be taken as an offensive behavior or a lack of empathy. French professionals are just not as inclined to apologize as in other countries.

    Tables and Chairs

    2- The French VS The Feelings

    Now, outside of these artificial business constructions, and more generally speaking: Why is it difficult for French people to apologize?

    To understand this, you need to consider the balance between “Reason” and “Feelings.” It varies wildly from one culture to the next and to keep it simple, let’s say that the French tend to overvalue rationality at the expense of their emotional landscape.

    As I mentioned in another article, our body language is more restrained, our gestures aren’t as exuberant as those in North America, and our intonation isn’t as loud and assertive as those in Latin America.

    Being rational creatures, the French are less likely to apologize for what they might see as “wrong reasons.” One such reason being to calm someone down or to alleviate their resentment.

    We tend to think that it’s more important to be right than kind and won’t apologize unless we sincerely believe that we’ve done or said something wrong. On one hand, it’s a positive trait, as we keep things straight and honest. On the other hand, this isn’t the best way to handle emotional people who care more about their connection with you than your quest for the truth.

    “Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.” (Mark Matthews)


    How Frenchpod101 Can Help You Learn More about Apologizing

    In this guide, you’ve learned how to say “sorry” in French, as well as when you want to make amends for your bad deeds or in everyday situations as polite formulas. We’ve also seen how to take the blame and recognize our fault.

    Do you have anything you need to apologize for? Don’t wait any longer and offer a heartbreaking apology using what you’ve learned today!

    A good exercise is to write an apology about an imaginary blunder, trying to combine the different sentences that we’ve seen. Also make sure to explore FrenchPod101, as it has plenty of free resources for you to practice your grammar and vocabulary!

    Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher answer any of your questions or give you feedback on your “apology essay!”

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French

    About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.

    Your Guide to French Texting Slang: MDR, DSL and More

    What do kids say these days? The digital culture keeps French learners just as confused as our grandparents when it comes to the newest expressions à la mode.

    The good thing is that once you master a few texting codes, you’ll be able to communicate in written French on a daily basis. Sometimes, texting can be so much easier than talking face-to-face!

    Table of Contents

    1. French Texting Slang 101: Consonants, Abbreviations, and Sounds
    2. Texting Slang to Agree on a Meeting
    3. Conveying Emotions with French Texting Slang
    4. Slang Etiquette: Being Polite While Texting in French
    5. Debating in Abbreviations
    6. The Daily Texting Slang: Holding Conversations in Abbreviated French
    7. Bonus—The Mystery Emojis
    8. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You

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    1. French Texting Slang 101: Consonants, Abbreviations, and Sounds

    Let’s start with the basics! Just like in English texting slang, many abbreviations replace syllables or even words with letters and numbers that sound like them.

    • Example: “U” = “You”

    In French texting slang, the most current symbols include:

    • 2, symbol for de = “of”
    • G, symbol for J’ai = “I have”
    • C, symbol for C’est = “It is”
    • é, symbol for Est = “is”
    • K, symbol for qu, found in the following abbreviations:
      • Ki, short for Qui = “Who”
      • Kel, short for Quel = “Which”
      • Koi, or Kwa, short for Quoi = “What”
      • Kan, short for Quand = “When”
    • T, symbol for T’es or Tu es = “You are”


    2. Texting Slang to Agree on a Meeting

    Since organization is one of the main reasons people text, the slang dictionary of expressions related to meetings is particularly rich.

    • 12C4, short for Un de ces quatre = “Someday” or more literally “one of the upcoming days”
    • 2vant, short for Devant = “In front of”
    • Bi1to, short for Bientôt = “Soon”
      • Example: A bientôt = “See you soon!”
    • D100, short for Descend = “Get downstairs”
    • DRR, short for Derrière = “Behind”
    • H24 = “24h/day” or “all the time”
    • RSVP, short for Réservez s’il vous plaît; or RSTP, for Réserve s’il te plaît = “Please confirm your presence, whether you use the tutoiement or the vouvoiement with the person you’re talking with”
    • TDS, short for Tout de suite; or DQP, short for Dès que possible = “ASAP”
    • V1, sort for Viens = “Come on”; “Come on in”; “Join in”


    3. Conveying Emotions with French Texting Slang

    There are emojis, as well as a fine choice of slang abbreviations, to color the conversation in a pinch. Pick your favorites!

