hello - bonjour. Note that bonjour literally translates to "good day." You can use it to say "good morning" or "good afternoon" as well.
Good evening - Bonsoir. Note that bonsoir is a compound word formed from the words for "good" and "evening." It is used instead of bonjour to greet people in the evening.
My name is Marc
Je m'appelle Marc
my name is - je m'appelle. This literally translates to "I call myself..."
hi/bye - salut. To informally greet or say goodbye to someone at any time of day, you can say salut.
Hello (on the phone)
Hello - Allo. Note that allo is only said when picking up the phone.
goodbye - au revoir
yes - oui
no - non
What is your name?
Comment vous appelez-vous?
What is your name? - Comment vous appelez-vous? Note that this literally translates to "How/What do you call yourself?"
s'il vous plaît
please - s'il vous plaît. This expression literally means, "if it pleases you." Note that with a close friend, you could say s'il te plaît.
thank you - merci. Note that "no, thank you" would be non, merci.
you're welcome - de rien. Note that a formal alternative is je vous en prie.
excuse me - excusez-moi. Note that you could also say pardon, which translates more directly as "pardon me."
Welcome - Bienvenue
How are you?
Comment ça va?
How are you? - Comment ça va? This is sometimes shortened to Ça va?
(in a formal setting) How are you?
How are you? (formal) - Comment allez-vous?
Ça va bien
I'm fine, I'm OK - Ça va bien. This translates directly to "It goes well." Note also that bien is a common adverb -- "well."
I (would like to) introduce Jean to you
Je vous présente Jean
I (would like to) introduce ___ to you - Je vous présente ___
Can you help me?
Can you help me? - Pouvez-vous m'aider?
of course - bien sûr
a boy - un garçon. Note that singular masculine nouns use the indefinite article un.
a girl - une fille. Note that singular feminine nouns use the indefinite article une.
the (masculine) - le. Note that singular masculine nouns use the definite article le.
the (feminine) - la. Note that singular feminine nouns use the definite article la.
a woman - une femme
a man - un homme
a person - une personne
For any singular (masculine or feminine) noun starting with a vowel or a mute "h," the correct definite article is l' instead of le/la. This is called a contraction, and it also happens with words like de and ne.
an American boy
un garçon américain
American (masculine adj.) - américain. Unless otherwise noted, adjectives are presented by default in their singular, masculine forms. Adjectives usually come after the nouns they modify. Note also that for the noun "an American," the translation would be capitalized: un Américain.
an American girl
une fille américaine
American (feminine adj.) - américaine. Adjectives agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify. Here, the adjective's gender is feminine to match the gender of the noun. This is normally done by adding an "e" at the end, which causes the final consonant to be pronounced audibly.
a happy boy
un garçon heureux
happy - heureux. Remember that most descriptive adjectives are placed after the nouns they modify. There are some exceptions, which we will learn about elsewhere.
the happy girl
la fille heureuse
happy (feminine) - heureuse. Note that for adjectives ending with an "x," the ending in the singular feminine form changes to -se, where the "s" is pronounced audibly.
the (plural) - les. Note that the definite article for plural nouns, regardless of gender, is les. Note also that the plural is formed most often by adding an "s" to the end of the word in question.
some (plural) - des. The indefinite article for plural nouns, regardless of gender, is des. Also note how the plural "s" added to the noun is not pronounced audibly.
(some) happy women
des femmes heureuses
happy (plural feminine) - heureuses. Remember that adjectives must agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. For adjectives ending with an "x," in the plural feminine form the ending changes to -ses.
the boys and the girls
les garçons et les filles
and - et. Note that for the vast majority of French words ending in "t," the "t" is not pronounced.
a man or a woman
un homme ou une femme
or - ou
a student - un élève. The feminine form of this noun is the same: une élève. For a university or graduate student, use étudiant.
