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The Easy Guide to French Accent Marks [+ Accent Codes]

french accent codes

French accent marks are an integral part of French writing and correct spelling. Incorrect usage of accent marks, or the absence of them, can cause embarrassing mistakes and frustrating miscommunications.

French students who want to become competent in reading the language must also understand how to use French accent marks. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know, including French accent codes to use while typing!

The 5 French Accent Marks

So, what are the five accent marks in French and when do you use them? Four of the accents are only used on vowels, and one of them is only used on the letter C.

These symbols usually indicate something about the letter’s pronunciation or about the history of the word, which we’ll discuss later in this guide.

Check out the video below to get started, then we’ll move on to the specific rules about how to use French accent marks.

Accent Aïgue (é)

You will only ever see the accent aigu on the letter E. The letter E can have many different pronunciations in French, so this accent mark’s placement tells the reader how to pronounce it.

This particular sound is similar to the E sound in the English word “hey” or “say,” as compared to the E in “bed,” or the silent E at the end of a word. The accent aigu can be found in words such as un été (a summer) and une école (a school).

Accent Grave (à, è, ù)

This accent mark can help indicate pronunciation, like in the words une pièce (a play) or une espèce (a species). In this case, you’ll pronounce the E more like the E in “bed,” rather than the E in “hey” or “say.”

The accent grave can also help to distinguish between two similarly pronounced (and spelled) words that have different meanings. This is the accent’s most common use on the letters A and U. Some examples include the words ou (or) and (where), or the words a (has) and à (to).

Accent Circonflèxe (â, ê, î, ô, û)

This accent is unique because of its historical significance. You’ll notice it on vowels that used to be followed by the letter S in French.

When these S’s became silent over the course of several hundred years, French scholars decided to eliminate them from the words’ spellings. Instead of including a silent S on these words, they began placing the circonflèxe accent mark over the preceding vowel.

Often, the dropped S will show up in English versions of the word that contain a similar Latin root. For example, la forêt translates to “forest,” also of Latin origin.

The circonflexe can also help determine a pronunciation difference for A, E, and O. With “â,” the sound becomes slightly more rounded, as in pates (noodles). The “ê” is pronounced like the short “e” as in “set” in English, and as in the French word la tête (head). The “ô” is pronounced as a closed sound, as in allô (hello).

In some places, the circonflexe can distinguish between homophones, such as jeune (young) and le jeûne (fasting), or un mur (a wall) and mûr (ripe). Occasionally, the accent is seen in other places too, such as the relatively new French word – émoticône (emoticon).

Trëma (ë, ï, ü)

In French, the trëma indicates that you should pronounce two side-by-side vowels separately. For example, in French you pronounce the word Noël (Christmas) like “nowell” and not “nole.” Likewise, you’d pronounce maïs (corn) like “mayees” and not “may.”

This is a departure from the typical French pronunciation rule, where two adjacent vowels typically combine to form one sound.

Cédille (ç)

Of all the French accent marks, you will only ever see this one on the letter C. The çédille transforms the C sound from hard to soft. Examples include – français (French), un garçon (a boy), and deçu (disappointed).

Note: The French C can also become soft when preceding the letters E, I, or Y, such as in la glace (ice cream). So the çédille is used primarily for those soft C’s that are followed by a letter other than E, I, or Y.

French Accent Codes

french accent codes

Once you’ve become familiar with accent marks, chances are you’ll need French accent codes to type them out on your computer. Here are some helpful shortcuts for those who don’t have access to a French keyboard.

French Accent Codes for PC Users

If you’re using Microsoft Word on a PC, use the French accent codes below. (Note: Don’t try to press down all the keys at once; instead, press the keys down one at a time and hold until all are pressed).

  • Accent aïgue (é): Press CTRL ‘ (apostrophe), followed by the letter    
  • Accent grave (à, è, ù): Press CTRL ` (the key to the left of “1”), followed by the letter
  • Accent circonflèxe (â, ê, î, ô, û): Press CTRL Shift 6 followed by the letter  
  • Trëma (ë, ï, ü): Press CTRL Shift ; followed by the letter   
  • Cédille (ç): Press CTRL – followed by the letter  

If you have trouble using any of the codes above, try these alt codes for PC users:

  • Alt – 0233 (é)
  • Alt – 0224 (à)
  • Alt – 0232 (è)
  • Alt – 0249 (ù)
  • Alt – 0226 (â)
  • Alt – 0234 (ê)
  • Alt – 0238 (î)
  • Alt – 0244 (ô)
  • Alt – 0251 (û)
  • Alt – 0235 (ë)
  • Alt – 0239 (ï)
  • Alt – 0252 (ü)
  • Alt – 0231 (ç)

French Accent Codes for Mac Users

Don’t fret! There are accent codes for Mac users as well. Use the following key next time you need to type an accented French letter.

