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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Candice here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is, What are “false friends” and what are the most common ones?
There are lots of words that look similar in English and French, but they don't always mean the same thing. It's pretty fitting that they're called “false friends,” because they can be deceptive!
Here are some of the most common ones, so you can avoid any miscommunication the next time you speak French!
Attendre in French means "to wait." For example, if you're waiting for your friend, you would say, J'attends mon ami(e).
“To attend” is assister. For example, "I'm going to attend a show," would be, Je vais assister à un spectacle.
Make sure not to confuse assister with the verb “to assist.” That verb is secourir, meaning “to help someone.”
Another commonly confused verb is passer. Passer doesn't mean "to pass by," which would be croiser, "to cross."
Passer means "to sit through something," or "to spend time." For example, passer un examen means "to sit through an exam, "not “to pass an exam.” Another common phrase is, Comment vas-tu passer tes vacances? meaning "How are you going to spend your vacation?"
If you respond, J'ai envie de passer mes vacances en Italie, it has nothing to do with being envious of Italy. Avoir envie de means "to want" something or "to feel like doing" something. So this sentence means, "I want to spend my vacation in Italy."
There are also plenty of nouns that are “false friends,” too. "Ville," for example, is not “villa,” it’s "city."
Also, be careful with the word une librairie which means "a bookstore," – don't expect to borrow things for free!
Another example is if someone stops you on the street and asks you for de la monnaie, they're asking for spare change. But if you ask for change, en monnaie it means you want your change in coins rather than bills.
In more serious situations, if you fall and get hurt, don't say that you're injuré, because people will become very concerned about your emotional state. Instead say, Je suis blessé, which means "I'm hurt" in the physical sense. It has nothing to do with church blessings.
I hope that clears things up. Pretty interesting, right?
Please leave any more questions in the comments below and I'll try to answer them!
A bientôt, see you soon!