Note the pronunciation of the "s" in les here. When a word ending with a normally silent consonant is followed by a word beginning with a vowel or mute "h," the normally silent consonant is pronounced. This is called a liaison.
a pretty girl
une jolie fille
pretty (adj.) - joli. Note that the singular feminine form is jolie. Adjectives dealing with beauty typically precede the nouns they modify.
to be - être. Note that être is an irregular verb, as are the majority of the most commonly used verbs in French.
The girl is pretty
La fille est jolie
(he/she/it) is - est. Est is the third-person singular in the present tense of the verb être.
The man is sad
L'homme est triste
sad - triste
He is happy
Il est heureux
he - il
She is pretty
Elle est jolie
she - elle
He is rich
Il est riche
rich - riche. Note that the feminine form is the same.
She is very rich
Elle est très riche
very - très
The boy is cute
Le garçon est mignon
cute - mignon
The girl is cute
La fille est mignonne
cute (feminine) - mignonne. Note the singular feminine form of mignon. For any masculine form ending in "n" or "l," the feminine form doubles that consonant before adding an "e."
The boy is funny
Le garçon est drôle
funny - drôle. Note that the singular feminine form would remain drôle. Marrant also works as a translation for "funny."
The girl is attractive
La fille est attirante
attractive - attirant. Note that attirant has a slightly stronger emphasis on physical/sexual attraction than its English equivalent "attractive."
The boy is strong
Le garçon est fort
strong - fort. Note that the singular feminine form is forte.
The woman is poor
La femme est pauvre
poor - pauvre
The girl is rich but the boy is poor
La fille est riche mais le garçon est pauvre
but - mais
The man is ugly
L'homme est laid
ugly - laid. Note that laid only applies to people, so it is common to use moche, which applies to both people and things.
it is, that is - c'est. Note that cool comes from English, and that an alternative is sympa.
I - je
I am a student
Je suis un étudiant
I am - je suis. Suis is the first-person singular in the present tense of the verb être, or "to be." For professions or occupations, you can skip using the indefinite article un/une: je suis étudiant.
I am with Julie
Je suis avec Julie
with - avec
I am sorry
Je suis désolé
I'm sorry - je suis désolé. If the speaker were female, it would be je suis désolée.
tu (informal/singular), vous (formal/plural)
you - tu, vous. The personal pronoun tu is typically used to address a single friend or child. Meanwhile, vous is used either to formally address one person or to address a group of people ("you all").
(to a close friend) You are cute
Tu es mignon
you are - tu es. Es is the second-person singular in the present tense of the verb être, or "to be."
(to several people) You are funny
Vous êtes drôles
you (many of you) are - vous êtes. Êtes is the second-person plural in the present tense of the verb être. Note that in this case, the adjective takes the plural masculine form.
(to a group of women) You are cute
Vous êtes mignonnes
Note the use of the plural feminine form of the adjective, mignonnes. If there were at least one male member of the group being addressed, you would use mignons.
(to a male superior) You are rich
Vous êtes riche
you (formal) are - vous êtes. Note that, although the verb is conjugated in the second-person plural, the adjective is singular (and masculine), as in this case you are formally addressing only one (male) person.
The child is sad
L'enfant est triste
a child - un enfant. Note that an informal alternative is gosse, which is masculine.
Jean is a naughty child
Jean est un méchant enfant
bad, naughty - méchant
He is a good child
C'est un bon enfant
good (adj.) - bon. Adjectives dealing with goodness (right and wrong) are often placed before the nouns they modify. Also note how il est is replaced by c'est here, because the noun that follows has been modified.
Albert is a young man
Albert est un jeune homme
young (adj.) - jeune. Note that adjectives dealing with age are often placed before the nouns they modify.
I am a small boy
Je suis un petit garçon
small - petit. Un petit garçon also translates to "a short boy." Note that adjectives dealing with size are often placed before the nouns they modify.
