Xem Nhiều 11/2022 #️ 10 Cool French Words That’ll Make You Appreciate The Language Again / 2023 # Top 19 Trend | Trucbachconcert.com

Xem Nhiều 11/2022 # 10 Cool French Words That’ll Make You Appreciate The Language Again / 2023 # Top 19 Trend

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Not all words are created equal.

Let’s face it: some are just plain boring.

There are those words like bien (well/good) and chose (thing) that French learners use from day one… then there are words like d’accord (agreed/okay) that pad so many French conversations…

Don’t nod off just yet! Those plain old common words are definitely essential to your French, but they’re not what we’re focusing on today.

Instead, we’re going to look at the cool French words you aren’t using enough. They’ll refresh your communication skills and keep you from getting bogged down or burned out as you build your French vocabulary.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere.

What’s So Useful About These Cool French Words?

We all know why vocabulary is so important—you need the right words to express yourself in French! Learning some fun, cool French words won’t just expand your vocabulary, but will also benefit your language studies in bigger ways.

They’ll reinvigorate your motivation to learn: Think back to the first time you heard someone speak French. You may’ve felt a deep sense of awe at how beautiful the language sounded.

There are many cool French words, like the ones we’ll discuss below, that can take you back to this feeling—whether they sound incredible, have interesting definitions or express something we don’t quite have a word for in English.

They’ll give you a brain boost: Research shows that learning foreign vocabulary is good for your brain. Taking the time to study new and interesting French words will exercise your brain and keep you on your A game in all areas of your language studies (and beyond!).

The cool French words will also make you sound… well, pretty cool! In fact, as pointed out by this video from FluentU’s YouTube channel, the French use cool words all the time. Sure, some of them are slang words that can’t be used in formal contexts such as at work or at school, but learning these French words will help you sound more like a French native speaker.

Check out videos about learning the French that real native speakers use on FluentU’s YouTube channel!

Finding More Cool Words for Your Vocabulary

The words below are just a start. If you want to continue spicing up your vocabulary with the most interesting words French has to offer, here are some ways to do just that:

If you’re interested in words that aren’t easily translatable from one language to the next, you can check out the “Dictionary of Untranslatables.”

It doesn’t get cooler than slang. Check out this online dictionary of French slang, which is full of explanations and examples.

Each video comes with interactive captions that give you instant definitions or pronunciations for any word you don’t recognize. You’ll rapidly grow your vocabulary while absorbing French the way native speakers really use it.

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the words you’ve learned and suggests new videos to keep you moving forward. You can see for yourself by signing up for a free trial.

Need a reminder that French exists outside of its own bubble? Check out these English words that are borrowed from French.

10 Cool French Words That’ll Make You Appreciate the Language Again

These words weren’t just chosen because they’re beautiful (although there’s plenty of those) but for one or more of these reasons:

They’re quirky or funny

They sound interesting

They don’t have an English equivalent

Débrouillard

A rough translation of this word would be “resourceful” or “wily,” but it really doesn’t have a true English equivalent. To understand the meaning of this word, let’s picture what someone who’s débrouillard might look like.

This person is able to take care of things for themselves. When life gets tough, they can surmount difficulties without much help from others. That isn’t to say someone who’s débrouillard won’t ask for help—they will, if they need to get things done—but they don’t depend on other people to solve their problems for them.

How it’s used:

My mother used this word when I was being a whiny kid: Débrouille-toi! (Figure it out!)

But it can also be used to refer to a positive character trait: Le garçon est jeune mais débrouillard. (The boy is young but resourceful.)

Cochonnerie

This word may remind you of the French word cochon (pig), and it’s actually not far off.

Cochonnerie is used in a variety of situations, but the connotation is negative, as it can mean “junk” or “rubbish.” You may use this word to refer to junk food, or to something useless.

How it’s used:

If you want to refer to food, you could use this word in a phrase like: La nuit d’Halloween j’ai trop mangé de cochonneries. (On halloween I ate too much junk food.)

In a different setting, a teacher may tell her class to stop misbehaving with the warning Arrêtez vos cochonneries!

