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French phrasebook

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French speaking areas

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 on every continent; 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.

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

French is the sole official language of France, including all of its overseas departments and territories, and is the only language you will need to communicate with French nationals. Beyond France, French is widely spoken in many nearby countries in Europe, including the southern half of Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels), western Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, and the Aosta Valley of northwestern Italy. A significant number of second-language speakers are also found on most of the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark, where dialects of Norman extremely similar to French persist), and the tiny Pyrenean country of Andorra.

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. In the Caribbean, French is an official language of Haiti, a former colonial possession of France. The Americas also host the French departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Mayotte, plus the overseas collectivities of Saint Barthélemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and the northern half of Saint Martin.

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, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna remain overseas territories of France today, and French is also one of the official languages of Vanuatu. In the Indian Ocean, Réunion is a French overseas department, while French is also an official language in Mauritius and the Seychelles.

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

Grammar[edit]

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.

Gender and its complications[edit]

French nouns are divided into two different genders: masculine and feminine. Unlike in English, all inanimate objects have a gender assigned to them: for example, pain (bread) is masculine, while confiture (jam) is feminine. The grammatical gender of nouns denoting persons generally follows the person's natural gender; for instance, mère (mother) is feminine, while père (father) is masculine. However, some nouns are always of the same gender regardless of the natural gender of the person they are referring to: personne is always feminine even if the person in question is a man.

It is not always easy to tell at a glance which gender a noun is but, in general, if it ends in a consonant, -age, -au, , -ège, ème, or -isme / -iste, or is a foreign (particularly English) loanword, it's likely to be masculine. On the other hand, if a noun ends in -ace, -ance / -ence, -ée, -elle / -erre / -esse / -ette, -ie, -ice, -ine, -que, or -tion / sion, it's probably feminine. There are plenty of exceptions, however!

The singular definite article ("the" in English) of each noun depends on its gender: le (m), la (f) or l’ (before all singular nouns starting with a vowel and some starting with "h", regardless of gender). The plural definite article for both genders is les. Thus:

  • le garçon - the boy → les garçons - the boys
  • la fille - the girl → les filles - the girls
  • l'homme - the man → les hommes - the men

The singular indefinite article ("a" and "an" in English) also corresponds to the noun's gender: un for masculine and une for feminine. Unlike English, French has a plural indefinite article - des, which works for both genders - and three partitive articles - du (m), de la (f), and de l’ (before vowels and some aitches) which precede uncountable nouns. Thus:

  • un homme - a man → des hommes - men
  • une femme - a woman → des femmes - women
  • du vin - wine
  • de la confiture - jam
  • de l'eau - water

Similarly, the third person pronouns also depend on the grammatical gender of the subject: il (m - he or it) or elle (f - she or it), with ils and elles respectively being the masculine and feminine plurals (they). When there are groups of mixed-gender people or objects, ils is always used.

Verbs[edit]

In a manner similar to many other Romance languages, French verbs all end in either -er, -ir, or -re in their infinitive forms, for example écouter (to listen), finir (to finish), and vendre (to sell). Verbs in French 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. Fortunately for you, the vast majority of verbs follow a regular conjugation pattern. Here are three examples of regular verbs conjugated in the present tense, which can be used as a model for all other present-tense regular verbs:

-ER verb example:

Écouter

To listen -IR verb example:

Finir

To finish -RE verb example:

Vendre

To sell
J'écoute I listen Je finis I finish Je vends I sell
Tu écoutes You listen (informal) Tu finis You finish (informal) Tu vends You sell (informal)
Il écoute

Elle écoute

He listens / it listens (masculine inanimate)

She listens / it listens (feminine inanimate)

Il finit

Elle finit

He finishes / it finishes (masculine inanimate)

She finishes / it finishes (feminine inanimate)

Il vend

Elle vend

He sells / it sells (masculine inanimate)

She sells / it sells (feminine inanimate)

On écoute One listens

We listen

On finit One finishes

We finish

On vend One sells

We sell

Nous écoutons We listen Nous finissons We finish Nous vendons We sell
Vous écoutez You listen (formal / plural) Vous finissez You finish (formal / plural) Vous vendez You sell (formal / plural)
Ils écoutent

Elles écoutent

They listen Ils finissent

Elles finissent

They finish Ils vendent

Elles vendent

They sell

Some verbs are irregular, meaning that they use different roots when conjugated. The good news is that irregular verbs are very much in the minority. The bad news is that nearly all of the most useful everyday verbs are irregular; you will have to learn their conjugations individually if you wish to use them effectively: aller (to go), venir (to come), voir (to see), faire (to do), acheter (to buy), manger (to eat), boire (to drink), sortir (to go out), dormir (to sleep), pouvoir (to be able to), and vouloir (to want). The worst of these are probably être (to be) and avoir (to have), by far the most common verbs for everyday communication. Here are the present tense conjugations of each:

If you hate grammar, just think of éclairs. Éclair, by the way, is a masculine noun.
Avoir To have Être To be
J'ai I have Je suis I am
Tu as You have (informal) Tu es You are (informal)
Il a

