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French Greetings The Right and Wrong Way to Greet Someone in French

How to Greet Someone in France | 15 French Phrases to Know

French Greetings The Right and Wrong Way to Greet Someone in French

How much do you know about French greetings and salutations? Learn the do’s, don’ts, and phrases to know in this post by French tutor Jinky B...

 

Traveling to a foreign country can be quite exciting. For French learners, maybe you have your eye on Paris, Versailles, or Nice.

This is your opportunity to explore the culture and really use all the French that you’ve been learning and practicing!

But all the preparation may come to a startling halt if you’re not sure how to approach or greet someone in France. Here are a few tips to make the interaction less daunting and to make a great first impression.

French Greetings – The Do’s and Don’ts

The etiquette on greeting people in France depends on a few factors. While it’s expected and considered polite to greet everyone, whether it’s your colleague or a shopkeeper in the magasin (store), the way you greet each person depends on your relationship with them and the social setting.

  • Les bises (the kisses) are a typical greeting when meeting friends in France.

Depending on the region of France, la bise can include one, two, or even three little kisses on the cheek. If in doubt, let the other person initiate and move to one side of your face or the other. The kisses generally begin on the right side of the face.

  • A handshake is a greeting that is reserved for business or formal settings.

When entering a meeting for work, it’s normal for colleagues to offer a firm handshake. It’s also common for men to greet with a handshake rather than with une bise.

  • A hug, contrary to American greetings, is reserved for close family members or significant others only.

A hug is seen as an invasion of privacy to the French and can make someone feel awkward or uncomfortable.

French Phrases to Know – Greetings & Salutations

As with proper French greeting etiquette, the correct “hello” depends on your relationship with the other person and the social context.

1. Bonjour – Good morning & hello

Use bonjour to say “good morning” or “hello” to someone for the first time seeing them in a day. If you encounter the same person again later in the day, it’s appropriate to use a less formal hello.

2. Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you.

In a more formal setting, it’s polite to indicate that you are “delighted” to meet someone after they introduce themselves.

3. Bonsoir – Good evening & hello

This greeting is used in similar situations as bonjour, but reserved for the evening.

4. Salut – Hi

Considered to be a more casual greeting, using salut is appropriate when you see someone again later in the day.

5. Coucou – Hey

Close friends use this greeting often. You can skip the formal bonjour and use this, or even ciao, when seeing these close comrades.

6. Ça fait longtemps, dis donc! – Long time, no see!

An ideal greeting between good friends, young French people tend to use this phrase when meeting up.

7. Âllo – Hello

This greeting is used exclusively for conversations on the telephone.

8. Ça va? – How are you?

A very simple way to ask someone how they are doing is to say Ça va? It’s a condensed version of the question Comment ça va? (How are you doing?). Either is correct and can be used in formal or more casual settings.

9. Tu vas bien? – How are you doing?

Literally translated to “are you doing well,” this is a polite way to ask someone how they are when you’re expecting a positive reply.

10. Quoi de neuf? – What’s up?

This is very casual, so I recommend using with close friends.

11. Au revoir! – Goodbye!

Rather formal, this is a safe way to say goodbye, no matter the social setting.

12. Salut! – Bye!

This is more casual than au revoir, but is very appropriate when leaving someone.

13. Ciao! – See ya!

This is Italian in origin, but is popular among the younger French population.

14. À plus! – Later!

This is an easy way to indicate you’ll see someone later, but at an unspecific time.

15. À demain! – See you tomorrow!

The demain can be replaced with any day of the week if you know that you will see the other person soon.

Learn More French Phrases

Once you’ve mastered these French greetings and salutations, you can fill in the middle with great conversation! Here are some additional guides to check out:

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature, and Psychology from Florida State University and has more than five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

Photo by Garry Knight

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french conversation starters

22 MORE Useful French Phrases for Striking Up a Conversation

french conversation starters

Casual conversations with French speakers are a great way to practice your language skills! Here, tutor Beth L. shares 22 useful French phrases that will come in handy…

 

When learning a new language, it’s important to keep on talking — and listening — to practice your new skills. If you’ve already learned basic conversational phrases, now it’s time to move on to some more interesting conversation topics!

To help you practice and prompt your new French-speaking friends, below are some useful French phrases to use. In each case, the first version is formal, while the second is informal.

  1. Qu’est-ce que vous faites ce weekend? / Qu’est-ce que tu fais ce weekend?
    What are you doing this weekend?
  2. Que’est-ce que vous avez fait le week-end dernier? / Qu’est-ce que tu as fait le week-end dernier?
    What did you do last weekend?
  3. Comment est-ce que vous allez passer vos vacances? / Comment est-ce que tu vas passer tes vacances?
    How are you going to spend your vacation?
  4. Quelles autres langues est-ce que vous parlez? / Quelles autres langues est-ce que tu parles?
    What other languages do you speak?
  5. De quelle nationalité êtes-vous? / De quelle nationalité es-tu?
    What is your nationality?
  6. Qu’est-ce que vous faites dans votre temps libre? / Qu’est-ce que tu fais dans ton temps libre?
    What do you do in your spare time?
  7. Quelles sont vos sports préférés? / Quelles sont tes sports préférés?
    What are you favorite sports?
  8. Quelles sont vos chansons préférées? / Quelles sont tes chansons préférées?
    What are your favorite songs?
  9. Où est-ce que vous avez voyagé? / Où est-ce que tu as voyagé?
    Where have you traveled?
  10. Où est-ce que vous voudriez voyager? / Où est-ce que tu voudrais voyager?
    Where would you like to travel?
  11. Qu’est-ce que vous aimez manger? / Qu’est-ce que tu aimes manger?
    What do you like to eat?
  12. Où habitez-vous? / Où habites-tu?
    Where do you live?
  13. Qu’est-ce que vous faites comme travail? / Qu’est-ce que tu fais comme travail?
    What kind of work do you do?
  14. Quelle est votre matière préférée à l’école / au collège / au lycée / à l’université? / Quelle est ta matière préférée à l’école / au collège / au lycée / à l’université?
    What is your favorite subject matter in school / middle school / high school / university?
  15. Est-ce que vous avez un chien / un animal de compagnie? / Est-ce que tu as un chien / un animal de compagnie?
    Do you have a dog / pet?
  16. Est-ce que vous avez des frères ou des sœurs? Décrivez-le. / Est-ce que tu as des frères ou des sœurs? Décris-le.
    Do you have brothers or sisters? Describe them.
  17. Quel est ton film préféré? Pourquoi? / Quel est ton film préféré? Pourquoi?
    What is your favorite film? Why?
  18. Quel est votre livre préféré? / Quel est ton livre préféré?
    What is your favorite book?
  19. Qui es votre acteur / actrice préféré(e)? Pourquoi? / Qui es ton acteur / actrice préféré(e)? Pourquoi?
    Who is your favorite actor? Why?
  20. Qui est ton musicien préféré? / Qui est ton musicien préféré?
    Who is your favorite musician?
  21. Quel est votre endroit préféré? Décrivez-le. / Quel est ton endroit préféré? Décris-le.
    What is your favorite place? Describe it.
  22. Si vous pouviez vivre n’importe où, vous choisiriez quel endroit? / Si tu pouvais vivre n’importe où, tu choisirais quel endroit?
    If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

French Conversation Starters – Printable List

useful French phrases for conversations

Not sure where to bring up these French phrases? Check out some ideas for practicing conversational French here. And of course, these phrases will come in handy when you’re working with your French tutor, as well! The more speaking and listening practice you get, the faster you’ll learn.

Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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French vocabulary for summer

52 Fun French Vocabulary Words and Phrases for Summer

French vocabulary for summer

Summer, summer, summertime! It’s the perfect time to relax and have some fun. Plus, it’s a season full of fun French words and phrases! Read on to learn some vocab from French tutor Beth L. 

 

Summer is coming, and France is a wonderful haven during this time of year (if you can avoid the heat)! The weather is warm, and delicious, fresh food abounds. Children are on vacation from school, and many families take advantage of that to travel. For many, the allure of nature and the great outdoors is difficult to resist.

What will you be doing with your summer? Beef up your vocabulary so you can tell your friends about it – in French!

One of the first things summer brings to mind is the excitement of vacation and travel.

1) l’été – summer
2) les vacances – vacation
Note: les vacances d’été – summer vacation
3) voyager – to travel
4) un voyage – a journey
5) juin – June
6) juillet – July
7) août – August

Now, let’s use these words in a sentence! For example…

  • Pendant mes vacances d’été, j’aime bien voyager! (During my summer vacation, I like to travel!)
  • Je peux choisir le mois de juin, le mois de juillet, ou le mois d’août pour mon voyage. (I can choose the month of June, the month of July, or the month of August for my trip.)

Many people enjoy the extra time and warmer weather to enjoy the outdoors.

8) le parc – the park
9) la pelouse – the lawn / grass
10) un pique-nique – a picnic
11) de la glace – some ice cream
12) la plage – the beach
13) le sable – sand
14) la piscine – the swimming pool
15) la mer – the sea
16) l’océan – the ocean
17) un maillot de bain – a swim suit
18) un lac – a lake
19) un bateau – a boat
20) nager – to swim
21) le Jardin – the garden
22) jardiner – to garden
23) une fleur / des fleurs – a / some flower(s)
24) une plante – a plant
25) un arbre – a tree
26) la nature – nature
27) les montagnes – the mountains
28) dehors – outside
29) marcher – to walk
30) courir – to run
31) jouer – to play

Editor’s Note: Get a refresher on conjugating -er verbs.

Example sentences:

  • Pendant l’été, nous jouons souvent dans le parc. (During the summer, we often play in the park.)
  • On prend un pique-nique pour déjeuner déhors. (We bring a picnic to eat lunch outside.)
  • J’aime surtout le jardin d’enfants avec ses fleurs et ses arbres. (I especially like the children’s garden with its flowers and trees.)
  • J’ai toujours aimé les bateaux. (I always liked boats.)
  • Quand je suis à la mer, je fais du bateau à voiles. (When I’m by the sea, I go sailboating.)
  • Quand je passe du temps à un lac, je regarde l’eau et les arbres, et j’écoute la silence. (When I spend time at a lake, I look at the water and the trees, and I listen to the silence.)

With the outdoors, of course, you’ll need to be able to talk about the beautiful weather, as well.

32) le soleil – the sun
33) la chaleur – the heat
34) le vent – the wind
35) les nuages – the clouds
36) le ciel – the sky
37) le sud – the south

Example sentences:

  • Quand on va à la plage, il faut se souvenir de son maillot de bain! (When you go to the beach, you must remember your bathing suit!)
  • Comme ça, on peut courir dans l’eau et dans le sable. On peut se bronzer sous le soleil, sentir le vent sur la peau, et apprécier la beauté de l’eau et du ciel. (That way, you/we/one can run in the water and in the sand. You/we/one can tan yourself/ourselves/oneself in the sun, feel the wind on your/our/one’s skin, and appreciate the beauty of the water and the sky.)

In addition to the words above, below are some common phrases and expressions related to summer.

1) Je vais dehors – I’m going outside
2) Il fait chaud – It’s hot
3) Il fait du soleil – It’s sunny
4) Il fait beau – It’s / the weather is beautiful
5) Il fait du vent – It’s windy
6) donner de l’ombre – give / provide shade
7) se limoger – to distance oneself
8) faire du camping – to go camping
9) faire du bateau à voile – to go sailboating
10) aller à la (f.) / aller au (m.) / aller aux (pl.) – to go to
11) prendre l’autoroute – take the highway
12) tomber en panne – break down
13) un coup de soleil – sunburn
14) prendre un coup de soleil – get a sunburn
15) se bronzer – to sunbathe / to get a tan

Check the same regular verb list linked above for help conjugating the regular -er verbs on this list. Several more expressions use the verbs faire and aller. (Learn more about irregular conjugations here.)

Example sentences:

  • Aujourd’hui, on a voulu se bronzer à la plage. (Today, we wanted to tan ourselves at the beach.)
  • Mais on est tombé en panne quand on a pris l’autoroute. (But our car broke down when we were getting onto the freeway.)
  • On a perdu toute une journée d’été! (We lost a whole day of summer!)

So, what are your favorite French words and phrases for summer? Here are ours:

Fun French Vocabulary Words for Summer

As school lets out and the summer begins, don’t be the first to lose your French – instead, continue practicing with your friends while you’re out having fun!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

Photo by Tommie Hansen

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french pronunciation

5 Helpful French Pronunciation Hacks for Beginners

french pronunciation

Are you having trouble nailing your French accent? Below, French teacher Jinky B. explains how to sound like a  français or française in just five easy steps…

The French have an undeniably distinct accent that can be difficult for non-native speakers to perfect.

Nevertheless, it’s not entirely impossible for non-natives to learn how to speak French.

All it takes is some direction from your French teacher and a whole lot of practice.

Below are five helpful French pronunciation hacks or shortcuts to help you perfect your French accent.

5 French Pronunciation Hacks

1. The Silent Letters

One of the first French pronunciation rules is that you don’t actually say all the letters that are in a word.

The general rule of thumb is that you don’t say the consonants at the end of a word unless there is an ‘e’ at the end of the word. Check out the examples below:

Example one: français (Frenchman)

DO NOT say the ‘s’ sound, rather it sounds like ‘frong-say’.

*See #4 for pronunciation of the ‘-an’ in the first syllable.

Example two: française (Frenchwoman)

DO say the ‘s’, but making it more like a ‘z’ sound, to sound like ‘frong-says’.

*See #4 for pronunciation of the ‘-an’ in the first syllable.

There are some notable exceptions. Use this acronym to recognize when it’s possible to pronounce the consonant at the end of a word: CaReFuL. See the examples below.

Example one: Un truc (a thing)

DO say the ‘c’ in truc to sound like ‘trook’.