Bêtise

This world literally means “stupidity,” but it goes much deeper than that. This is another word that doesn’t directly translate to English. It’s used to describe a behavior or action that lacks basic intelligence, common sense or judgement. However, it can also be used in a variety of other unexpected ways.

Note that a different form of this word, les bêtes, can refer to animals, and colloquially this word can be used to describe someone who has been working very hard comme une bête (like a dog).

How it’s used:

If a group of teenagers are engaging in what might be described as rebellious or risky behavior, such as coming home past curfew, their parents might say: Les adolescents font des bêtises. (The kids are being stupid).

Avocat

Believe it or not, this word can mean two completely different things. Depending on the gender and the context, avocat could translate to “lawyer” or “avocado.”

Although the gender can help to distinguish which you’re talking about, this can get a little confusing because the masculine form of avocat (un avocat) can mean male lawyer or avocado. However, the feminine version, une avocate, means female lawyer.

How it’s used:

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but as we’ve seen, you’ll be relying on context here because gender may sometimes lead you astray. Let’s just say that you’ll have to assume your audience isn’t bête (stupid) and will have the common sense to know whether you’re referring to an attorney or the main ingredient in a bowl of guacamole.

Tête de pioches

You may be familiar with French terms of endearment, such as mon chou (my sweet bun) or mon coeur (my love). Tête de pioches? That’s not exactly a term of endearment. In fact, it’s the opposite.

This is something you might say to someone who’s acting without rationale or forethought. Perhaps they were engaged in bêtises (stupidity) or cochonneries (nonsense). This term translates roughly to “blockhead.”

How it’s used:

I’ll leave it up to your discretion for what circumstance you’ll save this phrase, but it’s not something you’d use in a formal setting! A mother may refer to her careless child as a tête de pioches the 10th time they knocked over a water cup at the dinner table (not that I speak from experience…).

La grasse matinée

You’ve woken up leisurely after the sun, without an alarm. You slowly pad around the kitchen fixing a cup of coffee and a piece of toast… then get right back in bed. You might lay there while the coffee brews, maybe paging through the paper or watching your favorite TV show. A lazy morning sleeping in—this is what grasse matinée refers to, even though it translates literally to “fat morning.”

How it’s used:

Use this whenever you want to describe the best kind of morning: slow, relaxed and with nothing pressing on the agenda. If you enjoyed sleeping in this morning, you might mention, j’ai fait la grasse matinée jusqu’à midi. (I slept in until noon).

L’embouteillage

Translated in English to “bottling,” this word is used to describe slow or congested traffic. But really, isn’t this term just a perfect description of that infuriatingly, illogically slow traffic we all despise? I can’t think of a better way to describe a traffic jam.

How it’s used:

You would use this word just as you might in English. You might say, il y avait de l’embouteillage sur la grande route ce matin. (There was slow-moving traffic on the highway this morning.)

Mince

A rough equivalent of this word would be “shoot” or “darn,” although it translates literally to “thin.” This is a slang word that can be used to express mild frustration or annoyance.

How it’s used:

You could use this in most settings without too much concern for company. Whether you just stubbed your toe or loaded the wrong powerpoint presentation at a big meeting, you’d be safe to exclaim, mince!

L’ennui

You may’ve seen this word referenced in English, and like other French words, it’s been adapted for use outside of the French language sphere.

That said, this is another of those French words that doesn’t quite have the same connotation in English. A rough equivalent may be “boredom,” but there’s more to it than that.

How it’s used:

This word can change its meaning depending on the setting. You might say, je m’ennuie! (I’m bored!), but if it’s pluralized (by adding an s), the word refers to troubles or nuisance: des ennuis au bureau (trouble at the office).

Gueule de bois

I’ve saved my favorite one for last. Gueule de bois literally means “wooden throat/mouth.” This is a form of slang that refers to a hangover.

This expression comes from the feeling one might get after a night of drinking that leaves the throat dry and dehydrated.

How it’s used:

Hopefully you won’t often experience that regretful feeling after a late night out, but next time you do, you can say: J’ai mal à la tête! J’ai la gueule de bois. (I have a headache! I’ve got a hangover.)

And there you have it! Next time your French is feeling a little uninspired, take a stab at incorporating some of these cool French words and phrases. I personally challenge you to use both meanings of avocat (lawyer/avocado) in the same sentence.

