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French phrasebook

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French speaking areas
Proportion of French speakers by country in 2014 (0-50% gradation)

French (français) is a Romance language, and one of the most widely spoken languages in the world: 220 million people speak French, including 115 million native speakers. The French language originated in France, but in the modern day it is spoken all over the world; it is an official language of 29 different countries, an important business, cultural, or minority language in dozens of other countries and regions, and is used officially by scores of international organisations including the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Olympic Committee. Although it's been largely supplanted by English these days, French was the main international lingua franca well into the 20th century, and at one point, French was the language spoken in most of the royal courts of Europe. To this day, it remains de rigueur for educated people in many societies around the world to have some level of basic French ability.

Aside from France itself, French is widely spoken in many other parts of Europe, including the southern half of Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels), western Switzerland, Monaco and Luxembourg. A significant number of speakers are also found on most of the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark but not Alderney, where the local Francophone community died out some time after the Second World War), the tiny Pyrenean country of Andorra, and the Aosta Valley of northwestern Italy.

Like Spanish and German, but unlike English, the French language is governed by an official regulator - L'Académie française. Headquartered in Paris (shown here), the Académie issues guidance and recommendations on good French, and its occasional spelling reforms are often controversial.

In the Americas, French is spoken primarily in the Canadian provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, the northern and eastern parts of Ontario and around the Winnipeg area of Manitoba. Although Canada is an officially bilingual nation and there are Francophone enclaves in almost every province, outside these four provinces, it's quite rare to encounter anyone in Canada who speaks more than a few words of French without hunting down those off-the-beaten-track French-speaking communities. French is also spoken in a few parts of the United States, namely parts of Louisiana and northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. French is also the official language of Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Barthelemy, Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the northern half of Saint Martin, and French Guiana, all of which are, or used to be, French colonial possessions.

Elsewhere, French is an official language of many former colonies in Africa (like Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo, and is unofficial but carries prestige in others (like Algeria and Morocco). It is an important administrative, educational, and cultural language in the former French Southeast Asian possessions of Vietnam, Laos and (to a lesser degree) Cambodia. In Oceania, French is the sole official language of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, which remain overseas departments of France today, as well as one of the official languages of Vanuatu. The French overseas department of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, also uses French as an official language.

The varieties of French which are spoken in Belgium and Switzerland differ slightly from the French spoken in France, though they are similar enough to be mutually intelligible. In particular, the numbering system in French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland has some slight peculiarities that are significantly different from the French spoken in France, and the pronunciation of some words is slightly different. Nevertheless, all French-speaking Belgians and Swiss would have learned standard French in school, so they would be able to understand you even if you used the standard French numbering system.

There are many differences between the French spoken in Quebec and that spoken in France. The two main differences are that Quebec has retained many 18th- & 19th-century French words, while in France the language has incorporated many modern English words. Nevertheless, all Francophone Canadians, including Quebecois, learn standard French in school, and most of the differences between the two varieties are limited to informal speech. This means that while you may not understand conversation among locals, they will be able to converse with you in standard French if required.

Aside from Europe & Canada, many French-speaking regions have incorporated the words of local languages and on occasion have formed distinctive dialects or languages known as Creoles. French-based creoles today enjoy wide use and often official status in Seychelles, Haiti (see Haitian creole), Réunion, and the French overseas departments in the Antilles.

The French Wikivoyage has a page that can help you locate French-speaking regions.


French verbs conjugate differently according to tense, mood, aspect and voice. This means that there are many more possible conjugations for French verbs than English verbs, and learning how to conjugate each verb in different scenarios can be a challenge for English speakers.

French nouns are divided into 2 different genders: masculine and feminine. Unlike in English, all inanimate objects have a gender assigned to them (eg. pain (bread) is masculine; comédie (comedy) is feminine), and the article of each noun depends on its gender: le (m), la (f) or l' (before words starting with h or a vowel, regardless of gender). The plural definite article is les, for all genders. Similarly, third person pronouns also depend on the grammatical gender of the subject: il (m) or elle (f), with ils and elles being the masculine and feminine plurals, respectively. When there are groups of mixed-gender people or objects, ils is always used. The grammatical gender of nouns denoting persons generally follows the person's natural gender (eg. mère (mother) is feminine, père (father) is masculine), though some nouns are always of the same gender regardless of the natural gender of the person they are referring to (e.g. maire (mayor) is always masculine even if referring to a female mayor, personne is always feminine even if the person in question is a man).

In French, there are two equivalents of the English word "you". In informal situations, and when addressing children or pets, the word to use will be tu, while in formal situations, or when addressing a group of people regardless of circumstance, the word to use will be vous. It is important to know the distinction, as while addressing a pet dog with the vous form would sound ridiculous and be likely to amuse, using tu in a formal situation would be inappropriate and may offend the person whom you are addressing. After initially using the vous form, a person may say to you "On peut se tutoyer"; this is a polite invitation for you to use the tu form with them.

The default title used when addressing a man is monsieur, while a woman would be addressed as madame. Mademoiselle was traditionally used to address young, unmarried women, but this is now controversial and arguably sexist, so unless the other person tells you otherwise, it is best to default to madame. The respective plurals are messieurs and mesdames, so the French equivalent of "ladies and gentlemen" would be "mesdames et messieurs".


French is often called the "language of Molière". The Parisian playwright is celebrated in stone on the city hall of his hometown.

Like that of English, and unlike almost all the other Romance languages, French spelling is not very phonetic. The same letter used in two different words can make two different sounds, and many letters are not pronounced at all. The good news, though, is that French generally has more regular pronunciation rules than English. This means that with sufficient practice, one can generally pronounce written French fairly accurately. However, the large number of homophones and silent letters make it such that attempting to write down spoken French often results in spelling mistakes, even for native speakers.

