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Basic French words and Phrases to Start Conversation

So, you planned to visit a French-speaking country, but have you learned those Basic French Words which will help you to communicate whilst travelling to a French-speaking country

In this article, we have covered those most common and basic French phrases.

Wondering how French people will react when you initiate a conversation in English or with any little knowledge of on French. You do need some French survival phrases!

No need to worry anymore!

In this article, I will help you learning the basic French phrases you should know to make yourself understood in France and to have a basic French conversation. One thing you do have to bear in mind though is that whatever your level of French is, French people will definitely appreciate you’re trying and they will therefore make an extra effort to help you.

Basic French Phrases to Greet people

It seems French people give greetings a very important place. Indeed, it is, for example, normal in France, to say hello when you enter a shop. Not doing it would be considered as rude. Yes but how exactly do you greet people in French (Check our Greetings Quiz)? Here are the Basic French phrases you need to learn to make your way up to French people’s hearts.

1.How to say hi in French? – Bonjour

How to say hi in French?

“Bonjour” means “hello” in French. It goes beyond a simple greeting though and it is more considered as a word you say every time you enter a place (shop, post office…) or even when you walk pass people in the street! It is very commonly used.

However it exists different “hellos” depending on the time of the day and on the relationship you have with people. Let me explain.


2.How to say good evening in French? – Bonsoir

In the evening, “bonjour” (literally “good day”) becomes “bonsoir” (which translates to “good evening”). Even though “bonjour” would still be acceptable, “bonsoir” seems more appropriate once the sun goes down,

3.How to say hi in French – Salut

This is a word you could use when speaking to friends or children. It is commonly thought to mean “hi” but be aware that it is not the exact equivalent. It is much more informal and shouldn’t be used when speaking to someone you don’t (or barely) know.

After “salut” you could perhaps want to say “quoi de neuf?” which means “what’s new? “ To which people might answer “pas grand chose” (“not much”).

4.How to say hello in French? – Coucou

This word has a very similar meaning to “salut” but it is even more relaxed so keep this one for people you are very close to.

5.How to say Goodbye in French? – Au revoir

This is the most common way to say goodbye in French. It literally means “to seeing you again”. Just like “bonjour” you can choose different ways to say “goodbye” depending on the situation. So here they are:

6.How to say See you later in French? – A plus tard

This means “see you later”. If you speak to a friend, you could even say “à plus” and get rid of “tard”.

7.How to say See you soon in French? – A bientôt

Similar to the expression above, this one means “see you soon”.

8.How to say until next time in French? – A la prochaine

Translating to “until next time”, this expression is however a lot less formal. I would advise you to only say it to friends or family.

Basic French Words of Politeness

Politeness is a must in France. Indeed the way French people see it is that manners don’t cost anything so make sure you use the following expressions. And do not worry about making mistakes,

French people will appreciate and respect you’re trying French Basic words

10. How to say Please in French? – S’il te plaît / s’il vous plaît

The French version of “please” can appear a bit long and tricky but it’s not that difficult to pronounce so don’t let the appearance scare you.

There are two versions of please in French language: a formal one (“s’il vous plaît”) and an informal one (“s’il te plaît”).

The rule is simple: if you don’t know the person or not enough to call him/her a friend or if that person is not a child then use “s’il vous plaît”. In any other cases, “s’il te plaît” would be fine. Easy or easy?

11.How to say Thank You in French? – Merci

Merci - Thank you in French
After “please” comes the time to say “thank you” and in French you’ll have to say “merci”. It is pronounced like “mercy” in English (even though the meaning is totally different!!).

12.How to say you’re welcome in French? – De rien

“De rien” means “you’re welcome”.

This French phrase is commonly used in response when someone says “merci”

13.How to say Excuse me in French? – Excuse-moi/Excusez-moi

Just like “please”, there are a formal and an informal way of saying “excuse-me”. The rule is the exact same. If you know the person or if it is a child then you’ll use “excuse-moi”. If not, “excusez moi” would be better.

Why you should learn these basic French phrases

I have drawn up a quick list of some of the most basic french phrases for tourists.

Imagine yourself lost in Paris. You might want to enjoy that moment of being alone in a fabulous city you barely know looking at all its wonders and just stop the time making the most of it.

Yes, I agree.

It does sound marvelous.

However, reality will eventually kick in and you will have to approach someone and ask him/her a few questions to make your way back to where you have to go.

So here are most useful French phrases for travelers

15.How to say how do we say in French? – Comment dit-on “…” en français?

It is clear you are making an effort and trying your best to grasp the daily French expressions and to use them in appropriate circumstances. There is absolutely no doubt French people will appreciate this.

However you might not know everything you might need to say so asking the translation of an English word (or two…) in French might come handy. To do so, you should say “comment dit-on … en français?”(“how do we say…in French?). If they have the answer, French people will gladly help you.

16.How to say do you speak English in French? – Parlez-vous anglais?


Sometimes, despite all your willing, the situation might become a bit too complicated and your linguistic knowledge might be a little too little! In that case, you might want to ask someone if they speak English. If so, the correct phrase is “parlez-vous anglais?”

17. How to say I do not understand French Well? – Je ne comprends pas bien le français / Or How to say I do not speak very well French? – je ne parle pas très bien français

You’ll see some French people can be very talkative and might get giddy telling you all about their fabulous country. It might be the right moment to tell them you are not fluent in French (yet!) and that you do not understand everything they are saying.

“Je ne comprends pas bien le français” (I don’t understand French very well”) and “Je ne parle pas très bien français” (“I don’t speak French very well”) are the two phrases you’ll need.

18.How to say can you speak more slowly in French? – Pouvez-vous parler moins vite?

In similar situations, you might want people to speak more slowly. This could allow you to understand more familiar basic French words or even maybe to read on people’s lips if you find the pronunciation or accent too difficult to understand. “Pouvez-vous parler moins vite?” means “Can you speak more slowly?”

19.How to say can you repeat in French? – Pouvez-vous répéter?

Have you ever been in that awkward situation where someone is telling you something but you literally do not have a clue what they’re on about?

Yes, so have I… Well you don’t have any choice.

You will have to ask them to repeat and put all your efforts into it to understand better what they are saying. The required question is “pouvez-vous répéter? (Can you repeat?”).

20.How to say can you help me in French? – Pouvez-vous m’aider?

Touch wood nothing bad will ever happen to you while visiting France (or elsewhere for that matter) but if you find yourself in a difficult situation, you might want to ask people for some help.

In that case, you would say “pouvez-vous m’aider?” (“Can you help me?”). This phrase could also be used in a lot less dramatic situation as, for example, if you need help choosing the right outfit for a fabulous evening out you’re planning at the local French restaurant!

21.How to say where is the subway in French? – Où est le métro?

When making your way to that lovely restaurant mentioned above, you might get lost (again!).

Finding the subway might help you on your way. “Où est le métro?” is what you will need to say to ask “where is the subway?”.

22.How to say can I use the toilet? – Puis-je utiliser les toilettes?

In most big cities, you should be able to find public toilets in the streets. However, in all fairness, you may not want to use them or maybe there might not be one in the specific location you will spend your day. You could then enter a restaurant or a café and politely ask to use their facilities.

“Puis-je utiliser les toilettes” is the French translation for “Can I use the toilets?”

23.How to say where are the toilets in French? – Où sont les toilettes

If you already are in a restaurant or café, you might simply want to ask where the toilets are. In that case, you will say “Où sont les toilettes?” (“Where are the toilets?”).

24.How to say can I have the bill in French? – Pourrais-je avoir l’addition?

You have just had a gorgeous three course meal and it’s now time to pay. To ask for the bill, you need to say “pourrais-je avoir l’addition?” (Can I have the bill?”).


With all these most common french words and phrases, you should now be ready to enjoy your trip to France!

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which basic French words and phrases was most tough for you to pronounce?