Elle a

He has / it has (masculine inanimate)

She has / it has (feminine inanimate)

Il est

Elle est

He is / it is (masculine inanimate)

She is / it is (feminine inanimate)

On a One has

We have

On est One is

We are

Nous avons We have Nous sommes We are
Vous avez You have (formal / plural) Vous êtes You are (formal / plural)
Ils ont

Elles ont

They have Ils sont

Elles sont

They are

Formal and informal speech[edit]

In French, there are two equivalents of the English word "you". When addressing one person you know well such as a family member or a friend, plus any time you speak to one child or one animal, the word to use will be tu. In all other situations, including when addressing a group of people regardless of who they are, the word to use will be vous. This means that in practice, as a traveller and novice French speaker, most of the time you will be using vous. It is important to know the distinction, as while addressing a pet dog with the vous form might just raise a chuckle, using tu with somebody you've just met is 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" is "mesdames et messieurs", though often in speech this is rendered as "messieurs-dames".

Pronunciation[edit]

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, but 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 and when singing.

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[edit]

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 open, 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 make your tongue say "ee") - (IPA: y), uu in transcriptions, similar to the German ü; Sometimes pronounced more like "eu" in Quebec French
ou 
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)
eu 
between "ew" in "dew" and "u" in "burp"; written eu in transcriptions (IPA: ø)
Like many ex-colonial placenames, Ouagadougou mixes French spelling convention with African words

Semi-vowels[edit]

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

Consonants[edit]

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. Sometimes, whether or not the final consonant denotes the grammatical function; for example, the final "s" in tous (all) is silent when used as an adjective, but pronounced when used as a pronoun.

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: )
ç 
like the 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, like "dz" or "ds" when before "i" or "y"
dj 
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)
gu 
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)
gn 
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)
n
pronounced with the tongue touching the teeth (IPA: ), except when followed by a vowel, when it is pronounced like nose (IPA: n). See Nasals below}}
like spin (IPA: p)
ph 
like f
q(u) 
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)
usually like the second pronunciation of c; like z when between two vowels (unless doubled), or in a liaison
ch 
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) when before "i" or "y"; like the second pronunciation of c in tion
tch 
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: )
Remember the scene in the movie Home Alone where Kevin's sister mockingly told him "you're what the French call les incompétents"? Even though grammar Nazis might deduct points for addressing a singular subject in the plural, any phonicist will tell you she got the sound of the French nasal vowel pretty much down pat.

Nasals[edit]

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)
on 
nasal o - distinguishing between this and "an" is tricky, it's a deeper, more closed sound (IPA: ɔ̃)
in, ain 
nasal è (IPA: ɛ̃)
un 
nasal eu (sometimes pronounced the same as 'in') (IPA: œ̃)
oin 
nasal "wè" (thus, coin is a nasalised "cwè")

Diphthongs[edit]

ail 
like "i" in "fight"
ill 
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 the word maître as MET-ruh, a Québécois might pronounce it more like MIGHT-ruh.

Exceptions[edit]

  • 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).

International varieties of French[edit]

"Levez le pied, il y a des enfants qui jouent ici !" - Lift your foot [off the gas pedal], there are children playing here! (Guadeloupe Creole)

For its size, France is quite a linguistically-diverse country. Aside from languages which are very clearly separate from French (e.g. Basque and Breton), there is a whole slew of local parlers (e.g. Angevin, Lorrain, Norman, Picard, Savoyard...) which are just similar enough to standard French that, depending on whom you ask, they can be considered either separate languages in their own right, or simply dialects (patois) of the mother tongue. These local languages/dialects also influence the accents of standard French within their region, from the strange vowels and increased nasalisation of the far north, to the 'singing' accents of the deep south.

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.

Aside from Europe and Canada (see below), many French-speaking regions have incorporated the words of local languages, and on occasion have formed distinctive dialects or languages known as creoles. Even within Canada, there is dialectal variation in the French language; the French spoken in Quebec differs from that in New Brunswick. French-based creoles today enjoy wide use and often official status in the Seychelles, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Haiti (see Haitian creole), Réunion, and the French overseas territories in the Antilles. A distinct dialect of French known as Louisiana French or Cajun, and a distinct French-based creole known as Louisiana Creole are both still spoken by some residents in the southern U.S. state, while parts of New England near the Canadian border are home to speakers of a dialect known as New England French, which bears many similarities to Québécois.

Québécois[edit]

See also: Quebec#Talk

There are many phonological and lexical differences between the French spoken in Quebec and that spoken in France. Quebec has retained many 18th- & 19th-century French words, while in France the language has moved on, as well as incorporating many English words in the modern era. On the other side, Québécois borrowed English terms from their Anglophone neighbours as early as the 19th century, but the onset of the "Quiet Revolution" and the Quebec sovereignty movement in the 1960s led to laws that strictly limited the usage and influence of English in the public sphere, with the result that, etymologically speaking, Quebec French is in many ways more purely "French" than that spoken in France. For instance, the fast-food restaurant chain founded by Colonel Sanders is known in both the United States and France as "Kentucky Fried Chicken" or KFC for short, but in Quebec it's Poulet Frit Kentucky or PFK.