(to a close friend) You are a tall man
Tu es un homme grand
tall (person) - grand. When associated with objects, grand generally means "big." Grand is an adjective whose meaning depends on its placement around the noun.
a tall man; a great man
un homme grand; un grand homme
The meaning of the adjective grand depends on its placement around the noun, particularly if the noun is a person. Placed after the noun, adjectives like this often have a literal meaning (size/height in this case). Placed before the noun, they take on a figurative meaning (historical greatness in this case).
a poor woman; an unfortunate (poor) woman
une femme pauvre; une pauvre femme
Note how the placement of pauvre can alter its meaning. Used after the noun, it literally means "poverty-stricken." Placed before the noun, it takes on a more figurative meaning.
The (male) student is beautiful
L'étudiant est beau
beautiful - beau. Note that the plural masculine form is beaux.
a beautiful (male) student
un bel étudiant
Note that beau is changed to bel before masculine nouns beginning with a vowel or a mute "h."
The sports-loving boy is rich
Le garçon sportif est riche
sports-loving - sportif. Note that the singular feminine form is sportive. While there is no perfect English equivalent, sportif means someone who enjoys and plays sports. It is both a noun and an adjective.
The boy is brave
Le garçon est courageux
brave - courageux
The girl is humble
La fille est humble
humble - humble
She is smart
Elle est intelligente
smart - intelligent
He is dumb
Il est bête
dumb - bête. Note that stupide or idiot could work as alternatives.
The woman is bright
La femme est brillante
bright - brillant. Note that brillant can mean both "smart" and "shiny." Here we are of course addressing a person's intelligence.
The man is muscular
L'homme est musclé
muscular - musclé. Note that the singular feminine form is musclée. This adjective comes from the noun muscle, obviously meaning "muscle."
(to a close female friend) You are beautiful
Tu es belle
beautiful (feminine) - belle
You (informal) are gorgeous
Tu es magnifique
gorgeous - magnifique. Superbe and splendide also translate to "gorgeous." All three adjectives can convey greatness as well as good looks.
(to a female superior) You are well-dressed
Vous êtes bien habillée
well-dressed - bien habillé. We will learn more about adverbs like bien elsewhere.
he, she, one
il, elle, on
Note that in French, on is a neuter impersonal pronoun meaning "one": "One should respect the king" -- On devrait respecter le roi.
on (third-person singular), nous (first-person plural)
we - on, nous. The first-person plural pronoun nous is the literal translation of "we." However, in informal speech, Francophones frequently use the third-person singular pronoun on to mean "we." Recall that on is technically an impersonal subject pronoun that translates to "one."
We are women
On est des femmes. / Nous sommes des femmes
we are - on est, nous sommes. Note that while nous sommes is more literal, on est is much more commonly used in conversation to mean "we are."
We are sociable
Nous sommes sociables
sociable - sociable. Note the plural form of this adjective, since the subject is plural.
ils (masc.), elles (fem.)
they - ils, elles
They (women) are beautiful
Elles sont belles
they are - ils/elles sont. Sont is the third-person plural in the present tense of the verb être, or "to be."
They (male) are fit
Ils sont athlétiques
fit, athletic - athlétique, en forme
a big house
une grande maison
a house - une maison. La maison, which translates to "the house," usually signifies one's "home."
children, kids - enfants. Note that saying les enfants can connote "(the) kids" in the same way that a mother would call out to her own children.
The children are great
Les enfants sont super
super, great - super. Note that super can be used on its own: for example, "Great!" can be translated as Super! It is used informally, and is also a rare invariable adjective, meaning it does not change in gender or number.
He is nice
Il est sympa
likable, nice, cool - sympa. This is a shortened, informal form of the adjective sympathique. Another way of saying "nice" is gentil.
I am lost
Je suis perdu
I am lost - je suis perdu. If the speaker were female, it would be je suis perdue.
It's a small table
C'est une petite table
a table - une table
Food is ready/Dinner is served!
food is ready/dinner is served - à table. This is a typical French expression, used to call children to the table for a meal. The literal translation is "at the table!"