  • Accent aïgue (é): Press Option e
  • Accent grave (à, è, ù): Press Option ` followed by the letter
  • Accent circonflèxe (â, ê, î, ô, û): Press Option i followed by the letter
  • Trëma (ë, ï, ü): Press Option u followed by the letter
  • Cédille (ç): Press Option c. (You do not need to press C an additional time afterward).

As you master the five French accent marks, be sure you have help along the way. Experienced French teachers will know how to explain the intricacies of the language, and catch the common mistakes that many students make.

Nothing can replace hard work and dedication to your studies, but consistent feedback from a reliable source is essential to really improve! If you can’t afford private lessons, try one of our free online French classes led by live instructors today.

Carol
Post Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in Sacramento, 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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How Long Does it Take to Learn French? Find Out Here.

How Long Does it Take to Learn French

Learning a new language takes patience, and many students start to wonder: “How long does it take to learn French?”

Every person learns differently depending on their goals, learning style, and ultimately – their level of self discipline. If you develop a practice schedule and get into the habit of sticking to it, you will be much more productive and efficient.

The amount of time it takes to learn French also depends on your methods and goals. To make better progress, use learning methods that suit your personal learning style. For example, if you’re a visual learner, try watching movies in French.

Your curriculum should be structured around your goals: Would you like to have casual conversations with family and friends, or do you need to be fluent for work?

After considering these factors, you’ll have an easier time answering the question – how long does it take to learn French? But rather than just coming up with your own estimates, let’s look at what the experts say for how long it takes to become fluent.

How Long Does it Take to Learn French?

how long does it take to learn french fluently

There are a couple of different sources that provide us with estimates we can use as a reference for how long it takes to learn French.

For starters, check out the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. These guidelines describe different language levels in detail, so you can get an idea of how much time you would need to learn French.

According to the CEF, you’ll need between 1,000 and 1,200 hours of study to reach a “B2 level” of fluency in French. B2 is a higher, intermediate skill level.

On the other hand, the U.S. Foreign Service Institute has a different method for measuring language acquisition called the Interagency Language Roundtable Scale.

This resource states that the amount of time it takes to reach a “higher intermediate level” in French is between 575 and 600 hours.

These numbers won’t be exact for every language learner, but you can use them as a guideline to set realistic goals. If you’re already bilingual, or already speak a Romance language, the amount of time it’ll take you to master French will be closer to the 600 hour mark.

Are you hoping to speed up the amount of time it’ll take you to learn French? There are several steps you can take right off the bat that will make learning a language much easier. 

3 Tips to Learn French Fast

French isn’t spoken just in France, but all over the world! So speaking French is becoming increasingly important if you work for an international business, or simply like to travel. 

If you’re ready to start learning this fun and unique language, follow these three important steps to set yourself up for success.

Practice Daily

How long does it take to learn french

Include French in your daily life so you can continue learning wherever you are. There are countless way to do this, but here are just a few:

  • Write your shopping list in French
  • Read the world news in French
  • Watch TV and listen to music in French
  • Change the language settings on your devices to French

Get creative and you will find lots of new opportunities to practice French everyday.

Talk to Natives

how long does it take to learn french fluently

Talking to natives is the best way to learn French quickly. The more often you speak French, the faster you will learn the language, and listening to natives can really refine your pronunciation.

There are many apps and websites you can use to find other French speakers. Look for a language partner who can help you stay motivated and answer your questions about the French language and culture.

Keep in mind that it isn’t necessary to meet with your language partner face-to-face. Video chats are just as effective and helpful.

If you want to go the extra mile to immerse yourself in the French language and culture, travel as often as you can to French-speaking countries. It’s much easier for students to learn French when they’re surrounded by it!

Take Lessons

how long does it take to learn french

If you’re really serious about becoming fluent, you can take French classes or private French lessons – all online. A French teacher will structure their lessons according to your goals and learning style.

When it comes to reading and writing in French, the guidance of a personal tutor is invaluable. Tricky grammar concepts are a breeze when you have a live instructor walking you through them step-by-step.  

So, how long does it take to learn French fluently? The truth is – there isn’t just one correct answer.

The exact amount of time it will take to learn differs from student to student, but if you are motivated, you will improve your language skills much faster!

Guest post by Lena Konstantinidis from CourseFinders. CourseFinders connects students with language schools all over the world for life-changing immersion experiences.

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Tips for traveling to France

20 Insider Tips For Traveling to France [Infographic]

Tips for traveling to France

From the smell of freshly baked baguettes from the local bakery, to views of the romantic châteaux (castles) in the Loire Valley, to the diverse array of masterpieces displayed in the museums of Paris – France has so much to offer!

If you’re taking a trip to this beautiful country soon, keep reading to learn how to plan the perfect itinerary so you can enjoy France at its best. We’ll share about the weather, what to order when dining out, a few little known sites, and many more helpful tips for traveling to France!

20 Game-Changing Tips for Traveling to France

1. Keep French Fashion in Mind

Pack clothes that are versatile and chic, keeping in mind that the French are simple and effortless when it comes to their style. The saying “less is more” works well for the French.   