Loie Gervais is an educational writer and editor. She specializes in language, post-secondary education, academic skills and organizational behavior.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you’ll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.

Experience French immersion online!

10 Cool French Words That’Ll Make You Appreciate The Language Again / 2023

Let’s face it: some are just plain boring.

There are those words like bien (well/good) and chose (thing) that French learners use from day one… then there are words like d’accord (agreed/okay) that pad so many French conversations…

Don’t nod off just yet! Those plain old common words are definitely essential to your French, but they’re not what we’re focusing on today.

Instead, we’re going to look at the cool French words you aren’t using enough. They’ll refresh your communication skills and keep you from getting bogged down or burned out as you build your French vocabulary.

What’s So Useful About These Cool French Words?

We all know why vocabulary is so important-you need the right words to express yourself in French! Learning some fun, cool French words won’t just expand your vocabulary, but will also benefit your language studies in bigger ways.

They’ll reinvigorate your motivation to learn: Think back to the first time you heard someone speak French. You may’ve felt a deep sense of awe at how beautiful the language sounded.

There are many cool French words, like the ones we’ll discuss below, that can take you back to this feeling-whether they sound incredible, have interesting definitions or express something we don’t quite have a word for in English.

They’ll give you a brain boost: Research shows that learning foreign vocabulary is good for your brain. Taking the time to study new and interesting French words will exercise your brain and keep you on your A game in all areas of your language studies (and beyond!).

The cool French words will also make you sound… well, pretty cool! In fact, as pointed out by this video from FluentU’s YouTube channel, the French use cool words all the time. Sure, some of them are slang words that can’t be used in formal contexts such as at work or at school, but learning these French words will help you sound more like a French native speaker.

Check out videos about learning the French that real native speakers use on FluentU’s YouTube channel!

Finding More Cool Words for Your Vocabulary

The words below are just a start. If you want to continue spicing up your vocabulary with the most interesting words French has to offer, here are some ways to do just that:

Each video comes with interactive captions that give you instant definitions or pronunciations for any word you don’t recognize. You’ll rapidly grow your vocabulary while absorbing French the way native speakers really use it.

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the words you’ve learned and suggests new videos to keep you moving forward. You can see for yourself by signing up for a free trial.

These words weren’t just chosen because they’re beautiful ( although there’s plenty of those) but for one or more of these reasons:

They’re quirky or funny

They sound interesting

They don’t have an English equivalent

Débrouillard

A rough translation of this word would be “resourceful” or “wily,” but it really doesn’t have a true English equivalent. To understand the meaning of this word, let’s picture what someone who’s débrouillard might look like.

This person is able to take care of things for themselves. When life gets tough, they can surmount difficulties without much help from others. That isn’t to say someone who’s débrouillard won’t ask for help-they will, if they need to get things done-but they don’t depend on other people to solve their problems for them.

How it’s used:

My mother used this word when I was being a whiny kid: Débrouille-toi! (Figure it out!)

But it can also be used to refer to a positive character trait: Le garçon est jeune mais débrouillard. (The boy is young but resourceful.)

Cochonnerie

This word may remind you of the French word cochon (pig), and it’s actually not far off.

Cochonnerie is used in a variety of situations, but the connotation is negative, as it can mean “junk” or “rubbish.” You may use this word to refer to junk food, or to something useless.

How it’s used:

If you want to refer to food, you could use this word in a phrase like: La nuit d’Halloween j’ai trop mangé de cochonneries. (On halloween I ate too much junk food.)

In a different setting, a teacher may tell her class to stop misbehaving with the warning Arrêtez vos cochonneries!

This world literally means “stupidity,” but it goes much deeper than that. This is another word that doesn’t directly translate to English. It’s used to describe a behavior or action that lacks basic intelligence, common sense or judgement. However, it can also be used in a variety of other unexpected ways.

Note that a different form of this word, les bêtes, can refer to animals, and colloquially this word can be used to describe someone who has been working very hard comme une bête (like a dog).

How it’s used:

If a group of teenagers are engaging in what might be described as rebellious or risky behavior, such as coming home past curfew, their parents might say: Les adolescents font des bêtises. (The kids are being stupid).

