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100 Must-Know French Verbs

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Did you get the chance to read our previous articles on 100 Nouns and 100 Adjectives? In that case, I guess you saw this one coming! To complete your French arsenal, I present you with the most common and useful French verbs. 

They’ll greatly expand your capacity to build interesting phrases, as well as enhance your reading and listening skills. More importantly, they’ll get you through most of your daily interactions and you’re not likely to be caught off-guard once you’ve mastered them.
In this article, we’ll cover everything from French verb conjugation—including -er and -ir verbs—reflexive verbs, and of course, a list of the top 100 verbs for you to add to your vocabulary.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in French Table of Contents
  1. Mastering French Verbs
  2. The 100 Most Useful French Verbs
  3. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. Mastering French Verbs

Je visite Paris - Tu visites Paris - Il visite Paris

1- French Tenses are Scary

If you know a bit about French verb conjugation, you know it can be intimidating, with many groups, tenses, and exceptions. However, once you start understanding the logic underneath, you’ll soon brush this first impression off.

Of course, coming from the English language, even the Présent tense can seem a bit overwhelming, with distinct endings for each pronoun:

  • Je pense
  • Tu penses
  • Il / Elle pense
  • Nous pensons
  • Vous pensez
  • Ils pensent

This is not an article about tenses, and we’ll stick to the Présent for most of the examples, with occasional notes on the Passé composé (one of the three most common tenses in spoken French, alongside Present and Near Future).

And for all your conjugation needs, I suggest that you bookmark this website (or any similar online resource): https://la-conjugaison.nouvelobs.com/. Also keep in mind that FrenchPod101 will soon have another article dedicated to French verb conjugation rules! 

2- The Curse of Irregular Verbs

One important thing to keep in mind is that, like in most languages, the most prominent verbs are also the most irregular ones. People have been using these verbs so much over the centuries that they had plenty of opportunities to evolve, mutate, and twist in mysterious ways, to the point where some of their conjugated forms differ wildly from the infinitive. 

You shouldn’t be put off by the first verbs you’ll learn, such as être (“to be”) or aller (“to go”). Just like in English, these verbs are highly irregular. But I still recommend that you learn them first, as they’re also some of the absolute most useful French verbs you’ll encounter.

3- The Bliss of Regular Verbs

Top Verbs

In the meantime, many other verbs will show similarities, and from them, you’ll get a grasp of how regular verbs work. 

Understanding regular French verbs early on will allow you to navigate through this list with much more ease, so here’s everything there is to know about conjugating French verbs:

Penser (“to think”) ← This is the infinitive form

Pens ← This is the “stem”

1st sg (I)2nd sg (you)3rd sg (she)1st pl (we)2nd pl (you)3rd pl (they)
Stem + eStem + esStem + eStem + onsStem + ezStem + ent
Je penseTu pensesElle penseNous pensonsVous pensezIls pensent

4- Should You Care About Verb Groups?

Short answer: No.

Oh well, let me elaborate a little. It’s very common when learning French verbs to start with a lesson on verb groups. There are three groups based on verb endings:

  • French ER verbs
  • French IR verbs
  • French RE verbs

Each of these groups follows a given set of rules that you can use as guidelines to conjugate virtually any French verb. Pretty cool, right? Except it doesn’t work.

The first group is somewhat regular…let’s say for the most part. Then, the other two groups are such a giant mess of irregularities that it doesn’t make sense to try and rely on groups at all. You’ll see that many of the IR and RE verbs from this very list don’t abide by any fixed set of rules. For that reason, I won’t talk about it any further.

French Kid Trying to Make Sense of Verb Groups.

5- How to Effectively Learn French Verbs

Understanding French verbs in their entirety may seem like an impossible task, and you’re probably wondering how to memorize French verbs easily and effectively. 

To quickly pick up on French verbs and conjugation, I recommend jumping right into it! Don’t clutter your memory with countless rules and conjugation tables. Instead, read the examples from this article’s verbs list and try to figure out for yourself the inner workings of their conjugation. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How does the infinitive end?
  • How does it end now that it’s conjugated with this pronoun?
  • Is it working like similar verbs I’ve seen before or could it be irregular?

The more you figure out by yourself, the more confident you’ll become with verbs and the quicker you’ll be able to handle them without overthinking it and dwelling on textbook rules. Only then can you consider reviewing what you’ve learned with some more academic material and get a better idea of the big picture.

Now, let’s review our French verbs list for beginners! 

2. The 100 Most Useful French Verbs

More Essential Verbs

These are French verbs used in daily life that you’ll hear over and over again in France. What are you waiting for? Get cracking!

1

être
“to be”
Je suis Français.
“I am French.”

2

avoir
“to have”
Tu as une maison à Paris.
“You have a house in Paris.”

Être and avoir are auxiliary verbs, which makes them the two most important French verbs. We use them to form compound conjugations in tenses such as passé composé and past subjunctive.

Here’s an example of passé composé with the verb manger (“to eat”):

  • Présent: Je mange (“I eat”)
  • Passé composé: J’ai mangé (“I have eaten”)

Here’s another example with the verb tomber (“to fall”):

  • Présent: Je tombe (“I fall”)
  • Passé composé: Je suis tombé (“I have fallen”)
/! When should I use the French auxiliary verbs être or avoir?

We use avoir in most situations, except for these two cases:

1) We use être for all pronominal verbs (those starting with se)

For example: se lever (“to stand up”)
  • Présent: Je me lève (“I stand up”)
  • Passé composé: Je me suis levé (“I have stood up”)
2) We also use être for a few other verbs, most of them reflecting a change of direction, state, or movement.

Some examples: monter, rester, retourner, descendre, passer, venir, aller, entrer, sortir, arriver, partir, tomber
French Irregular Verbs - Volumes 1 to 24

Now that our auxiliaries are under control, let’s get back to our list!

3

aller
“to go”
Vous allez à l’école le lundi.
“You go to school on Mondays.”
Aller is used to form one of the most important tenses of spoken French: Near Future.
  • Tu vas voir ! (“You will see!”)
  • Ils vont s’amuser. (“They will have fun.”)

4

vouloir
“to want,” “to wish”
Vous voulez du café ?
“Do you want some coffee?”

5

pouvoir
“can,” “to be able”
Il peut venir ce soir.
“He can come tonight.”

6

devoir
“must,” “to have to,” “to owe”
Nous devons y aller.
“We need to go.”
Devoir is also a noun, meaning “duty.”

7

falloir
“to have to”
Il faut le voir pour le croire.
“You have to see it to believe it.”

8

faire
“to do,” “to make”
Ils font la paix.
“They are making peace.”

9

dire
“to tell,” “to say”
Tu dis ce que tu penses.
“You say what you think.”

10

parler
“to speak”
Nous parlons souvent.
“We speak often.”

11

aimer
“to like,” “to love”
J’aime le fromage.
“I love cheese.”
It’s interesting to notice that “to like” and “to love” translate into the same French verb.

So, when I say: J’aime ma femme (“I love my wife”) and J’aime le fromage (“I love cheese”), it conveys a similar intensity.

Not so romantic now, are we?

12

mettre
“to put,” “to place”
Je mets le rôti au four.
“I put the roast in the oven.”

13

remettre
“to put back”
Tu remets ton chapeau.
“You’re putting your hat back.”

14

poser
“to put down,” “to ask”
Il pose son sac dans la chambre.
“He’s putting his bag in the bedroom.”

Elle pose trop de questions.
“She’s asking too many questions.”

15

prendre
“to take,” “to catch,” “to capture”
Il prend le bus tous les jours.
“He takes the bus everyday.”

16

donner
“to give”
Nous donnerons bientôt notre réponse.
“We will give our answer shortly.”

17

savoir
“to know”
Je ne sais pas.
“I don’t know.”

18

voir
“to see”
Les chats voient dans le noir.
“Cats can see in the dark.”

19

entendre
“to hear”
Ils ont entendu un bruit.
“They have heard a noise.”

20

demander
“to ask,” “to request”
Tu as demandé l’addition ?
“Did you ask for the check?”

21

répondre
“to answer,” “to reply”
Il répond à un email.
“He’s answering an email.”

22

chercher
“to look for”
Nous cherchons un appartement.
“We are looking for a flat.”

23

trouver
“to find,” “to discover”
Il trouve toujours une solution.
“He always finds a solution.”

24

retrouver
“to regain,” “to meet up”
On se retrouve devant la gare.
“We’re meeting in front of the train station.”

25

rendre
“to return,” “to give back,” “to make”
Tu vas rendre cet argent.
“You will give this money back.”

26

venir
“to come”
Nous venons en paix.
“We come in peace.”

27

passer
“to pass,” “to go,” “to come”
Il est passé par ici.
“He came this way.”

28

croire
“to believe,” “to think”
Je crois qu’il est là.
“I think he’s here.”

29

montrer
“to show”
Montrez-moi vos mains.
“Show me your hands.”

30

commencer
“to begin,” “to start”
Le film commence maintenant.
“The movie is starting now.”

31

continuer
“to continue,” “to keep going”
Continuez tout droit.
“Keep going straight.”

32

penser
“to think”
Je ne pense pas.
“I don’t think so.”

33

comprendre
“to understand,” “to include,” “to comprehend”
Ils ne comprennent rien.
“They don’t understand anything.”

34

rester
“to stay,” “to remain”
Restez calme.
“Remain calm.”

35

attendre
“to wait”
J’attends mon bus.
“I’m waiting for my bus.”

36

partir
“to leave”
Tu pars demain ?
“Are you leaving tomorrow?”

37

arriver
“to arrive,” “to happen”
Il est arrivé en retard.
“He arrived late.”

Ça arrive tous les jours.
“It happens everyday.”