Either way, leave a quick comment below right now if you have queries

Side Note: Want a light introduction to French Courses Online? Check Out Our French Courses Online for Beginners

learning French Expressions
French Words

26+ Commonly used French Expressions you should know

Say the right things at the moment you need it most. In theory, yes, that does sound perfect but, in practice, how do you do if you don’t know the most commonly used French Expressions?

So, yes, of course, you can walk around with your bilingual dictionary but it’s not quite ideal, is it?

The other solution is for you to learn some popular French phrases.

Imagine going to France and being told you speak well. That would be great, wouldn’t it?

Off Course, it would… but now, imagine going to France and being told you sound just like a real native speaker! Now, that would be amazing!

Learning French daily expressions will not only make you sound more French, it will also help you understand the French culture better. Indeed, in any language, the daily way of life often shows through common phrases.

It is now time to drop boring textbooks and to learn some real French, spoken every day by real French native speakers.

I have obviously explained the meaning of each French expressions but you will also find under each of them an audio to check their exact pronunciation.

One last thing before I start, have a look at this video. It’s a Tex Avery cartoon called La Symphonie de l’argot (the symphony of slang). Do you understand what the character is on about? Not really? You will once you will have read this article and check my very complete French expressions e-book!

C’est parti (mon kiki)!

 As a teacher, I (very) often get asked how to say such or such swear word in French… It seems to be the first, or at least one of the first, interest my students have when they learn French.

In this first part, I will not teach you how to swear in French but I will tell you about a few colloquial and slang French phrases (because not only it would make you sound French – and that’s what we are aiming for, aren’t we?- it is also very funny!).

a) Ca roule / ça roule ma poule!

You would use this expression when you want to say that everything is good, when life is treating you right. It would, therefore, be an answer to the question “ça va?”.

However, you could also use it instead of “ça va?”.

It can be both a question meaning “how are things?” and an answer meaning “everything is good”.

Just like in English, you have loads of rhyming expressions such as “see you later alligator, in a while crocodile”, you could add “ma poule” to “ça roule” to get the funny slangy phrase “ça roule ma poule” (meaning literally: it is rolling my hen”).

For example:

  • Alors ça roule?
  • Oui, ça va, merci.

(So is everything good? Yes, fine, thanks). 

  • Comment vas-tu?
  • Ca roule, merci.

How are you?

Good, thanks.

b) Comme d’hab!

Short for comme d’habitude, comme d’hab is a familiar expression meaning “as usual”.

For example:

  • Que fais-tu dimanche?
  • Je vais courir, comme d’hab.

What are you doing on Sunday?

I’m going running as usual.

c) Ca te dit? / Ca vous dit?

This is a very popular French expression. I personally use it very often. It means: are you up for it? / do you fancy it?

A similar phrase is ça te branche? / ça vous branche? 

For example:

  • Ca te dit d’aller boire un verre?

Do you fancy going for a drink?


d) Tiens moi au courant / Tenez moi au courant

If you want to find out the outcome of a situation, you could use this very common French expressions.

It means: Keep me up to date / let me know.

An equivalent is tiens moi au jus.

You could also say On se tient au courant / On se tient au jus. In that case, you would say we’ll keep in touch.

For example:

  • Tiens moi au courant pour tes examens médicaux.

Keep me informed regarding your medical tests.

  • On se tient au jus pour samedi .

We keep in touch regarding Saturday.

e) Revenons à nos moutons

I quite like this one! Pretty cute, I think. It literally means Let’s go back to our sheeps. It comes from a novel written by the very famous Rabelais in the 15th century, La Farce du maître Pathelin.

Imagine you’re talking with someone and you kind of go off the subject. To go back to it, you’ll simply need to say revenons à nos moutons! It means “let’s get back to the subject at hand”.

For example:

  • On s’éloigne du sujet. Revenons à nos moutons.

We’re getting off the subject. Let’s go back to it.

f) Tu veux un coup de main ? / Vous voulez un coup de main?

Do you like helping others?

Well, you might want to ask someone if they want a hand. If so, you could say tu veux un coup de main / Vous voulez un coup de main?

For example:

  • Tu veux un coup de main pour vider la voiture?

Do you want a hand to empty the car?

g) Tu t’en sors? / Vous vous en sortez?

Is your friend struggling to do something? If so, you might want to ask him/her if he/she is managing okay? In that case, you would say, tu t’en sors?

For example:

  • Tu t’en sors ou tu veux un coup de main?

You managing there or do you want a hand?

h) Ca me prend la tête

Argh! That does my head in!

If something annoys you, in French, you’ll say that this thing is “taking your head” (ça me prend la tête).

For example:

  • Alors, tes maths? Tu t’en sors?
  • Non, ça me prend la tête!

So, these Maths? Do you manage?

No, it does my head in!

i) Rendre quelqu’un chèvre

Similar to ça me prend la tête but not as familiar, rendre quelqu’un chèvre means to drive someone crazy.

For example:

  • Elle va me rendre chèvre si elle continue!

She will drive me crazy if she carries on!

j) En avoir ras le bol

Okay, so you can’t work out how to resolve this Maths problem (I feel your pain…). Are you fed up with it? Well, in French you would “have a bowl full of it”. In other words, you would have it up to here!

Just a little reminder: you have to conjugate the verb avoir with the subject when you use this popular French expressions in a sentence.

For example:

  • J’en ai ras le bol qu’il pleuve!

I’m fed up with the rain!

k) Faire la grasse matinée / faire la grasse mat

This is THE one expression I would adore to use a lot more often but I can’t because of my beautiful babies (the joys of motherhood, eh…). It means to have a lie in.

If you’re lucky enough to know what these are, then, in France, you won’t actually have a lie in, you will “do the fat morning”.

For example:

  • Enfin, le week-end! Demain matin, je fais la grasse matinée!

Weekend, at last! Tomorrow morning, I’m having a lie in!

  1. Avoir le coup de foudre

One I have experimented and I hope you have too. Falling madly in love at first sight! In France, it’s a bit more violent though as you don’t just fall in love, “you are struck by lightning”!

For example:

  • Daz et moi, ça a été le coup de foudre!

Daz and I fell in love at first sight.

m) S’envoyer en l’air

Well after falling in love (or “being struck by lightning” as the French like to say), you usually have sex (too much information!).

Having sex in France actually sounds pretty fun as they “throw each other in the air”!

Please note that this expression is very familiar so don’t go round telling the world that you like t’envoyer en l’air…

 For example:

  • Pff, nos voisins sont bruyants quand ils s’envoient en l’air!

Pff, our neighbours are noisy when they are having sex!

n) Changer d’avis comme de chemise

Are you a rather indecisive person? Well, in France, you would “change opinion like you change shirt”. In other words, you would keep changing your mind.

For example:

  • C’est une girouette: elle change d’avis comme de chemise!

It’s a weathercock, she always changes her mind.

o) Être une girouette

Let’s hope you will never be called a girouette in French cause, if you do, it would mean that you are not a very reliable person and that people can’t really count on you…

For example:

  • Ne te fie pas à lui, c’est une girouette.

Don’t trust him, he’s a weathercock.

p) J’en mettrais ma main au feu / J’en mettrais ma main à brûler

When you are absolutely sure you’re right, you could bet your life on it! Well, not in French. In the language of love, you could actually “burn your hand” or “put your hand in the fire”!

This little gem comes from the Middle Age!

For example:

  • J’en suis sûre. J’en mettrais ma main au feu!

I am certain. I could bet my life on it!.

q) Je n’en crois pas mes yeux!

This common French expressions has its exact equivalent in English. It means “I cannot believe my eyes”. You could say that when you are happily surprised or dumbfounded by something you are witnessing.

For example:

  • Quel spectacle! Je n’en crois pas mes yeux!

What a show! I cannot believe my eyes!.

r) Je n’en crois pas mes oreilles!

Let’s stay carry on talking about our senses! Just as you sometimes cannot believe your eyes, you can also not believe your ears. So if you’ve heard something that surprises or shocks you, then, in French,  tu n’en croiras pas tes oreillles (you will not believe your ears).