Believe it or not, this word can mean two completely different things. Depending on the gender and the context, avocat could translate to “lawyer” or “avocado.”

Although the gender can help to distinguish which you’re talking about, this can get a little confusing because the masculine form of avocat ( un avocat) can mean male lawyer or avocado. However, the feminine version, une avocate, means female lawyer.

How it’s used:

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but as we’ve seen, you’ll be relying on context here because gender may sometimes lead you astray. Let’s just say that you’ll have to assume your audience isn’t bête (stupid) and will have the common sense to know whether you’re referring to an attorney or the main ingredient in a bowl of guacamole.

Tête de pioches

You may be familiar with French terms of endearment, such as mon chou (my sweet bun) or mon coeur (my love). Tête de pioches? That’s not exactly a term of endearment. In fact, it’s the opposite.

This is something you might say to someone who’s acting without rationale or forethought. Perhaps they were engaged in bêtises (stupidity) or cochonneries (nonsense). This term translates roughly to “blockhead.”

How it’s used:

I’ll leave it up to your discretion for what circumstance you’ll save this phrase, but it’s not something you’d use in a formal setting! A mother may refer to her careless child as a tête de pioches the 10th time they knocked over a water cup at the dinner table (not that I speak from experience…).

La grasse matinée

You’ve woken up leisurely after the sun, without an alarm. You slowly pad around the kitchen fixing a cup of coffee and a piece of toast… then get right back in bed. You might lay there while the coffee brews, maybe paging through the paper or watching your favorite TV show. A lazy morning sleeping in-this is what grasse matinée refers to, even though it translates literally to “fat morning.”

How it’s used:

Use this whenever you want to describe the best kind of morning: slow, relaxed and with nothing pressing on the agenda. If you enjoyed sleeping in this morning, you might mention, j’ai fait la grasse matinée jusqu’à midi. (I slept in until noon).

L’embouteillage

Translated in English to “bottling,” this word is used to describe slow or congested traffic. But really, isn’t this term just a perfect description of that infuriatingly, illogically slow traffic we all despise? I can’t think of a better way to describe a traffic jam.

How it’s used:

You would use this word just as you might in English. You might say, il y avait de l’embouteillage sur la grande route ce matin. (There was slow-moving traffic on the highway this morning.)

A rough equivalent of this word would be “shoot” or “darn,” although it translates literally to “thin.” This is a slang word that can be used to express mild frustration or annoyance.

How it’s used:

You could use this in most settings without too much concern for company. Whether you just stubbed your toe or loaded the wrong powerpoint presentation at a big meeting, you’d be safe to exclaim, mince!

You may’ve seen this word referenced in English, and like other French words, it’s been adapted for use outside of the French language sphere.

That said, this is another of those French words that doesn’t quite have the same connotation in English. A rough equivalent may be “boredom,” but there’s more to it than that.

How it’s used:

This word can change its meaning depending on the setting. You might say, je m’ennuie! (I’m bored!), but if it’s pluralized (by adding an s), the word refers to troubles or nuisance: des ennuis au bureau (trouble at the office).

Gueule de bois

I’ve saved my favorite one for last. Gueule de bois literally means “wooden throat/mouth.” This is a form of slang that refers to a hangover.

This expression comes from the feeling one might get after a night of drinking that leaves the throat dry and dehydrated.

How it’s used:

Hopefully you won’t often experience that regretful feeling after a late night out, but next time you do, you can say: J’ai mal à la tête! J’ai la gueule de bois. (I have a headache! I’ve got a hangover.)

And there you have it! Next time your French is feeling a little uninspired, take a stab at incorporating some of these cool French words and phrases. I personally challenge you to use both meanings of avocat (lawyer/avocado) in the same sentence.

Loie Gervais is an educational writer and editor. She specializes in language, post-secondary education, academic skills and organizational behavior.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you’ll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.

Experience French immersion online!

101 French Words You Regularly Use In English / 2023

Even if you’re just starting to study French, believe it or not, you’ve already got a pretty extensive vocabulary!

The reason for this is over 10,000 English words come from French. Many others come from Latin, the language from which French originated.