38

suivre
“to follow”
Suivez cette voiture !
“Follow this car!”

39

revenir
“to come back”
Nous revenons de vacances.
“We are coming back from vacation.”

40

connaître
“to know”
Ils connaissent ce restaurant.
“They know this restaurant.”

41

compter
“to count”
Je vais compter jusqu’à 10.
“I will count to 10.”

42

permettre
“to permit,” “to allow”
Ils nous permettent d’entrer.
“They allow us to enter.”
French idiom time!
  • Tu permets ? (“Do you mind?”) [Casual]
  • Vous permettez ? (“Would you mind?”) [Polite]

43

s’occuper
“to take care of”
Il s’occupe des enfants.
“He’s taking care of the kids.”

44

sembler
“to seem”
Cela semble certain.
“It seems certain.”

45

lire
“to read”
Elle lit le journal.
“She’s reading the newspapers.”
Mother and Son Reading Books

Nous lisons un livre. (“We are reading a book.”)

46

écrire
“to write”
Nous écrivons sur un blog.
“We are writing on a blog.”

47

devenir
“to become,” “to turn into”
Je veux devenir pilote.
“I want to become a pilot.”

48

décider
“to decide”
Vous avez décidé de venir ?
“Did you decide to come?”

49

tenir
“to hold”
Je te tiendrai la main.
“I will hold your hand.”

50

porter
“to carry,” “to wear”
Il est interdit de porter des bretelles.
“It is forbidden to wear suspenders.”

51

servir
“to serve”
Ils servent de la soupe.
“They are serving soup.”

52

laisser
“to leave,” “to allow,” “to let”
Laissez-moi tranquille !
“Leave me alone!”

53

envoyer
“to send”
Ils vont l’envoyer par la poste.
“They will send it by mail.”

54

recevoir
“to receive”
Elle ne l’a pas encore reçu.
“She didn’t receive it yet.”

55

vivre
“to live”
Nous vivons en Russie.
“We live in Russia.”

56

appeler
“to call”
Je t’appelle plus tard.
“I’ll call you later.”

57

rappeler
“to remind,” “to call back”
Je te rappelle dans un moment.
“I’ll call you back in a moment.”

58

présenter
“to introduce,” “to present”
Je te présenterai ma fiancée.
“I’ll introduce you to my fiancée.”

59

accepter
“to accept”
Nous acceptons Visa et Mastercard.
“We accept Visa and Mastercard.”

60

refuser
“to refuse”
Il a refusé de travailler là.
“He refused to work there.”

61

agir
“to act”
Tu agis bizarrement.
“You’re acting weird.”

62

jouer
“to play”
Vous jouez à quoi ?
“What are you playing?”

63

reconnaître
“to recognize,” “to acknowledge”
Je ne l’avais pas reconnue.
“I didn’t recognize her.”

64

choisir
“to choose,” “to select”
Choisis bien !
“Choose well!”

65

toucher
“to touch”
Je peux toucher ?
“Can I touch?”

66

expliquer
“to explain”
Expliquez moi comment y aller.
“Explain to me how to go there.”

67

Se lever
“to stand up,” “to get out of bed”
Je me lève tous les jours à 8h.
“I get out of bed everyday at 8 o’clock.”

68

ouvrir
“to open”
Il ouvre son cadeau.
“He’s opening his present.”

69

gagner
“to win,” “to earn”
On a gagné !
“We won!”

70

perdre
“to lose”
Tu perds la tête.
“You’re losing your mind.”

71

exister
“to exist”
Ça existe encore ?
“Does it still exist?”

72

réussir
“to succeed,” “to manage”
J’ai réussi à le réparer.
“I managed to fix it.”

73

changer
“to change”
Il va changer de coiffure.
“He will change his haircut.”

74

travailler
“to work”
Nous travaillons dans l’informatique.
“We work in IT.”

75

dormir
“to sleep”
Elle dort sur le canapé.
“She’s sleeping on the couch.”

76

marcher
“to walk”
Ils marchent très rapidement.
“They walk really fast.”
Negative Verbs

77

essayer
“to try,” “to attempt”
J’essaye une nouvelle technique.
“I’m trying a new technique.”

78

empêcher
“to prevent,” “to stop”
Ca ne t’empêche pas d’essayer.
“It doesn’t stop you from trying.”

79

reprendre
“to resume,” “to take back”
Il reprend sa partie.
“He’s resuming his game.”

80

cuisiner
“to cook”
Vous cuisinez du cassoulet.
“You’re cooking cassoulet.”

81

appartenir
“to belong”
Cette maison appartient à ma famille.
“This house belongs to my family.”

82

risquer
“to risk”
Il risque sa vie tous les jours.
“He’s risking his life everyday.”

83

apprendre
“to learn,” “to teach”
Vous apprenez le Français sur FrenchPod101.
“You’re learning French on FrenchPod101.”

84

rencontrer
“to meet”
On s’est rencontrés sur Internet.
“We met on the Internet.”

85

créer
“to create”
Les écrivains créent des mondes imaginaires.
“Writers create imaginary worlds.”

86

obtenir
“to obtain,” “to get”
Il a obtenu son diplôme.
“He got his degree.”

87

entrer
“to enter”
Elle entre par la porte de derrière.
“She’s entering through the back door.”

88

sortir
“to exit,” “to go out,” “to leave”
Tu sors, ce soir ?
“Are you going out tonight?”

89

proposer
“to offer,” “to suggest”
Nous vous offrons un poste.
“We offer you a position.”

90

apporter
“to bring”
J’ai apporté du saucisson.
“I’ve brought saucisson.”

91

utiliser
“to use”
On utilise des engrais naturels.
“We use natural fertilizers.”

92

atteindre
“to reach,” “to achieve”
Ça a atteint de nouveaux sommets.
“It has reached new heights.”

93

préparer
“to prepare,” “to make”
Je prépare le déjeuner.
“I’m making lunch.”

94

ajouter
“to add”
Ajoutons un peu de sel.
“Let’s add a bit of salt.”

95

voyager
“to travel”
Je voyage en Europe.
“I travel in Europe.”

96

payer
“to pay”
Avez-vous payé l’addition ?
“Did you pay the check?”

97

vendre
“to sell,” “to distribute”
Je vends mon appareil photo.
“I’m selling my camera.”

98

acheter
“to buy”
Tu achètes un ordinateur.
“You buy a computer.”

99

pousser
“to push”
Nous devons pousser la voiture.
“We have to push the car.”

100

tirer
“to pull,” “to shoot”
Il faut tirer très fort.
“You have to pull real hard.”
Man Pushing the Couch

Il pousse le canapé. (“He’s pushing the couch.”)

3. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this French verbs guide, you’ve learned everything about French verbs, from conjugation to auxiliary, groups, and irregular French verbs. And of course, you now have a wide selection of the most useful French verbs, with examples to get you familiar with them.

Did I forget any important verb that you know? Do you feel ready to put them to work in your daily conversations with French speakers?


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. Your private teacher can help you practice with verbs and conjugation using assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples for you. They can also review yours to help improve your pronunciation. Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

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10 Types of French Pronouns to Keep Things Sleek and Smooth

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Do you feel like your French is awkwardly congested with unnecessary repetitions? Wish there was a way to make these go away, and replace them with…let me think…beautiful pronouns? Oh, hey, what a coincidence!

French pronouns are what keep you from repeating the same things over and over when it’s already been mentioned, or when it’s just plain obvious. For example, you wouldn’t call your friends by their names in every single sentence. It’s better to use personal pronouns, such as tu, il, or elle. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In this article, we’ll talk about the ten main categories of French pronouns—direct and indirect object pronouns all the way to the relative pronouns. 

There’s a lot of French pronouns rules to process and a hefty load of vocabulary, so spend as much time as you need to read the examples or to practice making sentences on your own, and you’ll be a pronouns expert before you know it. =)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French Table of Contents
  1. Personal Pronouns
  2. Impersonal Pronouns
  3. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. Personal Pronouns 

Introducing Yourself

Alright, it’s time to make it personal and start with the first thing you think about when you hear “pronouns.”

Personal pronouns are everywhere, in almost every sentence, and you won’t empower your French without a deep and thorough dive into the crux of that matter.

These are the different types of personal pronouns:

  • Subject
  • Stressed
  • Direct object
  • Indirect object
  • Reflexive

We’ll look into every one of these types, but before we do, here’s an overview of what they all look like:

SubjectStressedDirect objectIndirect objectReflexive
jemoimememe
tutoitetete
il; elle; onlui; elle; soile; laluise
nous; onnousnousnousnous
vousvousvousvousvous
ils; elleseux; elleslesleurse

Now, let’s have a closer look at these French pronouns and how to use them. We’ll also look at how they behave and how they compare to their English counterparts.

1- Personal Subject Pronouns

No matter your level of French, you already know these guys. They’re some of the most basic and common words in the language, featured in the very first sentences you ever learned.

These pronouns simply replace the subject of a sentence.

For example:

  • Marie a faim. 

“Marie is hungry.”

  • Elle a faim. 

“She is hungry.”

SubjectExample
je (“I”)Je suis Français. 
“I am French.”
tu (“you”)Tu as raison. 
“You are right.”
il (“he”)


elle (“she”)


on (*)
Il frappe à la porte. 
“He is knocking on the door.”

Elle frappe à la porte. 
“She is knocking at the door.”

On frappe à la porte. 
“Someone is knocking at the door.”
nous, on (“we”)Nous sommes mariés. 
We are married.
vous (“you”)Vous êtes de vrais amis. 
“You are true friends.”
ils, elles (“they”)Ils vont bien. 
“They are doing well.”