One of your goals should be to blend in with the locals – not stand out as a tourist. For the ladies, bring a scarf! In the summertime, light scarves can add a touch of class, or be used as an extra layer at nighttime without the bulk of a jacket.

2. Pack Comfy Shoes

Bring a pair, or two, of comfortable shoes to France. When traveling, you should always expect to be walking quite a bit, whether it’s through the cobbled streets of Le Vieux Carré (the Old Quarter) or through the vineyards in the South.

So leave the stiletto heels at home and opt for a pair of comfortable sandals or sturdy boots. Your feet will thank you later!

3.  Learn the Language

Locals love when visitors attempt to speak the native language. Even if your French is a little rusty and you can only muster up a polite “Je voudrais un café, s’il vous plait” (“I would like a coffee please”), the French will greatly appreciate the effort.

The best way to learn French before your trip is with the help of an experienced tutor. If you’re interested in building up your vocabulary quickly, consider taking private lessons or online French classes. You can also watch French tutorials on YouTube, such as the one below. 

4. Check the Weather

Regions along the three coasts of France have a more temperate climate, unlike areas in central France, where you’ll experience more variation between seasons. Paris can also become fairly hot in the summer, so be prepared by packing light-colored clothing made of loose material.

The summer months in the south along the Mediterranean have very little rainfall, but the rest of the country experiences rainy months throughout the year. Paris has quite a bit of rainfall from April through August. Whatever the season, it’s always a good idea to check the forecast prior to your visit to France!

5. Travel in Spring or Fall

If you’re on a budget, the most cost-effective times to travel to France are during the spring and fall months. Keep in mind that if plane tickets are purchased at least three months in advance, you will be able to find some better deals!

6. Try a Bed & Breakfast

Relax in the many charming bed and breakfasts that France has to offer! While there are many options for lodging available to visitors, the more intimate bed and breakfasts in France are superb. Many of them offer home-cooked meals of the region, and the locals’ take on must-see sites.

7. Eat Like a Local

The French are known for, and proud, of their cuisine. Wherever you are in the country, be sure to try the local delicacies. If you’re traveling to Bordeaux, try the cannelé – a small pastry made of vanilla and rum.

Take in the view of the Mediterranean while dining on a traditional seafood dish of the region. You won’t regret trying the bouillabaisse (seafood stew) in Marseille, or the delicious quenelle in Lyon!

SEE ALSO: 50 Useful French Phrases for Travelers

8. Enjoy an Apéritif or Digestif

In France, sometimes the best drinks come just before or after a delicious meal. An apéritif (pre-meal drink) is usually enjoyed among friends before a plat de fromage (cheese plate) is served.

One common apéritif is the kir, which is a mix of white wine and blackcurrant. A common digestif (post-meal drink) is an espresso. Or you can try the “eau de vie,” literally translated “water of life,” which is a popular fruit brandy.

9. Check the Prix Fixe Menu

When you’re unsure about what to order, the prix fixe (fixed price) menu will be your best friend. Selected by the chef, it includes several dishes from the entrée (appetizer) to the plat principal (main dish) to the dessert.  

10. Shop at Outdoor Markets  

One way to save money without sacrificing the French experience is to shop at the outdoor markets. Most towns have an outdoor market or “marché en plein air.” Here, you can find vendors selling the region’s best at a more affordable price. Just be sure to check the local schedule, as some markets are only open on specific days of the week.

11. Enjoy Local Wines

As with the food in France, it’s usually best to go with the regional wine. While there are many options for wine, opting for the local wine is the best choice if you want to fully experience and appreciate the specialties of the area.

12. Travel by Train

Another way to save money on travel expenses while visiting France is to take the train. For the best deals, book three months in advance if you already have an itinerary set. If you’re under 25 and visiting France for a study abroad program or internship, signing up for a “Carte Jeune” offers reduced train fares!

13. Follow the Tour de France

Are you a fan of cycling? If not, would you like to follow a route that takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of France? Follow the cyclists at the Tour de France! This annual event takes place in July with a route through several notable cities and sites.

14. Celebrate La Fête Nationale

Also known as Bastille Day, the French independence day is well-celebrated in this country. If you’ll be in France on July 14th, you’ll get to witness fireworks shows and join in on the festivities. In Paris, go to a ball after the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower! The music and dancing begins around 9 PM.

SEE ALSO: What to Pack for France [Infographic]

15. Check out the Museums

The Louvre is one of the most popular museums in France, but there are so many other inspiring sites to add to your travel list! In Paris alone, there is the lesser-known Musée d’Orsay that boasts of numerous Impressionist paintings by Monet, and the Centre Pompidou that features contemporary and more interactive art. Both have slightly shorter admission lines!

16. Visit Luberon

Don’t forget to bring your camera to the picturesque lavender fields in France. The lavender that blooms in the South of France is a scent that is truly unforgettable. In Luberon these fragrant flowers bloom anytime between late June to early August, with the peak of the season being in early July.