Nevertheless, all Francophone Canadians, including Québécois, 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.

Stop sign in Montreal

Some examples of everyday words which differ between Québécois and standard French:

English France Quebec Notes
car voiture/auto char In France, un char is 'a tank'. Voiture and auto are feminine; char is masculine.
car park parking stationnement
to park (a car) garer parker
to drive conduire chauffer In France, chauffer means 'to heat'
stop (on a road sign) stop arrêt
pavement/sidewalk trottoir cotteur
washing machine machine à laver laveuse
breakfast, lunch, dinner petit déjeuner, déjeuner, dîner déjeuner, dîner, souper Belgium and Switzerland use the same terms as Quebec
shopping shopping/courses magasinage
bicycle vélo bicyclette vélo is masculine; bicyclette is feminine
weekend week-end fin de semaine week-end is masculine; fin de semaine is feminine
In France, fin de semaine refers to the end of the working week (typically Thursday-Friday).
toothpaste dentifrice pâte à dents
email e-mail/mail courriel courriel is short for courrier électronique

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs


OPEN 
Ouvert (oo-VAIR)
CLOSED 
Fermé (FEHR-may)
OPENING HOURS 
Horaires d'ouverture (Oh-RAIR doo-VAIR-tuur)
ENTRANCE 
Entrée (AHN-tray)
EXIT 
Sortie (sor-TEE)
PUSH 
Poussez (POO-say)
PULL 
Tirez (TEE-ray)
TOILET 
Toilettes (twah-LET)
MEN 
Hommes (om)
WOMEN 
Femmes (fam)
DISABLED 
Handicapés (on-dee-KAP-ay)
EMERGENCY EXIT 
Sortie de secours (sor-TEE duh suh-COOR)
FORBIDDEN 
Interdit, Défendu (ehn-tair-DEE, day-fahn-DUU)
NO PARKING 
Stationnement interdit, Défense de stationner (STAH-syonn-mon an-tair-DEE, day-FAHNS duh STAH-syonn-ay)
YIELD / GIVE WAY 
Cédez le passage (SAY-day luh pah-SAHZH)
STOP 
Stop (stop) / Arrêt (Ah-RAY)
Hello. (formal)
Bonjour. (bawn-ZHOOR) (in the day) / Bonsoir. (bawn-SWAHR) (at night)
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)
Yes. 
Oui. (WEE)
No. 
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?);
Goodbye 
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)
Help! 
Au secours ! (oh suh-KOOR)
Look out! 
Attention ! (ah-tahn-SYONG)
Good day / good morning 
Bonjour (bong̠-ZHOO(R))
Have a nice day
Bonne journée (bon zhoor-NAY)
Good evening. 
Bonsoir. (bong-SWAHR)
Good night. (at the end of an evening) 
Bonne soirée (bon swahr-RAY)
Good night. (when going to bed) 
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)
I don't know. 
Je ne sais pas. (zhuh nuh say pah)
I can't. 
Je ne peux (pas). (zhuh nuh puh 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?)
Good
Bon (m.) (bo(n)) / Bonne (f.) (bon)
Bad 
Mauvais (MO-vay) / Mauvaise (f.) (MO-vez)
Big 
Grand (m.) (gro(n)) / Grande (f.) (grond)
Small 
Petit (m.) (puh-TEE) / Petite (f.) (puh-TEET)
Hot 
Chaud (m.) (sho) / Chaude (f.) (shode)
The summit of Mont Blanc, at about 4800 m (15700 ft) above sea level froid around the year
Cold 
Froid (m.) (frwah) / Froide (f.) (frwahd)
Fast 
Rapide / Vite (both genders) (rah-PEED / veet)
Slow 
Lent (m.) (lo(n)) / Lente (f.) (lont)
Expensive 
Cher (m.) (shair) / Chère (f.) (shairr)
Cheap 
Bon marché (both genders) (bo(n) mar-SHAY)
Rich 
Riche (both genders) (reesh)
Poor 
Pauvre (both genders) (pov-ruh)

Problems[edit]

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! 
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!)
Help! 
Au secours ! (oh suh-KOOR!)
Fire! 
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've been bitten by a dog. 
Je me suis fait mordre par un chien. (zhuh muh swee fay MOR-druh par u(n) shee-AH(N))
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)

Numbers[edit]

Unlike English, French uses the long scale, so un billion and un trillion are not the same as the English "one billion" and "one trillion".