(*) On is an odd case. It can be used as an indefinite pronoun or as an alternative to nous.

Depending on the sentence and context, on can translate as “someone,” “one,” or “people.”

  • On pourrait croire que… 

“One could think that…”

  • A l’époque, on pensait que… 

“At the time, people thought that…”

In other cases, on translates into a slightly casual nous. Indeed, in most conversations, you’ll use on instead of nous.

  • On sera un peu en retard ce soir. 

“We will be a bit late tonight.”

  • On va prendre la voiture. 

“We will take the car.”

2- Stressed Pronouns

No need to bang your head anywhere, these pronouns are much more stressed than they are stressful. They’re even pretty straightforward, once you get to know them!

StressedExample
1st person [s]moiC’est moi
“It’s me!”
2nd person [s]toiJ’en ai un. Et toi
“I’ve got one. And you?”
3rd person [s]lui; elle; soiNous sommes différents, lui et moi
“We are different, he and I.”

Avec ou sans elle 
“With or without her”
1st person [p]nousIls sont plus fort que nous
“They are stronger than us.”
2nd person [p]vousNous sommes meilleurs que vous. 
“We are better than you.”
3rd person [p]eux; ellesNe fais pas attention à eux. 
“Don’t mind them.”
Woman Meditating

Don’t let the stressed pronouns get on your nerves!

3- Direct and Indirect Pronouns

Now it’s getting serious! Before we get to these French pronouns examples, we need to talk about how they work and how to place direct and indirect pronouns in a sentence.

First, you need to find out whether you need a COD (Complément d’Objet Direct, not Call of Duty!) or a COI (Complément d’Objet Indirect).

COD answers the question: “Who?” or “What?

COI answers the question: “To whom?” or “To what?

And here are the different forms:

Direct objectIndirect object
1st person [s]meme
2nd person [s]tete
3rd person [s]le; lalui
1st person [p]nousnous
2nd person [p]vousvous
3rd person [p]lesleur
  • Let’s take an example: 

Julie donne une pomme. 

“Julie gives an apple.”

Subject + Verb + ?

Julie donne quoi ? 

“Julie gives what?”

Une pomme. 

“An apple.”


Une pomme is our COD.

Now, we’ll replace une pomme with a direct pronoun and it changes the order of the words:

Subject + Direct Pronoun + Verb.

Julie la donne. 

“Julie gives it.”

  • Let’s take another example: 

Julie parle aux enfants. 

“Julie talks to the kids.”

Subject + Verb + ?

Julie parle à qui ? 

“Julie talks to whom?”

Aux enfants. 

“To the kids.”

Aux enfants is our COI.

Now, we’ll replace aux enfants with an indirect pronoun and change the order to:

Subject + Indirect Pronoun + Verb.

Julie leur parle. 

“Julie talks to them.”

  • And finally, let’s see how to use direct pronouns and indirect pronouns in one single sentence. What’s Julie up to?

Julie donne une pomme aux enfants.  

“Julie gives an apple to the kids.”

We already know that une pomme is COD and aux enfants is COI.

The sentence is built as follows: 

Subject + Direct PronounIndirect Pronoun + Verb

Julie la leur donne. 

“Julie gives it to them.”

Okay, that was heavy! Let’s relax a bit with some more examples to help you get familiar with the structures:

  • Julie donne une pomme à Cyril. (That’s me!)

Julie me la donne. 

“Julie gives it to me.”

  • Julie donne une pomme au lecteur. (She gives it to the reader, that’s you!)

Julie te la donne. 

“Julie gives it to you.”

  • Julie te les donne. 

“Julie gives it to you.”

(But it’s plural; there are several apples.)

  • Julie me les présente. 

“Julie introduces them to me.”

  • Julie te la présente. 

“Julie introduces her to you.”

  • Julie nous la présente. 

“Julie introduces her to us.”

Daughter Giving an Apple to Her Mother

Elle la lui donne. (“She gives it to her.”)

4- Reflexive Pronouns

I’d like to tell you that the worst part is behind us, but reflexive pronouns are still in the way!

Reflexive pronouns are used with reflexive verbs, such as:

  • Se laver
  • S’appeler
  • S’intéresser

While there’s nothing inherently complex about them, English-speakers can find them quite arbitrary. (Why are s’habiller or s’appeler reflexive verbs while manger is not?)

The general idea is that verbs that imply an action on yourself are reflexive, and can usually be translated using an additional “oneself.”

For example:

  • Nous nous lavons. 

“We wash [ourselves].”

  • Je m’appelle Bob. 

“I call [myself] Bob.” = “My name is Bob.”

  • Il se demande. 

“He asks himself.”

  • Elle s’habille. 

She dresses [herself].”

Many verbs involving a motion of some sort are also reflexive.

  • Il s’éloigne. 

“He moves [himself] away.”

  • Je m’assois. 

“I sit [myself].”

ReflexiveExamples
1st person [s]meJe me lève. 
“I stand up.”
2nd person [s]teTu te demandes. 
“You wonder.”
3rd person [s]seElle se promène. 
“She strolls.”
1st person [p]nousNous nous endormons. 
“We fall asleep.”
2nd person [p]vousVous vous rasez. 
“You shave.”
3rd person [p]seIls s’inscrivent. 
“They register.”

2. Impersonal Pronouns

Basic Questions

1- Impersonal Subject Pronouns

If you like to keep it to yourself and never show your true feelings, you have a lot in common with impersonal pronouns! Let’s see how to stay vague in French, starting with the impersonal subject pronouns:

  • Ça; ce; c’ 

“It”

  • Il 

“It”

What? Did you expect another big flashy tab, full of rows and colorful columns?

Now, here’s how to use them:

  • Ça commence maintenant. 

“It starts now.”

  • Ce n’est la première fois. 

“It is not the first time.”

  • C’est terminé. 

“It is over.”

  • Il est impossible d’entrer. 

“It is impossible to enter.”

  • Il est temps. 

“It is time.”

2- French Adverbial Pronouns

Not an overwhelming list either, but I can’t stress enough how important they are!

“there”; “about it”

  • en 

“one”; “some”; “of it”; “of them”

y is used to replace à [quelque chose] (“to [something]”; “about [something]”) or en [quelque chose] (“in [something]”)

This [something] is often a place, but not always, as long as it’s inanimate.

  • Je veux aller à Paris. 

“I want to go to Paris.”

Je veux y aller. 

“I want to go there.”

  • Je pense à mon avenir. 

“I think about my future.”

J’y pense. 

“I think about it.”

  • Je crois en la science. 

“I believe in science.”

J’y crois. 

“I believe in it.”

en is used to replace de(s) ____ (“some ____”; “of ____”)

You’ll see it a lot when talking about quantities.

  • J’ai une pomme. 

“I have an apple.”

J’en ai une. 

“I have one.”

  • J’ai deux frères. 

“I have 2 brothers.”

J’en ai deux. 

“I have two of them.”

  • J’ai beaucoup de cheveux. 

“I have lots of hair.”

J’en ai beaucoup. 

“I have a lot of it.”

  • Il a du temps. 

“He has time.”

Il en a. 

“He has some.”

A Colony of Penguins

Il y en a des milliers. (“There are thousands of them.”)

3- Relative Pronouns

I’ll keep these relatively simple, as they can easily be compared to English.

Of course, it’s never an exact translation, but it will give you a fairly good idea of how to use them in a variety of contexts.

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.”
qui 
“who”
J’ai un fils qui m’aime. 
“I have a son who loves me.”
où 
“where”; “when”
C’est la maison où je vis. 
“This is the house where I live.”

Le jour où je t’ai rencontrée 
“The day when I met you”
dont 
“whose”; “that”
L’homme dont c’est le chapeau 
“The man whose hat it is”

La personne dont tu parles 
“The person [that] you’re talking about”
lequel(s) 
laquelle(s)
“which”; “that”
Le lit sur lequel nous dormons
“The bed on which we sleep”

Les rues dans lesquelles nous travaillons
The streets in which we are working”

/! You can’t use these to talk about people.

4- Demonstrative Pronouns

The demonstrative pronoun celui replaces something that was mentioned earlier.

  • J’aime le café mais pas celui de Starbucks. 

“I like coffee, but not the one from Starbucks.”

Sure, you could also say: 

J’aime le café mais pas le café de Starbucks. 

“I like coffee, but not the coffee from Starbucks.”

But it sounds clumsy, doesn’t it?

This demonstrative pronoun has masculine, feminine, and plural forms:

Masc. [s]celui
“The” / “This” / “That one”
C’est celui que je préfère. 
“This is the one I prefer.”
Masc. [p]ceux
“These” / “Those”
Ceux du fond
“Those in the back”
Fem. [s]celle
“The” / “This” / “That one”
Je te donne celle que tu veux. 
“I give you the one you want.”
Fem. [p]celles
“These” / “Those”
Celles de gauche 
“These on the left”

You can’t end a phrase with these demonstrative pronouns in their base form, or put them right before a verb. They simply don’t like it!

Instead, you have to add a suffix. It can be either ci (here) or (there).

  • J’ai deux livres. Je te prête celui.
  • J’ai deux livres, je te prête celui-ci. 

“I have two books, I’ll lend you this one.”

  • J’aime ces deux histoires mais je préfère celle-là. 

“I love these two stories, but I prefer that one.”

Two Kids Reading in the Dark

C’est celui que je préfère. (“This is the one I prefer.”)

5- Interrogative Pronouns

In case your brain is already melting out of your ears, let’s keep this one as simple as possible. Nothing complicated about interrogative pronouns, really!

qui 
“who”
Qui es-tu ? 
“Who are you?”
où 
“where”
Où allons-nous ? 
“Where are we going?”
quand 
“when”
Quand partez-vous ? 
“When do you leave?”
quoi 
“what”
A quoi penses-tu ? 
“What are you thinking about?”
lequel


lesquels


laquelle


lesquelles
“which one”
Lequel tu préfères ? 
“Which one do you prefer?”