17. Learn About History in Normandy

If you’re interested in historical events, head north for Normandy. Along the coast you’ll find the infamous Normandy and Omaha beaches where you can see remnants of WWII bunkers and memorials to those who fought during the war.

18. Stop by the Castles

France is home to many beautiful and unique châteaux (castles) in the center of the country. Relive the grandeur of the châteaux in the Loire Valley. Villandry is famous for its gardens that are exact replicas of the medieval gardens, while Chambord includes a grand central staircase in the main entrance.

This area of the country is less crowded than Paris or the beaches in the South, so it would make an excellent addition to your itinerary if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle.

19. Make Your Way to Île de Ré

At the mention of French beaches, most people think about the beaches along the Mediterranean Coast. Bask in the sunshine on Île de Ré instead. Located just off the western coast of France, Île de Ré is a unique and lesser-known beach that is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

20. Enjoy the Moment

While planning a trip to France often includes many preparations, it’s important to remember to savor the moment and not get too caught up in your itinerary. Enjoy the food, enjoy the wine, and enjoy the sites. But most importantly – enjoy the journey from one destination to another! Check out the infographic below for a visual reminder of each of these insider tips!

 

20 Insider Tips for Traveling to France

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Keep these tips for traveling to France in mind and you’ll be able to plan the perfect vacation! Enjoying all the food, drinks, and sites that France has to offer will make your visit one that you’ll always remember. Don’t forget to check out TakeLessons Live before you depart to brush up on your French language skills!

 

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL in Jacksonville, Florida. She has her Bachelors in French, French Literature, and Psychology from Florida State University and over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!
French Greetings The Right and Wrong Way to Greet Someone in French

15 Greetings in French: How to Properly Meet & Greet Someone in France

15 Formal French Greetings: How to Say Hi & Bye to Someone in France

How much do you know about French greetings and salutations? Knowing how to approach and greet someone in France is crucial as a beginner – what better way to strike up a conversation and make some new friends?

To get you started, here are a few easy greetings in French so you can make an excellent first impression!

15 French Greetings to Know

Remember, how you say “hello” in French depends on your relationship with the other person, and the social setting. So at the end of this article, there is a section with French etiquette tips, dos, and dont’s.

To help you begin pronouncing some of the most common French greetings, check out this short video! We’ll go into more detail and cover even more greetings below.

1. Bonjour – Good morning / hello

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

2. Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you

In a more formal setting, it’s polite to indicate that you’re delighted to meet someone after they introduce themselves, and this French greeting is the perfect way to do so.

3. Bonsoir – Good evening / hello

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

4. Salut – Hi

Considered one of the more casual French greetings, salut is appropriate when you see someone again later in the day.

5. Coucou – Hey

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

SEE ALSO: 50 Inspiring French Quotes

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

An ideal greeting between old friends, young French people tend to use this phrase often.

7. Âllo – Hello

This French 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 version is correct and can be used in formal and 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 one of the very casual French greetings, so we recommend using with close friends.

RELATED: 50 Beautiful French Words

11. Au revoir! – Goodbye!

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

12. Salut! – Bye!

This French word for “goodbye” is much more casual than au revoir.

13. Ciao! – See ya!

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

14. À plus! – Later!

This is one of those easy greetings in French that is a simple way to indicate you’ll see someone later, but at an unspecific time.

15. À demain! – See you tomorrow!

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

Dos and Don’ts for French Greetings

The proper etiquette for greeting people in France relies on a few factors. While it’s expected and considered polite to greet everyone, from colleagues to shopkeepers, the way you greet each person depends on your relationship with them and the social setting. For example…

  • Les bises (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 formal or business 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 if you don’t know them well enough.

Learn More French Greetings & Phrases

Once you’ve mastered these greetings in French, you can start to work on more conversational skills! Here are some additional guides for you to check out:

Want to learn even more French? Your options are endless! To start, try working one-on-one with a French tutor near you. Or, you can always sign up for some free online French classes if you’re on a budget. Good luck!

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL. She has her Bachelors in French, French Literature, and Psychology from Florida State University and has been teaching since 2008. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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Photo by Garry Knight

50 Fun French Games That Will Help You Master the Language

50 Fun French Games

Whatever your level of French mastery, you can always improve your language skills by playing fun French games!

In this list, you will find 50 of the best French games that can be played alone, with a partner, or in a group. Are you ready to have some fun? Let’s get started!

French Card Games

Card games

1. Piquet

A trick-taking game played by two people, Piquet dates back to at least 1535. If you enjoy card games, purchasing a Piquet deck is a good move, as the cards are needed for many other fun French games, too.

2. Bezique

A derivative of Piquet, Bezique requires two decks and offers additional scoring opportunities.

3. Belote

One of the best French card games, Belote requires two, three, or four players, depending on the variation. Rules vary around the world, but you should try the French version for an authentic experience.