For example:

  • T’as entendu ça? Ils se sont séparés! Je n’en crois pas mes oreilles!

Have you heard that? They broke up! I can’t believe my ears!.

s) Laisse tomber…

Be careful with that one. Words for words, it means “drop it”. However, it doesn’t have the quite same irritable tone as it has in English. It significates “forget about it” or “never mind”.

For example:

  • Je n’arrive pas à défaire ce noeud.
  • C’est pas grave. Laisse tomber.

I can’t undo that knot.

It doesn’t matter. Forget about it.

t) Avoir du pain sur la planche

It is time to roll up your sleeves and start working! Indeed, you have loads to do! Well, in France, you would “have some bread on the board”.

Don’t the French just love their baguettes? Haha

For example:

  • Allez, retrousse tes manches! On a du pain sur la planche!

Come on, roll up your sleeves! We have a lot to do!.

u) Avoir la gueule de bois

You enjoyed that last one drink last night, didn’t you? Well, I bet drinking it doesn’t seem quite that much of a good idea on the following morning, does it?

If you feel hung over in France, you will actually have the wooden mug/face!

For example:

  • Pff, j’ai la gueule de bois ce matin.

Pff, I’m hung over this morning.

v) Avoir le cafard

This an informal way of saying you’re feeling down. However, for some reasons, in France, you dont feel down nor feel blue, you “have the cockroach”. Bit of a strange one, that one.

For example:

  • Je suis déprimé en ce moment. J’ai le cafard.

I am depressed. I’m feeling down.

w) C’est naze / c’est nul / c’est pourri

These French expressions are the equivalent to the English phrase “that sucks”.

If you think something is totally stupid then you could use either of these three popular French expressions.

For example:

  • Ce film est trop nul!

This film is really rubbish.

x) Avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre

Just like in English, your eyes can sometimes be bigger than your stomach, in French, tu as les yeux plus gros que le ventre.

For example:

  • J’en ai trop pris. J’ai eu les yeux plus gros que le ventre.

I took too much. My eyes were bigger than my stomach.

y) Avoir un chat dans la gorge

I quite like this one cause it’s the same type of expression as it is in English. Only the animal changes! When you have a cold and a sore throat in England, you have a frog in your throat. Well, in France, you have a cat instead!

For example:

  • J’ai certainement pris froid, j’ai un chat dans la gorge.

I must have caught a cold, I’ve got a frog in my throat.

z) Avoir la grosse tête

Is someone rather arrogant? Full of himself? Big-headed? In that case, you would use the French expression avoir la grosse tête.

For example:

  • Lucie a la grosse tête depuis sa promotion.

Lucie is being big-headed since she got her promotion.

So here you have them, a French popular expression for each letter of the alphabet. 26 common French expressions altogether. However, there are many more. If you want to learn more, have a look at my e-book bout popular French expressions. You’ll find many more!

Side Note: Want a light introduction to French Courses Online? Check Out Our French Courses Online for Beginners

Read Next: 53 Difficult French Words you’ll struggle to pronounce

French Words

53 Difficult French Words you’ll struggle to pronounce

As most English speakers, well more generally as most non-French speakers, you’ll agree that one of the toughest parts of learning French is not its vocabulary nor grammar (even though, yes, that’s pretty difficult too) but it is its pronunciation.

French people sound so sexy when they speak, don’t they?

So, why don’t you? You will do too… eventually. You just need to practice and I’ve got just what you need to understand French pronunciation better and to master their beautiful accent.

Do you mumble more than you express yourself clearly?

As a French learner, you’re likely to struggle with the pronunciation of the letters R and U but also with the combination of some letters that create new sounds all together. Don’t let a few letters and some phonics difficulties defeat you though.

After having read this blog, things should be a lot clearer to you. So here are 53 words you probably struggle to pronounce in French. I have classed them by sound to ease your learning. 

A. The International Phonetic Alphabet

Before I give you the much wanted list, let’s learn a bit about the International Phonetic Alphabet.

What is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and why is it important for you to have a glance at it?

The IPA has been invented to write words not according to their spelling but according to the sounds they make. It has been written to help language learners overcome pronunciation difficulties.

Of course, I’m not telling you to learn it by heart (even though I had to for my teaching exam!) but just to have a look at it. It will help you recognize words better and therefore to pronounce them and spell them better.

I have classed the various French sounds depending on if they are made by vowels or consonants.

You can upload the PDF of the chart by clicking on the following link.

Also, here is a link with the actual sounds made by the letters and combinations of letters. I found it on the TV5 website (great website by the way!).


The International Phonetic Alphabet chart

French sounds and their spelling

IPA oral vowels French written form Examples
[i] i – y – î – ï Livre, lys, île, haïr…
[e] é – e – ai Égalité, chanter, craie…
[ɛ] è – e – ê – ai – aî – ay – ei – ey Sève, crêpe, aimer, naître…
[a]  [ ɑ ] a – à – â Lac, pâte…
[o] o – au – eau – ô Rose, autour  château, drôle…
[ɔ] o – au Note, mauvais…
[u] ou – oû Soupe, goût…
[y] u – û – hu Têtu, bûche, humide…
[ø] eu – oeu Jeu, vœu…
[ œ] eu – oeu – heu Seul, œuf, heure…
[ ə ] e Leçon…


IPA nasal vowels French written form Examples
[ɛ̃] in – im – ain – aim – ein Singe, impossible, main, faim, frein…
[ œ̃ ] un – um Lundi, parfum…
[ ɑ̃ ] en – em – an – am – aon Gentil, remplir, divan, jambe, paon


IPA consonants French written form Examples
[p] p – pp Poisson, appeler…
[b] b – bb Bébé, abbaye…
[t] t – tt – th Tortue, attacher, mathématiques…
[d] d – dd Dormir, addition…
[k] c – cc – qu – k – ch Café, accoucher, qui, kilo, choeur…
[g] g – gu Garage, déguisement…
[m] m – mm Armoire, commande…
[n] n – nn Noir, personne…
[f] f – ff – ph Force, siffler, pharmacie…
[v] v Vitesse…
[s] s – ss – c – ç – t – x Silence, saucisse, leçon, opération, six..
[z] s – z Cerise, zéro…
[ʃ] ch Chat…
[ʒ] j – g – ge Jaguar, girafe, genou…
[ ɲ ] gn Saigner…
[l] l – ll Lune, allumer…
[r] r – rr – rh Réparer, verre, rhume…
[ ks ] x – cc – xc Taxi, accident, excité…
[ gz ] x Exercice…



semi-vowels / semi-consonants

French written form Examples
[j] i – ill – ll – il – y Pied, paille, fille, œil, yeux…
[w] ou Oui, ouest…
[ɥ] ui Lui, huile…

Now that the International Phonetic Alphabet makes more sense to you, let’s tackle these difficult sounds (well, not difficult for long! 😉 ).

As you can see, I have listed the 53 French words you might struggle to pronounce by sound. I have also written their IPA spelling so you can refer to the chart above to see other words which have the same sound and you can go on the TV5 website (cf. link above) to listen to the actual sound and practice. Recipe for success!

    B. 53 French words difficult to pronounce

Let’s start with the sound « oin ». Why do you think you find it complicated to pronounce? Yes, you’ve got it in one: that’s because it is a nasal sound that doesn’t exist in English.

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Loin Far
Foin Hay
Coin Corner
Adjoint Deputy Don’t pronounce the final T.

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

L’adjoint ramasse du foin et le met loin dans un coin.

The deputy is picking up some hay and is putting it far in a corner.

B. EU [œ] and [ø]

This one might be a bit of a tricky one cause this combination of letters can make two sounds: a close one and an open.

I wrote some examples for you. Have a look and try to find a pattern.

→ Close sound [ø]:

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Peu A little bit
Mieux Better Don’t pronounce the final X.
Feu Fire
Vieux Old Don’t pronounce the final X.