Lesquels sont les plus gros ? 
“Which ones are the biggest?”

Laquelle me va le mieux ? 
“Which one suits me best?”

Lesquelles veux-tu voir ? 
“Which ones do you want to see?”
quel
quels
quelle
quelles
“which”
Quelle heure est-il ? 
“What time is it?”

/! These aren’t technically pronouns (they’re interrogative adjectives) but it felt wrong not to include them. And they were crying.

6- Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are these vague fellows who don’t want to be too specific about what’s going on or who’s involved. There are many of them, and they prove to be very useful.

Here are a few of the most common ones:

tout 
“everything”; “anything”; “all”
Tout est possible. 
“Anything is possible.”
rien 
“nothing”
Rien n’est impossible. 
“Nothing is impossible.”
personne 
“nobody”
Personne n’est parfait. 
“Nobody’s perfect.”
chacun 
“everyone”; “every man”
Chacun pour soi 
“Every man for himself”
tout le monde 
“everybody”
Tout le monde est là ? 
“Is everybody here?”
quelqu’un 
“someone”
Quelqu’un va venir. 
“Someone will come.”
quelque chose 
“something”
Quelque chose te tracasse ? 
“Is there something bothering you?”
certains 
“some [people]”
Certains sont venus. 
“Some people came.”

3. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

Improve Listening

In this French pronouns guide, you’ve learned everything about French pronouns, from direct to indirect object pronouns, French relative pronouns, and many more! 

Did we forget any important pronouns? Do you feel ready to come up with impressive sentences using all of these new tools? Or do you need more French pronouns help?

I’m gonna say it again, but the key is to take it one step at a time. Understanding French pronouns doesn’t happen overnight. Start making sentences with personal subject pronouns, then keep building from there! 

  • Sophie a acheté des pommes pour Nicolas.
  • Elle a acheté des pommes pour Nicolas.
  • Elle a acheté des pommes pour lui.
  • Elle en a acheté pour lui.

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 review 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 French pronouns with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with your pronunciation.

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

“Time Will Tell” – Telling Time in French

Thumbnail

Do you sometimes get the impression that time is flying away, riding a winged clock out of your reach, or is it just me? Flying or not, time is the single most precious thing we have, and being able to discuss it will prove useful within your first few days in France.

Whether you want to talk about your day, plan something, talk about schedules, or just answer someone on the street asking you for the time, learning about telling time in French is essential. You’ll have to know the basic vocabulary for “hour” or “minutes” in French, some numbers, and a variety of valuable time-related phrases and keywords.

In this article, you’ll learn everything about telling the time in French, from the units to the AM / PM system, common questions & answers, and much more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in French Table of Contents
  1. What Time is it?
  2. Time Units
  3. AM or PM?
  4. How to Give the Time
  5. Hour Divisions
  6. From Dusk till Dawn
  7. Expressions and Proverbs about Time in French
  8. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

1. What Time is it?

Surreal Scene with a Large Clock

Le temps presse ! (“Time is of the essence!”)

Before you learn how to tell the time in French, you’ll need to understand when someone is asking you for it. And in the process, you’ll learn how to ask for the time yourself. As you can expect, there isn’t only one way of asking about time in French, but the most popular, by far, is:

  • Quelle heure est-il ? [Formal]

“What time is it?”

If you have some experience with polite sentences, you may have noticed the inverted subject (est-il instead of il est). Indeed, this is the formal sentence that most French lessons teach you, but there are several other ways you can ask (or be asked) for the time:

  • Quelle heure il est ? [Casual]
  • Il est quelle heure ? [Casual]


Both of these phrases mean “What time is it?”

Let’s have a look at other popular alternatives:

  • Est-ce que vous avez l’heure ? [Formal]
  • Est-ce que tu as l’heure ? [Casual]
  • T’as l’heure ? [Very casual]

These translate to “Do you have the time?”

And of course, if you’re asking some stranger in the street or anyone you’re not yet familiar with, don’t forget to add some honey by starting with a polite Excusez-moi (“Excuse me”), and maybe a nice s’il vous plaît (“please”) at the end!

  • Excusez-moi, est-ce que vous avez l’heure, s’il vous plaît ? [Very formal]

“Excuse me, do you have the time, please?”

2. Time Units

Time

Before we get to the juicy part, let’s talk vocabulary for a moment. Obviously, to give the time in French, you’ll have to be in the clear about numbers. At the minimum, you need to be able to count up to fifty-nine, but don’t worry if you can’t do that yet—we also have some magic words to save you the trouble! 

However, I would say that counting up to 12 is an absolute minimum, so just in case, let’s review this quickly:

1. un2. deux3. trois4. quatre5. cinq6. six
7. sept8. huit9. neuf10. dix11. onze12. douze

Now, here are our time units:

  • une heure (“hour”)
  • une minute (“minute”)
  • une seconde (“second”)

So, what happens when you combine these words with numbers?

  • Trois heures (“three hours”)
  • Dix minutes (“ten minutes”)
  • Trente secondes (“thirty seconds”)

And here’s a glimpse of how to tell time in French with minutes, though we’ll go more into this later.

  • Cinq heures vingt (“five hours twenty minutes”)

In most cases, when the number of minutes closely follows the hour, like above, you can omit the word minutes (“minutes”). 

    → You’ll find these words, as well as the numbers, in our free vocabulary list on Talking about Time with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation!
A Sundial

Un cadran solaire (“A sundial”)

3. AM or PM?

Frequently asked question: Should I use the twelve- or twenty-four-hour system in French?

Answer: As you wish! (But there is a twist.)

The twelve-hour system used to be popular in northern Europe, but nowadays, it’s slowly losing the battle against the objectively superior twenty-four-hour system. Let’s see how it looks.

  • Il est 5 heures du matin. (“It is 5 AM” or literally “It is five hours in the morning.”)
  • Il est 5 heures de l’après-midi. (“It is 5 PM” or “It is five hours in the afternoon.”)
  • Il est 8 heures du soir. (“It is 8 PM” or “It is eight hours in the evening.”)

Dealing with twelve hours makes it easily confusing when you’re talking to someone from the same time zone, but it gets ridiculous with globalization and our tendency to communicate and schedule events with people from all around the world.

Now, if you also consider that AM (which stands for “Ante Meridiem,” as opposed to “Post Meridiem”) could possibly be the abbreviation for après-midi (French for “afternoon”), you’ll understand why it’s losing in popularity.

Let’s see what the twenty-four-hour system looks like:

  • Il est 5 heures. (“It’s 5 AM.”)
  • Il est 17 heures. (“It’s 5 PM.”)
  • Il est 20 heures. (“It’s 20 PM.”)

Now that being said, there are still MANY people using the twelve-hour system. It’s not even old-fashioned yet and you should be ready to understand it, even if you choose not to use it yourself.

And as tempting as it was to add a lecture on the Latin origin of meridiem, I’m all about self-control and will keep my sophisticated pedantism in check. Hey, did you know “pedant” comes from the Italian “pedante,” derived from the Latin “paedogogus?” Oh no, I did it again!

Woman Looking at a Clock

Most hated object in the house: The alarm clock!

4. How to Give the Time

Alright, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Here’s how to tell the time in French:

  • Il est _____. (“It is _____”).

Did it feel anticlimactic? I feel like it’s not quite the big reveal.

Okay, but that’s not all of it! Here’s how you can make it more interesting:

  • Il est 8 heures. (“It is 8.”)
  • Il est bientôt 8 heures. (“It is 8 soon.”)
  • Il sera bientôt 8 heures. (“It will be 8 soon.”)
  • Il est presque 8 heures. (“It is almost 8.”)
  • Il est 8 heures passées. (“It is past 8.”)
  • Il est encore 8 heures. (“It is still 8.”)
  • Il n’est pas encore 8 heures. (“It is not 8 yet.”)
  • Vers 8 heures. (“Around 8.”)
  • Aux environs de 8h. (“Around 8.”)
  • Il est 8 heures pile. (“It is 8 sharp.”)

Il est 8 heures pétantes. (“It is 8 sharp.”)

Hold on, these two are interesting!

Pile or tout pile is rather straightforward. When it’s not used for the time, you can find it as an equivalent of “sharp,” “exactly,” or “right,” as in:

A midi pile. (“At noon sharp.”)
On a pile 10 mètres carrés. (“We have exactly ten meters square.”)
Il a visé pile au centre. (“He aimed right at the center.”)

Il est 8 heures pétantes literally means “It is eight blasting hours,” or “It is eight farting hours.”

In 1786 in Paris, there used to be a small canon next to the Palais-Royal. It was only forty centimeters long and was equipped with a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s rays. Every sunny day at noon sharp, it would set the gunpowder on fire and BOOM!

And if you’re dealing with the twelve-hour system, don’t forget about the trinity of matin, après-midi, and soir:

  • Il est 4 heures du matin. (“It is four in the morning.”)
  • Il est 4 heures de l’après-midi. (“It is four in the afternoon.”)
  • Il est 9 heures du soir. (“It is nine in the evening.”)
Woman Pointing at an Alarm Clock

Il est 8 heures pile. (“It is 8 sharp.”)

5. Hour Divisions

I promised you a magic workaround if you don’t know all the numbers from 13 to 59. Here we are!