4. French Tarot

After Belote, the most popular card game in France is Tarot, also called Jeu de Tarot. It typically requires four players, but three or five can play when you use a variation.

5. Bouillotte

This is one of the quickest French card games to play. It uses a Piquet deck but with just 20 or 24 cards, depending on the number of players. Bouillotte involves betting, calling, raising, and dropping out, much like poker.

6. Lanterloo

Also called Loo, Lanterloo is a trick-taking game originating in the 17th century. Today, there are many variations, all of which are quite like the English game All Fours. You can play with 3 to 8 players but it is best with 5 to 7.

7. Rams

Another one of the many French card games to choose from, Rams is similar to Lanterloo except you can play with up to nine people. In the U.S., a version of Rams is often played as Rounce with a 52-card deck, but the traditional French game calls for Piquet cards.

8. Polignac

Polignac also goes by the names of Jeux des Valets and Four Jacks. Although it is related to Hearts and Black Lady, it uses a Piquet deck. Games usually require three to six players, but it is possible to play with more by using a 52-card deck.

9. Commerce

For a larger group, Commerce is ideal, as you can play with up to 10 people using either 52, 40, or 32 cards. Much like Thirty-One, the aim is to finish a round with the best three-card hand.

10. Mille Bornes

Meaning “thousand milestones,” Mille Bornes is an easy game to play in French, as you only need to learn a few words and know the numbers.

11. Manille

Yet another option for the Piquet deck, you can play Manille with just two people, but it is best to have four players competing in pairs. As you can see, there are tons of fun French games that you can play with a Piquet deck!

French Learning Games

2real

12. KidSpeak

KidSpeak is a package of interactive computer games that introduces children to the French language, but adult beginners can use them too! These fun French games cover a variety of topics across three levels of difficulty.

13. Puzzles

Crosswords, word searches, and other puzzles are ideal for learning French words and simple sentences. You can find plenty for free online, or in puzzle books at your local bookstore.

14. Tongue Twisters

There are a huge number of tongue twisters in French. Use them to learn new vocabulary and push your pronunciation to the limit.

15. Hangman

Think of a French word and ask a friend to determine what it is by playing hangman. This is an ideal opportunity to practice the alphabet and some basic vocabulary.

16. Escargot

Meaning “snail,” escargot is a game like hopscotch featuring 15 to 20 numbered squares in a spiral formation. Players hop on one foot to the center of the spiral, and those who succeed write their initial in any square.

Subsequent players must not land in marked squares, making it increasingly difficult to reach the middle as more squares have initials.

17. Role Play

Many of the fun French games in this section don’t require any supplies, so they can be played any time you want to practice your French! In this game, simply create a scenario such as store clerk and shopper, and then practice the vocabulary you know in conversation with a friend.

Video Games in French

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18. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Did you know you can switch the language of Wind Waker to French to practice your reading? With ample text, you are sure to encounter new vocabulary in this video game.

19. Indigo Prophecy

There are so many more fun French games you can play by simply changing your language settings. This one is available with full audio and subtitles in French, and the game has an extensive dialogue for extra practice!

20. Heavy Rain

Another story-heavy game, Heavy Rain will push your French skills to the limit as you work hard to make fast decisions.

21. Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls is a game from Quantic Dream, the French developer. Many gamers agree that the voice acting is actually of better quality in French than in English!

22. Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Although all the Assassin’s Creed games are available with French audio, Unity is a top choice purely because it is set in Paris at the time of the French Revolution.

23. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

If you have difficulty understanding French audio alone, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a great choice, as you can set the audio to one language and subtitles to another.

24. Minecraft

Minecraft is an ideal way to learn vocabulary you may otherwise not pick up. Play online in French servers to practice your conversation skills with French natives.

25. Mario Party

If you grew up playing Super Mario Bros., you’ll love the challenge of turning one of your favorites into French. Mario Party and some others are available to play as French games.

26. World of Warcraft

To interact with French speakers, you will need to purchase the French version of World of Warcraft. However, it is certainly worthwhile, as the large amount of communication needed provides you with an excellent opportunity to practice.

Fun French Board Games

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27. Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk

This complex game involves passing through dungeons to defeat the sorcerer Zangdar and recover the last of Gladeufeurha’s statuettes. To win timed battles and skill checks, you will need to push your French skills to the max.

28. Scrabble

Many fun French games like this one are also available in English, so you’ll already be somewhat familiar with them! You can use a regular Scrabble board and create only French words, or purchase a French Scrabble set for a better mix of letters if you prefer.

29. Race to Paris

Race to Paris is designed to help players learn French. You will need to build sentences to earn points — the longer the sentence, the more points you receive.

30. French Bingo

Work on your speaking skills as well as recognition of words by playing French bingo. You can purchase a game or make your own by printing out cards.

31. Fief

Fief is a strategic game set in the Middle Ages. It is best to play with at least four people to form alliances and see a greater number of wins each round.