*The ‘u’ sounds like the English word ‘too’, not the English word ‘crook’.

Example two: Hiver (winter)

DO say the ‘r’ in hiver to sound like ‘e-vair’.

*The ‘h’ is silent at the beginning of the word.

2. The Liaison ‘Z’

One surefire way to sound more français or française is by linking the letter -s and the vowel in the word that follows.

For example, ils sont (they are) and ils ont (they have) look very similar in writing. However, when spoken, there is a very notable difference.

In the first, Ils sont, do not say the ‘s’ sound in ils, but DO say the ‘s’ in sont to sound like ‘eel song’, paying attention to not saying the -ng sound.

In the second, Ils ont, the ‘s’ actually have the ‘z’ sound, which is known as a liaison, since the ils and ont are connected together. DO say ‘eel-zong’, paying attention to not saying the -ng sound.

3. The ‘O’ Sound

Sometimes, you will see a string of vowels in French that look a bit puzzling. Don’t do too much work, but rather make the one vowel sound, ‘o’.

When pronouncing this group of vowels, your lips should also form the ‘o’ shape. Check out the examples below.

Example one: Beau (handsome), which sounds like the ‘-bow’ in ‘rainbow’.

Example two: Eau (water), which sounds just like the letter ‘-o’.

4. The Nasal ‘On’ Sound

The nasal sound in words like Bonjour (hello) and cent (hundred) is a very recognizable French sound.

Non-French speakers can generally pick up that French is being spoken when hearing these sounds.

Think of the English word, ‘song’. Say the word, but stop when you reach the ‘-ng’ sound. In the French word chanson (song), for example, it sounds like ‘shan-song’.

5. The ‘R’ Sound

Fin (the end) is the most difficult French sound to produce as well as the  most used sound in French.

While this may take the most time to master, you will definitely feel like a true français or française once this is achieved.

It sounds a bit like you’re gargling water at the back of your throat. For example, Bonjour, Paris! (Hello, Paris!).

The ‘r’ sound is at the end of Bonjour and in the middle of Paris. Practice saying this phrase five times a day and you’ll get it down fast.

Your Turn!

Keep these French pronunciation shortcuts in mind when you’re practicing your accent. If you concentrate on the proper pronunciation, you’ll be sounding like a real français or française in no time.

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French lessons in Jacksonville, FL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature and Psychology from Florida State University and has over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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ap french exam

7 Proven Strategies to Help You Ace Your Next AP French Exam

ap french exam

Are you nervous about your upcoming AP French exam? Below, French teacher Jinky B. shares seven fool-proof strategies that will help you ace your exam…

Studying for your AP French exam can be intimidating–not to mention overwhelming. Luckily, there are proven and applicable methods you can use to help set yourself up for success.

Below are some of my favorite study methods that I suggest my students do before taking their AP French exam. You can either do these exercises by yourself or with your French tutor.

Note, that these study strategies can also be used when preparing for the International Baccalaureate French exam.

7 Study Tips to Help You Nail Your AP French Exam

1. Create a study plan

While it might seem a little soon, start studying two to three months before the AP French exam. The more time that you leave for review, the less time you should have to review each day.

Consistent repetition is ideal for learning a language. Set aside 30 minutes a day to review a specific grammar subject; for example, agreement, prepositions, and articles.

2. Review important French conjunctions

While it’s important to know the basic conjunctions, such as mais (but) and lorsque (when), it’s a good idea to start reviewing those special constructions that will you set you above your peers.

Coordinating conjunctions for emphasis: ne…ni…ni (neither…nor) and ou…ou (either…or).

Also, pay attention to those special conjunctions that are used with the subjunctive tense, such as quoique (even though).

3. Practice conjugating regular verbs and commonly occurring irregular verbs

Make sure that you’re familiar with the conjugations of the three different verb groups: -er, -ir, and -re. Also, be sure to you know the conjugations of être and avoir.

These are two verbs that you will encounter when conjugating not only the simple tenses of present, imperfect, and future, but also as a helping verb when writing in the passé composé and plus-que-parfait.

Keep in mind that when using the passé composé with étre, there needs to be subject agreement.

For example, Elles sont allées au cinéma. (They went to the movies). This is a group of women, so you must add an e and an s for agreement.

4. Listen to French podcasts and the radio

One of the best ways to prepare for your AP French exam or to simply maintain your French comprehension is by listening to podcasts.

Set aside five to ten minutes, ideally in the morning so that you’re able to start thinking in French without all the distractions of the day.

Most French podcasts offer different levels, but you should be listening to ones at the highest levels. I recommend Coffee Break French because it’s quick and easy with the structured time frame.

More authentic listening is ideal, so just tune into French radio. Most can be streamed online or via your phone.

5. Watch French movies without subtitles

There are a ton of American movies that you can stream in the French language. When watching, try not display the subtitles because they do not always coincide with what is being said on the screen. Rather, sit back and watch the movie!

If you need some help finding what to watch, browse through these two posts for some great options:

6. Talk to your friends

Use your readily available sources. You’re most likely going to be in a classroom with other anxious students preparing for the AP French exam.

Gather a group of students together and set aside 30 minutes to discuss a topic. It could be something that is pre-determined, such as a movie that everyone watched. Or it could be something more relaxed, such as speaking in French over lunch.

7. Remember to relax

This is the most important part of test preparation. Relax. You’ve prepared for months. Do something that you enjoy. Sleep well. Eat a healthy breakfast. Put yourself in a positive mind-set. Cramming last minute benefits no one. So, just know that you’re prepared and you will succeed!

Good Luck!

Now that you have some proven methods for success, go tackle your AP French exam with confidence.

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French lessons in Jacksonville, FL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature and Psychology from Florida State University and has over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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french learning app

French Language App Review: MosaLingua

french learning app

Are you looking for a fun app to help you practice French in between lessons? Below, French teacher Jinky B. shares her review of the French language app MosaLingua… 

As a French instructor for students of various ages and proficiency levels, I’m always searching for easy and interactive apps to help supplement French lessons.

So when I was introduced to the French learning app MosaLingua, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and fun it was to use.

The science behind the app is a formula of timed repetition. After words are introduced and reviewed, they are repeated at specific points in time.

This formula allows students to learn French words and phrases quickly. What’s more, the student can see and track progress via visual graphs.

Below are some of my favorite benefits the app offers as well as ways students can use the app to learn French effectively.

1. Learn Essential Vocabulary

MosaLingua initially provides the student with flashcards. Based on the student’s proficiency level, the flashcards can be increased in difficulty.

A clear audio clip is played and then the student repeats the phrase via a recording option.

The flip side of the flashcard then shows the French vocabulary word, its English equivalent, and the word(s) in a sentence.

I love the recording option. The student can compare the recording to the teacher recording and make any necessary changes.french learning app

2. Explore Thematic Vocabulary

If students are interested in exploring a specific theme—for example, shopping or traveling—a list of thematic categories is provided.