  • Il est 8 heures et demi. (“It is half past 8.”) Literally: “It is 8 hours and half.”
  • Il est 2 heures et quart. (“It is quarter past 2.”) Literally: “It is 2 hours and quarter.”
  • Il est 3 heures moins le quart. (“It is quarter to 3.”) Literally: “It is 3 hours minus quarter.”
  • Il est 9 heures moins 10. (“It is 10 to 9.”) Literally: “It is 9 hours minus 10.”

/! This only works in the twelve-hour system:

  • Il est 8 heures et demi.
  • Il est 20 heures et demi.
  • Il est 20 heures 30.

6. From Dusk till Dawn

Improve Listening

Now that we know how to ask for the time and tell the time in French, let’s get more vocabulary on the various moments of the day. Describing time in French becomes much simpler when you know how to say the general time.
Unless you’re living in Saint-Petersburg and partying throughout the endless white nights, or hiding from vampires during the thirty days of night in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, your typical day should start with a sunrise and end with a sunset.

Morning
  • Le lever du soleil (“Sunrise”)
  • L’aube (“Dawn”)
  • Le matin (“Morning”)
  • Le début de matinée (“Early morning”)
  • La matinée (“Morning”)
  • La fin de matinée (“Late morning”)
Afternoon
  • Le midi (“Noon”)
  • Le début d’après-midi (“Early afternoon”)
  • L’après-midi (“Afternoon”)
  • La fin d’après-midi (“Late afternoon”)
  • La fin de journée (“Late afternoon”)
Evening & Night
  • Le début de soirée (“Early evening”)
  • La soirée (“Evening”)
  • La fin de soirée (“Late evening”)
  • Le crépuscule (“Dusk”)
  • Le coucher du soleil (“Sunset”)
  • La nuit (“Night”)
  • Minuit (“Midnight”)
Sunset Near a Church

Un coucher de soleil (“A sunset”)

7. Expressions and Proverbs about Time in French

Did you notice that the French don’t ask “What time is it?” but “What hour is it?”

Many time-related French expressions are surprisingly similar to their English equivalent, but it’s interesting to see the differences:

  • La nuit des temps [Literally: “The night of times”]

(“The dawn of times”)

  • Ces derniers temps  [“Those latest times”]

(“Lately”)

  • En temps normal [“In normal time”]

(“Under normal circumstances”)

  • En temps utile [“In useful time”]
  • En temps voulu [“In desired time”]

(“In due time”)

  • Chercher midi à quatorze heures. [“To look for noon at 2 PM”]

(“To look for unnecessary complications”)

And of course, we do have the infamous proverb: Le temps, c’est de l’argent. (“Time is money.”)

Even though we’re as deep into capitalism as any of our European neighbors, the average French doesn’t live by this proverb and people tend to think of time as a commodity and not just something they convert into cash. 

And even without pondering about the things money can’t buy, there’s an Epicurean component to the French Art de vivre (“Art of Living”) that keeps people from being swallowed by their working life and helps them prioritize what they work for.

Spiralling Clock

Passed time never comes back.

8. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

Basic Questions

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about telling the time in French, from the common questions and answers to time units, vocabulary, and expressions. Did I forget any important time-related word or expression that you know? Do you feel ready to ask random French strangers for the time, or to answer when you’re asked for it?

Understanding time in French may take time. A good exercise to practice telling the time is simply to try and think in French when you look at your watch. Try to form the sentence in your head using what you’ve learned today, and you’ll soon become more comfortable. Just take it easy and go at your own pace. =)

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 and practice with your private teacher. Using assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples —and by reviewing yours—they can help you improve your pronunciation much faster. 
Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

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

100 Must-Know French Nouns

Thumbnail Do you know that the sun, a world, or a spider are guys, while moons, tables, and legs are girls? And these are only a few family-friendly examples of the French nouns genders’ oddity. Wait until you learn about the male and female genital words and their counter-intuitive genders.

Figuring out which are the feminine nouns in French is one of the trickiest aspects of the language, and so is the formation of plural nouns, but bear with me for a little while and you’ll learn a collection of useful tricks to help you wrap your head around it!

In this guide, you’ll find a list of the 100 most common and useful French nouns and how to use them. For each of these words, I’ve included the gender, plural form, translation, and example sentences. If you manage to memorize most of the items on this French nouns list, you’ll be pretty far along on your way to talking about a great many things!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in French Table of Contents
  1. Gender and Plural
  2. About Time
  3. Places
  4. Technology & Internet
  5. Home, Sweet Home
  6. City & Transports
  7. Family & Friends
  8. Body Parts
  9. Food & Utensils
  10. Occupation
  11. Clothing Items
  12. Bonus: Communication
  13. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French


1. Gender and Plural

Scattered Word Magnets

Le vocabulaire (“Vocabulary”)

1- How do you know if a French word is masculine or feminine?

French nouns are either masculine or feminine.

For instance, le soleil (“the sun”) is masculine, while la lune (“the moon”) is feminine.

The question of why une araignée (“a spider”) is female and un cafard (“a cockroach”) is male doesn’t matter as much as: How do I know which gender it is?

Luckily, it’s generally quite straightforward, and based on the final letters of a word, you can guess its gender. The rule isn’t entirely accurate, but as you get used to these typical masculine and feminine endings, you’ll be able to make good guesses.

      Usually feminine endings:
      Most words ending in -e or -ion
      • Une lune; une année; une semaine
      • Une nation; une division
      Except words ending in -age, -ege, , -isme
      Usually masculine endings:
      Words ending in -age, -ege, , -isme

      + Everything else.
      • Un mariage; un été
      • Un jour; un parc; un nain
      Should you learn all of these endings by heart? I don’t believe so.
      1. It would be a tedious and super-boring process.
      2. This is not how native speakers learn the words’ genders.


      If you’re wondering how to remember French nouns’ gender, I instead encourage you to ALWAYS learn new nouns with their article.
      • Soleil Un soleil (“A sun”)
      • Lune Une lune (“A moon”)


      You can also memorize them with a definite article. It’s just a matter of preference.
      • Le soleil (“The sun”)
      • La lune (“The moon”)
      Man and Woman Arguing

      The gender war is declared.

      2- How to make French nouns plural

      For most nouns, simply add an -s at the end of the word.
      • Un an -> des ans
      • Un jour -> des jours


      Nouns ending in -au become -aux.
      • Un bateau -> des bateaux


      Nouns ending in -ou usually become -ous, but some take a -oux.
      • Un fou -> des fous
      • Un bijou -> des bijoux


      Nouns ending in -al become -aux.
      • Un animal -> des animaux


      Finally, nouns ending in -s, -x, or -z are invariable.
      • Une souris -> des souris
      • Un lynx -> des lynx
      • Un nez -> des nez


      Now that we’ve learned how to determine the gender of French nouns and how to make them plural, let’s move on to our 100 French nouns list!

      2. About Time

      Nouns 1
      Un an; des ans
      “Year”

      Une année; des années
      “Year”
      Nous vivons ici depuis dix ans.
      “We have been living here for ten years.”

      Nous vivons ici depuis plusieurs années.
      “We have been living here for several years.”
      An is mainly used when there is a number involved:
      • J’ai 35 ans. (“I’m 35 years old.”)
      • Trois fois par an (“Three times per year”)
      Année is used in most other cases:
      • Je voyage chaque année. (“I travel every year.”)
      • L’année dernière, j’ai arrêté de fumer. (“Last year, I stopped smoking.”)
      Une semaine; des semaines
      “Week”

      A la semaine prochaine !
      “See you next week!”
      Un mois; des mois
      “Month”
      Le mois de juillet est souvent ensoleillé.
      “The month of July is often sunny.”
      Un jour; des jours
      “Day”
      Je viendrai dans trois jours.
      “I will come in three days.”
      Une heure; des heures
      “Hour”
      Ce film dure trois heures.
      “This movie is three hours long.”
      Quick Tip: How to tell time?

      In France, you can use the twelve- or twenty-four-hour system.
      • Quelle heure est-il ? (“What time is it?”)
      • Il est seize heures et demi. (“It is 4:30 PM.” Literally: “It is 16 and half.”)
      • Il est huit heures trente cinq. (“It is 8:35.”)
      Une minute; des minutes
      “Minute”
      Laisse moi deux minutes et on y va !
      “Give me two minutes and let’s go!”
      Un temps; des temps
      “Time”
      Je n’ai pas le temps.
      “I don’t have the time.”

        → Make sure to visit our full article about Time as well as our vocabulary list on Talking About Time, with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation. It’s freely available on FrenchPod101!


      Lots of Clocks

      Une question de temps (“A matter of time”)

      3. Places



      Un monde; des mondes
      “World”
      La plus belle plage du monde.
      “The most beautiful beach in the world.”
      Un pays; des pays
      “Country”

      Tu as visité de nombreux pays.
      “You have visited many countries.”
      Un endroit; des endroits
      “Place”
      J’adore cet endroit !
      “I love this place!”
      In Quebec, where French is a bit different, a place is une place.
      • Montréal est un endroit une place que j’aime beaucoup
        “Montreal is a place that I like very much.”
      In France, une place means “a square,” as in La place centrale (“The main square”).
      Une région; des régions
      “Region”
      C’est le plat typique de ma région.
      “This is the typical dish of my region.”
      Une mer; des mers
      “Sea”
      La mer du nord est un peu froide.
      “The northern sea is a bit cold.”
      Une forêt; des forêts
      “Forest”
      Il s’est perdu dans la forêt.
      “He got lost in the forest.”
      Une montagne; des montagnes
      “Mountain”
      Des vacances à la montagne
      “Mountain vacations”
      Un magasin; des magasins
      “Shop”
      Tu peux en acheter dans ce magasin.
      “You can buy some in this shop.”
      Une banque; des banques
      “Bank”
      J’ai besoin de retirer de l’argent à la banque.
      “I need to withdraw some cash at the bank.”
      Un parc; des parcs
      “Park”
      On se retrouve dans le parc ?
      “Shall we meet in the park?”