Let’s check the open “EU” sound now (it’s a longing sound).


→ open sound [œ] :

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Jeune Young
Beurre Butter
Peur Fear
Neuf New/nine

What do you notice? Indeed! When the sound insists on a vowel, it’s a close sound and when the last sound insists on a consonant, it’s an open sound. Well done you!

As you probably already know, French love exceptions! So, here are two: the verbs pleuvoir (to rain) and pleurer (to cry).

These two verbs are exceptions as they have two syllables which have distinct sounds :

  • Pleu (first sound) / voir (second sound) → “pleu” is a closed sound.
  • Pleu (first sound) / rer (second sound) → “pleu” is a closed sound.

When they are conjugated, their sounds become open as the two syllables don’t make two distinct sounds anymore. The second syllable is pronounced in line with the first one.

  • Il pleut (it’s raining)
  • Il pleure (he’s crying)

And because two exceptions might not be quite enough, there’s a third one!

“EU” as in “Elle a eu” (she has had). It is pronounced [y].

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

Les jeunes et les vieux se sentent mieux et ont moins peur quand ils mangent du beurre au coin du feu.

Young and old people feel better and are less scared when they eat some butter by the fireside.

C. EAU / AU [o]

Combined together these vowels make the sound [o].

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Château Castle The accent on the A does not change its pronunciation.
Rateau Rake
Gâteau Cake The accent on the A does not change its pronunciation.
Agneau Lamb Be careful with the sound of « GN ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Chapeau Hat Be careful with the sound of «CH ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.


French words English words Pronunciation tips
Mauvais Bad Don’t pronounce the S.
Chaud Hot Be careful with the sound of «CH ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Don’t pronounce the final D.

Automobiliste Car driver
Restaurant Restaurant Don’t pronounce the final T.

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this short text correctly:

L’automobiliste a chaud. Il enlève son chapeau et joue avec un rateau. Il va dans un mauvais restaurant et mange de l’agneau et un gâteau.

The car diver is warm. He takes his hat off and plays with a rake. He goes to a bad restaurant and eats some lamb and a cake.

D. EN / AN / EM / EN [ã]

Why do some words take EN and AN and others EM and AM? What is the difference between words written with M and words written with N?

Well, it’s a just a spelling rule (to learn by heart…). It’s an easy one though.

You have to put an M in front of a B, a P or a M.

  • embarquer (to board)
  • crampon (stud)
  • emmener (to take)

Of course, there are some exceptions (it wouldn’t be very French not to have any, would it?):

  • bonbon (sweet)
  • bonbonnière (sweet box)
  • bonbonne (demijohn)
  • embonpoint (stoutness)
French words English words Pronunciation tips
Enfant Child Don’t pronounce the final T.
Banc Bench Don’t pronounce the final C.
Pendant During Don’t pronounce the final T.
Chambre Bedroom Be careful with the sound of «R ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Longtemps A long time Pronounce neither the G, the P nor the S.

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

L’enfant s’assoit pendant longtemps sur un banc dans sa chambre.

The child sits for a long time on a bench in his bedroom.

E. ON [õ]

Another nasal sound that doesn’t exist in English. Easy peasy, lemon squeesy!

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Poisson Fish Be careful with the sound of «OI ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Bon Good
Monde World
Son Sound/his/her

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

Dans le monde des poissons, il y a du bon son.

In the fish world, there is some good sound.

F. OE [œ]

This is the famous French “e dans l’o”. This letter doesn’t exist in English.  It comes from the Greek diphthong of which became oe in Latin and then œ in French.

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Œuf Egg
Cœur Heart
Bœuf Beef


Practice time!

Try and pronounce this French proverb correctly:

Qui vole un oeuf, vole un boeuf.

He that will steal an egg will steal an ox (once a thief, always thief).\


G. TH [t]

“TH” is actually easier to learn for people studying French than for people studying English. Indeed, French people really do struggle with the pronunciation of the English “TH”.

See, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to pronunciation!

It’s actually pretty easy to pronounce in French once you know its sound. It’s [t].

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Mathématiques Mathematics Don’t get confused with the English word.
Thon Tuna Be careful with the sound of «ON ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Athlète Athlete Don’t get confused with the English word.
Théorème Theorem Don’t get confused with the English word.

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

L’athlète révise son théorème mathématique en mangeant du thon.

The athlete revises his mathematical theorem while eating some tuna.



H. AIN / IN / EIN [ɛ̃]

Surely, you’re not worried about another nasal sound? You’re so used to them now, you can handle them all!

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Pain Bread
Vin Wine
Plein Plenty / a lot

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

Il mange plein de pain avec son vin.

He’s eating a lot of bread with his wine.

I. OI [wa]

Here”s a little trick for you: to practice this sound, think about the word “what” in English. Now, pronounce it without saying the final “t”. Well, here you have it! The French OI is the equivalent of “wha” in English. Easy or easy? Very easy!

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Oiseau Bird
Oisiveté Idleness
Oie Goose

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

L’oie est un oiseau qui aime l’oisivété.

Goose is a bird which likes idleness.



J. R [R]

So, now, that is a tough one for English speakers. It can be so hard to pronounce… well that is if you don’t know my little trick!! Here it comes!

Grab a pencil, put it in your mouth sideways (otherwise you may chock on it…) as far as you can against your lips and bite it.

Now, pronounce the letter R in French or even better a word with this letter (rouge for example).

So, what do you think? It’s good, isn’t it?!

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Rouge Red
Orange Orange
Rateau Rake Be careful with the sound of «EAU».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Practice time!

Try and pronounce this sentence correctly:

Le rateau est rouge et orange.

The rake is red and orange.


K. Letters not to pronounce at the end of French words

Last but not least: which letters should not be pronounced at the end of words?

Unlike in English, letters are not pronounced at the end of French words.

To help you remember which letters not to pronounce, here’s another trick you will now have up your sleeve!

Learn this sentence by heart: Hey Girls Do Save This Please X

Okay, repeat, repeat and repeat it more. Perfect.

Now, that you know it well, only think of the first letter of each word (H, G, D, S, T, P, X). Well, my dear, these are the letters you should not pronounced at the end of French words! Pretty cool, isn’t it?

French words English words Pronunciation tips
Waouh Wow Be careful with the sound of «OU».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Édimbourg Edinburgh Be careful with the sounds of «IM» and « OU ».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Froid cold Be careful with the sound of «OI».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Paris Paris Don’t get confused with the English pronunciation.
Achat Purchase Be careful with the sound of «CH».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

Sirop Cordial
Mieux Better Be careful with the sound of «EU».

Have a look at the IPA chart if need be.

French pronunciation should have no secrets for you anymore. Please, remember though, everyone likes a bit of a foreign accent !

French Words

How to learn French pronunciation in 5 easy steps

Have you started to learn French Pronunciation? Are you loving studying this Romance language?

Yes, like most French students you probably are but what you are also likely to have in common with them is the difficulty to pronounce some French words correctly.

Don’t worry though, in this blog I will walk you through the main difficulties and give you some tips to overcome them. You’ll soon sound like a real native speaker.

Yes, you will, and remember as French natives say “Impossible n’est pas français”(impossible is not French. In other words, nothing is impossible)!

Why is so it difficult for English speakers to pronounce French words correctly?

First of all, let’s try and think of the reasons why you’re struggling to pronounce French words properly. Understanding the cause will help you practice better and therefore improve.


      A. Spelling

The difference between the way a word is spelt and the way it is pronounced is undeniably one of the main reasons why some French words are so difficult to say. French spelling doesn’t always follow a phonetic spelling pattern.

And that’s without mentioning all its silent letters (both vowels and consonants), its nasal sounds (that don’t even exist in English…) and all its various accents which make its spelling tricky to pronounce. So, how do you work it out?

Well, good job you’ve found this guide to help you out!