The final consonants of a word are usually dropped: allez (go) is pronounced al-AY, not al-AYZ; tard (late) is pronounced tar, not tard. But if the next word begins with a vowel, the consonant may be pronounced; this is called liaison. A final 'e' is also usually silent if the word has more than one syllable, except in parts of southern France, especially Toulouse.

Stress is fairly even in French, but the stress almost always falls on the last syllable.

For many French words, it is impossible to write something which, when pronounced as English, sounds like the French word. Use the transliteration as a guide to liaison and the French spelling to pronounce the vowels.

In Quebec French, it's not uncommon to hear the last syllable or sound of some words cut off or "swallowed." "Possible" can sound like "possib," and "hymne" can sound like "hym"


Vowels in French can have accent marks, which generally have no noticeable impact on pronunciation, but they often distinguish between homophones in writing (ou, meaning or, and , meaning where, are pronounced the same). The only really important one is é, which is always pronounced "ay", and changes the meaning of the word.

a, à, â 
like "a" in "father" (U.S. English) or "cat" (UK English); (IPA: a):In Quebec French, sometimes more like "aw" as in the RP pronunciation of "not" (IPA: ɔ)
in most cases a central neutral vowel ("schwa") like "a" in "about", sometimes not pronounced at all, sometimes like "é" or "è"
é, ai, -er, -es, -ez, -et 
é is similar to "ay" in "day" (IPA: e) but shorter
è, ê 
more nasal, like the e in "set" (IPA: ɛ):Sometimes dipthongized in Quebec French (IPA: ɛɪ̯)
i, î 
like "ee" in "see" but shorter and tenser (IPA: i)
o, ô, au, eau 
generally like "oa" in "boat" but never with a "w" sound at the end (IPA: o)
u, ù 
like a very tight, frontal "oo" sound (purse your lips as if to say "oo" as in "soon" but try to say "ee") - (IPA: y), uu in transcriptions, similar to the German ü:Sometimes pronounced more like "eu" in Quebec French
like "oo" in "food", but rounder (IPA: u)
like "ee" in "see" (IPA: i) ; also sometimes used as a consonant, pronounced the same as in English (in 'yes' for example) (IPA: j)
between "ew" in "dew" and "u" in "burp"; written eu in transcriptions (IPA: ø)


like "wa" in "walk":Sometimes more like "weh" as in "wet" or "aw" as in "thought" in Quebec French
like "wee" in "week"
like "wee" in "week", but with a French u instead of the w
a bit like "eu" but more "open". The distinction between œ and "eu" is very subtle and often irrelevant.


Most final consonants are silent except for c, q, f, l, and r (except in the combination "-er", normally found in verb infinitives). Sometimes, final consonants that are normally silent would be pronounced if followed by a word which starts with a vowel, a phenomenon known as liaison (eg. mes amis would be pronounced MEH-ZAH-MI). The plural ending "-ent" for verbs is never pronounced, though it is pronounced in other words.

like boy (IPA: b)
like scam (before "a", "o", and "u" or before a consonant; IPA: k), like peace but pronounced with the tongue touching the teeth (before "e", "i", and "y"; IPA: )
like second pronunciation of c (this letter can only be written before "a" ,"o", or "u")
like do but pronounced with the tongue touching the teeth (IPA: ). In Quebec, often like "dz" or "ds"
like jump (rare; IPA: d͡ʒ)
like fin (IPA: f)
like go (before "a", "o", and "u" or before a consonant; IPA: ɡ), like sabotage (before "e", "i" and "y"; IPA: ʒ)
like the first pronunciation of g (before "e", "i", "y"); if the u is to be pronounced, it will be written with a diaresis (e.g. aigüe)
somewhat like canyon (IPA: ɲ). This is particularly difficult when followed by oi, as in baignoire (beh-NYWAR) "bathtub".
silent, but may sometimes prevent a liaison with the former word
like the second pronunciation of g
like skit (only used for loanwords; IPA: k)
l, ll 
light L (higher-pitched, non-dental), like British light (IPA: l); some exceptions for "ll" in the combination "ille" (pronounced ee-yuh, IPA: j)
like milk (IPA: m)
like nose but pronounced with the tongue touching the teeth (but see Nasals below; IPA: )
like spin (IPA: p), never like pin
like f
most of the time k (not like quick); in some words like quick (generally before an "a") or the same but with a French u (generally before an "i")
guttural R, pronounced at the back of the throat (IPA: ʁ)
like second pronunciation of c
like ship (IPA: ʃ); sometimes like k (in words of Greek origin mostly)
t, th 
like still but pronounced with the tongue touching the teeth (IPA: ); in Quebec, like cats (IPA: t͡s)
like teach (very rare; IPA: t͡ʃ)
like very (IPA: v)
only in foreign words, mostly like will (IPA: w) and sometimes like v (in particular, "wagon" is "vagon" and "WC" is "VC"!)
either ks, gz or s
like zoo but pronounced with the tongue touching the teeth (IPA: )


an, en, em 
nasal a (not always pronounced as a nasal, especially if the n or m is doubled: emmental is pronounced as a normal "emm" sound) (IPA: ɑ̃)
nasal o - distinguishing between this and "an" is tricky, it's a deeper, more closed sound (IPA: ɔ̃)
in, ain 
nasal è (IPA: ɛ̃)
nasal eu (sometimes pronounced the same as 'in') (IPA: œ̃)
nasal "wè" (thus, coin is a nasalised "cwè")


like "i" in "fight"
either literally, or like "y" in "three years", with some exceptions (ville is veel, fille is fiy)