        → Learn more about how to navigate French cities with our free vocabulary list on places Around Town.


      4. Technology & Internet

      Nouns 2
      Un téléphone; des téléphones
      “Phone”
      Je te donne mon numéro de téléphone.
      “I’ll give you my phone number.”
      Un portable; des portables
      “Mobile phone”
      Tu me donnes ton numéro de portable ?
      “Can you give me your mobile phone number?”
      Portable VS. Mobile VS. Laptop

      A common source of confusion, even among natives, is the word portable meaning “mobile phone” and “laptop.”

      One way to avoid the confusion is to use un mobile or un smartphone instead of un portable when talking about mobile phones. Younger generations also tend to use laptop instead of portable.

      To be fair, it’s usually easy to guess from the context.
      Un ordinateur; des ordinateurs
      “Computer”
      Mon ordinateur est un PC.
      “My computer is a PC.”
      Fun fact: PC is also the acronym for the French communist party: Parti Communiste.
      Is there any risk of ever confusing these two? I wouldn’t bet on it.
      Une tablette; des tablettes
      “Tablet”
      Tu as installé l’app sur ta tablette ?
      “Did you install the app on your tablet?”
      Une télé; des télés
      “TV”
      Il y a quoi à la télé, ce soir ?
      “What’s on TV tonight?”
      Télévision, Télé, or TV?

      While Télévision is the full word, it’s rarely used in conversations; Télé is far more popular. TV is mainly used in writing.

      Un chargeur,;des chargeurs
      “Charger”
      Je peux emprunter ton chargeur ?
      “Can I borrow your charger?”
      Internet
      “Internet”
      On n’a pas internet, dans ce petit village.
      “We don’t have internet in this small village.”
      Internet (with a capital “I”), internet, or l’internet?

      Short answer: Whatever you like!

      (But use “internet” if you wanna sound cool. L’internet is for your grandpa.)

      Long answer: According to the Académie Française (official patron of the French language), you can use both. However, there was an attempt in 2016 at the national assembly to officialize l’internet over “internet.” Thank goodness, the bill didn’t pass.
      Un site web; des sites web
      “A website”
      On ira voir sur le site web de la mairie.
      “We’ll check on the city hall’s website.”
      Site or Site web? Whichever.
      • On ira voir sur le site de la mairie.
        “We’ll check on the city hall’s website.”
      Un compte; des comptes
      “Account”
      Tu as un compte Skype ?
      “Do you have a Skype account?”
      Un mot de passe; des mots de passe
      “Password”
      Je dois réinitialiser mon mot de passe.
      “I need to reset my password.”
      How do you say “login?”
      We often say login, but you can equally say identifiant.
      Un fichier; des fichiers
      “File”
      J’ai copié les fichiers sur ma clef USB.
      “I copied the files on my USB drive.”
      Un logiciel; des logiciels
      “Software”
      Tu peux installer ce logiciel.
      “You can install this software.”

        → Appliances and technology are a vast topic and I’m just scratching the surface here! Don’t miss any words with our free vocabulary lists on Home Appliances, Technology, and the Internet.

      A Mobile Phone being Used in Front of a Laptop

      La technologie (“Technology”)

      5. Home, Sweet Home


      Une maison; des maisons
      “House”; “Home”
      On rentre à la maison.
      “We’re going home.”
      Une porte; des portes
      “Door”
      La première porte à gauche
      “The first door on the left”
      Une fenêtre; des fenêtres
      “Window”
      Les cambrioleurs ont cassé une fenêtre.
      “Burglars have broken a window.”
      Un frigo; des frigos
      “A fridge”
      Ne mettez jamais de vin rouge au frigo !
      “Don’t ever put red wine in the fridge!”
      Ideally, before and after it has been opened, you should keep it out of light and at room temperature.
      Une armoire; des armoires
      “Closet”
      On a besoin d’une nouvelle armoire.
      “We need a new closet.”
      Une pièce; des pièces
      “Room”
      Ce serait bien d’avoir une pièce en plus.
      “It would be nice to have one more room.”
      Une cuisine; des cuisines
      “Kitchen”
      N’oublie pas d’aérer la cuisine.
      “Don’t forget to ventilate the kitchen.”
      Cuisine also means…well, “Cuisine.” #CaptainObvious
      • J’aime la cuisine indienne. 
        “I love Indian cuisine.”
      Un salon; des salons
      “Living room”
      On va prendre l’apéro dans le salon.
      “We’ll take the aperitif in the living room.”
      Une chambre; des chambres
      “Bedroom”
      Ma chambre a un plafond intéressant.
      “My bedroom has an interesting ceiling.”
      Des toilettes (invariable)
      “Toilets”
      Où sont les toilettes ?
      “Where are the toilets?”
      We also use WC, for “water closet.”
      Une salle de bain; des salles de bain
      “Bathroom”
      Il y a une autre salle de bain à l’étage.
      “There is another bathroom upstairs.”


      6. City & Transports

      Nouns 3
      Une voiture; des voitures
      “Car”
      J’ai vendu ma voiture.
      “I’ve sold my car.”
      Un bus; des bus
      “Bus”
      Je prends souvent le bus.
      “I often take the bus.”
      Un train; des trains
      “Train”
      Je voyage parfois en train.
      “I sometimes travel by train.”
      Un avion; des avions
      “Plane”
      J’évite surtout de prendre l’avion.
      “I especially avoid taking planes.”
      Un taxi; des taxis
      “Taxi”; “Cab”
      Tu peux m’appeler un taxi ?
      “Can you call me a cab?”
      Un vélo; des vélos
      “Bicycle”
      Un vélo de course.
      “A racing bicycle.”
      Vélo is short for vélocipède, a word so popular that I learned about it two minutes ago.
      Une ville; des villes
      “City”; “Town”
      On se promène en ville.
      “We’re strolling in town.”
      Une rue; des rues
      “Street”
      Une rue piétonne
      “A walking street”
      Une avenue; des avenues
      “Avenue”
      L’avenue principale
      “The main avenue”
      Une route; des routes
      “Road”
      Les routes de campagne sont tranquilles.
      “Countryside roads are quiet.”
      A Bus

      Les transports en commun (“Public transports”)

      7. Family & Friends


      Une mère; des mères
      “Mother”

      Aujourd’hui, c’est la fête des mères.
      “Today is Mother’s Day.”
      Ma maman 
      “My mom”
      Un père; des pères
      “Father”
      Luke, je suis ton père.
      “Luke, I am your father.”
      Mon papa 
      “My dad”
      Une femme; des femmes
      “Wife” (literally: “Woman”)
      Ma femme a toujours raison.
      “My wife is always right.”
      You can also say Mon épouse (formal) or Ma conjointe (super-formal).
      Un mari; des maris
      “Husband”
      Son mari est enseignant.
      “Her husband is a teacher.”
      You can also say Mon époux (formal) or Mon conjoint (super-formal).
      Un frère; des frères
      “Brother”
      Il t’aime comme un frère.
      “He loves you like a brother.”
      Une soeur; des soeurs
      “Sister”
      J’ai deux soeurs et un frère.
      “I have two sisters and one brother.”
      Une famille; des familles
      “Family”
      Je passe Noël avec ma famille.
      “I spend Christmas with my family.”
      You can also use un parent/des parents, but don’t confuse mon parent (“my relative”) and mes parents (“my parents”).

      Un parent (“a relative”) or des parents (“relatives”) both refer to relatives of any kind, while mes parents (possessive plural) means: “my parents” (mom and dad).
      • 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.”
      Une copine; des copines
      “Girlfriend”

      Un copain; des copains
      “Boyfriend”

      Je vais au cinéma avec ma copine.
      “I’m going to the cinema with my girlfriend.”

      Laisse tomber, j’ai un copain.
      “Let it go, I have a boyfriend.”
      The word copain / copine also means “buddy.” It depends on the context, but it can be confusing even for locals. (Just like when American women talk about their “girlfriends.”)

      The general rule is:
      • When you say un copain, it means “a buddy” or “a pal.”
      • When you say mon copain, it means “my boyfriend.”
      Un fils; des fils
      “Son”

      Nous sommes les fils de la Terre.
      “We are the sons of the Earth.”
      Une fille; des filles
      “Daughter” (Literally: “Girl”)
      Ma fille aînée.
      “My elder daughter.”
      Un ami; des amis
      “Friend”
      Tu es mon meilleur ami.
      “You’re my best friend.”

        → To read more about the rest of the family, check out our free vocabulary list on Family Members. And be sure not to miss our special article about The French Family to learn everything on this important topic, from the vocabulary to the cultural aspect of it!

      8. Body Parts


      Une tête; des têtes
      “Head”
      Un chasseur de têtes
      “A headhunter”
      Un oeil; des yeux
      “Eye”
      Tu as de très beaux yeux.
      “You have very beautiful eyes.”
      Une bouche; des bouches
      “Mouth”
      Ouvre la bouche.
      “Open your mouth.”
      Un nez; des nez
      “Nose”
      Un piercing au nez.
      “A nose piercing.”
      The French don’t stand toe to toe, but nose to nose.
      • Il se trouve nez à nez avec elle. 
        “He’s standing toe to toe with her.”
      However, in French, this expression doesn’t necessarily involve a conflict or competition. It means that you unexpectedly end up right in front of that person.
      Un cheveu; des cheveux
      “Hair”
      Elle a les cheveux courts.
      “She has short hair.”
      Un bras; des bras
      “Arm”
      Viens dans mes bras.
      “Come into my arms.”
      Une main; des mains
      “Hand”
      Les mains en l’air !
      “Put your hands in the air!”
      The French don’t wear their heart on their sleeve; they have it on their hand.
      • Il a le coeur sur la main. 
        “He’s wearing his heart on his sleeve.”
      Une jambe; des jambes
      “Leg”
      Je me suis cassé la jambe.
      “I broke my leg.”
      Un pied; des pieds
      “Foot”
      J’ai déjà un pied dans la tombe.
      “I already have one foot in the grave.”
      In France, don’t put your foot in your mouth; put it in the dish.
      • J’ai mis les pieds dans le plat. 
        “I put my foot in my mouth.”