zéro (zairro)
un/une (uhn)/(uun)
deux (deu)
trois (trwah)
quatre (kahtr)
5
cinq (sank)
six (sees)
sept (set)
huit (weet)
neuf (neuf)
10 
dix (deece)
11 
onze (onz)
12 
douze (dooz)
13 
treize (trayz)
14 
quatorze (kat-ORZ)
15 
quinze (kihnz)
16 
seize (says)
17 
dix-sept (dee-SET)
18 
dix-huit (dee-ZWEET)
19 
dix-neuf (deez-NUF)
20 
vingt (vihnt)
21 
vingt-et-un (vihng-tay-UHN)
22 
vingt-deux (vihn-teu-DEU)
23 
vingt-trois (vin-teu-TRWAH)
30 
trente (trahnt)
40 
quarante (kar-AHNT)
50 
cinquante (sank-AHNT)
60 
soixante (swah-SAHNT)
70 
soixante-dix (swah-sahnt-DEES) or septante (sep-TAHNGT) in Belgium and Switzerland
80 
quatre-vingts (kaht-ruh-VIHN); huitante (weet-AHNT) in Belgium and Switzerland (except Geneva); octante (oct-AHNT) in Switzerland
90 
quatre-vingt-dix (katr-vihn-DEES); nonante (noh-NAHNT) in Belgium and Switzerland
100 
cent (sahn)
200 
deux cents (deu sahng)
300 
trois cents (trrwa sahng)
Cinq cents francs, used in several countries in Central Africa
1000 
mille (meel)
2000 
deux mille (deu meel)
1,000,000 
un million (ung mee-LYOHN) (treated as a noun when alone: one million euros would be un million d'euros).
1,000,000,000 
un milliard
1,000,000,000,000 
un billion
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
numéro _____ (nuu-may-ROH)
half 
demi (duh-MEE), moitié (mwah-tee-AY)
less 
moins (mwihn)
more 
plus (pluus) / no more : plus (pluu) so this time, the "S" is mute

Time[edit]

A sculpture at the entrance to the palace of Versailles
now 
maintenant (mant-NAHN)
earlier 
plus tôt (pluu to)
later 
plus tard (pluu TAHR)
before 
avant (ah-VAHN)
after 
après (ah-PREH)
morning 
le matin (luh mah-TAN)
in the morning 
dans la matinée (dahn lah mah-tee-NAY)
afternoon 
l'après-midi (lah-preh-mee-DEE)
in the afternoon 
dans l'après-midi (dahn lah-preh-mee-DEE)
evening 
le soir (luh SWAHR)
in the evening
dans la soirée (dahn lah swah-RAY)
night 
la nuit (lah NWEE)
in the night 
pendant la nuit (pehndahn lah NWEE)

Clock time[edit]

French speakers most commonly use the 24-hour clock, even in Quebec (whereas most other Canadians use the 12-hour clock). In Europe, an 'h' is used as a separator between hours and minutes, as opposed to the colon that is used in Quebec and English-speaking countries. Therefore, midnight is written as 0h00, 1AM as 1h00, and 1PM as 13h00; more details and examples below. However, the 12-hour clock is making some inroads in speech, and saying 1-11 in the afternoon or evening will be understood.

hour 
heure (eur)
minute 
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: 07:15 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)
half-past 
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)
1AM, 01:00 
1h00; une heure du matin (uun eur duu ma-TAN)
2AM, 02:00 
2h00; deux heures du matin (dooz eur duu ma-TAN)
noon, 12:00 
12h00; midi (mee-DEE)
1PM, 13:00 
13h00; treize heures (traiyz er)
une heure de l'après-midi (uun eur duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
2PM, 14:00 
14h00; quatorze heures (KAH-torz er)
deux heures de l'après-midi (duz er duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
6PM, 18:00 
18h00; dix-huit heure (deez-weet ER)
six heures du soir (seez er duu SWAR)
7:30PM, 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)

Duration[edit]

Abbaye de Fontevraud
_____ 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)
hourly 
horaire (oh-RAIR)
daily 
quotidien / quotidienne (ko-tee-DYAN / ko-tee-DYEN)
weekly 
hebdomadaire (eb-doh-ma-DAIYR)
monthly 
mensuel / mensuelle (mang-suu-WEL)
yearly 
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)

Days[edit]

today 
aujourd'hui (oh-zhoor-DWEE)
yesterday 
hier (yare)
tomorrow 
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)
the weekend 
le week-end (France) / la fin de semaine (Canada) (luh week-end / lah fah(n) duh suh-MEN)

French calendars normally start on Monday. Unlike in English, the names of days are not capitalised in French:

Monday 
lundi (luhn-DEE)
Tuesday 
mardi (mahr-DEE)
Wednesday 
mercredi (mehr-kruh-DEE)
Thursday 
jeudi (juh-DEE)
Friday 
vendredi (vahn-druh-DEE)
Saturday 
samedi (sahm-DEE)
Sunday 
dimanche (dee-MAHNSH)

Months[edit]

The revolutionary calendar isn't in use any longer, but inscriptions where it's been used can be seen here and there

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

January 
janvier (ZHO(N)-vee-yeh)
February 
février (FEH-vree-yeh)
March
mars (mars)
April
avril (av-REEL)
May
mai (meh)
June
juin (zh-WAH(N))
July 
juillet (zh-WEE-eh)
August 
août (oot)
September 
septembre (sep-TOMBR)
October 
octobre (oc-TOBR)
November 
novembre (no-VOMBR)
December 
décembre (deh-SOMBR)