    • 5pa, short for Sympa = “Nice”; “Cool”
      • Example: C 5pa ici = “It’s cool here”
      • NB: C Pas 5pa, short for C’est pas sympa = “That’s not cool”
    • AC2N, short for Assez de haine = “Stop the hate”
    • BLC, short for Je m’en bats les couilles = Literally “I’m beating my balls over this,” basically a rude way to say “I couldn’t care less.” Clearly to be used with caution.
    • CPG, short for C’est pas grave = “INBG” or “It’s no big deal”
    • DSL, short for Désolé = “Sry” or “Sorry”
    • JPP, short for J’en peux plus = “I can’t take this anymore”
    • JSPR, short for J’espère = “I hope so”
    • JTM, short for Je t’aime = “I love you”
    • LStomB, short for Laisse tomber = “WTV” or “Let it go”
    • MDR, short for Mort de rire = “LOL” or literally “Dead from laughter”
    • MSK, short for Miskine = Miskine is an Arabic word for “idiot.” It’s used to convey sympathy or spite.
    • OKLM, short for Au calme = Literally “In a calm place,” it’s used to mean that you’ve found your peace of mind.
    • PTDR, short for Pété de rire = “LMAO”, “ROFL”, or literally “Bursting from laughter”
    • Put1, short of Putain = One of the most famous French swear words; it literally means “Whore” but is used more like “Fuck” in English.
      • Example: Put1 g oublié mes clés! = “Fuck, I forgot my keys!”
      • NB: Obviously, use with caution!
    • MRD, short for Merde = “Shit,” another swear word
      • NB: Again, use with caution!
    • RAF, short for Je n’en ai rien à faire = “I don’t care,” as a rather strong statement
      • Example: RAF 2 T PBS = “I don’t care about your problems!”
      • NB: It could also mean Rien à foutre meaning “I don’t give a fuck.” Use with caution.
    • Snif = “Sob,” which is an onomatopoeia meant to indicate sadness
      • Example: Snif tu peux pas venir à la soirée! = “So sad you can’t come to the party!”
    • TG, short for Ta gueule = “Shut up.” Use with caution.
    • T NRV, short for T’es énervé = “U mad”
      • NB: If your interlocutor uses verlan, a slang that reverses the syllables of words, this could come out as T VNR.
    • TOK, short for T’es OK = “Are u OK”
    • WLLH, short for Wallah = “By God”; “I swear to God”
    • WSH, short for Wesh = “Hey”; “Yo”
    • X, symbol for Bisous (or Bzou in texting slang), or for Je crois = “I believe”
      • Example: Je x ke c bon. OK, XXX
      • “I think it’s all right.” “OK, XOXO”


    4. Slang Etiquette: Being Polite While Texting in French

    Believe it or not, in French even texting slang has its own etiquette!

    We all know how ending a text message with an actual dot can set a completely different tone.
    And the French remain attached to manners and politeness in all context. So, don’t neglect the following abbreviations:

    • A+, short for A plus tard = “See you later”, as in “in a while”
    • A tt, short for A tout à l’heure = “See you later”, as in “in a few hours”
      • NB: This is the expression most appropriate to mean “BRB”
    • A2m1, short for A demain = “See you tomorrow”
    • ALP, short for A la prochaine = “See you next time”
    • Bjr, short for Bonjour = “Hello”
    • Bsr, short for Bonsoir = “Good night”
    • CC, short for Coucou = “Hey there”
    • Koi29, or QDN, short for Quoi de neuf = “What’s up”; “What’s new”
      • Bugs Bunny’s famous “What’s up, doc?” became Quoi de neuf, docteur? in the cartoon’s French version.
    • MR6, short for Merci = “Tks”; “Thank you”
    • OKP, short for Occupé = “Busy”; a quick way to let the person you’re talking with know that you can’t answer just now. However, it’s a little short, and not too polite.
    • P2K, short for Pas de quoi; or 2ri1, short for De rien = “Ur welcome”, in response to thanks
    • RE, short for Retour = “I’m back online”; a signal to restart the conversation
    • SLT, short for Salut = “Hi”
    • STP, short for S’il te plaît; SVP, short for S’il vous plaît = “Please,” depending on whether you use the tutoiement or the vouvoiement
    • TKT, short for T’inquiète or, more formally, Ne t’inquiète pas = “Don’t worry”
      • Example: Tkt g géré l’exam = “No worries, I aced the test”

    NB: If you really have to be polite while addressing an authority figure of any kind, just avoid slang altogether. And in any case, spelling the whole phrase out is much more pleasant and meaningful!


    5. Debating in Abbreviations

    Text Abbreviations

    Respect Twitter and other forums’ character limits with use of a few useful expressions.