        → Practice your French anatomy by reviewing our free vocabulary list on Body Parts, with audio recordings to improve your pronunciation!

      Anatomical Model of a Human

      L’anatomie (“Anatomy”)

      9. Food & Utensils


      Un couteau; des couteaux
      “Knife”
      Un couteau à fromage
      “A cheese knife”
      Une fourchette; des fourchettes
      “Fork”
      J’ai besoin d’une plus grande fourchette.
      “I need a bigger fork.”
      Une cuillère; des cuillères
      “Spoon”
      Une cuillère à soupe d’huile
      “A tablespoon of oil”
      Une assiette; des assiettes
      “Plate”
      Une assiette de charcuterie
      “A plate of cold cuts”
      Un verre; des verres
      “Glass”
      Tu mérites un verre de vin.
      “You deserve a glass of wine.”
      Une eau; des eaux
      “Water”
      Je voudrais une carafe d’eau, s’il vous plait.
      “I would like a jug of water, please.”
      Un vin; des vins
      “Wine”
      Une cave à vin
      “A wine cellar”
      Un fruit; des fruits
      “Fruit”
      Un jus de fruit
      “A fruit juice”
      Un légume; des légumes
      “Vegetable”
      Je mange des légumes une fois par semaine.
      “I eat vegetables once a week.”
      Une viande; des viandes
      “Meat”
      Viande ou poisson ?
      “Meat or fish?”


      10. Occupation


      Nouns 4
      Un étudiant; des étudiants
      “Student”
      C’est un très bon étudiant.
      “He’s a very good student.”

      Un docteur; des docteurs
      “Doctor”; “Physician”
      Vous avez besoin d’une ordonnance du médecin.
      “You need a doctor’s prescription.”
      The most common word for “physician” is médecin.
      Un policier; des policiers
      “Police officer”
      Mon frère est policier.
      “My brother is a police officer.”
      Un professeur; des professeurs
      “Teacher”
      Je veux devenir professeur de Russe.
      “I want to be a Russian teacher.”
      Un avocat; des avocats
      “Lawyer”
      Je ne parlerai pas sans mon avocat.
      “I will not talk without my lawyer.”
      Avocat also means “Avocado.” Any risk of confusion? Not sure.
      • Je ne parlerai pas sans mon avocat. 
        “I will not talk without my avocado.”
      Un serveur; des serveurs
      “Waiter”
      La serveuse a pris notre commande.
      “The waitress has taken our order.”

        → Find your profession and your friends’ jobs on our free vocabulary lists: Jobs and Work. We also have a complete article on How to Find Jobs in France. Check it out!

      Group of People with Different Jobs

      Quelle est votre profession? (“What is your profession?”)

      11. Clothing Items


      Un pantalon; des pantalons
      “Pants”
      Un pantalon en cuir
      “Leather pants”
      Un pull; des pulls
      “Sweater”
      Un pull en laine
      “A wool sweater”
      Un T-shirt; des T-shirts
      “T-shirt”
      J’enfile un T-shirt propre.
      “I’m putting a clean T-shirt on.”
      Une chemise; des chemises
      “Shirt”
      Enlève ta chemise.
      “Take off your shirt.”
      Un manteau; des manteaux
      “Coat”
      J’ai laissé mon manteau dans la voiture.
      “I’ve left my coat in the car.”
      Une chaussette; des chaussettes
      “Sock”
      Mes chaussettes rouges et jaunes
      “My red-and-yellow socks”
      Une robe; des robes
      “Dress”
      Une robe en soie
      “A silk dress”
      Une chaussure; des chaussures
      “Shoe”
      Des chaussures de randonnée
      “Hiking shoes”


      12. Bonus: Communication


      Une question; des questions
      “Question”
      C’était une question rhétorique.
      “It was a rhetorical question.”
      Une réponse; des réponses
      “Answer”
      J’exige des réponses !
      “I demand answers!”
      Un mot; des mots
      “Word”
      Je ne trouve pas les mots.
      “I can’t find the words.”
      Une phrase; des phrases
      “Sentence”
      Je ne comprends pas cette phrase.
      “I don’t understand this sentence.”
      Une idée; des idées
      “Idea”
      C’est une très bonne idée !
      “This is a very good idea!”

      13. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French


      In this French nouns lesson and guide, you’ve learned everything there is to know about French nouns, from the feminine nouns in French to the rules of forming plurals. You’ve also learned the key French nouns with our extensive noun list.

      Did we forget any important noun that you know? Do you feel ready to explore new conversation topics with your French friends, using everything you’ve learned today?

      A good way to practice the words on our basic French nouns list is to start simple, then add more flavor with adjectives.

      Adding adjectives to common French nouns will also help you remember the nouns’ gender, as many French adjectives have different forms in feminine or masculine:
      • Une pomme (“An apple”)
      • Une pomme verte (“A green apple”)


      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 using French nouns with your private teacher so they can give you personalized feedback and advice, and help you with your pronunciation.

      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.

      French Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in French & More

      Thumbnail

      Have you ever stopped to ponder on how much our lives revolve around defining moments? These could be happy or tragic, once-in-a-lifetime or recurring events, and depending on where you live, you might experience them in dramatically different ways.

      If you live in France, have French friends, or have an interest in French culture, you need to know how major life events are handled there, and how to talk about them. You’ll need to know how to wish a happy birthday in French, a Merry Christmas or New Year, and how to offer condolences or wish for a swift recovery. Further, you’ll wish to know how to congratulate friends on their new degree, spouse, or offspring.

      In this article, we’ll go through the ten major French life events and their cultural ins and outs. We’ll also provide you with a list of the most useful French phrases for congratulations (and condolences) so that you can take part in these pivotal moments, and as a result grow much closer to the people involved.

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

      Table of Contents

      1. Joyeux Anniversaire ! (Happy Birthday!)
      2. Bonne Fête ! (Happy Name Day!)
      3. Naissance (Birth)
      4. Remise de Diplôme (Graduation)
      5. Nouvel Emploi (New Job)
      6. Retraite (Retirement)
      7. Mariage (Wedding)
      8. Funérailles (Funerals)
      9. Convalescence (Recovery)
      10. Fêtes (Holidays)
      11. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

      1. Joyeux Anniversaire ! (Happy Birthday!)

      Happy Birthday

      Just like in many other European countries and North America, French birthdays usually involve a party with friends or family, a cake, some optional singing, blowing out candles, and receiving presents.

      • There are no fixed rules on who should throw your fête d’anniversaire (birthday party). It could be friends, family, or even yourself. Most birthdays in France are celebrated either at home or a restaurant. In the latter case, you’re not expected to pay for everyone, but your friends might want to pay for you. It’s your special day, after all!
      • Le gâteau d’anniversaire (The birthday cake) can be absolutely whatever: fruits, cream, chocolate, nuts, you name it. The white frosting cliché isn’t really a thing in France. Some like to cook the cake, while others prefer to buy it at the pâtisserie (pastry shop). We put les bougies (the candles) on it.
      • Les cadeaux (The presents) are equally not codified and really depend on the person. For a kid, we usually go for a toy or book. Adults are tricky, but if you’re close enough to buy them a present, you should know what they like, right?
      • La chanson (The song) is the easy part, with lyrics as simple as: Joyeux anniversaire, joyeux anniversaire, joyeux anniversaire Nicolas ! Joyeux anniversaire ! (Assuming the birthday boy is called Nicolas). Or you could go for this nightmarish song from humorist and singer Patrick Sebastien.
      • Les cartes d’anniversaire (Birthdays cards) used to be a thing, and it never hurts to send one, but the younger generations go through social networks.

      How to say Happy Birthday in French:

      Joyeux anniversaire !
      Bon anniversaire !
      Heureux anniversaire !
      “Happy birthday!”
      (Postcard greetings)
      Je te souhaite un joyeux anniversaire et plein de bonheur.
      “I wish you a happy birthday and plenty of happiness!”

      Older Woman Blowing Out Birthday Cake Candles

      Don’t spit on the cake!

      2. Bonne Fête ! (Happy Name Day!)

      A tradition mainly in Europe and Latin America, name days are originally based on the Christian calendar of Saints, but everyone can celebrate it in France, even though we don’t make a big deal out of it.

      Just locate your name on the calendar and you’ll know when your fête, or “name day,” is. You’re not featured there? Well, tough luck, but you won’t be missing much more than nice words and a pat on the shoulder. Presents and parties for a name day aren’t unheard of, but definitely not commonplace.

      So, how do we celebrate a name day? More often than not, we don’t. Should you wish to do it, a small present or a postcard are safe bets, but buying a drink might work just as well.

      Here’s how you can offer your congratulations in French to someone on their name day:

      Bonne fête ! “Happy name day!”
      Bonne fête, Nicolas ! “Happy name day, Nicolas!”
      C’est la Saint Nicolas aujourd’hui, bonne fête ! “It’s Nicolas’ day. Happy name day!”

      3. Naissance (Birth)

      Talking About Age

      We don’t do baby showers in France and have no pre-birth equivalent. This American tradition has been pushed through advertisement companies, but people are resisting, seeing it as consumerism or even something prone to bring bad luck. However, celebrations are held after birth with the regular shower of gifts.