32. Spot It!

For beginners looking for simple yet fun French games, you can’t go wrong with Spot It! Match cards while learning basic French vocabulary with up to eight players.

33. Djam

Djam is slightly more challenging than some of the other board games, as it requires a greater knowledge of vocabulary to create words beginning with a certain letter on different themes.

34. Mundus Novus

Set in 16th century Spain, Mundus Novus is available entirely in French. The game involves accumulating enough doubloons and resources to beat your opponents.

35. Jarjais

Play during the French Revolution, collecting clues to gather details about the lost treasure and free Queen Marie-Antoinette.

36. Monopoly

Monopoly comes in a huge number of editions, including Paris-Saint Germain. The board and all the cards are in French, allowing you to practice your comprehension skills.

37. Off the Dead: Chapitre 1 – Morts à Venice Beach

The first chapter of the board game Off the Dead is available in French. Use your language skills to kill zombies while avoiding the loss of human lives.

38. Jeu du Nain Jaune

One of the classic fun French games, Jeu du Nain Jaune combines skill and luck. Rack your memory to create sequences in your favor and win rounds. This game is simple enough for kids but involves enough skill that it is fun for adults, too.

Fun French Games Online

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39. Spelling Game

Identify the correct spelling of words and phrases, using a picture for help. In this spelling game, you can choose from numerous topics to practice different aspects of French.

40. Languages Online

The French section of Languages Online features 35 topics to learn, accompanied by several interactive tasks to practice each.

41. Lingo Hut

Featuring 109 lessons in French, each category has activities and fun French games to learn vocabulary.

42. Whack-a-Word

In Whack-a-Word, you must act fast to choose the right English translation of words in French.

43. Memorama

Most of these fun French games help you practice your language skills while you’re at it, and this one is no exception. This memory game will help you learn vocabulary for increasingly difficult topics.

SEE ALSO: 50 French Quotes to Inspire You

French Party Games

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44. Karaoke

All you need to add karaoke to your party are French songs with lyrics and a microphone! You can easily find French karaoke versions of songs on YouTube.

45. Scattergories

Compile a list of categories and pick a letter at random. Participants need to think of as many words as possible beginning with that letter for each category. Award bonus points to those who come up with words no one else does.

46. Trivia

This is another one of our favorite fun French games that you can play anywhere. Make up your own questions or find some online. Play in teams to help each other out with understanding questions and figuring out answers.

47. Qui Suis Je?

You can easily turn the classic Who Am I? into French. Everyone receives a card with the name of a famous person (it’s even better if you use French celebrities). Stick the cards to your foreheads and ask questions in French to figure out who you are.

48. Maman, veux-tu?

Mother, May I? is a great game to enjoy practicing French in a group. Add complex commands that will be difficult to understand to make it a challenge for players to reach the finish line.

49. Sabine a dit

Sabine a dit is “Simon Says” in French. Start easy, gradually increasing the difficulty until only one player is left standing.

50. Pétanque

Take your daytime party outdoors to play Pétanque. Keep score by calling out numbers in French.

Playing fun French games like these is definitely a blast. But if you want to truly master the language try taking French lessons, or online French classes.

The more French you have in your toolkit, the easier these games will become!

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Flirting in French: 25 Head-Turning Phrases You Need To Know

flirting in french 25 phrases

Want to learn how to flirt in French? Because the language is known for being beautiful, romantic, and poetic, there are plenty of French pick up lines and other cute French sayings to choose from.

However, before you learn these flirtatious phrases you should know a little bit about French culture – especially if you’re thinking of saying these phrases when you visit France.

25 Cute French Sayings & Pick Up Lines

French people don’t date or flirt the way Americans do. For example, a kiss in France means that you are now an exclusive couple. So don’t be surprised if you find it hard to flirt in France.

The French are quite reserved, and while there are some pick up lines listed here, you will rarely hear them. In fact, some are simply funny sayings you’ll hear among your friends. Others are more like compliments that you can use with a partner or spouse.

Check out this video to learn more and then keep scrolling for more French pick up lines!


Remember: the French like to be respected and they want their partners to act natural. So if you find someone attractive, your best bet is to forget the cheesy pick up lines and be yourself. But enough about culture, here are our top 25 flirtatious phrases and sayings!

Est-ce que ton père a été un voleur? Parce qu’il a volé les étoiles du ciel pour les mettre dans tes yeux.

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This is a classic French pick up line that is rarely used, unless you want to make someone laugh! It translates to, “Is your father a thief? Because he stole the stars from the sky to put into your eyes.” 

T’as d’beaux yeux, tu sais?

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This French pick up lines means, “You have pretty eyes, you know?” It’s actually a famous reference from the French film, “Le Quai des Brumes.” 

J’ai eu un coup de foudre!

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In French, “le coup de foudre” literally means a strike of lightning, but it can also mean, “love at first sight.” So this phrase is another way of saying, “I fell head over heels.” Romantic French phrases like this one are sure to melt hearts!

Tu veux sortir avec moi?