Note: Quebec French sometimes has vestigial diphthongs where metropolitan French no longer has them. For example, while a Parisian would pronounce "maitre" the same way he'd pronounce "mettre," (IPA: mɛːtʁ) a Quebecois might pronounce it more like (IPA: maɪːtʁ)


  • When there is an accent mark on "e", it prevents diphthongs. Letters should be pronounced separately, following the rule for the accented letter. Example: énergumène, (rowdy character), réunion (meeting).
  • A diaeresis (¨) may also be used to prevent diphthongs on "e", "u" and "i". Example: maïs (Indian corn or maize).
  • In the combinations "gue" and "gui", the "u" should not be pronounced: it is there only to force the prononciation of "g" as in "go". If the "u" is pronounced, a diaeresis is added on the 2nd vowel in older texts (eg. aiguë (sharp)), or on the u in official texts after 1990 (eg. aigüe).
  • In the combination "geo", the "e" should not be pronounced, it is only there to force the prononciation of "g" as in "sabotage" (in the case the "e" should be pronounced, it is indicated with an accent mark as in géologie).

Differences between Quebec French and French French[edit]

Quebec French has not only phonological differences as noted above, but also many lexical differences. An overview of these is provided at this page

Phrase list[edit]


Common signs

Ouvert (oo-VAIR)
Fermé (FEHR-may)
Horaires d'ouverture (Oh-RAIR doo-VAIR-tuur)
Entrée (AHN-tray)
Sortie (sor-TEE)
Poussez (POO-say)
Tirez (TEE-ray)
Toilettes (twah-LET)
Hommes (om)
Femmes (fam)
Handicapés (on-dee-KAP-ay)
Sortie de secours (sor-TEE duh suh-COOR)
Interdit, Défendu (ehn-tair-DEE, day-fahn-DUU)
Stationnement interdit (STAH-syonn-mon an-tair-DEE)
Cédez le passage (SAY-day luh pah-SAHZH)
Arrêt (Ah-RAY) / Stop (stop)
Hello. (formal)
Bonjour. (bawn-ZHOOR)
Hello. (informal) 
Salut. (sah-LUU)
How are you? (formal) 
Comment allez-vous ? (koh-moh t-AH-lay VOO)
How are you? (informal) 
Comment vas-tu ? (koh-mahng va TUU); Comment ça va ? (koh-moh sah VAH)
Fine, thank you. 
Bien, merci. (byang, merr-SEE)
What is your name? 
Comment vous appelez-vous ? (koh-moh vooz AHP-lay VOO?); lit. "How do you call yourself?"
What is your name? (informal) 
Comment t'appelles-tu ? (koh-moh tah-pell TOO?)
My name is ______ . 
Je m'appelle ______ . (zhuh mah-PELL _____)
Nice to meet you. 
Enchanté(e). (ahn-shan-TAY)
Please. (formal) 
S'il vous plaît. (seel voo PLEH); Je vous prie. (zhuh vous PREE)
Please. (informal) 
S'il te plaît. (seel tuh PLEH)
Thank you. 
Merci. (merr-SEE)
You're welcome. 
De rien. (duh RYEHNG)
Oui. (WEE)
Non. (NOH)
Excuse me. 
Pardon. (pahr-DOHN); Excusez-moi. (ehk-SKEW-zay MWAH)
(I am) Sorry. 
(Je suis) Désolé(e). (zhuh swee DAY-zoh-LAY); Je m'excuse. (zhuh mehk-SKEWZ)
What's the time? 
Quelle heure est-il ? (kel euhr et-EEL?);
Au revoir. (oh ruh-VWAHR)
Goodbye (informal) 
Salut. (sah-LUU)
I can't speak French [well]. 
Je ne parle pas [bien] français. (zhuh nuh PAHRL pah [byang] frahn-SEH )
Do you speak English?
Parlez-vous anglais ? (par-lay VOO ahng-LEH?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Est-ce qu'il y a quelqu'un ici qui parle anglais ? (ess keel-ee-AH kel-KUHN ee-see kee PAHRL ahng-LEH)/ Y a-t-il quelqu'un ici qui parle anglais ? (ee yah-TEEL kel-KUHN ee-see kee PAHRL ahng-LEH)
Au secours ! (oh suh-KOOR)
Look out! 
Attention ! (ah-tahn-SYONG)
Have a nice day
Bonne journée (bon zhoor-NAY)
Good day / good morning 
Bonjour (bong̠-ZHOO(R))
Good evening.
Bonsoir. (bng-SWAHR)
Good night. 
Bonne nuit. (bon NWEE)
Sweet dreams 
Faites de beaux rêves (FEHT duh bo REV)
I don't understand. 
Je ne comprends pas. (zhuh nuh KOHM-prahn pah)
Where is the toilet? 
Où sont les toilettes ? (OOH sohn leh twah-LET?)
How do you say _____ in French / in English? 
Comment dit-on _____ en français / en anglais ? (koh-moh dee-TONG _____ ahn frahn-SEH / ahn ahng-LEH ?)
What is this/that called?
Comment appelle-t-on ça ? (koh-moh ah-pell-TONG SAH?)
How is that spelt? 
Comment ça s'écrit ? (koh-moh sah SAY-cree?)
Bon (m.) (bo(n)) / Bonne (f.) (bon)
Mauvais (MO-vay) / Mauvaise (f.) (MO-vez)
Grand (m.) (gro(n)) / Grande (f.) (grond)
Petit (m.) (puh-TEE) / Petite (f.) (puh-TEET)
Chaud (m.) (sho) / Chaude (f.) (shode)
Froid (m.) (frwah) / Froide (f.) (frwahd)
Lent (m.) (lo(n)) / Lente (f.) (lont)
Cher (m.) (shair) / Chère (f.) (shairr)
Bon marché (both genders) (bo(n) mar-SHAY)
Riche (both genders) (reesh)
Pauvre (both genders) (pov-ruh)