Within each category are more specified lists, such as how to ask the cost of an item or how to ask where something is located.

This is a great option if the student desires to quickly learn a set of phrases to use in a certain situation.

french learning app

3. Listen to Dialogues

One feature that I particularly like is audio of actual dialogue depicting common situations that arise during travel or everyday life.

Students have the option to listen only to the dialogue or to also see the corresponding French and English subtitles.

This feature is great for students who are working on their pronunciation skills and oral comprehension.

french learning app

MosaLingua is incredibly user-friendly with various ways to practice French vocabulary. Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate student, the app is a great way to practice in between your French lessons.

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French lessons in Jacksonville, FL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature and Psychology from Florida State University and has over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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french grammar

10 French Grammar Mistakes You’re Probably Making

french grammar

Mastering all of the French grammar rules can be tricky for beginner students. Below, French teacher Carol Beth L. shares 10 French grammar mistakes you’re probably making…

Making mistakes is inevitable when you’re learning a new language. After all, you’re learning complex grammar rules, difficult pronunciation, and long lists of vocabulary words.

Students often make the same French grammar mistakes over and over again. Being aware of these common grammar mistakes will help you avoid them in the future.

Below are some of the most common French grammar mistakes students find themselves making, even when they are familiar with the rules.

The first few mistakes relate to specific phrases that students have a tendency to misuse, while the rest deal with grammatical patterns that are quite complex.

1. Greetings

In English, when you greet someone in the early morning hours, you typically say “Good morning.” This English greeting doesn’t translate literally in French.

In fact, the phrase “Bon matin” does not actually exist in the French language. Rather, one would simply say “Bonjour!” when greeting someone.

2. Translations

A number of other literal translations can also be tempting. For example, you might want to express your interest in hobbies, people, and activities.

Be careful not to literally translate the English phrase “I am interested in…” into French (eg, Je suis interessée dans…). Instead, say “Ça m’interesse” (That interests me) or “____ m’interesse” (____ interests me).

3. Subject/Object

To correctly state that you miss someone, use the verb “se manquer.” If you want to say “I miss you,” say “Tu me manques.”

To say “He misses us,” say “Nous lui manquons.” Remember that the English subject and object switch places when translated into French.

4. Agreement

Remember to make adjectives properly agree with feminine or plural nouns. For example, the adjective “amusant (funny) would be changed to “amusantein the feminine singular and “amusantesin the feminine plural.

In English, adjectives don’t usually change based on the gender or number, so it’s easy for students to forget this important French grammar rule.

5. Articles

French has more articles than English. Both languages use “a” and “the”, but French has separate articles to denote masculine, feminine, and plural of each one.

Recall, however, that no neuter exists among French pronouns or articles. For example, a table is most definitely feminine, whereas the wall beside it is quite masculine.

In addition to having more articles, French also uses articles more frequently than English. In English, for example, you would say that “We meet regularly on Mondays,” but French-speakers would use the appropriate article, saying “on se rencontre régulièrement le lundi.

6. Prepositions

Remember to use the correct preposition and include the appropriate article contraction when necessary. In theory, French prepositions are easier than English prepositions because there are fewer of the most common ones.

For example, “De” translates to “of” or “from”, and “à” translates to “to,” “at,” and sometimes other related location or movement prepositions.

A few places to watch out are when you’re talking about playing musical instruments (Je joue d’un instrument) and sports (Je joue à un sport).

Also, be extra careful with those pesky articles! Relevant contractions include “du” (“de” + “le”), “des” (“de” + “les”), “au” (“à” + “le”) and “aux” (“à” + “les”). “De”, “la”, and “à la” do not contract.

7. Negative Articles

Use “il n’y a pas de” rather than “il y a pas de”. When using “de” or “de” + an article in the negative, remember that French has lots of exceptions! This is one of them.

If there is zero of something, take out the article. For example, someone could say “Il y a du pain sur la table” (There is bread on the table). In the negative, this would become “Il n’y a pas de pain sur la table,” not “Il n’y a pas du pain sur la table.”

8. Conjugated Verbs

Remember to conjugate your verbs. While we do this in the English language, it’s not as much or in as much detail as French-speakers.

This is especially important when you’re writing because all those silent final consonants and vowels need attention.

The singular forms are the most similar in present tense, but are not always spelled the same, so watch out!

9. Passé composé/ Imparfait

The English distinction between the present perfect and the simple past isn’t exactly the same as the French distinction between these two tenses.

The passé composé is very commonly used for one-time events in the past. For example, “J’ai fait mes devoirs hier soir.” (I did my homework last night.)

The imperfect is used more often for something a person used to do over a period of time in the past. For example, “Je faisais mes devoirs tous les jours.” (I did my homework every day.)

10. Subjunctive

The subjunctive is one of the most difficult verbs in French, if not the most difficult because we don’t use it often in English. Many of us anglophones aren’t even aware of the fact that we use it at all.

The first step is to understand the situations in which it is used, and then practice, observe, and correct oneself. Then practice some more, and observe some more, and correct oneself more.

Give yourself time to perfect this French grammar rule, but also insist on understanding and using it correctly. Gradually, you will be able to use it successfully.

These aren’t the only French grammar mistakes out there, but they are certainly worthy of attention.

Keep your eyes open and your ears peeled for other mistakes, and correct them when you can. In no time, you will be well on your way to excellent (and impressive) French usage!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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conversational french

25 Conversational French Phrases Every Beginner Should Know [Audio]

conversational french

Are you ready to hold a conversation in French? Below, French teacher Carol Beth L. shares 25 conversational French phrases every beginner should know…

When learning a new language, not all vocabulary or phrases are equal. As a beginner French student, it is most beneficial to learn popular phrases you will use most frequently.

Below are 25 conversational French phrases that are used most often. Memorizing these useful French phrases will help you hold a basic conversation in French.

You’ll notice the distinctions in some cases between informal and formal. The informal versions can be used with close friends and family.

For new acquaintances and people you don’t know very well, however, use the formal version. If you’re unsure, use the formal version, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Note: Each conversational French phrase is followed by an audio clip. Be sure to listen to the audio and practice the proper French pronunciation.

25 Conversational French Phrases Every Beginner Should Know


 Greetings

French greetings are one of the first things most people learn as beginner students. After all, it can be difficult to interact with people if you don’t know how to say hello or ask how they are. Check out the simple French greetings below.

1. Bonjour! (Good day!)

2. Bonsoir! (Good evening!)

3. Bonne nuit! (Good night!)

4. Au revoir! (Goodbye!)

5. A bientôt! (See you soon!)

6. Comment allez-vous? (formal / plural) Comment va-tu? (informal) (How are you?)

7. Très bien, merci! (Very well, thank you!)

8. Question: Ca va? Response: Oui, ca va (très bien, merci)! Question: How’s it going? Response: Fine/very well, thanks!

Tip: This is an informal greeting. Only use it with people you know well and who are established on an approximately equal social status as you, such as close friends and family.