This means that a significant number of English words have either exact French counterparts or very similar equivalents in French.

That’s something to celebrate! But, you might be wondering, just how did all of these French words get into English? How many French words are there in English? Let’s take a look at the French influence on the English language, and how it can help you with French vocabulary today!

When were French words borrowed into English?

In order to understand the way French influenced the English language, you have to know a little bit of history.

In antiquity, Celtic languages were spoken in the British Isles. Then, around 50 CE, most of the territory was invaded by the Romans. “Britannia” became a part of the Roman Empire, and Latin became the language of political and administrative life.

In the 5 th and 6 th centuries CE, Germanic tribes, including the Angles and the Saxons, invaded Britain, bringing their language with them.

But Latin remained a strong presence, since it was the language of the powerful and far-reaching Catholic Church (the Germanic tribes had quickly converted to Catholicism).

All religious services and texts were in Latin. This led to words commonly heard during masses and in religious parables becoming a part of everyday vocabulary.

Some of the Latin words that began to infiltrate the language of British people at this time include “devil” (Latin: diabolus) and “angel” (Latin: angelus).

Like its fellow Romance languages, French is a form of Vulgarized (that is, spoken by the people and influenced by previously existing local dialects) Latin. This is one of the reasons why there are so many similar words in French and Latin-influenced English. But it’s not the only reason why – not by far.

The main reason for the large number of French words in English can be chalked up to another invasion: the Norman Invasion of 1066, when William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquerant in French) staked his claim to the British throne and won it in the Battle of Hastings.

If you’re an art person, rather than a linguistics or history person, this battle may sound familiar – it’s immortalized on the Bayeux Tapestry.

After William’s accession to the throne, the royal court was made up of Norman (from Normandy) nobility, who spoke French.

Old English and French coexisted, often quite separately, since most people in Britain never had contact with nobility.

But over time, French words began to creep into English.

These were mainly in areas like law, administration, and, unsurprisingly, food. For example, this excellent (and very funny) video about the history of English points out that while words like “pig” and “sheep” have Germanic roots, their food forms- “pork” ( porc) and “mutton” ( mouton) – come from French.

A few other French words that entered the English language in this era include sovereign ( souverain), justice ( justice), and counsel ( conseil).

As the centuries went by, English continued to evolve, and and became recognized in its own right. It was used in the daily life of the upper classes and clergy, as well as the commoners. Latin did make a comeback, though. During the Renaissance, cultured people spoke it, and later, in the Age of Enlightenment, Latin was used again when classifying scientific discoveries and phenomena.

French words in English today

Over the course of its tumultuous history, and English has borrowed from and been influenced by many different languages. But French and Latin have had the most influence. French and Latin words make up 58 % of modern English vocabulary today. On their own, purely French words make up 29% of English.

It’s generally thought that around 10,000 words have been borrowed into English from French. Of those, according to this source, there are over 1,700 “true cognates” – that is, words that not only look the same or similar, but have exactly the same meaning in both languages.

Why is the French (and Latin) influence on English important to French learners?

Sure, etymology is fascinating, and sure, what you’ve just read might make for some fun party conversation (well, depending on what kind of parties you go to…). But is all of this really important? After all, even if you can speak English, that doesn’t mean you can speak French.

But in fact, knowing this tie to French can help you. For one thing, you may have already experienced reading something in French and realizing that you understood more than you’d expected, because some of the words are the same in both languages. And on an even more helpful scale, since certain lexical features like suffixes can be the same in French and English, you may be able to guess how to say certain French words.

Six suffixes that are the same in French and English

With that in mind, let’s look at six fairly common suffixes that are the same in both languages.

Like English, French has many suffixes. A number of these come from Latin. These include:

-ation. Examples: nation/la nation ; information/l’information

-tion. Examples: acceleration/l’accélération ; attention/attention

-ssion. Examples: mission/une mission ; passion/la passion

-able. Examples : capable/capable ; table/la table ; adorable/adorable

-isme. Examples: Impressionism/l’impressionnisme ; racism/le racisme

-if/ive. Examples: furtive/furtif/furtive; creative/créatif/créative

As you can see, not all of these words are identical down to the letter. But knowing that root words in both languages can have these suffixes added to them can be helpful, especially in French conversation. Personally, this rule was one of the things that made speaking French a lot easier for me. If I knew a word in English that had one of these suffixes, there was a good chance that it was the same or similar in French.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll no longer have to memorize vocabulary for words with these endings. After all, there are some that don’t follow the rule. Take “vacation” – in French, it’s les vacances. Still, these common suffixes are good to keep in mind.