Leave me alone.
Laissez-moi tranquille ! (lay-say mwah trahn-KEEL!)
Buzz off. 
Dégage ! (day-GAHZH!) / Va t'en ! (va TAHN)
Don't touch me! 
Ne me touchez pas ! (nuh muh TOOSH-ay PAH!)
I'm calling the police. 
Je vais appeler la police. (zhuh VAYZ a-pell-AY la poh-LEES)
Police ! (poh-LEES)
Stop! Thief! 
Arrêtez ! Au voleur ! (ah-reh-TAY! oh vo-LEUR!)
Stop! Rapist! 
Arrêtez ! Au viol ! (ah-reh-TAY! oh vee-YOL!)
Au secours ! (oh suh-KOOR!)
Au feu ! (oh FEUH!)
Help me, please!. 
Aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît ! (aih-day MWAH, SEEL voo PLEH!)
It's an emergency. 
C'est urgent ! (seh toor-ZHAHN)
I'm lost. 
Je me suis perdu(e). (ZHUH muh swee pehr-DOO)
I've lost my bag. 
J'ai perdu mon sac. (zhay pehr-DOO mon SAK)
I've lost my wallet.
J'ai perdu mon portefeuille. (zhay pehr-DOO mon POHR-tuh-fuhye)
My things have been stolen. 
On m'a volé mes affaires. (o(n) ma vo-LAY may-zaf-FAIR)
Someone / This man / This woman is harassing me 
Quelqu'un / Cet homme / Cette femme me harcèle (kel-ku(n) / set om / set fam muh ar-SELL)
I'm sick. 
Je suis malade. (zhuh swee mah-LAHD)
I've been injured. 
Je me suis blessé. (zhuh muh swee bleh-SAY)
I need a doctor. 
J'ai besoin d'un médecin. (zhay buh-ZWAHN doon may-TSAN)
Can I use your phone? 
Puis-je utiliser votre téléphone ? (PWEEZH oo-tee-lee-ZAY vot-ruh tay-lay-FUN)
Call an ambulance.
Appelez une ambulance. (ah-puh-lay oon OM-boo-lo(n)ss)
Call the fire brigade.
Appelez les pompiers. (ah-puh-lay lay pom-PEE-ay)
Call the police.
Appelez la police. (ah-puh-lay la poh-LEES)
Call the coastguard.
Appelez les gardes-côtes. (ah-puh-lay lay garde cot)
What is it? 
Qu'est-ce que c'est ? (KES-kuh-SAY)


zéro (zairro)
un/une (uhn)/(uun)
deux (deu)
trois (trwah)
quatre (kahtr)
cinq (sank)
six (sees)
sept (set)
huit (weet)
neuf (neuf)
dix (deece)
onze (onz)
douze (dooz)
treize (trayz)
quatorze (kat-ORZ)
quinze (kihnz)
seize (says)
dix-sept (dee-SET)
dix-huit (dee-ZWEET)
dix-neuf (deez-NUF)
vingt (vihnt)
vingt-et-un (vihng-tay-UHN)
vingt-deux (vihn-teu-DEU)
vingt-trois (vin-teu-TRWAH)
trente (trahnt)
quarante (kar-AHNT)
cinquante (sank-AHNT)
soixante (swah-SAHNT)
soixante-dix (swah-sahnt-DEES) or septante (sep-TAHNGT) in Belgium and Switzerland
quatre-vingts (kaht-ruh-VIHN); huitante (weet-AHNT) in Belgium and Switzerland (except Geneva); octante (oct-AHNT) in Switzerland
quatre-vingt-dix (katr-vihn-DEES); nonante (noh-NAHNT) in Belgium and Switzerland
cent (sahn)
deux cents (deu sahng)
trois cents (trrwa sahng)
mille (meel)
deux mille (deu meel)
un million (ung mee-LYOHN) (treated as a noun when alone: one million euros would be un million d'euros.
un milliard
un billion
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
numéro _____ (nuu-may-ROH)
demi (duh-MEE), moitié (mwah-tee-AY)
moins (mwihn)
plus (pluus) / no more : plus (pluu) so this time, the "S" is mute


maintenant (mant-NAHN)
plus tard (plew TAHR)
avant (ah-VAHN)
après (ah-PREH)
le matin (luh mah-TAN)
in the morning 
dans la matinée (dahn lah mah-tee-NAY)
l'après-midi (lah-preh-mee-DEE)
in the afternoon 
dans l'après-midi (dahn lah-preh-mee-DEE)
le soir (luh SWAHR)
in the evening
dans la soirée (dahn lah swah-RAY)
la nuit (lah NWEE)
in the night 
pendant la nuit (pehndahn lah NWEE)

Clock time[edit]

The French use the 24-hour clock, with midnight being 0h00 (except on digital clocks, in France an 'h' is used as a separator between hours and minutes as opposed to a colon in many other countries). However, the 12-hour clock is making some inroads and saying 1-11 in the afternoon or evening will be understood.