Personal Information

Once you meet someone, chances are you will want to find out a little bit more about them as well as tell them some things about yourself. After all, having a conversation is all about sharing and exchanging information. Check out the useful French phrases below.

9. Comment vous appelez-vous? (formal / plural) Comment tu t’appelles? (informal) (What is your name?)

10. Je m’appelle _______. Il / elle s’appelle ______. (My name is _______. His / her name is ______.)

11. Vous êtes de quelle nationalité? (formal / plural) Tu es de quelle nationalité? (informal) (What is your nationality?)

12. Je suis américain(e). (I am American.)

Tip: If you’re a female, add the -e in parenthesis and pronounce the final “n.” If you’re not American, you can replace “américain(e)” with any other nationality. For example, chinois(e) (Chinese), japonais(e) (Japanese), australien(ne) (Australian), mexicain(e) (Mexican).

13. Est-ce que vous parlez anglais? Or Parlez-vous anglais? (Do you speak English?)

Tip: Just as in the previous question, you can replace “anglais” with any other language. For example, espagnol (Spanish), chinois (Chinese), allemand (German), italien (Italian).


Significations

For someone learning French, it’s rather useful to know how to ask what things mean when you don’t know, as well as how to say and write certain words and phrases. Check out these French phrases to know.

14. Comment dit-on _____ (en français)? (How do you say _____ (in French)?)

15. Comment écrire _____? (How do you write _____?)

16. Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire? (What does that mean?)


Activities

Once you’ve met people, you’ll probably want to do something with them. Perhaps share a meal, for example, or tour a museum. While you’re at it, you might also need to spend a little money. Here are some conversational French phrases to help you.

17. Allons-y (Let’s go!)

18. Je voudrais _______. (I would like _______.)

19. Ça coûte combien? (How much does that cost?)

20. Qu’est-ce que vous voudriez faire? (formal) Qu’est-ce que tu voudrais faire? (informal) (What would you like to do?)

21. Est-ce que vous voudrez prendre un verre? (Would you like to get something to drink?)


Location

Are you learning French because you’re planning a trip abroad? When visiting or adjusting to a new area, it may take some time to learn how to get around.

In the conversational French phrases below, fill in the blank with any location you’d like to visit. For example,  l’hôtel (the hotel); un bon restaurant (a good restaurant), le metro (the subway), le parc (the park).

22. Je voudrais aller à ______. (I would like to go to ______.)

23. Comment aller à ______? (How do you get to ______?)

24. Où sont les toilettes? (Where is the restroom?)

25. Où est ______? (Where is ______?)


Try it Yourself!

Studying these conversational French phrases will help you on your way to being fluent in French. But don’t stop there! Learning how to speak French takes time and persistence.

As you learn, speak French as much as you can with those around you, because learning a language is also easier in the company of those who speak it or are, like you, learning it.

Even if they don’t speak it at first, your enthusiasm will be contagious!

Photo by Jonas Foyn Therkelsen

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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French love quotes

10 French Love Quotes to Impress Your Crush

The French language is known for being romantic. So rather than getting your significant other a box of chocolates or flowers, you can impress them even more by learning some of these French love quotes.

Learning French love quotes is sure to sweep your date off his or her feet. Just make sure that you practice the right pronunciation to avoid an embarrassing mishap!

10 French Love Quotes

1. “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

French love quotes

English translation: “Love does not consist in looking at each other, but rather in, together, looking in the same direction.”

2.  “C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.”  – Albert Camus

French love quotes

English translation: “That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.”

3. “En sa beauté gît ma mort et ma vie.” – Maurice Scève

French love quotes

English translation: “In her beauty resides my death and my life.”

4. “Une femme est plus belle que le monde où je vis, et je ferme les yeux.” – Paul Éluard

French love quotes

English translation: “A woman is more beautiful than the world in which I live, and so I close my eyes.”

5. “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.” -Rosemonde Gérard

French love quotes

English translation: “For, you see, each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.”

SEE ALSO: Romantic Spots in Paris

6. “Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.” – George SandFrench love quotes

English translation: “There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.”

7. “Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.” – Anna de Noailles

French love quotes

English translation: “Nothing is real but dreams and love.”

8. “Amour veut tout sans nombre, amour n’a point de loi.” – Pierre de Ronsard

French love quotes

English translation: “Love wants everything without condition, love has no law.”

9. “La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel.” – Victor Hugo

French love quotes

English translation: “Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”

10. “La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le rêve.” – Alfred de Musset

French love quotes

English translation: “Life is a long sleep and love is its dream.”

While your crush or significant other might not understand what these French love quotes mean, he or she will surely be impressed. Interested in learning more about French romance? Check out Flirting in French: 25 Head-turning Phrases You Need to Know.
To work on your French conversational skills even more, join one of the live group classes online at TakeLessons Live. Classes are free for a month and a great way to improve your French accent.

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Un, Le, Ce, or De? French Articles Explained

french articles

As an English speaker learning French, articles are little words that can still give you big problems.

Since French nouns are masculine, feminine, and plural and have different articles to distinguish them, you will need to memorize at least two French articles for each English one.

To help you master French articles, we’ve broken them down into groups for you to study.

Basics

The first thing you need to learn are the English articles so that you can get a better understanding of what to use in French.

There are really only two English articles:

  • The – definite article
  • A/An – indefinite article

French articles (like most languages outside of Germanic ones) use other words as articles, and even allow you to omit articles from time to time. The following are considered French articles, although their function is largely the same as in English. Because you have to be aware of the gender of a noun, you have to treat these words the save as an article.

  • Some – Partitive article
  • This

Finally, there are special cases where you either need to use an article where you wouldn’t in English or you can omit an articles where you use an article in English.

  • Article additions and omissions

Definite Articles – Le, La, and Les (“The” in French)

Le, La, and Les

Probably the most widely used English article is the. You use it all the time without having to think about it because there is only one word in English.

It is called a definitive article because the word the denotes something that is specific, such as the chair, the stores, or the moment. Each of these refers to a specific thing or group of things.

There are four definite French articles that mean the, and those are the le articles. Each of the definite articles has a specific meaning.

  • Le – the masculine definite article. Whenever you see a word preceded by the French article le, that means that the noun is masculine, so if you want to switch to one of the other French articles, you would use the masculine version of the article.
  • La – the feminine definite article. All singular feminine nouns are preceded by la.
  • L’ – the definite article when the noun starts with a vowel.
  • Les – the plural definite article. All plural nouns, regardless of gender, receive the same article, les, to indicate that it is plural. If you have to add the plural indicator (such as s or es) you add les before it.

It is a little more difficult to understand the differences if you are a native English speaker because there is no equivalent. English does not have gendered nouns and the language does not differentiate between singular and plural when using the definite article the.

This is perhaps why it is most difficult to translate what you know into French with the right use, and it takes a lot of memorization. However, once you memorize the gender of a noun, you can more easily use all of the other French articles.

For example, you would say le fils for the son and la fille for the daughter. You would use the corresponding masculine or feminine article for a/an, of, or this.

