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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Candice here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I'll answer your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is How do you say “I'm excited to do something”?
By now, you are probably starting to speak French pretty well. But, sometimes when you don’t know a word, you take an English word and ‘French-ify’ it! Now usually, this is a really good idea and it shows that you have a good understanding of the language. But there are times where this will not work. Saying you’re excited for something is a great example of why you should be careful.
Let’s say you’re wandering around Paris and you become completely lost. You need directions, so you go up to someone on the street and say, “I am lost.” Je suis perdu. This is perfectly correct. You’ve taken the past participle of the verb and used it as an adjective. Now you and that person begin a conversation and become friends.
You and your new friend really hit it off and they invite you to a party they’re throwing this weekend. You think in your head “I am excited” and you “French-ify” it saying Je suis excité.
Well, exciter is an example of a time where you should not French-ify a word. It means “to turn on.” If you say, je suis excité or ça m’excite, you are telling the person you are horny. This could definitely be embarrassing for you! But, remember that you did a great job. You took a form you know and applied it to a new situation. This time it just didn’t work out. You hit a false cognate.
Using exciter is a common mistake for English speakers. If you want to say you’re excited for something, use avoir hâte de. This literally means “to have haste to.” A better translation would be “I can’t wait.” Another way to express that you “can’t wait for something” is être impatient(e) à l'idée de faire quelque chose, meaning literally "to be impatient at the idea of doing something", but avoir hâte is still more commonly used.
So, instead of saying je suis excité de te revoir or “It turns me on to see you again,” say, j’ai hâte de te revoir meaning “I look forward to seeing you again.” Or if you’re excited to see the city of Nice, say, j’ai hâte de visiter Nice. Maybe you have a French penpal and you are finally going to meet them in person. Say, j’ai hâte de faire votre connaissance. “I can’t wait to meet you.”
Now remember, don’t be discouraged or embarrassed. Keep playing around with French. Sometimes you won’t know a word, so give it your best guess. And even if you make a mistake like this one, French people will probably find it “funny,” or marrant.
Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A bientôt, see you soon!