     B. Linguistic evolution

Every language evolves: new words appear to adjust to our everyday lives (by this, I mean new words are used to name new objects, for example), the spelling of some words remains the same as it always has been but their pronunciation differs.

This is, for example, the case with silent letters at the end of a word. Indeed, they used to be pronounced but since 1200 this slowly stopped. We can think of the silent e at the end of a word for example.

It used to be pronounced but, now, it only is if has an accent.

Now, let’s analyse in more depth why some sounds are difficult to be pronounced by English speakers. No doubt though that after having read this French pronounciation guide and after having practiced a little bit, you will manage perfectly fine.


  1. How do you pronounce French letters?

Before even thinking of pronouncing words, you have to master how to pronounce French letters. Did you know that even though the French alphabet has 26 letters, there are at least 38 different phonetic sounds in French?

That’s because when you combine two or more letters, you produce a new sound.

A. So first thing first, I have written the alphabet and how to pronounce each letter.

Get practicing!

Letters of the French alphabet and their respective sounds

A a
B be
C se
D de
E uh
F ef
G jay
H ash
I e
J gee
K ka
L el
M em
N en
O o
P pay
Q ku
R air
S s
T te
U [y]
V vay
W duble vay
X eeks
Y egrek
Z zed




 B. Interesting facts about the French alphabet

Did you know that there are six vowels in French? A, e, i, o, u and y. Like most English speakers, you probably do struggle with the vowel U as its sound has no equivalent in English.

Moreover, you can create new sounds by combining vowels. Here are some examples:

au, eau like in aurore (dawn), marteau (hammer)

ou like in ouragan (hurricane)

ai like in aimer (to like, to love)

oi as in oiseau (bird)

eu and oeu as in bleu (blue) and oeil (eye)


  1. Nasal sounds

Let’s carry on with one big difficulty for English speakers to pronunce: the nasal sounds. Like I mentioned previously, if English doesn’t have any nasal vowels, French has plenty.

But, stop threatening, it is not as hard as it seems!

But what exactly is a nasal sound? Well, basically, when you pronounce vowels individually, air flows through your mouth.

However, when you combine vowels with m or n (which are nasal consonants), and therefore transform a normal sound into a nasal one, air doesn’t only flow through your mouth but also through your nose.

This is the reason why these sounds are called nasal.

Here is a little exercise for you to feel the difference. Put your hand close to your mouth and pronounce the sound a as in attraper. Now, do the same thing with the sound am as in camp.

Do you feel as much air on your hand the second time? No. That’s because in the second case, air goes both through your mouth and nose.

A common mistake made by English speakers is to pronounce the vowel and the consonant (m or n) separately rather than as a one and unique sound.

This is simply because there isn’t any word with nasal vowels in English but plenty with nasal consonants. So remember: a nasal vowel is not an oral vowel + a nasal consonant. It is a different and unique sound.

How would you read this sentence? Un bon vin blanc. A bit tricky, isn’t it?

Here are the different nasal sounds and the way to pronounce them to help you out.


Am, an, em, en Camp, chant, embout, enfant
Ien Chien
Im, in, aim, ain, ein Impossible, intestin, main, bain, rein
Om, on Concombre, bonbon
Um, un Sébum, un


  1. Silent letters

Which letters are usually silent in French? Unlike in English where most letters are pronounced, in French most final consonants are usually silent and so is the “s” marking the plural form of a word as well as the “h” at the beginning of a word.

Ok, so what’s the point in having letters written in words if you are not going to pronounce them? I see what you mean but they actually have their importance. They are used to mark the feminine or the plural and to ease reading words in a sentence (make a liaison). There also are etymological reasons. Some silent letters are there to create other words belonging to the same family such as plomb and plomberie.

A.Silent final consonants

See below a grid with the different silent consonants in French and an example each time. Just to make it crystal clear, in this table you will find letters that you don’t actually pronounce at all or that change the pronounciation of the letter before it. For example, the letter z in “nez” in not pronounced “zed” but it changes the sound of the letter e which is not pronounced “uh” there but “é”. Understood? Perfect, let’s start then.

Letters French words and their translations
B Radoub (dry dock)
C Banc (bench)
D Pied (foot)
F Nerf (nerve)
G Hareng (herring)
Gt Doigt (finger)
H Aneth (dill)
M Parfum (perfum)
N En (in)
P Beaucoup (a lot)
Mpt Compter (to count)
R Foyer (home)
S Toujours (always)
W Bungalow (bungalow)
Z Nez (nose)



B; H at the beginning of a word 

The letter h is important when it comes to liaisons. Indeed, in most cases, h stops the liaison from happening. Therefore you won’t do the liaison between the “s” and “a” in the following sentence:

“J’adore les / haricots verts”.

“J’adore les / haricots verts”.

Don’t worry though, it’s not that much of a big deal if you make a mistake with h and its liaisons. We’ll still understand you!



  1. Liaisons

Il est beaucoup trop émotif.

To make their conversation smoother, French people do what we call a liaison. In other words, they pronounce two words that follow each other as one like in the following example:

What do you notice? Yes, you’ve got it! “Il” and “trop” finish with a consonant whereas “est” and “émotif” both start with a vowel.

Here the liaison is on “il est” and “trop émotif”

So, here is the rule: if a word finishing with a consonant is followed by one starting with a vowel, then you have to do the liaison.



  1. Letter combinations

I have attached the International Phonetic Alphabet on the following link. It is taken from the University of Toulouse, France


Let’s start our explanations with vowels and then move onto consonants.

       A. Vowels

       a. The letter Œ:

This letter, well combination of letters, doesn’t exist in English. It comes from the Greek diphthong of which became oe in Latin and then œ in French.

This same letter can be pronounced in three different ways.

International Phonetic Alphabet Its use French words
[ø] Nœud (knot), Bœufs (beefs)
[œ] When the letter œ is followed by u and then r or f ur (heart),  œuf (egg)
[e] Not used anymore Œsophage (oesophagus).

It used to be pronouced ésophage.

     b.Combinations of letters with A

The first vowel of the alphabet can be combined with different letters as you can see below.

International Phonetic Alphabet Combination of letters French words
[e] Ai Paire (pair)
[o] Au, eau Automne (autumn, fall), château (castle)

     c. Combinations of letters with E

E can be combined with other letters but there again, in one case, the same combination can have different sounds. Let’s have a look.

International Phonetic Alphabet French words
[ø] Heureux (glad)
[œ] Filleul (godson)

E can also be combined with the letter R. You’ll see this combination at the end of some infinitive verbs such as jouer (to play) or rigoler (to laugh).

      d. Combinations of letters with O

When combined, the O makes sounds that will appear rather difficult to you as an English speaker as they don’t exist in English. You are therefore not used to hear them nor to put your tongue in the right place.

International Phonetic Alphabet Combination of letters French words
[oi] Oi Oiseau (bird)
[u] Ou Oublier (to forget)

B. Consonants

As you will see in the following examples, consonants can also produce a different sound depending on which letters they are followed by. 

     a. Combinations of letter with G

This can be a tricky one as it can make hard or soft sound.

International Phonetic Alphabet Combination of letters French words
[g] Ga, go, gu (hard sound) Garage (garage), goéland (seagull), guide (guide)
[ə] Gi, ge (soft sound) Girafe (giraffe), gêner (to embarass)



Gn Poignon (moolah, dosh → slang)

     b. Combination with the letter L

When the L is doubled up, its sound becomes [j] as in bille (marble).

     c. Combination with the letter T

Last but not least: the letter T. When it is followed by the vowel I, it makes a soft sound. It is then pronounced [s] as in opération (operation).



Now that you are aware of the different challenges French pronunciation can throw at you, it should be easier to master it. All it takes is a bit of practice. Enjoy your learning adventure!

Side Note: Want a light introduction to French Courses Online? Check Out Our French Courses Online for Beginners

Read Next: French Adverbs: The Definitive Guide

Learn French Quickly
French Words

French Survival Phrases

French Survival Phrases
Yes. You read it right

Assume your hotel room is booked and so is your flight.