The definite article l’ is similar to the English indefinite article an for the same reason. Saying a apple is difficult, but if you add the letter n it is easier.

Both of the French articles for the (la and le) end with vowel sounds that are difficult to flow into another vowel sound, such as enfant (child). The trick is to remember that the French language needs this for their definite articles, not their indefinite articles (the next section).

Plural nouns are a little easier because you do not consider gender. Whenever you have a plural noun, you always use les to indicate that you are using the plural form of the word.

There is more to know about plurals and les because the French use definite articles at times when English speakers and omit them other times where you would usually omit them. These are covered in the last section.

Indefinite Articles – Un, Une, and Des (“A” in French)

un une and des

Indefinite articles are used when you are referring to anything that you would consider generic, such as a chair or an apple. When you say you want an apple, you don’t have a specific one in mind. If you have washed an apple and left it on the counter, you would say you want the apple on the counter instead of one of the apples in the basket or refrigerator.

The French have an equivalent version for the indefinite article based on the nouns gender and if it is plural. This means there are three articles to learn.

  • Un – the masculine version of the English article a.
  • Une – the feminine version of the English article a.
  • Des – the plural version, although there is no English equivalent. This one is covered in more depth later in this section.

Using un and une is pretty much memorization of each noun gender. For example,

Once you learn a nouns gender, it is a simple matter of using un and une correctly.

If you read the information on des, you may have been trying to think of a correlation in English and found yourself confused. That’s because as a native English speaker, you do not think of using indefinite articles with plural nouns.

You know not to say a chairs or an apples. In English the indefinite article is always singular.

The French language has a different set of rules, and so have a corresponding article, which means that it really doesn’t have a direct translation (because English does not use this article with plurals).

Of all the French articles, this one is probably among the most difficult because you will naturally try to do a direct translation, which means you will exclude the required des.

Partitive Articles – De, De La, De L’, and Des (“Some” in French)

de de la and des

Another word that does not have an exact translation, it essentially functions like to the English word “some”. It is used whenever you talk about something that can be divided into smaller parts, such as bread or juice.

  • I would like some bread.
  • I would like a glass of juice.

The other use for these words is to specify that you do not know the quantity. For example, most of the time you would not each an entire pie, but you probably don’t know example how much. You would say you ate some pie. If you know the amount or are talking about something generic, you would use the or a/an just like English. Otherwise, you would select one of these four partitive articles.

  • De – the masculine article for some.
  • De la – the feminine article for some.
  • De l’ – the article for some when the noun starts with a vowel.
  • Des – the article for some for all plural nouns. Note that this is used when the number is not specified. If you have a specific number, you would say the quantity instead of some, such as I ate nine rolls instead of I ate some rolls.

Happily, they follow the same rules as the definite articles in terms of use, so once you know how to use the properly, you can more easily discuss portions.

Ce, Ceci, Cela, and Ça (“This” in French)

ce ceci cela and ca

Technically, this is a pronoun, but because it is so closely tied with the article you used in the previous sentence, it is best to discuss it at the same time. The English article this is a rough equivalent for these four pronouns.

Do not equate these four articles with gender though because their use is not gender based.

  • Ce – roughly English this or it. Primarily you would use this with verb être (to be) or an impersonal expression. When used, in a sentence, it becomes c’est.

C’est une bonne idée. – That’s a good idea.

C’est difficile à faire. – It’s hard to do.

As the examples show, you can think of it as a contraction with être, just like English uses the contractions that’s and it’s.

  • Ceci and cela – the articles are used with all other verbs for the same purpose. Ceci is used in place of this and cela is use in place of that. Whenever the verb être does not appear, you use one of these two articles. You use ceci to indicate something that is close by (this pie or this color). You use cela to indicate something that is further away (that house or that chair). Determine which of the two you would say, then you can do a straight translation for both of these.

Ceci peut nous aider. – This could help us.

Cela me fait plaisir. – That makes me happy

Je ne veux pas cela, je veux ceci. – I don’t want that, I want this.

  • Ça – the article used for informal this or that. Unlike the others, it is informal, so you would avoid it in any professional realm or public speaking.

Keep in mind that while these look like they would follow the same rules as the articles, the use is completely different. It is perhaps the most closely aligned with their English counterparts, it will take you some time to get accustomed to using them.

Omitting and Adding Articles

One of the biggest problems with articles is that most languages are not consistent about how they are used. There are a number of instances where you should add the article where you wouldn’t in English.

Most nouns require an article.

At first it will feel awkward to say  j’aime la glace because its direct translation is I like the ice cream. Similarly, Je n’ai pas mangé beaucoup de tarte mean  I ate a lot of pie.

The most difficult will be the use of articles before plural nouns, whether you are using the French articles that are equivalent to a/an or the. Where in English you would say Horses were running in the field, the direct translation from French is The horses were running in the field.

Then you have a few cases where you omit the article, and these largely require memorization.

  • Some set expressions do not include articles, and these you must memorize one by one.
  • Articles are not used when specifying what a person’s job is.
  • When you use de (indicating an unspecified number of something, such as many or lots of) you would not use an article afterward.

Articles are always difficult to learn in any other western language. It takes time, work, and a considerable amount of memorization, particularly from a non-gendered language like English.

It is best to take it slow and learn them one at a time. Because there is some overlap, once you are comfortable with one set of French articles, you will have an easier time getting accustomed to the others.

That is also why you need to really dedicate time to learning whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

Do you have any tips for using French articles correctly? Share them in the comments below!

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funny french phrases

15 Funny French Phrases That’ll Make You Giggle

funny french phrases and quotes

The French language has some pretty hilarious words and phrases. Here are 15 funny French phrases that natives commonly use in conversation.

While the French did indeed produce some of the greatest writers, natives don’t necessarily speak like the characters in novels. If you’re traveling to France or learning how to speak French, don’t look surprised when you hear some funny French phrases below.

15 Funny French Phrases That’ll Make You Giggle

1. “Ah, la vache!”

Translation: Oh, my cow

Don’t panic, no cow is lost or wildly running away. The French phrase “Ah, la vache” actually expresses surprise and excitement. The best English equivalent would be “Oh my god!”


2. “Casser les oreilles”

Translation: Break your ears

What happens when your neighbors decide to have an electro party at 3 a.m. and think they should let everybody know by turning the volume up? They “break your ears,” literally…


3. “Devenir chêvre”

Translation: To become a goat

While Americans like to say “to be driven mad,” the French like to make it quite clear that anger is not their right state of mind. Rather, they use the French expression “to become a goat.” If you’re not fluent in French, trying to understand an angry French person may actually turn you into a goat as well!


4. “Arrête ton char!”

Translation: Stop your chariot

Initially, you might think that this French expression is used when trying to get someone to slow down. In actuality, however, this funny French phrase actually means to stop bluffing!


5. “Se prendre/prendre un râteau”

Translation: Gives you the rake

This is what happens when a man arrives late to dinner with his lovely date: she leaves the place with a note saying “adieu” (yes, French women are famous for their temper). If a French person “gives you the rake,” it means he or she refuses to go out with you.