French circumflex words and English

Unlike English, the French language involves a lot of diacritical marks. While most accents in French words are used to indicate things like pronunciation, verb tense, or gender, one of them, the circumflex, is basically just a historical marker.

Most French words that have a circumflex once had an “s” after the accented letter. So, for example, the word château was once chasteau. The word forêt was once forest.

That “once” is a time when French words were being borrowed into English, and so, interestingly enough, many French circumflex words have English counterparts that are very similar, with an “s”. You may already know or have guessed the English equivalents of château and forêt, for example – castle and forest.

(Before we continue, yes, I know château is also “chateau” in English, but that word has a very specific connotation and isn’t used as a general term the way château is in French.)

As you can see with château/castle, not all French circumflex words have remained exactly the same in the two languages. And in some cases, like être , there’s no similar English word at all. So, while the tie between French circumflex words and English could be helpful to keep in mind in some cases ( forêt/forest; hôtel/hotel; hôpital/hospital; théâtre/theatre, etc.), it isn’t a constant.

But for etymology fans like myself, it is a pretty neat tie to history, at the very least.

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False cognates – and why they exist in the first place

Some English and French words are written the same way or very similarly but have evolved to have very different meanings.

One of the most notorious of these is préservatif, which does not mean “preservative” in French, but…condom. Misusing this word is one of the most awkward French mistakes you can make!

So, the moral here is to still learn your vocabulary. But if you’re in a bind, you have a good chance of being able to find an equivalent French word if it contains one of those six suffixes I mentioned, or is related to a French circumflex word.

You may be wondering why faux amis exist at all, since English borrowed words directly from French and Latin. The answer is, it’s simply because of how language evolves. Even in English itself, certain words have changed meaning over time or have additional connotations than they previously did. A very interesting example of this – in both languages – is the word “gay”.

“Gay” was borrowed into English from the French gai (joyful, flashy). Over the 20 th century, it came to have an additional meaning in English: homosexual. Today, this is the dominant connotation that comes to mind for most English-speakers. The English “gay” has been borrowed back into French, where it also means “homosexual.” The French word gai(e) still means “happy” in French, although some francophones, including those in Quebec, also use this spelling instead of “gay”.

One of the most important things that etymology can teach us is that words are always evolving. While they’re being spoken and used by human beings, languages are living things. Faux amis aside, that’s pretty cool.

French words that are the same in English

Still, there are many words in English and French that are the same or very similar, both in spelling and meaning. Here’s a list of some of the most common. If you want to go further, at the end of this article, you’ll find a link to an extremely long and thorough alphabetical list.

French food and dining words that are the same in English

Many English food-related words originally came from French, but a majority of these have changed a bit over the centuries, to be pronounced and written in a more Anglophone way.

A good example of this are the words derived from the French word and verb , which include dinner, diner, and dinette, as well as the verb “to dine”.

You’ll notice, first of all, that all of these words are pronounced differently than their French ancestors. You’ll also notice that their meanings have expanded from these two original borrowed words: “dinner” and “to dine” are the counterparts of le dîner and dîner, respectively, but a diner and dinette are types of restaurant.

Interestingly, “dinette” is also a French word, but it’ s a classic example of a . In French, une dinette in French is a child’s tea party set or set of plastic food toys. (It can also mean a light, late evening meal, although I’ve personally never heard it used that way, for what it’s worth.)

This being said, there are other French words related to food and dining whose meaning and spelling have remained more or less the same in French and English. A number of these were borrowed into English in recent centuries, when French cooking became a hallmark of class for Anglophones.

