Learning a new language can be both exciting and intimidating, but mastering the basics is the first step to becoming fluent. French, known as the language of love and diplomacy, is no exception. With over 220 million speakers worldwide, learning French can be an invaluable skill for travel, work, and personal growth.
In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of common French phrases with descriptions and examples to help beginners familiarize themselves with the language and become more confident in their conversational skills.
Also Read: 6 Ways To Mastering French Vocabulary: Tips, Tricks, and Expressions
These phrases will help you navigate everyday situations and allow you to communicate with native speakers more effectively. Let’s dive in!
Here are 50 common French phrases with descriptions and examples:
- Bonjour (Good morning/Hello) – A standard greeting used in both formal and informal settings.
Example: “Bonjour, comment ça va?” (Hello, how are you?)
- Bonsoir (Good evening) – A greeting used in the evening in both formal and informal situations.
Example: “Bonsoir, Madame.” (Good evening, ma’am.)
- Salut (Hi/Bye) – An informal greeting or farewell.
Example: “Salut, ça va?” (Hi, how’s it going?)
- Au revoir (Goodbye) – A polite way to say goodbye.
Example: “Au revoir, à demain!” (Goodbye, see you tomorrow!)
- Merci (Thank you) – To express gratitude.
Example: “Merci pour le cadeau.” (Thank you for the gift.)
- Merci beaucoup (Thank you very much) – To emphasize appreciation.
Example: “Merci beaucoup pour votre aide.” (Thank you very much for your help.)
- De rien (You’re welcome) – A polite response to someone who thanked you.
Example: “Merci pour le café.” “De rien.” (Thank you for the coffee. You’re welcome.)
- S’il vous plaît (Please – formal) – A polite request in a formal context.
Example: “Pourriez-vous me passer le sel, s’il vous plaît?” (Could you pass me the salt, please?)
- S’il te plaît (Please – informal) – A polite request in an informal context.
Example: “Passe-moi le sucre, s’il te plaît.” (Pass me the sugar, please.)
- Excusez-moi (Excuse me – formal) – To get someone’s attention, apologize, or make your way through a crowd.
Example: “Excusez-moi, pourriez-vous me dire où se trouve la gare?” (Excuse me, could you tell me where the train station is?)
- Excuse-moi (Excuse me – informal) – Informal version of “Excusez-moi.”
Example: “Excuse-moi, tu pourrais m’aider avec ça?” (Excuse me, could you help me with this?)
- Pardon (Pardon/Sorry) – To apologize for a minor mistake or inconvenience, or to ask someone to repeat what they said.
Example: “Pardon, je n’ai pas compris.” (Sorry, I didn’t understand.)
- Comment ça va? (How are you?) – A common way to ask someone how they are doing.
Example: “Salut, comment ça va?” (Hi, how are you?)
- Comment allez-vous? (How are you? – formal) – A more formal way to ask someone how they are doing.
Example: “Bonjour, Madame Martin, comment allez-vous?” (Hello, Mrs. Martin, how are you?)
- Je m’appelle… (My name is…) – To introduce yourself and share your name.
Example: “Je m’appelle Pierre. Enchanté.” (My name is Pierre. Nice to meet you.)
- Enchanté(e) (Nice to meet you) – To express that you are pleased to meet someone.
Example: “Je m’appelle Sophie. Enchantée.” (My name is Sophie. Nice to meet you.)
- Oui (Yes) – An affirmative response.
Example: “Est-ce que tu veux venir au cinéma avec moi?” “Oui!” (Do you want to come to the movies with me? Yes!)
- Non (No) – A negative response.
Example: “Tu aimes les épinards?” “Non.” (Do you like spinach? No.)
- Comment tu t’appelles? (What’s your name? – informal) – To ask someone’s name in an informal context.
Example: “Comment tu t’appelles?” “Je m’appelle Julie.” (What’s your name? My name is Julie.)
- Comment vous appelez-vous? (What’s your name? – formal) – To ask someone’s name in a formal context.