Seasons[edit]

spring 
le printemps (luh PRAH(N)-toh(m))
summer 
l'été (LAY-tay)
autumn 
l'automne (loh-TOMNUH)
winter 
l'hiver (LEE-vair)

Holidays[edit]

France has many beaches, and they are popular destinations during les vacances d'été
Enjoy your holiday/vacation! 
Bonnes vacances ! (bon vah-KOH(N)S)
Happy holidays! (festival) 
Bonnes fêtes !
New Year's Day 
le jour de l'an (luh zhoor duh lah(n))
Shrove Tuesday 
le mardi gras (luh MAR-dee grah)
Easter 
les Pâques (lay pak)
Passover 
la Pâque juive / le Pessa'h (lah pak zh-WEEV / luh pess-AKH)
Ramadan 
le Ramadan (luh RAH-mah-doh(n)) (the other Muslim festivals are also called by their Arabic names)
Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (24 June, Quebec) 
la Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste (lah fet duh lah sa(n)-JOH(N)-bap-TEEST)
Bastille Day (14 July, France) 
le Quatorze Juillet / la Fête Nationale (luh kat-ORZ zh-WEE-eh / lah fet nah-syon-NAL)
summer holidays 
les vacances d'été (lay vah-KOH(N)S DAY-tay)
school holidays 
les vacances scolaires (lay vah-KOH(N)S skoh-LAIR)
beginning of the school year 
la rentrée (lah roh(n)-TRAY)
All Saints' Day 
la Toussaint (lah TOO-sahn)
Hanukkah 
Hanoucca (ah-NOO-kah)
Christmas 
Noël (noh-EL)
Merry Christmas! 
Joyeux Noël ! (ZHWY-euh noh-EL!)

Colour[edit]

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 ».

black 
noir/noire (nwahr)
white 
blanc/blanche (blahng/blahnsh)
grey 
gris/grise (gree/greez)
red 
rouge (roozh)
blue 
bleu/bleue (bluh)
yellow 
jaune (zhawn)
green 
vert/verte (verre/vehrt)
orange 
orange (oh-RAHNZH)
purple 
violet/violette (vee-oh-LEH/vee-oh-LET)
brown 
brun/brune (bruh/bruhn); marron (MAH-rohn)
pink 
rose (roz)
Hotel du Palais in Biarritz

Transportation[edit]

SNCF TGV Duplex Viaduc de Cize - Bolozon.jpg

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)

Directions[edit]

Where is / are _____? 
Où se trouve / trouvent _____ ? / (oo suh tr-OO-v _____)
...the train station? 
...la gare ? (lah gahr)
...the bus station? 
...la gare routière ? (lah gahr roo-TYEHR)
...the nearest metro station? 
...la 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 / os-trah-lee-EN / bree-tah-NEEK / ka-na-DYEN)
...the (nearest) hotel? 
...l'hôtel (le plus proche) ? (loh-tel luh ploo prohsh)
...the town / city hall? 
...l'hôtel de ville / la mairie ? (loh-tel duh veel / lah mair-REE)
...the police station? 
...le commissariat de police ? (luh com-mee-SAHR-ee-ah duh po-LEES)
...the tourist information centre? 
...le syndicat d'initiative ? / l'office de tourisme ? / le bureau touristique ? (Quebec) (luh SAN-dee-kah dee-NEE-sya-teev / loff-EES duh toor-REEZ-muh / luh BOOR-oh toor-REES-teek)
...the nearest bank / ATM? 
...la 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 le plus proche? (luh GEE-shay oh-toh-mah-TEEK luh ploo prosh)
...the nearest petrol/gas station ? 
...la station-service la plus proche ? (lah sth-syon-SAIR-vees lah pluu prosh)
...the market? 
...les halles ? (city or large town) / le marché ? (small town or village) (layz AL-uh / luh MAR-shay)
...the beach? 
...la 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)
Follow 
Suivre : (sweevr)
The north 
le nord (luh nor)
The east 
l'est (lest)
The south 
le sud (luh suud)
The west 
l'ouest (loo-WEST)
The (next) exit 
la (prochaine) sortie (lah pro-SHEN SOR-tee)
Here 
Ici (ee-SEE)
There 
Là(-bas/-haut) (lah (BAH / OH)
Road 
Route (root)
Street 
Rue (ruu)
Intersection 
Carrefour (car-FOOR)
Traffic lights 
Feux (fuh)
Roundabout 
Rond-point (ro(n)-pwa(n))
Motorway 
Autoroute (oh-to-ROOT)
Railway 
Chemin de fer (shuh-MA(N) duh fehr)
Level crossing 
Passage à niveau (pah-SAAZH-ah-NEE-vo)
Bridge 
Pont (po(n))
Tunnel 
Tunnel (tuu-nell)
Toll booth 
Péage (pay-ahzh)
Queue 
Bouchon (boo-sho(n))
Roadworks 
Travaux (trah-vo)
Road closed 
Route barrée (root BAH-ray)
Diversion 
Déviation (day-vee-ah-SYO(N))

Taxi[edit]

Taxi in Lyon
Taxi! 
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)

Lodging[edit]