heure (eur)
minute (mee-NUUT)
From 1 minute past to 30 minutes past the hour
[hour] + [number of minutes]
Example: 10.20 or "twenty past ten" = 10h20; "dix heures vingt" (deez eur va(n))
For 31 minutes past to 59 minutes past the hour 
[next hour] + moins (mwa(n))
Example: 10.40 or "twenty to eleven" = 10h40; "onze heures moins vingt" (onz eur mwa(n) va(n))
quarter past 
[hour] et quart (ay kahr)
Example: 7.15 or "quarter past seven" = 7h15; "sept heures et quart" (set eur eh kahr)
quarter to 
[hour] moins le quart (mwa(n) luh kahr)
Example: 16.45 or "quarter to five" = 16h45; "dix sept heures moins le quart" (dee-set eur mwan luh kahr)
et demie (eh duh-MEE); et demi (after 12 midnight or 12 noon, eh duh-MEE)
Example : 10.30 or "half past ten" = 10h30; "dix heures et demie" (deez eur eh duh-MEE)
Example : 12.30 or "half past twelve" = 12h30; "douze heures et demi" (dooz eur eh duh-MEE)
one o'clock AM, 1.00 
1h00; une heure du matin (uun eur duu ma-TAN)
two o'clock AM, 2.00 
2h00; deux heures du matin (dooz eur duu ma-TAN)
noon, 12.00 
12h00; midi (mee-DEE)
one o'clock PM, 13.00 
13h00; treize heures (traiyz er)
une heure de l'après-midi (uun eur duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
two o'clock PM, 14.00 
14h00; quatorze heures (KAH-torz er)
deux heures de l'après-midi (duz er duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
six o'clock PM, 18.00 
18h00; dix-huit heure (deez-weet ER)
six heures du soir (seez er duu SWAR)
half past seven PM, 19.30 
19h30; sept heures et demi (SET er eh duh-MEE)
dix-neuf heures trente (DEE-znuf er TRAHNT)
midnight, 0.00 
0h00; minuit (mee-NWEE)


_____ minute(s) 
_____ minute(s) (mee-NOOT)
_____ hour(s)
_____ heure(s) (eur)
_____ day(s) 
_____ jour(s) (zhoor)
_____ week(s) 
_____ semaine(s) (suh-MEN)
_____ month(s) 
_____ mois (mwa)
_____ year(s) 
_____ an(s) (ahng), année(s) (ah-NAY)
horaire (oh-RAIR)
quotidien / quotidienne (ko-tee-DYAN / ko-tee-DYEN)
hebdomadaire (eb-doh-ma-DAIYR)
mensuel / mensuelle (mang-suu-WEL)
annuel / annuelle (ah-nuu-WEL)
How long is your vacation? 
Combien de temps restez-vous en vacances ? (com-bee-AN duh ton res-TAY voo on VAH-kons);
I am in France for ten days 
Je reste en France pendant dix jours. (zhuh rest on frons pon-don dee zhoor)
How long is the journey? 
Combien de temps le voyage dure-t-il ? (com-bee-AN duh ton luh vwoi-YAHZH dyoor-TEEL)
It takes an hour and a half 
Cela dure une heure et demie. (suh-LAH dyoor oon er ay duh-MEE)


Unlike English, the names of days are not capitalised in French:

aujourd'hui (oh-zhoor-DWEE)
hier (yare)
demain (duh-MAN)
this week 
cette semaine (set suh-MEN)
last week 
la semaine dernière (lah suh-MEN dehr-NYAIR)
next week 
la semaine prochaine (lah suh-MEN pro-SHEN)

French calendars normally start on Monday.

lundi (luhn-DEE)
mardi (mahr-DEE)
mercredi (mehr-kruh-DEE)
jeudi (juh-DEE)
vendredi (vahn-druh-DEE)
samedi (sahm-DEE)
dimanche (dee-MAHNSH)


Unlike English, the names of months are not capitalised in French:

janvier (ZHO(N)-vee-yeh)
février (FEH-vree-yeh)
mars (mars)
avril (av-REEL)
mai (meh)
juin (zh-WAH(N))
juillet (zh-WEE-eh)
août (oot)
septembre (sep-TOMBR)
octobre (oc-TOBR)
novembre (no-VOMBR)
décembre (deh-SOMBR)


Like in other Romance languages, nouns in French are either "masculine" or "feminine"; adjectives vary accordingly.

For instance, a lady may be « blonde » or « brunette » while a gentleman with hair of the corresponding hue is « blond » or « brunet ».

noir/noire (nwahr)
blanc/blanche (blahng/blahnsh)
gris/grise (gree/greez)
rouge (roozh)
bleu/bleue (bluh)
jaune (zhawn)
vert/verte (verre/vehrt)
orange (oh-RAHNZH)
violet/violette (vee-oh-LEH/vee-oh-LET)
brun/brune (bruh/bruhn); marron (MAH-rohn)
rose (roz)


Bus and Train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
Combien coûte le billet pour _____ ? (kom-BYAN koot luh bee-YEH poor)
One ticket to _____, please. 
Un billet pour _____, s'il vous plaît. (ung bee-YEH poor ____ seel voo pleh)
Where does this train/bus go? 
Où va ce train/bus ? (OO va suh trahn/boos?)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Où est le train/bus pour _____ ? (OO eh luh trahn/buus poor ____)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Ce train/bus s'arrête-t-il à _____ ? (suh trahn/buus sah-reh-tuh-TEEL ah _____)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
Quand part le train/bus pour _____? (kahn par luh trahn/buus poor _____)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
Quand ce train/bus arrivera à _____ ? (kahn suh trahn/buus ah-ree-vuh-RAH ah _____)
the/this shuttle 
la/cette navette (lah/set nah-VET)
a one-way ticket
un aller simple (uhn ah-LAY SAM-pluh)
a round trip ticket
un aller-retour (uhn ah-LAY ruh-TOOR)