    • 1TRC, short for Intéressé = “Interested”; a way to mark your interest or to signal that you’re following the conversation
    • 1mposibl, short for Impossible = “Impossible”
    • AMHA, short for A mon humble avis = “IMHO” or “In my honest opinion”
    • ASKIP, short for A ce qu’il paraît = “It seems that”
    • Cbi1, CB1, short for C’est bien = “That’s good”
      • NB: Don’t confuse with Cbn, short for Combien = “How many” or “How much”
    • C ça, short for C’est ça = “That’s right”
    • EnTK or EntouK, short for En tout cas = “In any case”
    • Fo, short for Faut or Faux = “Must” or “False”
      • Example: Fo HT du p1 or C pa fo
      • “We must buy more bread” or “That’s not wrong”
    • ID, short for Idée = “Idea”
    • PEH, short for Pour être honnête = “TBH” or “To be honest”; “TBF” or “To be fair”


    6. The Daily Texting Slang: Holding Conversations in Abbreviated French

    Woman Looking at Phone

    Finally, French texters simply abbreviate a large number of words used in daily conversations. Don’t get confused if you come across any of the following:

    • 6né, short for Cinéma = “Cinema”
    • Ac or Av, short for Avec = “With”
    • Auj or Ajdh, short for Aujourd’hui = “Today”
    • Ayé, short for Ca y est = “Done”
    • B1sur, short for Bien sûr = “OFC” or “Of course”
    • BCP, short for Beaucoup = “A lot”
    • CAD, short for C’est à dire = “That is”
    • C cho, short for C’est chaud = “That’s rough”; “That’s intense”; “That won’t be easy”
    • Chuis, short for Je suis = “I am”
    • Cki, short for C’est qui = “Who dis”; “Who is this”
    • CT, short for C’était = “It was”
    • Com dab, short for Comme d’habitude = “As usual”
    • Dacc, Dac, or Dak, short for D’accord = “OK,” or literally “We have an agreement”
    • Dc, short for Donc = “So”
    • GHT, short for J’ai acheté = “I bought”
    • GT, short for J’étais = “I was”
    • Je C, JC, or Je cé short for Je sais = “I know”
      • NB: “IKR” or “I know, right,” would be better translated by a more intense expression: Je céééé = “IKR.”
    • Grave = “Totally”
    • JSP, short for Je ne sais pas = “IDK” or “I don’t know”
      • NB: NSP, short for Ne sait pas = “Does not know”
    • Je vé, JV, short for Je vais = “I am going to”
    • JMS, short for Jamais = “Never”
    • Keske, short for Qu’est-ce que = “What is”
    • Kestufou, short for Qu’est-ce que tu fous = “What the hell are you doing?” Use with caution.
      • Example: Kestufou ça fé 1h quejt’attend! = “What the hell are you doing, I’ve been waiting for you for an hour!”
    • Kwa, short for Quoi = “What”
    • MSG, short for Message = “Message”
    • PB, short for Problème = “Problem”
      • Example: Pas 2 pb = “No problem”
    • PK or PKoi, short for Pourquoi = “Why”
    • QQ or QQ1, short for Quelqu’un = “Someone”
    • RAS, short for Rien à Signaler = “Nothing to report”
    • TJS, short for Toujours = “Always”
    • TLM, short for Tout le monde = “Everyone”
    • Tps, short for Temps = “Time”
    • TT, short for Tout = “All”
    • VRT, short for Vraiment = “Truly”
    • Ya, short for Il y a = “There is”


    7. Bonus—The Mystery Emojis

    Two People Box Head with Smiley Face

    Emojis aren’t always what they seem! You might want to be careful when you send someone a peach or an eggplant.

    • A fire = Sexy
    • A frog + a cup of tea = “Just saying”
    • A new moon = Discomfort; secret; afterthought
    • An owl, symbol for C’est chouette = “That’s cool”
      • NB: Une chouette is French for “an owl”
    • A peach = Someone’s butt
    • A pig = Something kinky, with a sexual connotation


    How FrenchPod101 Can Help You

    Slang in general—and texting slang in particular—evolves very fast. Don’t forget to add on to this list as you chat with your French friends!

    We’ll update this lesson whenever necessary. Who knows what other expressions the younger French generations will make up next?

    This lesson is but one of FrenchPod101’s explorations of the various French slang words! In our future articles, we’ll work on oral slang, French TV shows, and regional expressions.

    Sign up today to make sure you don’t miss them!

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