Bed and breakfast 
Chambres d'hôte (SHAHM-bruh dote)
Campsite 
Camping (CAHM-ping)
Hotel 
Hôtel (OH-tel)
Self-catering cottage / holiday rental 
Gîte / Location de vacances (zheet / lo-cah-syo(n) duh vah-CAHNS)
(Youth) hostel 
Auberge (de jeunesse) (oh-BAIRZH duh zheuh-NESS)
Do you have any rooms available? 
Avez-vous des chambres libres ? (ah-veh VOO day SHAHM-bruh leeb)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
Combien coûte une chambre pour une personne/deux personnes ? (com-BYA(N) coot oon SHAHM-bruh poor oon PAIR-son / duh PAIR-son)
Does the room come with... 
Dans la chambre, y a-t-il... (dah(n) la SHAHM-bruh, ee-ya-tee)
...bedsheets? 
...des draps de lit ? (...day dra duh lee?)
...a bathroom? 
...une salle de bain ? (...oon sal duh bah(n)?)
...a telephone? 
...un téléphone ? (...u(n) teh-leh-fone?)
...a TV? 
...une télévision ? (...oon teh-leh-VEEZ-yo(n)?)
...a refrigerator? 
...un réfrigérateur / un frigo ? (...u(n) ray-FREEZH-ay-rah-teur / u(n) FREE-go?)
...a kettle? 
...une bouilloire ? (...oon boo-WEE-wah?)
Bungalows in Foulpointe, Madagascar
May I see the room first? 
Pourrais-je voir la chambre ? (poo-RAY zhuh vwaah la SHAHM-bruh?)
Do you have anything quieter? 
Avez-vous une chambre plus tranquille ? (ah-veh VOO oon SHAHM-bruh ploo trahn-KEE?)
...bigger? 
...plus grande ? (ploo grahnd?)
...cleaner? 
...plus propre? (ploo prop?)
...cheaper? 
...moins chère? (mwahn shair?)
OK, I'll take it. 
Bon, je la prends. (bo(n), zhuh lah proh(n))
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
Je compte rester pour _____ nuits. (zhuh compt REH-stay poor _____ nwee)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Pourriez-vous me suggérer un autre hôtel ? (poo-REE-ay voo muh soo-ZHAY-ray u(n) OH-truh OH-tel ?)
Do you have a safe? 
Avez-vous un coffre-fort ? (ah-veh VOO u(n) COFF-ruh-FOR?)
...lockers? 
...un vestiaire ? (u(n) ves-tee-AIR?)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Le petit-déjeuner/le dîner est-il compris ? (luh puh-TEE DAY-zhuh-nay / luh DEE-nay eh-TEE com-PREE?)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
À quelle heure est servi le petit-déjeuner/le dîner ? (ah kell euhrr eh SAIR-vee luh puh-TEE DAY-zhuh-nay / luh DEE-nay?)
Please clean my room. 
Veuillez faire le ménage. (vuh-YEH fair luh MEH-naazh)
Can you wake me at _____? 
Pourriez-vous me réveiller à _____? (poo-REE-ay voo muh REH-veh-yeh ah _____? )
You have a bedbug infestation here. 
Il y a une infestation de punaises ici. (eel-yah oon ah(n)-fes-tass-YOH(N) duh poo-NEZ ee-see)
I want to check out. 
Je voudrais régler la note. (zhuh VOO-dray REH-glay lah note)

Money[edit]

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 euros? 
Acceptez-vous les euros ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO lehz-OO-roh)
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?)

Eating[edit]

Belon oysters
set menu 
menu (muh-NUU)
à la carte 
à la carte (ah lah KAHRT)
serves food all day 
service continu (SAIR-vees con-tee-NOO)
breakfast 
France: petit-déjeuner (ptee-day-zheu-NAY); Switzerland/Belgium/Canada: déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY)
lunch 
France: déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY); Elsewhere: dîner (dee-NAY)
dinner/supper 
France: dîner (dee-NAY); Elsewhere: souper (soo-PAY)
I would like _____. 
Je voudrais _____. (zhuh voo-DREH _____)
something local 
un plat typique (de la région) (uhn pla tee-PEEK (duh lah RAY-zhyong))
I would like a dish containing _____. 
Je voudrais un plat avec _____. (zhuh voo-DREHZ ung plaht ah-VEK _____)
meat 
de la viande (duh lah vee-AWND)
chicken 
du poulet / de la volaille (duu poo-LEH / duh lah voh-LIE)
Note: volaille literally means "poultry", but nearly always means "chicken" on menus
turkey 
de la dinde (duh lah DAND)
duck 
du canard (duu can-AR)
lamb 
de l'agneau (duh LAN-yo)
pork 
du porc / du cochon (duu POHR/duu coh-SHONG).
ham 
du jambon (duu zhahng-BONG)
beef 
du bœuf (duu BUFF)

Quelle cuisson ?