6. “Faire l’andouille”

Translation: To make the sausage

This is the French we are talking about, so of course somewhere in this article there had to be a reference to traditional French food. What does “Faire l’andouille” actually mean? Simply to do something ridiculous!


7.  “Chercher la petite bête”

Translation: Look for the little beast

When the French feel that someone is looking really hard for a reason to complain about something, they say someone is “looking for the little beast.” The best English equivalent would be “splitting hairs.”


8. “Être sur son 31” 

Translation: Be on their 31

On big occasions, the French will “Être sur son 31,” meaning that they’ll be putting on beautiful and elegant clothes. If you watch the Cannes Festival Red Carpet events, for instance, this is typically what “to be on your 31” entails.


9. “Tomber dans les pommes” 

Translation: Fall in apples

When the French faint, they don’t fall on a bed of roses perfumed with Chanel N°5, but in… apples! To “fall in the apples” means to lose consciousness.


10.“Il y a quelque chose qui cloche”

Translation: There is something ringing

Imagine D’Artagnan sensing that “there is something wrong.” He would say, “Il y a quelque chose qui cloche” or “there is something ringing.” He would then say to his friends: “Un pour tous, tous pour un!” (All for one, one for all!)


11. “Faire un froid de canard”

Translation: Does a cold of duck

When it gets very cold, the French pretend they’re chasing ducks to keep warm. Okay, I admit, that’s not true at all…but you’ll definitely hear the French say the weather “faire un froid de canard,” meaning “is extremely cold.”


12. “Avoir un chat dans la gorge”

Translation: To have a cat in the throat

Having some trouble speaking? While the English say “to have a frog in one’s throat,” the French prefer to say they “have a cat in the throat.”


13. “En avoir ras le bol”

Translation: To have a bowl full of it

If you “En avoir ras le bol,” it means that you’re “sick of it” and well, the bowl is full and your anger may overflow.


14. “Donner un coup de main”

Translation: To give a knock of hand

If a French person asks you to “donner un coup de main,” don’t punch him or her please. They are actually asking you to “give a helping hand.” So, smile and say “oui, avec plaisir” (yes, with pleasure).


15. “Être au taquet”

Translation: To be at a piece of wood

The word “taquet” is used to refer to a piece of wood put between a door and a wall to block it. This funny French saying means to work hard with the expectation that something good will happen. The best English equivalent would be “to give your best.”


Your Turn!

Try using these funny French phrases in conversation – the more you practice using them, the more natural they will start to become. You can also practice these fun expressions during a TakeLessons Live French class, or with a private French tutor near you.

Related: 100+ Regular French Verbs | 100+ Irregular French Verbs 

List of 100+ Common Irregular French Verbs

Irregular French Verbs and Patterns

Did you know that not all French verbs follow the regular rules? Keep reading to brush up on some of the most common, irregular verbs in French. We’ll list over a hundred unique verbs that all French students should know.

Common Irregular French Verbs

aller – to go

Je vais
Tu vas
Il/Elle va
Nous allons
Vous allez
Ils/Elles vont
Past Participle – allé

avoir – to have

J’ai
Tu as
Il/Elle a
Nous avons
Vous avez
Ils/Elles ont
Past Participle – eu

dire – to say, to tell

Je dis
Tu dis
Il/Elle dit
Nous disons
Vous dites
Ils/Elles disent
Past Participle – dit

être – to be

Je suis
Tu es
Il/Elle est
Nous sommes
Vous êtes
Ils/Elles sont
Past Participle – été

faire – to make, to do

Je fais
Tu fais
Il/Elle fait
Nous faisons
Vous faites
Ils/Elles – font
Past Participle – fait

falloir – to be necessary

Il faut
Past Participle – fallu

pouvoir – to be able to do

Je peux
Tu peux
Il/Elle peut
Nous pouvons
Vous pouvez
Ils/Elles peuvent
Past Participle – pu

savoir – to know, to know how to

Je sais
Tu sais
Il/Elle sait
Nous savons
Vous savez
Ils/Elles savent
Past Participle – su

voir – to see

Je vois
Tu vois
Il/Elle voit
Nous voyons
Vous voyez
Ils/Elles voient
Past Participle – vu

vouloir – to want to

Je veux
Tu veux
Il/Elle veut
Nous voulons
Vous voulez
Ils/Elles veulent
Past Participle – voulu

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Common Irregular Verb Patterns

Some verbs follow irregular patterns. Once you know these patterns, it’s easier to identify and conjugate irregular verbs. Here are several common irregular verb patterns you’ll come across as you learn how to speak French.

Verbs Like Prendre

Verbs ending in –prendre are all conjugated like prendre:

Je prends
Tu prends
Il/Elle prend
Nous prenons
Vous prenez
Ils/Elles prennent
Past Participle – pris

  • apprendre – to learn
  • comprendre – to  understand
  • entreprendre – to undertake
  • méprendre – to mistake
  • prendre – to take
  • reprendre – to retake, to take again
  • surprendre – to surprise

Verbs Like Mettre

Mettre and the verbs ending in –mettre all follow the same pattern of conjugation.

Je mets
Tu mets
Il/Elle met
Nous mettons
Vous mettez
Ils/Elles mettent
Past Participle – mis

  • admettre – to admit
  • commettre – to commit
  • compromettre – to compromise
  • mettre – to put, to place
  • permettre – to permit
  • promettre – to promise
  • remettre – to turn in work, to postpone
  • soumettre – to submit
  • transmettre – to transmit

Verbs Like Tenir and Venir

Tenir and venir are two similar verbs that have their own pattern of conjugation.

Je tiens
Tu tiens
Il/Elle tient
Nous tenons
Vous tenez
Ils/Elles tiennent
Past Participle – tenu

Je viens
Tu viens
Il/Elle vient
Nous venons
Vous venez
Ils/Elles viennent
Past Participle – venu

  • abstenir – to refrain, to abstain from
  • advenir – to happen
  • appartenir – to belong to
  • circonvenir – to circumvent
  • contenir – to contain
  • convenir – to suit, to be suitable
  • détenir – to detain
  • devenir – to become
  • entretenir – to look after, to support
  • intrevenir – to intervene
  • maintenir – to maintain
  • obtenir – to obtain
  • parvenir – to reach, to achieve
  • prévenir – to warn
  • retenir – to retain
  • soutenir – to support
  • souvenir – to remember
  • subvenir – to provide for
  • survenir – to occur, to take place
  • tenir – to hold, to keep
  • venir – to come

Verbs Like Manger

Verbs ending in -ger have a spelling change in the nous form of the verb. An extra -e is added to keep the -g sound soft.