But even though you’re very organised, you feel something is missing?

What can it be ?

Ah right, I see… You don’t feel over confident with your level of French. Not to worry peeps, I’ve got you sorted.

Here, you’ll find some French survival phrases on all the topics you need to know about.

Come on, of you go to beautiful France!

Enjoy and bon voyage!

Lets dive into the French Survival Phrases you should know


Meeting People

I’m pleased to meet you. Je suis très heureux / heureuse de faire ta / votre connaissance.

Have we met before ? On s’est déjà rencontré ?

No, I don’t think so. Non, je ne crois pas.

Yes, I think so. Oui, il me semble.

Should we give each other a kiss on the cheek ? On se fait la bise ?

Where are you from ? De quel coin êtes-vous originaire ?

Are you from here ? Êtes-vous d’ici ?

Do you understand me ? Me comprenez-vous ?

Can you speak more slowly, please ? Pouvez-vous parler plus doucement, s’il vous plaît ?

Long time, no see ! Ça fait longtemps, dis donc !

What’s up ? Quoi de neuf ?

Could you say your name again, please ? Pourriez-vous me rappeler votre nom, s’il vous plaît ?

What a surprise to meet you here ! Quelle surprise de te / vous voir ici !

It’s been ages ! Ça fait une paye ! Ça fait un bail !

Hope to see you soon. Au plaisir de te / vous revoir.

Have a nice (end of) day. Bonne fin de journée.

See you later. A plus tard

See you in a while. A tout à l’heure

See you soon. A bientôt



Au restaurant

Is service included ? Est-ce que le service est compris ?

I think there is a mistake in the bill. Je crois qu’il y a une erreur dans l’addition.

It’s to eat (when you walk in a restaurant and want a table). C’est pour manger.

It’s just to have a drink. C’est juste pour boire un verre.

I would like a pre-dinner drink. Je vais prendre un apéritif.

I prefer sitting outside / inside. Je préfère une table à l’extérieur / à l’intérieur.

What is th chef speciality ? Quelle est la spécialité du chef ?

What is today’s special ? Quel est le plat du jour ?

Have you made your choice ? Avez-vous choisi ?

What do you want to drink ? Qu’est-ce que vous buvez ?

I would like my steak very rare / bloody / rare / medium rare / well done. Je voudrais mon steak bleu / saignant / rosé / à point / bien cuit.

Enjoy your meal. Bon appétit.

Did you enjoy your meal ? Ça a été / ça vous a plu ?

Yes, it was good. Oui, c’était bon

I would like a coffee. Je vais prendre un café.

Nothing for me. Rien pour moi.



La routine quotidienne

I brush my teeth morning and night. Je me brosse les dents matin et soir.

I do my homework when I come back from school. Je fais mes devoirs en rentrant de l’école.

I dress myself before having my breakfast. Je m’habille avant de prendre mon petit-déjeuner.

At the night time, I am so tired, I always fall asleep on the sofa. Le soir, je suis tellement fatigué(e) que je m’endors toujours sur le canapé.

In the morning, I have to hurry. Le matin, je dois me dépêcher.

At the weekend, I rest. Le week-end, je me repose.

When I come back from work, I walk the dog. Quand je rentre du travail, je promène / sors le chien.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Je me suis levé(e) du pied gauche.

Most of the time I am on time / early / late. La plupart du temps, je suis à l’heure / en avance / en retard.

There is some traffic jam on my way to work. Il y a des embouteillages / des bouchons (more informal) sur le chemin de mon travail.

Every morning, I fall back to sleep. Tous les matins, je me rendors.




La vie sociale

Do you know somewhere around here where we can have a drink ? Est-ce que tu connais un coin par ici où on peut boire un verre ?

Shall we ring each other at some point ? On s’appelle un de ces quatre ?

Do you fancy going for something to eat ? Ça te branche qu’on aille manger un bout ? (informal)

Shall we have a drink ? On boit un verre / un coup ? (informal)

Sorry, I’d rather stay at home today. Désolé(e), je préfère rester à la maison aujourd’hui / Désolé(e), je fais mon / ma pantouflard(e) aujourd’hui.

Here are my friends. Voici mes amis / mon groupe d’amis.

Do you prefer going out or staying at home ? Est-ce que tu préfères sortir ou rester à la maison ?

I had a nice / great time. What about you ? J’ai passé un agréable / super moment. Et toi / vous ?

Thank you for that lovely evening. Merci pour cette très agréable soirée.

Would you fancy going to a concert on Saturday ? Ça te / vous dit d’aller à un concert samedi ?

When are you available ? Quand êtes-vous / Es-tu disponible ?


Faire les magasins

I make the most of it, it’s the sales ! J’en profite, c’est les soldes !

I’m going to the sales this weekend. Do you fancy it ? Je vais faire les soldes ce week-end. Ça te dit ?

Is it on sales ? Est-ce que c’est en solde ? Est-ce que c’est soldé ?

I’m going to see what is at the shopping centre. Je vais faire un tour au centre commercial.

Can I pay by cash ? Est-ce que je peux payer en espèce / en liquide ?

Do you take cheque ? Prenez-vous les chèques ?

Are you looking for something in particular ? Vous cherchez quelques chose en particulier ?

No, thank you. I am just looking. Non, merci. Je ne fais que regarder.

Yes, I’m looking for a present for my husband. Oui, je cherche un cadeau pour mon mari.

Is there a mirror ? Y a t-il un miroir ?

I love this dress. I’m going to get it. J’adore cette robe. Je vais la prendre.

I am going to the till. Je vais à la caisse.

I would like to exchange this item. Je voudrais échanger cet article.

Are you open on Sundays ? Êtes-vous ouvert le dimanche ?



A l’hôtel

Are pets allowed ? Les animaux domestiques sont-ils acceptés / admis ?

Cancellations must be made one day before your expected date of arrival. Les réservations doivent être annulées un jour avant votre date d’arrivée prévue.

I booked a room with half-board. J’ai réservé une chambre en demi-pension.

It’s all inclusive. C’est en pension complète.

There is a safe in the room. Il y a un coffre dans la chambre.

Is the hotel located in the town centre ? Est-ce que l’hôtel est situé au cœur de la ville ?

Is the bedroom a soundproof room / an air-conditioned room ? Est-ce que la chambre est insonorisée / climatisée ?

Is there a room service ? Y a t-il un service en chambre ?

Do I have to leave the key at the reception when I leave ? Dois-je laisser la clé à la réception lors de mon départ ?

Is the hotel far from the train station ? L’hôtel est-il loin de la gare ?

Have you got a room with view on the beach ? Avez-vous une chambre avec vue sur la plage ?

What tiime is check out ? A quelle heure dois-je libérer la chambre ?

I am sorry but the hotel is fully booked. Je suis désolé(e) mais l’hôtel est complet.



Demander des directions

I am lost. Je suis perdu(e).

Follow the signs for Toulouse. Suivez la direction de Toulouse.

You need to cross the bridge and carry on until you reach a crossroads. Il vous faut passer le pont et continuer jusqu’au carrefour.

Leave the motorway at junction 27. Quittez l’autoroute à la sortie 27.

Have you got a SatNav ? Avez-vous / As-tu un GPS ?

I am looking for the theatre. Je cherche le théâtre.

It is 200 meters away. C’est à 200 mètres.

You will see the market on your right. Vous allez voir le marché sur votre droite.

Where is the nearest bank ? Où est la banque la plus proche ?

Where is the tourist office ? Où se trouve l’office du tourisme ?

Turn around. Faites demi tour.

You have to retrace your steps. Vous devez revenir sur vos pas.

Will it take me long to get there ? Est-ce que ça va me prendre longtemps pour arriver ?

What is the quickest way ? Quel est le chemin le plus rapide ?