      Religious rituals have become unusual in France, and although biblical names are still popular, parents don’t choose the name of their newborn based on the Saint’s name of the birthday. Christian families can choose to baptize their children before their first anniversary, which leads to a Fête de baptème, or “Baptism party.”

      Toutes mes félicitations !
      Sincères félicitations !
      “Congratulations!”
      (Postcard greetings)

      Bienvenue au petit Nicolas ! Meilleurs voeux de bonheur à tous les trois !

      Félicitations pour la naissance de votre fille ! Puisse sa vie être faite de rires, de chansons, d’allégresse et de découvertes !

      “Welcome to little Nicolas! Best wishes of happiness to all three of you!”

      “Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! May her life be filled with laughter, songs, joy, and discoveries!”

      Newborn Baby, Mother, and Doctor

      Congratulations, it’s a baby!

      4. Remise de Diplôme (Graduation)

      Graduations are usually not cause for wide-scale celebrations in France, but we have nothing against it! Graduated students can celebrate among themselves over a drink or a party, while schools or universities can also organize festive events on graduation day.

      Parents sometimes offer presents to their children to celebrate their success, but there are no conventions on what these gifts should be.

      Félicitations !
      Bien joué !
      Bon travail !
      “Congratulations!”
      “Well done!”
      “Nice job!”
      Bravo pour ta réussite !
      Bravo pour ton diplôme !
      Félicitations pour ton examen !
      “Congratulations on your success!”
      “Congratulations on your degree!”
      “Congratulations on your test!”
      (Postcard greeting)

      Bravo pour ton diplôme bien mérité après tout ce travail acharné.

      “Congratulations on a well-deserved degree after all of your hard work.”
        → Learn more about education and degrees with our free vocabulary list on the Graduation Season.

      5. Nouvel Emploi (New Job)

      Basic Questions

      Work isn’t as prominent in French mentality as it is in other countries. It’s generally accepted that you should work for a living but not live for your work, and as a result, the French are trying to strike the right balance between their professional and personal lives, without dedicating too much to their workplace.

      Similarly, new jobs and promotions are usually not a big thing. Your new job can typically be celebrated with your partner, while promotions are a good excuse for a drink among colleagues.

      [Casual] Bravo pour ton nouveau job !
      Bravo pour ton nouveau poste !
      “Congratulations on your new job!”
      “Congratulations on your new position!”
      [Formal] Félicitations pour ton nouvel emploi.
      Félicitations pour ta promotion.
      “Congratulations on your new position.”
      “Congratulations on your promotion.”
      (Postcard greeting)

      Toutes mes félicitations pour votre promotion ! Etant donné la qualité de votre travail, une telle reconnaissance est amplement méritée.

      “Congratulations on your promotion! Considering the quality of your work, such a recognition is well-deserved.”

      Coworkers Celebrating

      Embrace your new career with a cheesy smile.

        → Get ready to congratulate your friends on any new position with our free vocabulary list on Jobs.

      6. Retraite (Retirement)

      Most French retire between the ages of sixty and seventy, but l’âge de la retraite, or “the retirement age,” is steadily rising. This is a cause for concern and social unrest in the country.

      The pension system is contribution-based. A retiree’s pension is proportional to the amount of contributions he paid during his working life. Those contributions are directly taken from the salary, in the form of a tax.

      When their retraite, or “pension,” (yes, this is the same word as for “retirement” ) allows for it, it’s fairly common for the French to enjoy their retirement by traveling, either in the countryside or abroad.

      Here are some ways to go about congratulating someone in French for their retirement:

      [Professional] Bonne continuation ! “All the best!”
      [Casual] Profite bien de ta retraite ! “Enjoy your retirement!”
      (Postcard greeting)

      Je te souhaite une heureuse et sereine retraite.

      “I wish you a happy and peaceful retirement!”

      7. Mariage (Wedding)

      Marriage Proposal

      Weddings in France can be celebrated in many different ways, depending on your religion, social status, and personality. The celebrations range from an unpretentious informal event to a fastuous large-scale banquet of expensive delicacies, with awe-inspiring choregraphies and expertly crafted speeches.

      • A French marriage is typically planned up to years in advance, and don’t leave much to improvisation (or spontaneity, for that matter). Hiring a wedding coach is a new trend for the wealthiest couples.
      • The tradition of enterrement de vie de garçon (“bachelor party,” but literally “Burial of boy’s life”)—enjoying your single life to the fullest, with heavy drinking and strippers, before shackling yourself to your spouse for the rest of your days—appeared recently and is gaining in popularity.
      • Mariage religieux, or “religious weddings,” have been on the decline for a while, and most people marry at their town hall. The PACS (civil union, that used to be the only option for same-sex unions before) is quickly becoming the most popular option.
      • We don’t do wedding rehearsals or rehearsal dinners.

      Here are some of the most common French marriage congratulations:

      Tous mes voeux de bonheur. “Best wishes of happiness.”
      Toutes mes félicitations pour votre union
      Toutes mes félicitations pour votre mariage.
      “Congratulations on your union.”
      “Congratulations on your wedding.”
      (Postcard greeting)

      Sincères félicitations et meilleurs voeux de bonheur.

      “Sincere congratulations and best wishes of happiness.”

      Bouquet on the Ground

      “Wait, did you bring the bouquet?”

        → Practice your romantic fluency with our free vocabulary list on Quotes about Love.

      8. Funérailles (Funerals)

      Some peoples around the world see death as a cheerful event, cause for celebration and rejoicing. French funerals, however, are as grim and depressing as you can expect them to be if you grew up in a western country.

      • Enterrement, or “burial,” is the most common way to go, but crémation, or “cremation,” is also an option.
      • The tradition of veillée funèbre, or a “wake,” is on the decline but still going strong in villages. The modern version is often held in a dedicated rented place (and not in the house of the deceased, like it used to be), and usually not through the night.

      Here’s some French condolences messages and French phrases for condolences:

      Repose en paix.
      Paix à son âme.
      “Rest in peace.”
      “May he/she rest in peace.”
      Toutes mes condoléances. “My condolences.”
      (Postcard condolence)

      Nous partageons votre douleur et sommes de tout coeur avec vous.

      “We share your pain and our hearts go out to you.”

      9. Convalescence (Recovery)

      Serious illnesses or grave injuries are tragic yet important events for anyone. In France, it’s fairly common for friends and family to visit someone at the hospital, to keep them company or bring them gifts in the hope of helping with their recovery by lifting their spirit.

      At the workplace, when someone is away on a long sick leave, their coworkers can write a group card with greetings and wishes.

      Bon rétablissement ! “Get well soon!”
      [Casual] Prends soin de toi ! “Take care!”
      [Formal] Je te souhaite un prompt rétablissement. “I wish you a swift recovery.”

      Kids Giving Their Sick Mother a Gift

      “Look mom, we found you a new kidney on Craigslist!”

      10. Fêtes (Holidays)

      Classic French holidays include:

      • Noël (Christmas).
        Most French celebrate it without any religious connotation, but this is still arguably the biggest holiday of the year. Our traditions involve un arbre de Noël (Christmas tree), une crêche (a small nativity scene) in Christian families, une bûche de Noël (log-shaped Christmas cake), and lots of cadeaux de Noël (Christmas gifts), especially for kids.
      • Nouvel an (New Year).
        This one comes a little too close after Christmas’ hangover, but it’s duly celebrated by most French anyway. It’s not as traditional, though, and may take any form, from a family dinner to a restaurant with friends, a romantic walk on the Seine, or a gathering of fireworks enthusiasts.
      • Pâques (Easter).
        Celebrating Easter in France involves bells, des oeufs de Pâques (Easter eggs), and most of all, LOTS of chocolate. It’s common to hide chocolate eggs around the house and/or garden and let the children go on a treasure hunt. Adults gift each other with fancy Belgian chocolate treats.

      We have many more holidays! You can find them all on our French Calendar, on FrenchPod101.

      A few more celebrations worth mentioning:

      • Halloween started growing in popularity roughly a decade ago, and is now widely celebrated throughout the country.

        Unsurprisingly, our most conservative fellow citizens see it as overly commercial and a threat to our traditions, but it doesn’t prevent the younger generation from throwing Halloween parties and wearing their ghoulish costumes in the street.

        The French Halloween is mainly for adults celebrating at home or in local bars, while children rarely go door-to-door for trick-or-treating.

      • Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in France, and most French don’t even know what it’s about. However, given our love for never-ending dinner and delicious food, I’m sure there’s hope for this tradition to eventually land on our shores.
      Joyeux Noël ! “Merry Christmas!”
      Bonne année ! “Happy New Year!”
      Joyeuses Pâques ! “Happy Easter!”
      Poisson d’avril “April’s Fool”
      Saint Valentin “Valentine’s Day”

      A Christmas Light Display

      Joyeux Noël ! (“Merry Christmas!” )

        → Don’t let the Christmas season take you off-guard; learn more festive vocabulary with our free list on Christmas!

      11. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

      In this guide, you’ve learned everything about the main life events as experienced in France, from birth to birthdays, weddings, and funerals. You’ve also learned the most important French phrases of congratulations, condolences, and well-wishing.

      Did I forget any important event that you’ve been through or heard about? Do you feel ready to take part in these defining moments of the lives of your French friends with all the right words and phrases?

      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 and practice life event phrases with your private teacher. You’ll gain access to assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples, and an experienced tutor to review your work and help improve your pronunciation. Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

      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.

      100 Must-Know French Adjectives

      Thumbnail

      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.

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

      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!

      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.

      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

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

      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!

      Thumbnail

      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

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

      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.

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

      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.

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