A common question when ordering meat (especially, but not only, steak) is how long you want it cooked for: rare, medium, or well done? Simple enough, you might think. But if you're from an English-speaking country, then as a general rule of thumb, you'll find that if you ask for what you're used to at home, the meat will be rarer than you'd like. Therefore, it's worth getting to know these terms:

  • Bleu – "Blue", almost raw, meat that is cooked for less than a minute each side.
  • Saignant – "Bloody", i.e. very rare, but cooked slightly longer than a bleu steak.
  • À point – "Perfectly cooked", and the most popular among the French, but still rare by British or American standards.
  • Bien cuit – "Well cooked", but not well done. More like medium, with pink on the inside, though there should be no blood.
  • Très bien cuit – This should get you a "well done" steak that is totally cooked through. Mais, attention ! If chef is not used to catering to les Anglo-Saxons, he might just overdo it and give you a plate of leather.
steak 
du steak / du bifteck (duu stek / duu BEEF-tek)
sausage 
des saucisses (hot) / du saucisson (cold) (deh saw-SEESS / duu saw-see-SON)
game
du gibier (duu ZHI-bee-ay)
Note: gibier may also mean specifically venison
boar 
du sanglier (duu sahng-GLYAY)
venison 
du cerf / du chevreuil / de la venaison (duu SEHR / duu shev-REUY / duh lah vu-NAY-so(n))
rabbit
du lapin (duu lap-ANG)
fish 
du poisson (duu pwa-SONG)
salmon 
du saumon (duu saw-MONG)
tuna 
du thon (duu TONG)
whiting 
du merlan (duu mehr-LANG)
cod 
de la morue (duh lah moh-RUU)
seabass 
du loup (de mer) / du bar (duu LOO (duh MAIR) / duu BARR)
seafood 
des fruits de mer (deh frwee duh MEHR); literally: "fruits of the sea"
dulse 
de la dulse (duh lah DUULS)
lobster 
du homard (duu oh-MAR), de la langouste (duh lah lan-goost) (rock lobster)
clams 
des palourdes (deh pah-LOORD)
oysters 
des huîtres (dez WEETR)
mussels 
des moules (deh MOOL)
scallops 
des coquilles Saint-Jacques (deh kok-EE-sah(n)-ZHAK)
Escargots at a farmers market in Paris
snails 
des escargots (dez es-car-GOH)
frogs' legs 
des cuisses de grenouille (deh gruh-NOOEY)
cheese 
du fromage (duu froh-MAHZH)
cow's cheese 
du fromage de lait de vache (duu froh-MAHZH duh lay duh vash)
goat's / sheep's cheese 
du fromage de chèvre / de brebis (duu froh-MAHZH duh SHEV-ruh / duh bruh-BEE)
eggs 
des œufs (dehz UH)
one egg 
un œuf (un UF)
(fresh) vegetables 
des légumes (frais) (deh lay-guum (FREH))
carrots 
des carottes (deh kah-ROT)
peas 
des (petits) pois (deh (PUH-tee) PWAH)
broccoli 
du brocoli (duu broh-COLEE)
sweetcorn 
du maïs (duu my-YEES)
cabbage 
du chou (duu shoo)
spinach 
des épinards (DEZ-ep-ee-NARR)
green / French beans 
des haricots verts (DEZ-ah-REE-ko VAIRR)
white / haricot beans 
des haricots blancs (DEZ-ah-REE-ko BLAWNG)
Brussels sprouts 
des choux de Bruxelles (deh shoo duh bruu-SEL)
lentils 
des lentilles (deh lon-TEE)
potatoes 
des pommes de terre (deh POM-duh-TAIR)
French fries 
des frites (day freet)
(fresh) fruit 
des fruits (frais) (deh frwee (freh))
an apple 
une pomme (uun pom)
a pear 
une poire (uun pwarr)
a plum 
une prune (uun pruun)
a peach 
une pêche (uun pesh)
grapes 
des raisins (deh RAY-zan)
cherries 
des cerises (deh suh-REEZ)
an orange 
une orange (uun oh-RAWNZH)
a banana 
une banane (uun bah-NAN)
a mango 
une mangue (uun mawngg)
a lemon 
un citron (un SEE-trong)
a lime 
un limon (un LEE-mon)
berries 
des fruits rouges (deh frwee roozh)
strawberries 
des fraises (deh frez)
raspberries 
des framboises (deh from-BWAHZ)
blackberries 
des mûres (deh muur)
blueberries 
des myrtilles (deh MIRR-tee)
blackcurrant 
des cassis (deh kah-SEES)
a salad 
une salade (uun sah-LAHD)
cucumber 
du concombre (duu cong-COMBRR)
tomatoes 
des tomates (deh toh-MAT)
lettuce 
de la laitue (duh lah LAY-tuu)
red / yellow / green pepper 
du poivron rouge / jaune / vert (duu PWAH-vrong roozh / zhoan / vairr)
spring onions 
des oignons nouveaux (DEZ-on-YONG NOO-vo)
radish 
du radis (duu RAH-dee)
chives 
de la ciboulette (duh lah SEE-boo-LET)
mixed herbs 
des herbes de Provence (dez-AIRB-duh-pro-VAWNSS)
bread 
du pain (duu pang)
toast 
des toasts (deh toast)
(milky) coffee 
du café (au lait) (doo kah-FAY (oh lay))
Note: Coffee will always be served black unless you ask for milk
tea 
du thé (doo tay)
juice 
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 jug of water "une carafe d'eau" (OON cahr-AHF doh).
(draught) beer 
de la bière (pression) (duh lah byehr)
red / white / rosé wine 
du vin rouge / blanc / rosé (doo vang roozh / blahng / ro-ZAY)
May I have some _____? 
Puis-je avoir _____ ? (pweezh ah-VWAHR duu)
salt 
du sel (duu sel)
black pepper 
du poivre (duu pwavr)
garlic 
de l'ail (duh lie)
butter 
du beurre (duu bur)
olive oil 
de l'huile d'olive (duh LWEEL-doh-LEEV)
ketchup/mayonnaise/mustard/alioli 
du ketchup / de la mayonnaise / de la moutarde / de l'aïoli (duu KECH-up / duh lah MIE-oh-NEZ / duh lah MOO-tard / duh LIE-oh-lee)
Excuse me, waiter / waitress? 
S'il vous plaît, monsieur / madame ? (seell voo PLEH muh-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 plaît. (lah-dee-SYOHN seel voo play)

