Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Let’s take a closer look at how Ben asks for an item without knowing its name.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says,
"I would like this, please."
Je voudrais ceci, s'il vous plaît.
This standard way of asking for something follows a simple pattern.
First is je, "I." Je (enunciated). Je.
Next is voudrais, "would like." Voudrais (enunciated). Voudrais.
Voudrais is a form of the verb vouloir, meaning to want. Vouloir.
Next is ceci. "This." Ceci (enunciated). Ceci.
Last is the phrase s’il vous plaît. "Please." S’il vous plaît (enunciated). S’il vous plaît.
All together, it's Je voudrais ceci, s’il vous plaît. "I would like this, please."
Je voudrais ceci, s’il vous plaît.
Using Je voudrais to ask for something is rather polite, and it’s commonly used in formal situations like restaurants, shops, etc.
Do you remember how the clerk says,
"Here you are."
Et voici.
Et voici literally means, "And there," but it translates as "Here you are," in this situation. Et voici (enunciated). Et voici.
Note: Sometimes you may hear Et voilà instead of Et voici. Both expressions mean exactly the same thing.
The pattern is
Je voudrais {ITEM}, s'il vous plaît.
"I would like {ITEM} please."
Je voudrais {ITEM} s'il vous plaît.
To use this pattern, simply replace the {ITEM} placeholder with the thing you want.
Imagine you’d like something from across the room. The pronoun to indicate something far from a speaker is cela, "that." Cela (enunciated). Cela.
Say
"I would like that, please."
Ready?
Je voudrais cela, s'il vous plaît.
"That, please."
Je voudrais cela, s'il vous plaît.
The following phrases can be used to refer to an item without knowing its name in French:
Je voudrais ceci. “I’d like this.”
Je voudrais cela. “I’d like that.”
Even if you don’t know the name of an item, and consequently its gender, you can use these pronouns, as they are the same for both masculine and feminine nouns.
For items that are plural, use ceux-ci, or "these," as the default. Ceux-ci.
And use ceux-là, or "those," for things that are far from you. Ceux-là.

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