Example: “Comment vous appelez-vous?” “Je m’appelle Monsieur Dupont.” (What’s your name? My name is Mr. Dupont.)
- Ça va? (How’s it going?) – A casual way to ask someone how they are doing.
Example: “Salut, ça va?” “Oui, ça va bien, merci.” (Hi, how’s it going? Yes, I’m fine, thank you.)
- D’accord (Alright/OK) – To express agreement or understanding.
Example: “On se retrouve à 19h?” “D’accord.” (We’ll meet at 7 PM? Alright.)
- Je ne sais pas (I don’t know) – To express uncertainty or lack of knowledge.
Example: “Où est la bibliothèque?” “Je ne sais pas.” (Where is the library? I don’t know.)
- Je ne comprends pas (I don’t understand) – To indicate that you don’t understand something.
Example: “Je ne comprends pas cette phrase.” (I don’t understand this sentence.)
- Pouvez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît? (Can you repeat, please? – formal) – To ask someone to repeat something in a formal context.
Example: “Pouvez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît?” (Can you repeat, please?)
- Peux-tu répéter, s’il te plaît? (Can you repeat, please? – informal) – To ask someone to repeat something in an informal context.
Example: “Peux-tu répéter, s’il te plaît?” (Can you repeat, please?)
- Parlez-vous anglais? (Do you speak English? – formal) – To ask if someone speaks English in a formal context.
Example: “Parlez-vous anglais?” “Oui, un peu.” (Do you speak English? Yes, a little.)
- Tu parles anglais? (Do you speak English? – informal) – To ask if someone speaks English in an informal context.
Example: “Tu parles anglais?” “Oui, assez bien.” (Do you speak English? Yes, quite well.)
- Combien ça coûte? (How much does it cost?) – To inquire about the price of something.
Example: “Combien ça coûte, ce sac?” (How much does this bag cost?)
- Où sont les toilettes? (Where is the bathroom?) – To ask for the location of the restroom.
Example: “Où sont les toilettes, s’il vous plaît?” (Where is the bathroom, please?)
- À tout à l’heure (See you later) – To say goodbye when you expect to see someone later the same day.
Example: “Je vais au magasin. À tout à l’heure!” (I’m going to the store. See you later!)
- À bientôt (See you soon) – To say goodbye when you expect to see someone again soon.
Example: “Au revoir, à bientôt!” (Goodbye, see you soon!)
- À demain (See you tomorrow) – To say goodbye when you plan to see someone the next day.
Example: “Bonne soirée, à demain!” (Have a good evening, see you tomorrow!)
- Quelle heure est-il? (What time is it?) – To ask for the current time.
Example: “Quelle heure est-il?” “Il est 3 heures de l’après-midi.” (What time is it? It’s 3 PM.)
- Comment dit-on… en français? (How do you say… in French?) – To ask for the translation of a word or phrase.
Example: “Comment dit-on ‘apple’ en français?” “On dit ‘pomme’.” (How do you say ‘apple’ in French? It’s ‘pomme.’)
- J’aimerais… (I would like…) – To express a preference or desire for something.
Example: “J’aimerais une tasse de thé, s’il vous plaît.” (I would like a cup of tea, please.)
- Je voudrais… (I would like…) – Another way to express a preference or desire for something.
Example: “Je voudrais un billet pour Paris, s’il vous plaît.” (I would like a ticket to Paris, please.)
- C’est bon (It’s good) – To express satisfaction or approval.
Example: “Tu as goûté ce gâteau?” “Oui, c’est bon!” (Have you tasted this cake? Yes, it’s good!)
- Je suis fatigué(e) (I am tired) – To express that you are tired.
Example: “Je suis fatigué, je vais me coucher.” (I am tired, I’m going to bed.)
- Je suis désolé(e) (I am sorry) – To apologize for a mistake or inconvenience.
Example: “Je suis désolé, je suis en retard.” (I am sorry, I am late.)
- Je t’aime (I love you) – To express love or affection for someone.
Example: “Je t’aime, mon amour.” (I love you, my love.)