Where is / are _____? 
Où se trouve / trouvent _____ ? / (oo suh tr-OO-v _____)
...the train station? gare ? (lah gahr)
...the bus station? gare routière ? (lah gahr roo-TYEHR)
...the nearest metro / subway / underground station? station de métro la plus proche ? (lah stah-syon duh MAY-tro lah ploo prosh)
...the airport? 
...l'aéroport ? (lehr-oh-POR?)
...the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy? 
...l'ambassade américaine/australienne/britannique/canadienne ? (lahm-bah-SAHD a-may-ree-KEN/ka-na-DYEN/os-trah-lee-EN/ahn-GLEZ)
...the (nearest) hotel? 
...l'hôtel (le plus proche) ? (loh-tel luh ploo prohsh)
...the town / city hall? 
...l'hôtel de ville ? (loh-tel duh veel)
...the police station? 
...le commissariat de police ? (luh com-mee-SAHR-ee-ah duh po-LEES)
...the tourist information centre? 
...le syndicat d'initiative ? (luh SAN-dee-kah dee-NEE-sya-teev) // l'office du tourisme ? // (Quebec) le bureau touristique?
...the nearest bank / ATM / automated teller? banque la plus proche ? (lah bonk lah ploo prosh) / le distributeur de billets le plus proche ?(luh dees-tree-buu-TEUR duh bee-YAY luh ploo prosh) / le guichet automatique? (In or near Quebec « la caisse » may refer to a credit union, « la caisse populaire » is the Désjardins group of credit unions specifically.)
...the market? 
...les halles ? (city or large town) / le marché ? (small town or village) (layz AL-uh / luh MAR-shay)
...the beach? plage ? (lah plaazh)
...the best bars? 
...les meilleurs bars ? (leh meh-YUHR bahr)
...the best restaurants? 
...les meilleurs restaurants ? (leh meh-YUHR res-toh-RO(N))
Please could you show me it on the map? 
S'il vous plaît, pourriez-vous me l'indiquer sur la carte ? (SEE-voo-PLEH POO-ree-yeh-voo muh la(n)-DEE-keh syoor la cart
Is it far? 
C'est loin ? (seh lwa(n))
No, it's quite close.
Non, c'est tout proche. (No(n) seh too prohsh)
Straight on 
Tout droit (too drwah)
Turn right 
Tournez à droite (TOOR-neh a drwaht)
Turn left 
Tournez à gauche (TOOR-neh a gohsh)
Towards the... 
Vers le / la / les... (vehr luh)
Past the... 
Après que vous passiez le / la / les... (ap-REH kuh voo PASS-see-yeh luh / la / leh)
Before the... 
Avant que vous arriviez au / à la / aux (av-O(N) kuh vooz-a-REEV-ee-yeh o / a la / o)
Next to the... 
À côté du / de la / des (a COH-teh doo / duh la / deh)
Opposite the... 
En face du / de la / des (o(n) fass doo / duh la / deh)
The north 
le nord (luh nor)
The east 
l'est (lest)
The south 
le sud (luh suud)
The west 
l'ouest (loo-WEST)
Route (root)
Rue (ruu)
Carrefour (car-FOOR)
Traffic lights 
Feux (fuh) de circulation
Rond-point (ro(n)-pwa(n))
Autoroute (oh-to-ROOT)
Chemin de fer (shuh-MA(N) duh fehr)


Taxi ! (tahk-SEE!)
Take me to _____, please. 
Déposez-moi à _____, je vous prie. (DAY-poh-zay-MWAH ah _____, zhuh voo PREE)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
Combien cela coûte-t-il d'aller à _____ ? (kahm-BYENG suh-LA koo-TEEL dah-LAY ah _____?)
Take me there, please. 
Amenez-moi là, je vous prie. (ah-MEHN-ay-mwah LAH, zhuh voo PREE)


Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Acceptez-vous les dollars américains/australiens/canadiens ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO leh doh-LAHR ah-may-ree-KANG/aws-trah-LYAHNG/kah-nah-DYAHNG?)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Acceptez-vous les livres Sterling ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO leh leevr stehr-LING?)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO leh kahrt duh kray-DEE?)
Can you change it (the money) for me? 
Pouvez-vous me le faire changer ? (poo-vay-VOO muh luh fehr SHAHNZHAY?)
Where can I get it (the money) changed? 
Où puis-je le faire changer ? (oo PWEEZH luh fehr SHAHNZHAY?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Pouvez-vous me faire le change sur un chèque de voyage ? (poo-vay-VOO muh fehr luh SHAHNZH suur ung shek duh vwoy-AHZH?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Où puis-je changer un chèque de voyage ? (oo PWEEZH shahng-ZHAY ung shek duh vwoy-AHZH?)
What is the exchange rate? 
Quel est le taux de change ? (KELL eh luh TAW duh SHAHNZH?)
Where can I find a cash point / ATM? 
Où puis-je trouver un distributeur de billets ? (oo PWEEZH troo-VAY ung dees-tree-buu-TEUR duh bee-YAY?)