Dietary requirements[edit]

Ratatouille
I am _____. 
Je suis _____. (zhuh swee)
...vegan 
végétalien (vey-zhey-tal-YENG) (m); végétalienne (vey-zhey-tal-YEN) (f)
...vegetarian 
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 doo, 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)
...honey. 
de miel. (duh mee ehl)
...animal products. 
de produits animaux. (duh pro-dweez-ah-nee-mo)
...dairy. 
de laitage. (duh lay tazh)
...wheat. 
de blé. (duh blay)
...seafood. 
de fruits de mer. (duh frwee duh MEHR)
...nuts. 
de noix (duh nwaah)
...gluten 
de gluten (duu gluu-TEN)
I do eat _____. 
Je mange _____. (zhuh monzh)
...grains. 
des céréales. (deh say-ray-ahl)
...vegetables. 
des légumes. (deh lay-guum)
...beans. 
des fèves. (deh fehv)
...fruit 
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)
I am allergic to... 
Je suis allergique à... (zhuh swee ah-lair-ZHEEK ah...)

Bars[edit]

Cognac barrels
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 plaît. (oon BYEHR/deuh BYEHR, seel voo PLEH)
A draught beer, please. 
Une pression, s'il vous plaît (oon pres-SYON, seel voo PLEH)
A glass of red/white/rosé/sparkling wine, please.
Un verre de vin rouge/blanc/rosé/pétillant, s'il vous plaît. (an ver duh van rooj / blan / ro-ZAY / PET-ee-YAUN, seel voo PLEH)
A quarter litre 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 pannt, seel-voo-PLEH)
A bottle, please. 
Une bouteille, s'il vous plait. (Oon boo-tay, seel voo PLEH)
_____ (spirit) and _____ (mixer), please.
_____ et _____, s'il vous plait. (____ eh ____, seel voo PLEH)
whisky 
whisky (wee-skee)
vodka 
vodka (vohd-kuh)
rum 
rhum (room)
cider 
cidre (seedr)
water 
de l'eau (duh loh)
club soda 
soda (so-dah)
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)

Shopping[edit]

Marigot Market, Saint Martin
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)
expensive 
cher (shehr)
cheap
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. 
...de dentifrice. (duh dahn-tee-FREESS)
...a toothbrush. 
...d'une brosse à dents. (duun bross ah DAHN)
...tampons. 
...de tampons. (duh tahm-POHN)
...soap. 
...de savon. (duh sah-VOHN)
...shampoo. 
...de 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)
...an antihistamine
...d'un antihistaminique (dun on-tee-STAM-eek)
...a razor. 
...d'un rasoir. (dun rah-ZWAR)
...batteries. 
...de piles. (duh PEEL)
...a SIM card. 
...d'une carte SIM (duun cahrrt seem)
...an umbrella. (rain) 
...d'un parapluie. (duun pah-ra-ploo-ee)
...an umbrella. (sun) 
...d'une ombrelle. (duun ohm-brehl)
...sunblock lotion. 
...de crème solaire. (duh crehm so-LEHR)
...a postcard. 
...d'une carte postale. (duun kahrt post-AL)
...postage stamps. 
...de timbres. (duh TAHM-burs)
...writing paper. 
...de papier à lettres. (duh pap-YEH ah LEH-TR)
...a pen. 
...d'un stylo. (dun STEE-loh)
...English-language books. 
...de livres en anglais. (duh LEE-vruh-zahn ahngh-LEH)
...English-language magazines. 
...de revues en anglais. (duh REH-voo-zahn ahngh-LEH)
...an English-language newspaper. 
...d'un journal en anglais. (dun zhoar-NAL ahn ahng-LEH)
...a French-English dictionary. 
...d'un dictionnaire français-anglais. (dun deect-see-ohn-AIR frahn-SEH ahng-LEH)

Authority[edit]

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-cah)
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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