Je mange
Tu manges
Il/Elle mange
Nous mangeons
Vous mangez
Ils/Elles mangent
Past Participle – mangé

  • bouger – to move
  • changer – to change
  • corriger – to correct
  • décourager – to discourage
  • déménager – to move
  • déranger – to disturb
  • diriger – to direct
  • encourager – to encourage
  • engager – to bind
  • exiger – to demand
  • juger – to judge
  • loger – to lodge
  • manger – to eat
  • mélanger – to mix
  • nager – to swim
  • obliger – to oblige
  • partager – to share
  • rédiger – to write
  • voyager – to travel

Verbs Like Lancer

Verbs like lancer that end in -cer also have a spelling change in the nous form. The -c is changed to a -ç to maintain a soft -c sound.

Je lance
Tu lances
Il/Elle lance
Nous lançons
Vous lancez
Ils/Elles lancent
Past Participle – lancé

  • annoncer – to announce
  • avancer – to advance
  • commencer – to commence
  • dénoncer – to denounce
  • divorcer – to divorce
  • effacer – to erase
  • lancer – to throw
  • menacer – to threaten
  • placer – to put
  • prononcer – to pronounce
  • remplacer – to replace
  • renoncer – to renounce

Verbs Like Payer

Verbs ending in -yer change the -y to an -i in the je, tu, il, and ils forms.

Je paie
Tu paies
Il/Elle paie
Nous payons
Vous payez
Ils/Elles paient
Past Participle – payé

  • aboyer – to bark
  • balayer – to sweep
  • effrayer – to frighten
  • s’ennuyer – to be bored
  • envoyer – to send
  • essayer – to try
  • essuyer – to wipe
  • nettoyer – to clean
  • payer – to pay
  • renvoyer – to send back, to fire

Verbs Like Acheter

Some verbs, like acheter, change the -e in the root to -è in the je, tu, il, and ils forms.

J’achète
Tu achètes
Il/Elle achète
Nous achetons
Vous achetez
Ils/Elles achètent
Past Participle – acheté

  • acheter – to buy
  • amener – to bring
  • enlever – to take off
  • espérer – to hope
  • geler – to freeze
  • se lever – to get up
  • posséder – to own
  • préférer – to prefer
  • se promener – to take a stroll
  • répéter – to repeat
  • suggérer – to suggest

Verbs Like Appeler

Finally, there are verbs like appeler that have a doubled final consonant in the je, tu, il, and ils forms.

J’appelle
Tu appelles
Il/Elle appelle
Nous appelons
Vous appelez
Ils/Elles appellent
Past Participle – appelé

  • appeler – to call
  • épeler – to spell out
  • étinceler – to sparkle
  • feuilleter – to leaf through a book
  • jeter – to jump
  • renouveler – to renew

Practicing your skills daily is a great way to learn French verbs and advance to the next level of fluency faster. Need some extra help mastering all of these irregular verbs? Try practicing with a TakeLessons Live instructor, or a private French tutor.

List of 100+ Common Regular French Verbs

Er Ir Re Common Regular French Verbs

Regular French verbs are among the most common verbs you will come across as you learn how to speak French. You’ll notice that regular verbs come in three types: verbs ending in -er, verbs ending in -ir, and verbs ending in -re.

To help you advance in your studies, here is a list of over 100 regular -ir, -re, and -er verbs in French.

Common Regular -Er Verbs in French

Here are the endings for regular -er verbs in French:

Je – e
Tu – es
Il/Elle – e
Nous – ons
Vous – ez
Ils/Elles – ent
Past Participle – é

To conjugate these verbs, remove the -er ending and add the appropriate ending for the subject of your sentence.

  • accepter – to accept
  • adorer – to adore
  • aimer – to like
  • annuler – to cancel
  • apporter – to bring
  • attraper – to catch
  • bavarder – to chat
  • casser – to break
  • chanter – to sing
  • chercher – to look for
  • commander – to order
  • commencer – to begin
  • couper – to cut
  • danser – to dance
  • demander – to ask
  • dessiner – to draw
  • détester – to hate, to detest
  • donner – to give
  • écouter – to listen to
  • emprunter – to borrow
  • enlever – to remove
  • étudier – to study
  • exprimer – to express
  • fermer – to close
  • gagner – to win, to earn
  • garder – to keep
  • goûter – to taste
  • habiter – to live
  • jouer – to play
  • laver – to wash
  • montrer – to show
  • oublier – to forget
  • parler – to speak, to talk
  • penser – to think
  • porter – to wear, to carry
  • présenter – to introduce
  • prêter – to lend
  • refuser – to refuse
  • regarder – to watch
  • rencontrer – to meet by chance
  • rester – to stay, to remain
  • rêver – to dream
  • saluer – to greet
  • sauter – to jump
  • sembler – to seem
  • skier – to ski
  • téléphoner – to telephone
  • tomber – to fall
  • travailler – to work
  • trouver – to find
  • utiliser – to use
  • visiter – to visit a place
  • voler – to fly

Common Regular -Ir Verbs in French

Here are the endings for regular -ir verbs in French:

Je – is
Tu – is
Il/Elle – it
Nous – issons
Vous – issez
Ils/Elles – issent
Past Participle – i

To conjugate these regular -ir verbs, just remove the -ir ending and add the ending that fits the subject of your sentence.

  • abolir – to abolish
  • acceuillir – to welcome
  • accomplir – to accomplish
  • affaiblir – to weaken
  • agir – to act
  • avertir – to warn
  • bâtir – to build
  • bénir – to bless
  • choisir – to choose
  • embellir – to make beautiful
  • envahir – to invade
  • établir – to establish
  • étourdir – to stun
  • finir – to finish
  • franchir – to clear an obstacle
  • grandir – to grow up
  • grossir – to gain weight
  • guérir – to cure
  • investir – to invest
  • maigrir – to lose weight
  • nourrir – to feed
  • obéir – to obey
  • punir – to punish
  • ralentir – to slow down
  • réfléchir – to reflect
  • remplir – to fill
  • réunir – to reunite
  • réussir – to succeed
  • rougir – to blush
  • saisir – to seize
  • vieillir – to grow old

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Common Regular -Re Verbs in French

Here are the endings for regular -re verbs in French:

Je – s
Tu – s
Il/Elle – 
Nous – ons
Vous – ez
Ils/Elles – ent
Past Participle – u

These verbs are conjugated by removing the -re ending and adding the correct ending from the list above. Please note that the il/elle forms of regular -re verbs don’t take an ending.

  • attendre – to wait for
  • défendre – to defend
  • dépendre – to depend on
  • descendre – to descend
  • détendre – to relax
  • entendre – to hear
  • étendre – to stretch
  • fendre – to split
  • fondre – to melt
  • mordre – to bite
  • pendre – to hang, to suspend
  • perdre – to lose
  • prétendre – to claim
  • rendre – to give back
  • répandre – to spread, to scatter
  • répondre – to answer
  • tendre – to tighten
  • vendre – to sell

Don’t forget irregular French verbs matter, too. The best way to learn and master French verbs is to practice them every day. Try keeping a journal in French about your day. You can also work on learning one new French verb each day and practice writing sentences with it.

For help learning more advanced French, studying with a French tutor is the best way to get the personalized attention that you need to meet your language-learning goals. Bonne chance!