fixed-price meal 
menu (muh-NUU) à prix fixe
à la carte 
à la carte (ah lah KAHRT)
France: petit-déjeuner (ptee-day-zheu-NAY); Switzerland/Belgium/Canada: déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY)
France: déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY); Switzerland/Belgium/Canada: dîner (dee-NAY)
tea (meal
thé (tay)
France: dîner (dee-NAY); Elsewhere: souper (soo-PAY)
I would like _____. 
Je voudrais _____. (zhuh voo-DREH _____)
I would like a dish containing _____. 
Je voudrais un plat avec _____. (zhuh voo-DREHZ ung plaht ah-VEK _____)
du poulet (duu poo-LEH)
du bœuf (duu BUFF)
de la dinde (duh lah DAND)
du cerf (duu SEHR)
du veau (duu vo)
du canard (duu can-AR)
du lapin (duu lap-ANG)
du poisson (duu pwa-SONG)
du saumon (duu saw-MONG)
du thon (duu TONG)
du merlan (duu mehr-LANG)
de la morue (duh lah moh-RUU)
des fruits de mer (deh frwee duh MEHR); literally: "fruits of the sea"
de la dulse (duh lah DUULS)
du homard (duu oh-MAR), de la langouste (duh lah lan-goost) (rock lobster)
des palourdes (deh pah-LOORD)
des huîtres (dez WEETR)
des moules (deh MOOL)
des escargots (dez es-car-GOH)
des grenouilles (deh gruh-NOOEY)
du jambon (duu zhahng-BONG)
du porc/cochon (dü POHR/dü coh-SHONG). cochon is much less formal.
du sanglier (dü sahng-GLYAY)
des saucisses (deh saw-SEESS)
du fromage (duu froh-MAHZH)
des œufs (dehz UH)
one egg 
un œuf (un UF)
une salade (uun sah-LAHD)
(fresh) vegetables 
des légumes (frais) (deh lay-guum FREH)
(fresh) fruit 
des fruits (frais) (frwee (freh))
du pain (pang)
rôtis (roh-TEE)
du café (doo kah-FAY)
tea (drink
du thé (doo tay)
du jus (doo zhuu)
fresh / sparkling water 
de l'eau plate / gazeuse (duh loh PLAT / gah-ZUHZ)
Note: If you ask for "water", you will get mineral water. To specify "tap water", say "eau du robinet" (OH doo roh-bee-NEH) or ask for a carafe of water "une carafe d'eau" (OON cahr-AHF doh).
de la bière (duh lah byehr)
red / white wine 
du vin rouge / blanc (doo vang roozh/blahng)
May I have some _____? 
Puis-je avoir du _____ ? (pweezh ah-VWAHR duu)
sel (sel)
black pepper 
poivre (pwavr)
ail (aigh)
beurre (bur)
Excuse me, waiter / waitress? 
S'il vous plaît, monsieur / madame ? (seell voo PLEH mong-SYUH/ma-DAHM)
Note: "garçon" (boy) is offensive and should be avoided.
I'm finished. 
J'ai terminé. (zhay TAIRH-mee-NAY)
It was delicious. 
C'était délicieux. (seh-tay de-li-SYUH)
Can you please clear the plates? 
Pouvez-vous débarrasser la table, s'il vous plaît ? (poovay voo DEH-bahr-a-seh lah tah-bluh seel voo play)
The check (bill), please. 
L'addition, s'il vous plait. (lah-dee-SYOHN seel voo play)

Dietary requirements[edit]

I am _____. 
Je suis _____. (zhuh swee)
végétalien (vey-zhey-tal-YENG) (m); végétalienne (vey-zhey-tal-YEN) (f)
végétarien (vey-zhey-tar-YENG) (m); végétarienne (vey-zhey-tar-YEN) (f)
I do not eat eggs, milk, or cheese. 
Je ne mange pas d'œufs, de lait ni de fromage. (zhuh nuh monzh pah dehz, duh lay nee duh froh-MAHZH)
I do not eat meat, chicken, or pork. 
Je ne mange pas de viande, de poulet, ni de porc. (zhuh nuh monzh pah duh vee ahnd duh poo-LEH nee duh pohr)
I do not eat _____. 
Je ne mange pas_____. (zhuh nuh monzh pah)
de miel. (duh mee ehl)
...animal products. 
de produits animaux. (duh pro dwee ah nee mo)
de laitage. (duh lay tazh)
de blé. (duh blay)
de fruits de mer. (duh frwee duh MEHR)
I do eat _____. 
Je mange _____. (zhuh monzh)
des céréales. (deh say-ray-ahl)
des légumes. (deh lay-guum)
des fèves. (deh fehv)
des fruits. (deh frwee)
I only eat kosher / halal food. 
Je ne mange que de la nourriture kasher (casher, cachère) / halal. (zhuh nuh monzh kuh duh la noo-ri-toor CASH-eh / alal)


Do you serve alcohol? 
Servez-vous des boissons alcoolisées ? (sair-vay VOO day bwa-songz al-co-ol-ee-SAY)
Is there table service? 
Est-ce que vous servez à la table ? (Ess-kuh voo ser-VAYZ ah lah TAHBL?)
A beer/two beers, please.
Une bière/deux bières, s'il vous plait. (Oon BYEHR/deuh BYEHR, seel voo PLEH)
A glass of red/white wine, please.
Un verre de vin rouge/blanc, s'il vous plait. (An ver duh van rooj/blan, seel voo PLEH)
A quarter liter of beer, please
Un demi, s'il-vous-plaît. (An deh-mee, seel voo PLEH)
A pint, please. 
Une pinte, s'il vous plait. (oon peent, seel-voo-PLEH)
A bottle, please.
Une bouteille, s'il vous plait. (Oon boo-tay, seel voo PLEH)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
_____ et _____, s'il vous plait. (____ eh ____, seel voo PLEH)
whisky (wee-skee)
vodka (vohd-kuh)
rhum (room)
de l'eau (duh loh)
club soda
soda (so-duh)
tonic water
Schweppes (shwep)
orange juice 
jus d'orange (joo d'or-AHNJ)
Coke (soda)
Coca (koh-KAH)
One more, please. 
Un/une autre, s'il vous plait. (oon OH-truh, seel-voo-PLEH)
Another round, please.
Un autre pour la table, s'il vous plait. (an oht poor la tah-bluh, seel voo PLEH)
When is closing time?
À quelle heure fermez-vous ? (ah kell EUR fer-MAY voo)