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This phrase means, “Do you want to go out with me?” But be careful, as it can be used romantically or simply among friends! 

Si on prenait un verre un de ces quatres?

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Use this phrase if you want to invite someone for a drink. It literally means, “What if we grabbed a drink one of these days?” 

Je t’apprécie.

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The verb apprécier generally means “to appreciate (someone or something).” However when you use it in this way, it means “I like you” or “I have a crush on you.” 

Tu me manques.

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Contrary to what you might think, this phrase actually means, “I miss you”! It literally translates to, “You are missing from me.” 

Embrasse-moi!

Simple, straightforward and to-the-point, this French phrase means, “Kiss me!” 

Je t’aime.

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The verb aimer can mean either “to like” or “to love.” But if you want to say “I love you” to your special someone, you’d use this phrase. 

Je suis tombé amoureux.

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Someone swept you off your feet? This phrase is how you say, “I fell in love,” if you’re a man. 

Je suis tombée amoureuse. 

If you’re a woman who’s fallen in love, use this version of the above phrase.

Un beau gosse. 

“Un beau gosse” is one of the cute French sayings you’d use to describe a good-looking guy, or “a hunk.” The French use this all the time with their partners, or jokingly among friends.

Tu es beau. 

Simply put, “Tu es beau” or “T’es beau” means, “You are handsome.” Saying compliments in French is an easy way to get someone’s attention!

Une belle gosse.  

Similar to “Un beau gosse,” this is a phrase to describe a good-looking girl.

Tu es très jolie.   

This is a phrase that can be said to a woman to tell her that she looks pretty.

Je te trouve belle.  

This phrase literally translates to, “I find you beautiful,” and it’s interchangeable with the one above.

T’es canon, toi! 

You can never go wrong with compliments in French. This expression means, “You’re hot!” You can say it as a joke or when you really mean it, and it can be used for either a male or female. 

Mon amour. 

Use this phrase as a pet name for a partner, meaning “My love.” This one can also be used for both men and women.

Mon chéri.  

This is a cute saying for your male partner that means, “My dear.”

Ma chérie. 

This version of the above pet name can be used for the special lady in your life.

Ma belle. 

Another adorable name to call your girlfriend or wife, this phrase means, “My beautiful one.”

RELATED: 15 French Greetings

French Pick Up Lines to Avoid

Now, in France it’s common also to hear the phrases below. However, be forewarned: these are some of the worst ways to flirt in French.

These phrases are quite rude and not very well accepted. You should avoid using these catcalls, but be aware of their meanings!

Ma’moiselle!

This is like saying “Hey miss!” Oftentimes, it’s yelled out while a woman is walking on the street, and it’s not generally acknowledged.

Tu as un 06?

In France, cell phone numbers begin with 06 (and now 07). So when someone asks this question, they’re asking if you have a phone number and hoping you’ll give it to them.

Souris un peu.

Another common catcall meaning “Smile a bit,” this is something French women generally don’t like to hear.

T’es charmante.

“You’re charming” is perfectly fine if you’re on a date, but it’s often something that is called out on the street, which women typically walk right past.

Do you know any other cute French sayings, or phrases for flirting in French? Share them with us in the comments below! To work on your French accent so you can really nail these phrases like a native, check out the French classes online at TakeLessons Live.

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french verbs

French Grammar Rules: Conjugating Verbs in “Le Futur” Tense

french verbs

French verbs come in many tenses. Lucky for you, French tutor Carol Beth L. is back with a lesson on conjugating verbs in the future tense…

So you know how to conjugate regular verbs and some irregular verbs in le présent. You are also familiar with the passé composé, and maybe even the imparfait. But when you’re speaking French, you don’t just need to talk about what you did yesterday and today. You also need to talk about what you will do tomorrow! Among French verb tenses, le futur best fits the description.

french verbs

The formation of le futur is relatively straightforward for all three major categories of regular verbs. The same set of endings can be applied consistently across the board:

Je  ____-ai
Tu  ____-as
Il, elle, on  ____-a
Nous  ____-ez
Vous  ____-ons
Ils, elles  ____-ont

For regular -er and -ir verbs, take the entire infinitive form of the verb (the same form you’ll typically find in a dictionary), and add the appropriate ending.

Le futur of manger (to eat)

Je – mangerai
Tu – mangeras
Il/elle/on – mangera
Nous – mangerons
Vous – mangerez
Ils/elles – mangeront

Le futur of finir (to finish)

Je – finirai
Tu – finiras
Il/elle/on – finira
Nous – finirons
Vous – finirez
Ils/elles – finiront

Once the appropriate ending is added, place the correct form of the verb in context.

  • Je finirai mes devoirs ce soir.
    I will finish my homework tonight.
  • À partir de demain, je mangerai plus de fruits et de legumes frais.
    Starting tomorrow, I will eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

For regular -re verbs, remove the final -e and add the same endings above listed above.