- Il fait beau (The weather is nice) – To describe pleasant weather.
Example: “Il fait beau aujourd’hui, n’est-ce pas?” (The weather is nice today, isn’t it?)
- Il fait froid (It’s cold) – To describe cold weather.
Example: “Il fait froid ce matin!” (It’s cold this morning!)
- Il fait chaud (It’s hot) – To describe hot weather.
Example: “Il fait chaud cet après-midi, allons à la plage.” (It’s hot this afternoon, let’s go to the beach.)
- C’est loin? (Is it far?) – To ask about the distance to a destination.
Example: “C’est loin, la gare?” “Non, c’est à 10 minutes à pied.” (Is the train station far? No, it’s a 10-minute walk.)
- C’est près? (Is it near?) – To ask about the proximity of a destination.
Example: “C’est près, l’épicerie?” “Oui, juste au coin de la rue.” (Is the grocery store near? Yes, just around the corner.)
- Où se trouve…? (Where is… located?) – To ask for the location of a place.
Example: “Où se trouve le musée d’Orsay?” (Where is the Orsay Museum located?)
- Qu’est-ce que c’est? (What is it?) – To inquire about the nature or identity of something.
Example: “Qu’est-ce que c’est, ça?” “C’est une écharpe.” (What is this? It’s a scarf.)
- Je voudrais réserver une table (I would like to reserve a table) – To make a reservation at a restaurant.
Example: “Je voudrais réserver une table pour deux personnes à 20h, s’il vous plaît.” (I would like to reserve a table for two people at 8 PM, please.)
- L’addition, s’il vous plaît (The check, please) – To request the bill at a restaurant.
Example: “L’addition, s’il vous plaît.” (The check, please.)
FAQs About Common Phrases in French
Q1: Do I need to learn both formal and informal versions of French phrases?
Yes, it’s important to understand both formal and informal phrases in French. The level of formality used depends on your relationship with the person you’re speaking to and the context of the conversation.
Generally, use formal phrases when speaking with strangers, older people, or in professional settings. Informal phrases are more appropriate for friends, family, and peers.
Q2: How do I practice my pronunciation of these French phrases?
To improve your pronunciation, listen to native speakers in videos, podcasts, or language learning apps. You can also practice speaking with a language partner or tutor, who can provide feedback on your pronunciation.
Repeating phrases aloud and recording your voice can also help you identify areas for improvement.
Q3: Are these 50 French phrases enough to become fluent in French?
While these 50 phrases are a great starting point, they are not sufficient to become fluent in French. Fluency requires a deeper understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and cultural context. Continue building your vocabulary, practicing grammar, and engaging in conversations with native speakers to progress towards fluency.
Q4: How long will it take to learn and memorize these 50 French phrases?
The time it takes to learn and memorize these phrases varies depending on your language learning background, dedication, and personal learning style. Consistent practice and repetition will help you retain the phrases more effectively.
Q5: What are some other resources I can use to learn French?
There are many resources available to help you learn French. Some popular options include language learning apps (e.g., Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone), online courses, language schools, textbooks, podcasts, YouTube channels, and language exchange platforms.
Q6: How can I improve my French listening skills?
To improve your listening skills, expose yourself to French as much as possible. Watch French movies and TV shows, listen to French podcasts and music, or attend language meetups or conversation groups. This will help you become familiar with the rhythm, intonation, and colloquial expressions used by native speakers.
Q7: Can I learn French without a teacher?
While having a teacher can provide guidance and support, it is possible to learn French on your own. Self-study methods, such as using language learning apps, online courses, and textbooks, can be effective. However, it’s essential to find opportunities to practice speaking with native speakers, whether through language exchange platforms, conversation groups, or other social settings.
Mastering these 50 common French phrases will help you build a strong foundation in the language and make your travels in French-speaking countries much more enjoyable. As you progress, continue to expand your vocabulary and learn more about the nuances of the language. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep speaking, listening, and engaging with native speakers to improve your skills. Bonne chance (good luck) on your French language journey!