There is some building work on the normal way, you have to follow an alternative route. Il y a des travaux sur le chemin habituel, il faut suivre la déviation.





Le temps

It is raining cats and dogs. Il pleut des cordes.

They forecast a good / bad weather. Ils annoncent du beau / mauvais temps.

What are the temperatures today ? Quelles sont les températures aujourd’hui.

We never know how to dress with this weather. On ne sait jamais comment s’habiller avec ce temps.

It is freezing. Il fait un froid de canard.

What is the weather like where you are ? Il fait quel temps chez vous / toi ?

It is icy. C’est gelé.

It is foggy. Il y a du brouillard.

It is stormy. C’est orageux.

It is humid. C’est humide.

It is raining a lot. There will be some floods. Il pleut beaucoup. Il va y avoir des inondations.

The hail spoiled the fruits. La grêle a abîmé les fruits.

I heard some thunders. J’ai entendu un coup de tonnerre.

The sky is clear. Le ciel est clair.

There is a snowstorm. Il y a une tempête de neige.

He is soaking to the bones. Il est trempé jusqu’aux os.

It is raining buckets. Il pleut à seaux.

It is roasting. On crève de chaud (informal).

We are going through a heat wave. On est en pleine canicule.




Please do share your story in the comment section on your experience with survival French Phrases

Side Note: Want a light introduction to French Courses Online? Check Out Our French Courses Online for Beginners

French Words

How to say how are you in French?

In this short guide you will learn how to say how are you in French?

French and wondering how to expand your vocabulary?

As you will have guessed there are many ways to express the same idea.

You don’t have to wait to reach an advanced level of French to begin acquiring an important amount of words!

Let’s take a simple question such as “how are you”.

Well, did you know that there are many ways to ask this in French?

Yes, I’m not kidding my dear!

Let’s check them all so you’ll sound (more or less nearly) fluent as soon as you’ll start speaking!

How to say how are you in French?

1) The most common one : comment allez-vous?

Even though this means “how are you”, you will have noticed (I know you’ve seen it straight away but just in case you haven’t…) that there is the verb “to go” and not the verb “to be” like there is in English. An easy way to remember this is to translate “comment allez-vous” by “how is it going”.

Now, I need to be clear: “comment allez-vous” is a lot more formal than “how is it going”. You could use this expression either when you speak to one person you address formally using “vous” or to a group of people that you either address as “vous” or as “tu”.


2) The informal version of “comment allez-vous”: comment vas-tu?

This one is in between the formal “how are you” seen above and an even more informal one that I will tell you about after (patience!). It’s considered as informal as it uses “tu” (the informal French “you”). I tend to use “comment vas-tu” when I write to a friend rather than when I speak.


3) The friendly spoken “comment vas-tu”: “comment tu vas”

This is the even more informal one I mentioned above. Why is it more casual than “comment vas- tu”? Yes, you’ve got it in one: it’s because the verb and the subject are not in reversing order like they should be when asking a question.


4) The very simple (but very used) way to say “how are you”: ça va?

It is rather colloquial but very common in spoken communication. You can use this one with friends and family or even work colleagues. Anyone you know really as long as you are a bit familiar with them. It can also be used when writing texts to your friends or to anyone belonging to your close circle.


How you learned the basic French words to start a conversation

5) The affirmation pronounced as a question: “tu vas bien?

When you’re using this one, you’re not really asking a question. Well, yes, you are but only thanks to your accentuation.

Grammatically speaking, it isn’t a question as the subject is before the verb. Not an issue at all though as French people often use this sentence structure when they speak (not when they write a formal letter). It is very commonly used.


6) The one I really do not like (please don’t use it)

Right, it might be my geeky side talking but I’m so reluctant to tell you about that one. Ok, let’s do it: “sa va”. Ugh!

For some reasons I ignore some people write this expression instead of “ça va”.

It sounds the same, yes, but why use “sa” which means “her” instead of “ça”? Same amount of letters as well so it’ not an abbreviation.

A strange one but you need to know about it as you might see it, especially on social networks. Again though, I strongly advise you not to use it.

Thanks to these different ways to say “how are you” in French you can now vary your vocabulary and sound more fluent!



Did you ever asked how are you in french to anyone and how does it go?

Please do share your story in the comment section below!

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French Words

How to say Goodbye in French – Here is 17 ways to express good wishes

There are many ways to say Goodbye in french other than Au revoir and Salut

It is important to express your good wishes when at the end of a conversation.

Whether it’s eight o’clock in the morning or eight o’clock at night, I always try to greet others before they have a chance to speak to me. – Zig Ziglar

As you probably already know, politeness is rather very important for people. For this particular reason, they always greet people when they enter a shop or even when they walk past people in the street (which can be quite surprising and unexpected at first!).

You’ve got this part of the French language and culture covered as you have learnt some basic French words to express your greetings by heart.

That’s great, but what about saying goodbye in French?

This is as essential as knowing how to say hello.

Whilst most French learners know that au revoir means goodbye in French, many don’t actually know that there are so many other ways to express this.

It’s good knowing all the various phrases to say goodbye but it’s not enough. You also have to know when to say which particular expression because, yes, as mad as it sounds, you could use the wrong one to end a conversation.

In this article, I will tell you about new, interesting and different ways to say goodbye in French.

C’est parti… Au revoir This is the most used and common way to say French Goodbye. It is acceptable to use it in formal and informal situations at whichever time of the day with friends or strangers. It literally means “until we see each other again”. It is pronounced Oh reh-vwah.

Goodbye in French

17  Ways to Say Goodbye in French

Bonne journée/bonne soirée

This means “have a nice day/have a nice evening”. It is a respectful way to end a conversation and it’s very commonly used in France especially when you leave a shop or a restaurant.

It can be used in any type of settings with people you know well or with total strangers. It is respectively pronounced Bun zhoor nay / Bun swah ray.


This literally means “good evening”. It has a very similar meaning to bonne soirée and it is used in the same type of situations. It is pronounced Bun swah r.

A bientôt

It is pronounced Ah bee yen to and means “see you soon”. It is used either formally or casually when you’ll see the person soon but not on the same day (maybe the following month).

If you’re going to see the person sooner than that, you could say à très bientôt or à très vite.

A la prochaine

This expression is rather informal and should be used in casual situations with friends. It means “until next time”. You usually say it when you’re not exactly sure when you’ll see the person again. It is pronounced Ah la prosh-enne .

A demain

It is said A deh-mahn. It means “see you tomorrow” and you use it when you know for certain you’ll see the person tomorrow. It can be said in formal or informal situations.

A plus tard/A plus

This is a rather informal way of saying “see you later”. However, unlike “see you later” in English, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see the person on the same day. It is pronounced Ah plue tahr.

Very informally, it is often shortened to à plus (or à + in letters/emails) which is said Ah pluss.

A tout à l’heure

This also means “see you later”. It is used in the same way as it is in English which is when you see a person later in the day. It is pronounced Ah too tah leuhr.

A tout de suite

This means “see you shortly”. You say this phrase when you are with someone and you have to go your separate way for a very short amount of time and you’ll meet again shortly after. For example, if you go out for something to eat with someone but need to go to the cash machine first, you could say “à tout de suite” to the person you will meet back at the restaurant once you will have been to the cash point. It is pronounced Ah too deh sweet.


It is said Sah-lou means and means “hi” as well as “bye”. It is very commonly used in casual situations. You’ll hear it very often!


Another extremely used expression to say French goodbye in informal situations even though it’s not actually a French word. It’s Italian. It means “bye”. (I say it all the time!)


Pronounced Ah d’yew, it is a sad word really as you should use it when you know for certain you won’t see the person again. It literally means “until God” so it basically means you won’t see the person until you both die and meet up again up in heaven… You’d say farewell in English.

Little boy wave goodye with lollypop in hand isolated on white

Prends soin de toi

This means “take care of yourself”. You could say this when you’re saying goodbye in French to someone you particularly care for. It is pronounced prahn swa doo twah.