Do you have this in my size? 
Avez-vous ceci dans ma taille ? (AH-veh-VOO say-SEE dan sma THAI)
How much (is this)? 
Combien (ça) coûte ? (COMM-bee-yen (SAH) coot)
That's too expensive. 
C'est trop cher. (say-TRO-shair)
Would you take _____? 
Pourriez-vous accepter _____ ? (poor-yay-VOOZ ahk-sep-TAY)
cher (shehr)
bon marché (bong mar-SHAY) (Note: this doesn't change with the gender or number of the noun. Elles sont bon marché is correct.)
I can't afford it. 
Je n'ai pas les moyens. (zhe nay pah leh mwah-YAHNG)
I don't want it. 
Je n'en veux pas. (zhe nahng veu pah)
You're cheating me. 
Vous essayez de m'arnaquer. (vooz ess-ey-YE duh mahr-na-KAY)
I'm not interested. 
Je ne suis pas intéressé. (zhen swee pahz-ann-tay-ress-SAY)
OK, I'll take it. 
D'accord, je le/la prends. (dah-kor zhe luh/lah prahn)
Can I have a bag? 
Pourrais-je avoir un sac ? (poo-REHZH ah-VWAR ung sahk)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Livrez-vous (outre-mer/à l'étranger) ? (leev-ray-VOO ootr-MEHR/ah lay-trahn-ZHAY)
I need... 
J'ai besoin... (zhay buh-ZWAHN)
...toothpaste. dentifrice. (duh dahn-tee-FREESS)
...a toothbrush. 
...d'une brosse à dents. (duun bross ah DAHN)
...tampons. tampons. (duh tahm-POHN)
...soap. savon. (duh sah-VOHN)
...shampoo. shampooing. (duh shahm-PWAHN)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...d'un analgésique (aspirine, ibuprofène);. (dun ah-nal-zhay-ZEEK (ahs-pee-REEN/ee-buu-proh-FEN))
...cold medicine. 
...d'un médicament pour le rhume. (dun may-dee-kah-MAHNG poor luh RUUM)
...stomach medicine. 
...d'un remède pour l'estomac. (dun ray-MED poor less-toh-MAHK)
...a razor. 
...d'un rasoir. (dun rah-ZWAR)
...batteries. piles. (duh PEEL) umbrella. (rain) 
...d'un parapluie. (doon pah-ra-ploo-ee) umbrella. (sun) 
...d'une ombrelle. (doon ohm-brehl-ee)
...sunblock lotion. crème solaire. (deh crehm so-LEHR)
...a postcard. 
...d'une carte postale. (doon kahrt post-AL)
...postage stamps. timbres. (duh TAHM-burs)
...writing paper. papier à lettres. (duh pap-YEH ah LEH-TR)
...a pen. 
...d'un stylo. (dun STEE-loh)
...English-language books. livres en anglais. (duh LEE-vruhs ehn ahngh-LEH)
...English-language magazines. revues en anglais. (duh REH-voos ehn ahngh-LEH) English-language newspaper. 
...d'un journal en anglais. (doon zhoar-NAL ahn ahng-LEH)
...a French-English dictionary. 
...d'un dictionnaire français-anglais. (uhn deect-see-ohn-AIR frahn-SEH ahng-LEH)


I haven't done anything wrong. 
Je n'ai fait rien de mal. (zhuh nay fay ree-AHN duh MAL)
It was a misunderstanding. 
C'est une erreur. (set uhn air-UR)
Where are you taking me? 
Où m'emmenez-vous ? (ooh mehm-en-EH voo)
Am I under arrest? 
Suis-je en état d'arrestation ? (SWEEZH ahn EH-tah dahr-es-ta-SYONG)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. (m) 
Je suis un citoyen américain/australien/britannique/canadien. (zhuh sweez uhn see-twa-YEN a-may-ree-CAN/os-trah-LYEN/bree-tah-NEEK/ka-na-DYEN)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. (f) 
Je suis une citoyenne américaine/australienne/britannique/canadienne. (zhuh sweez uhn see-twa-YEN a-may-ree-CAN/os-trah-LYEN/bree-tah-NEEK/ka-na-DYEN)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy or consulate. 
Je veux parler à l'ambassade ou au consulat américain/australien/britannique/canadien. (ZHUH vuh pahr-LAY ah lahm-ba-SAHD oo oh kon-soo-LAHT a-may-ree-CAN/os-trah-lee-AHN/ahn-GLEH/ka-na-DYAN)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Je voudrais parler à un avocat. (ZHUH vood-RAY par-lehr ah uhn AH-vo-caht)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Pourrais-je simplement payer une amende ? (poo-RAYZH sampl-MANG pay-AY yn ah-MAHND)
[offering bribe] Will you accept this in place of my fine? 
Acceptez-vous ceci au lieu de mon amende ? (accept-eh voo suh-see oh LOO duh mon ah-MAND)
Note: Only consider attempting this in third world countries. Do not try to do this in European Francophone countries or in Canada as it will get you in worse trouble!

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