Le futur of rendre (to return)

Je – rendrai
Tu – rendras
Il/elle/on – rendra
Nous – rendrons
Vous – rendrez
Ils/elles – rendront

One advantage of using the future tense with -re verbs is that many of the irregular -re verbs act regular in the future tense. This includes mettre (to put or place), croire (to believe), boire (to drink), and connaître (to know or be familiar with). Once you have determined the verbal form to use in the future, like the previous forms, insert it into your sentence:

  • Tu rendras ton livre a la bibliothèque demain?
    You will return your book to the library tomorrow?

Many irregular verbs have irregular roots in le futur. A few of the most common include:

aller → ir-
être → ser-
avoir → aur-
faire → fer-
savoir → saur-
venir → viendr-
revenir → reviendr-
tenir → tiendr-
voir → verr-
revoir → reverr-
devoir → devr-

In context, you might say (or hear someone else say):

  • Cet été, nous serons des étudiants parfaits!
    This summer, we will be perfect students!
  • Vous aurez froid sans manteau.
    You will be cold without a jacket.
  • Ils reviendront bientôt.
    They will come back soon.

As a side note, in English, we can also express future events by using the verb “to go.” For example, you might hear someone say, “I’m going to do my homework later tonight.” This format works as an alternate future form in French, as well. Simply conjugate the verb aller in the present tense, and then add l’infinitif of the verb you need to put into the future.

  • Je vais voir un film ce weekend.
    I’m going to see a movie this weekend.
  • On va étudier ensemble demain.
    We are going to study together this weekend.

This is a relatively simple format to incorporate when speaking, because it is so similar to English – for many people, even easier than adding the futur endings. However, le futur is relatively simple, too; and with the complexities of some French verbs, it is a very useful addition to your linguistic toolbox!

Carol

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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15 French Idioms & Funny Phrases (+ What They Really Mean)

Just like in English, there are a lot of French idioms and phrases that don’t quite translate. Some are fairly easy to figure out (for example, someone who “drinks like a hole,” is drinking a great deal).

Others are less obvious, especially when you are just starting to learn French. Here are some of the strangest French idioms and phrases you’re likely to come across in an otherwise normal conversation.

15 French Idioms & Funny Phrases

1. Coup de foudre

Only in French is it a good thing to be hit by a “strike of lightning” – it means “love at first sight,” which is known to have some of the same symptoms, though you can usually tell them apart!

2. Avoir le cafard

While “having a cockroach” is certainly not most people’s idea of a good time, this phrase goes a little further than that. It means “to be downright depressed.”

3. Avoir une peur bleue

Some French idioms simply don’t make sense. Being ordinarily frightened is just “avoir peur,” but when you need to express serious pop-quiz-level terror, you have a blue fear in French.

4. Avoir un poil dans la main

“To have a hair in one’s hand” means to be very lazy, as if you do so little with your hands that hair could start growing from the palm.

5. Donner la langue au chat

If you “give your tongue to the cat” when presented with a riddle or other tricky question, you’ve given up and admitted defeat. What the cat does with it then is anybody’s guess.

6. Être sorti de l’auberge

Where English-speakers say “out of the woods” to mean “having handled your problems,” French-speakers say “out of the inn.” Are the inns in France really so bad that the woods are preferable?

7. Faire la tête

Literally “to make the head,” this phrase means “to pout.” It can be a slightly cute or affectionate way of asking if someone’s upset with you.

8. La fin des haricots

When something is “the end of the beans,” it’s the equivalent of saying “the last straw.” Either way, the frustrated person might say the next phrase on this list of French idioms…

RELATED VIDEO: Must-Know French Slang Words & Phrases

9. La moutarde me monte au nez

“Mustard rising to your nose” means that you’re getting angry, as a result – making a face like someone who’s just eaten strong mustard. Steam coming out of your ears is optional.

10. Les carrottes sont cuites

In English, your “goose is cooked” when you’re done for; in French, it’s carrots. In either case, you can’t take it back now.

11. Les doigts dans le nez

This is one of the funniest phrases on this list of French idioms. If something’s so easy you could do it “with your fingers in your nose,” you could probably also do it with one hand behind your back, possibly even both at once!

12. Mettre son grain de sel

Someone who insists on “putting in their grain of salt” can’t let a topic go without offering their opinion, whether it’s asked for or not.

13. Poser un lapin

If you’ve been “left a rabbit,” that means you’ve been stood up for a date or meeting. If it helps, the connection between rabbits and poor date etiquette isn’t clear in French either.

14. Sauter du cog à l’âne

Literally “to jump from rooster to donkey,” this phrase means jumping from topic to an unrelated topic. Cruelty to barn animals is not necessary.

15. More French Idioms and Sayings!

Can’t get enough? Check out the video below for even more funny French idioms and expressions.


Want to learn more French idioms and work on your language learning skills? Taking private lessons with a French tutor is the best way to improve your skills and reach your goals. Study with a tutor in-person or take online lessons. Find your French tutor today!

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