Bonne continuation

Pronounced bun kohn-teen-u-ah-see-ohn, this expression is used when you’re leaving someone you’re unlikely to meet again. It is rather formal and more used in a professional context. It means “good continuation” or “good luck”.

Ravi(e) de t’avoir (de vous avoir) rencontré(e)

This expression is the equivalent of the English phrase “it was nice meeting you”. Therefore, you should use it when you’re about to leave someone you saw for the first time. It is pronounced rahvee da-vwahr fay tah kohn-nay-sahns.

Je m’en vais

This means “I’m going” or “I’m out of here”. You should use this French goodbye phrase when you’re about to leave.

Je me casse/Je me tire

Goodbye in French


These two last ones are extremely colloquial (some would go as far as saying they are rude and offensive…). They have the same meaning as Je m’en vais. You shouldn’t use these expressions in a formal situation.

So here you have the most used expressions to say goodbye in French. You are now totally ready for your trip to France!

A très bientôt !

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Do you have any questions about how to say goodbye in French? Please do ask us on the comment section

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French Stories for Beginners, French Vocabulary, French Words

Romantic French phrases

« Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction ».
Love doesn’t mean gazing at each other, but looking, together, in the same direction.
Antoine de St-Exupéry


Ah l’Amour, le beau, le vrai, le grand! (Ah love, the beautiful one, the real one, the true one!).

What would life be without love? Not as wonderful I’d imagine! Declaring your love to the person of your dreams can be a bit daunting so why not imagine a very romantic way to express it?


And what’s more romantic than telling someone you love him/her than by saying it in the language of love, French?

Not only will you impress your loved one, you will also make his/her heart melt and you will, therefore, become irresistable ! You’re already in a relationship?

Telling your partner romantic French phrases will add some originality and spice to your relationship! You’re planning a trip to France?

Well, let me tell you: you cannot fully immerse yourself in French without knowing some romantic expressions. You never know where a night out in a lovely French town can lead you to…

Whichever way you look at it, learning romantic French expressions is a must when it comes to love! In this article, I will teach you some phrases and quotes for you to romance your darling (to be).

Maintenant, tombons amoureux en français! (Now, let’s fall in love in French!)


1) Comment draguer en français? How to flirt in French? You have just met the woman/man of your dreams so it’s now time to woo her/him (woo is faire la cour in French).

I will tell you how! Some expressions might seem a bit cheesy but still they are so attractive. Learn them, build your confidence up and go and seduce that lovely person you cannot stop thinking about!

Je peux vous offrir un verre? This means : Can I get you a drink? Imagine the scene: a lovely summer afternoon, you’re sat outside a bar enjoying the sunshine when suddenly you see that beautiful lady.

Offering someone a drink is a great way to start a conversation! You could also buy this person a coffee: Je peux vous offrir un café?

Vous venez souvent par ici? If you think offering a drink to somebody straight away is a bit too straight forward, you could simply ask them if they often comes around here and therefore say “vous venez souvent par ici?”.

Vous êtes célibataire? C’est impossible! Don’t we all like a bit of flattering? Of course, we do! So here is a sentence to boost your loved one ego: Vous êtes célibataire? C’est impossible! (You are single? That’s impossible!)


2)Sentences to totally avoid when flirting in French!

Is there are sentences to say when flirting, there also are sentences to avoid!

Here are a couple of phrases you shouldn’t say at the risk of sounding slightly ponderous…

T’es trop charmante! Have you ever been in the situation where you’re walking down the street and you hear someone whistling at you? How cringy?!

Well, telling a girl “t’es trop charmante (word for word: you’re too charming)would have a similar effect.

Calling someone charming isn’t obviously bad but saying “trop charmante” (too charming) would appear rather uneducated.

C’est quoi ton 06? In France, most mobile numbers start with 06. Therefore asking someone for his “06” is the equivalent of asking him for his mobile number in a very rude and so unromantic way.


3) Romantic phrases The flirting stage is over.

It’s now time to move onto more serious matters and to become romantic.

In the following grid, I wrote some French romantic sentences you should learn and say to your chéri (your darling)!.



4) Romantic questions in French You may also want to ask questions to the love of your life.

Here are some of the most important ones.

Here is all you need to know to charm a French person. Tell him/her some of these romantic phrases and let the magic begin! I wish you both a long and happy loving life together!

French Numbers 1 - 100
French Words

Learn how to say French Numbers 1 – 100 (with audio)

Un, deux, trois, on y va! (One, two, three)….

Starting your journey learning French?

Whats next?

Have you learned to count numbers in french 1 – 100 !

let’s go!

All these French numbers might appear daunting at first but do not worry, counting is actually a lot easier than it seems!!

After having read this blog, you will know how to say French numbers 1 – 100, how to pronounce them and how to spell them. Magnifique, n’est-ce pas? (Wonderful, isn’t it?).

Why is learning french numbers 1-100 so important?

Well, once you will know these numbers, you will be able to count endlessly!

Now lets learn French numbers 1-100

French Numbers from 0 to 20

A little cultural insight before we start: single numbers (0-9) are called “chiffres” in French and not “nombres” (numbers). “Nombres” are any two digits (or more) numbers. However, most French people call chiffres nombres so don’t worry yourself too much if you get this mixed up!

Ok so now let’s count but before we do you must be warned that if there is a tiny (and I mean very tiny) difficult part in learning numbers in French, it might number from eleven to sixteen. You will just have to learn them by heart. The creation of numbers seventeen to nineteen makes sense. Let’s see what I mean thanks to the following grid!

In the following grid are numbered up to twenty as well as their pronunciation.


Understood what I meant by “The creation of numbers seventeen to nineteen makes sense”? Basically, 17 is 10+7 so we put dix next to sept ! We work it out exactly the same for eighteen and nineteen


French Numbers 20 to 60

Now you know numbers from 0 to 20 in French, let’s learn some more! Here come numbers 20 to 60!

I wrote tens in bold to enable you to clearly see the pattern. It is always the same one: adding units next to the tens. Just like you would do in English (for example: 22 is 20+2 so you write 20 next to 2, twenty-two in English and vingt-deux in French). So basically to create these numbers, you simply have to take the tens and the units you need and put them together! Facile, n’est-ce-pas? (easy, isn’t it).

A couple of things before I give you the grid:

– A rule: any tens followed by “un”(one) (21, 31, 41, 51) will need “et” (and) between the tens and the unit.

– A pronouciation trick: the final consonants in six, huit, and dix are pronounced at the end of a sentence or in front of a vowel. But, they are silent when followed by another word that begins with a consonant.


French Numbers from 60 to 100

And now last but not least, numbers from 60 to 100! You’ll see, it is very easy and logical. Logical? why is it logical? Have a closer look at soixante-dix (70), quatre-vingts (80) and quatre-vingt-dix (90). What do you notice?

– 70 is 60+10. Therefore, in a very logical way, French people put number sixty next to number ten to create seventy! Soixante (60) plus dix (10) → soixante-dix (70).

– Same sort of thinking with quatre-vingts. Eighty is four times twenty (4X20). This is the reason why, in French, you put quatre (4) next to vingt (20) to create quatre-vingts (80)! Literally it is “four twenties”!

– Once again, you will need to appeal to mathematical thinking. What is 90? Well, we could say 90 is 4X20+10, couldn’t we? So, there, you have it. Ninety in French is quatre-vingt-dix!


Check this if you are done with learning French Numbers 1 – 100

Now, let’s check if you paid close attention to the spelling of some of the French tens!

Well to two tens in particular: quatre-vingts (80) and quatre-vingt-dix (90). What do you notice? What is present in one of them but not in the other? …

Yes, you’re right! It is the “s”!

Here’s a little rule (the French language is full of them!): if quatre-vingts (80) is followed by another number (81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99) then it looses its “s”. Numbers or “s”, 80 has to choose, it can’t have it all!

So, here you have them, French numbers 1 – 100! Happy counting!