Enjoy your meal
Enjoy your meal - Bon appétit. This translates directly to "good appetite."
a friend - un ami. Note that you can also use copain, the feminine form of which is copine.
He is Monsieur Martin's student
C'est un élève de Monsieur Martin
of, from - de. Note that this translates directly to "He is a student of Monsieur Martin."
She is from Paris
Elle est de Paris
from - de. The preposition de is very common in French, and can sometimes mean "with," "about," or "for" as well.
to have - avoir. Note that avoir is an irregular verb.
I have a French friend
J'ai un ami français
I have - j'ai. Ai is the first-person singular in the present tense of the verb avoir, or "to have." Note that the personal pronoun je changes to j' because the verb begins with a vowel.
He has a child
Il a un enfant
he/she/one has - il/elle/on a. A is the third-person singular in the present tense of the verb avoir.
I have a boyfriend
J'ai un petit ami
a boyfriend - un petit ami. This translates directly as "little friend." Note that in a familiar context, you can also use copain.
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten
un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix
eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty
onze, douze, treize, quatorze, quinze, seize, dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf, vingt
(to a close friend) You have three children
Tu as trois enfants
you (a close friend) have - tu as. As is the second-person singular in the present tense of the verb avoir.
We have a big house
Nous avons/On a une grande maison
we have - on a, nous avons. Avons is the first-person plural in the present tense of the verb avoir, while a is the third-person singular.
You guys/You all have two houses
Vous avez deux maisons
you (many of you) have - vous avez. Avez is the second-person plural in the present tense of the verb avoir.
sugar - le sucre
money - l'argent. This masculine word literally means "silver."
soup - la soupe
We have (some) soup
Nous avons de la soupe
De la is a partitive article, formed by pairing de with the appropriate definite article. Partitive articles indicate a part of something (like soup) that can't necessarily be counted. In English, we use words like "some" or "any," but often omit them. In French, they are necessary: you cannot say avoir soupe or avoir la soupe; the de is required.
We have (some) sugar
On a du sucre
Du is the partitive article for masculine singular nouns. It replaces the construction de le (de + proper definite article). If you said On a le sucre, the meaning would be different: "We have the sugar."
I have (some) money
J'ai de l'argent
Here, de l' replaces what would have been du; you cannot say du argent because argent begins with a vowel.
The rich woman has (some) gold
La femme riche a de l'or
gold - l'or. Or is a masculine noun. Because or begins with a vowel, the contracted construction de l' must be used.
I have friends
J'ai des amis
The partitive article for plural nouns is the plural indefinite article des. This replaces de les. Here you are essentially saying, "I have some friends."
She is classy
Elle a de la classe
(to be) classy - avoir de la classe. This literally translates as "to have class." Note that you cannot say avoir classe or avoir la classe; the partitive de is necessary.
They have class
Ils ont de la classe
they have - ils/elles ont. Ont is the third-person plural in the present tense of the verb avoir.
I am 14 years old
J'ai 14 ans
I am X years old - j'ai X ans. Note that in French, the verb avoir, "to have," is used to give one's age instead of être, "to be." This directly translates to "I have X years."
I have a girlfriend
J'ai une petite amie
a girlfriend - une petite amie. In a familiar context, you can also use copine.
to arrive - arriver. The first-person singular form of this verb in the present, j'arrive, is commonly used as an expression to say "I'm on my way!"
In French, most adjectives are placed after the noun they modify. However, which kinds of adjectives are often placed before the noun?
Adjectives that deal with:
You can remember these with the acronym BRAGS.
Name the personal pronouns in French:
- you all
TO BE (être):
- I am
- you are
- he/she is
- we are
- you (all) are
- they are
- je suis
- tu es
- il/elle/on est
- nous sommes
- vous êtes
- ils/elles sont
TO HAVE (avoir):
- I have
- you have
- he/she has
- we have
- you (all) have
- they have
- tu as
- il/elle/on a
- nous avons
- vous avez
- ils/elles ont
Pronounce the letters in the French alphabet.
a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z