Vocabulary

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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 something looks like..., resembles..., smells like..., or tastes like...?
This seems simple, but it can be difficult. Let’s go through the useful verbs.
Ressembler, means “to resemble.” An example is Il ressemble à un acteur que je connais meaning “He looks like an actor I know.”
Another verb is Se ressembler, means “to look alike.” Elles viennent d’autres coins du monde, mais elles se ressemblent quand même means “They come from different sides of the Earth, but they resemble each other anyway.”
Avoir l’air de, means “to seem like, to look like.” An example is Ce repas a l’air bon meaning “This meal looks good/tasty.” Another example is Cette fille a l’air un peu nerveuse meaning “This girl looks a little nervous.”
The verb Sentir, means “to smell like, to taste like, to feel like.” Sentir has a lot of definitions, so let’s go over this in more detail. Overall, you can think of sentir as meaning “to have the feeling of.” Sentir, se sentir, et ressentir can all be used to talk about emotional feelings and thoughts.
But with sentir, the feeling can also be taste, smell, touch. You can tell what it means by context, but it’s usually used to mean “to smell like.” If someone walks into the room and says, ça sent les chaussettes, you know that they mean “It smells like socks.” If someone is eating a soup and says, ça sent les champignons, this means “It has the taste of mushrooms.” If someone says this, they probably mean there is just the hint of mushrooms in the soup.
The last verb is Avoir le goût de, “to taste like.” An example with this is Ça a le goût de quoi exactement? C’est riche, froid. C’est fait aux légumes. This means “What does it taste like exactly? It’s rich, cold. It’s made from vegetables.”
Be careful not to mix up avoir le gout de and gouter because gouter means to literally “taste" something and you can't use it to say "tastes like..." The subject has to be a person. So un potage ne peut pas goûter d’ail means “A soup cannot taste the garlic” and it doesn’t make any sense. The correct sentence would look like this Je voudrais goûter le vin d’Alsace. “I would like to try Alsatian wine.” Goûter is a great verb for sharing and for trying new foods, which you definitely want to do in France. Here’s an example using this - Tu veux le goûter? meaning “Do you want to try it?” Or Goûtez le pain - il est frais meaning “Try the bread - it’s fresh.”
Pretty neat, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A bientôt, see you soon!

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