Here are some of the most common food- and dining -related words that are the same (or extremely similar) in French and English:

à la carte : when you want to order individual dishes which are not part of a pre-established sequence of courses.

menu

apéritif

café (a type of restaurant)

salade

soupe

omelette

bon appétit

hors d’œuvre

vinaigrette

restaurant

alcool (This word was originally borrowed into French from Arabic, by way of Latin)

chef (This means boss in French and not only “cook”.)

British English speakers also often use some common French food words, including:

French fashion and appearance words that are the same or similar in English

Every culture has its trends, fashions, and notions of beauty, but France has an international reputation for expertise in this area. It’s no wonder, then, that so many French words related to fashion and appearance have been borrowed into English. Here’s a list of some of the most common -including one that’s a very recent addition to the English language:

prêt-à-porter

chic

couture

silhouette

petite

faux (usually used to describe synthetic fur (faux fur), as opposed to fur from an animal)

sans fard – If you’re a fan of pop culture and celebrity gossip, you’ve probably come across this term in recent years. “Sans fard” (sometimes written “sans fards”) means “without makeup” and describes a photo where a person is wearing no makeup, and may not even be groomed in a glamorous way (for example, unbrushed hair, etc.). Of course, sans fard photos aren’t always truthful – many celebrities have been called out for abusing the term, since they are wearing at least very basic makeup and have their hair done in the shot.

French art and culture words that are the same or similar in English

Here are some French words that you’ll often hear or come across (or use) in English.

Art Nouveau

avant-garde

bas-relief

film noir

matinee (Note that in French, this word is most commonly used as a way to say “morning”.)

papier mâché (For many English speakers, this is written slightly differently: papier mache)

trompe l’oeil

In addition to artistic movements like Art Nouveau and Art Deco, which keep their French names in English, many artistic movements are written in a similar way in French and English. One of the main reasons for this is the suffix -ism/-isme. Here are a few examples:

Impressionism/impressionnisme

Realism/réalisme

Surrealism/surréalisme

Cubism/cubisme

You can find many other French words related to culture and the arts, including classical dance-related vocabulary on this excellent and extensive list.

Other common French words used in English

Some French words we use in English, like repertoire and protégé, don’t have exactly the same meaning in both languages – or at least, not the same primary meaning. For example, répertoire in French is most commonly used to describe a list of phone numbers; protégé means “protected” in French). But many other French words in English are used the same way in French, more or less. Here are some of them:

bourgeois

brunette

blond(e)

adieu

au contraire

chauffeur

chic

critique

depot

déjà vu

(eau de) cologne

eau de toilette

en route

entrepreneur

fiancé (Note that while in English, this can refer to a man or a woman, in French, a female person someone is engaged to is fiancée, the word’s feminine form.)

genre

laissez-faire

maître d’ (this is used in its complete form, maître d’hôtel, in French)

joie de vivre

toilette

nouveau riche

faux pas

je ne sais quoi

carte blanche

voyeur

R.S.V.P (Many English-speakers don’t realize this is an abbreviation of Répondez s’il vous plait)

souvenir

par excellence

potpourri

Bon voyage (learn more here)

cliché (Note that in French, in addition to its most well-known meaning, cliché is another way to say “photo”)

au pair

femme fatale

bouquet

boutique

coup

milieu

ménage à trois

bon vivant

bon mot

coup d’état

de rigueur

savoir-faire

tête à tête

Voila (I usually see the word written without an accent in English, but remember that it’s actually written like this in French: Voilà).

du jour

These are just the most common French words in English, but there are many more, especially if you’re watching or reading something featuring educated, possibly pretentious characters – or spending time with them in real life. You can find a more extensive list of French words and expressions in English here.

The three kinds of French words in English – and where to find them all

The words on our lists are among the most noticeable French words in English, because they haven’t changed (or haven’t changed much) from their original spellings and meanings. But what about the thousands of other French words that are supposed to make up the English language?

Since most of these words have evolved over the centuries, they may still be very similar to their French ancestors, or quite a bit different. Take, for example, one of my favorite English words, “jaunty”, which evolved in both spelling and meaning from the French word gentil.

You can find an alphabetical list of French words in English, including these original borrowings that have evolved away from their French forms, here.

And of course, don’t forget the English words that have a counterpart in French thanks to Latin. You can see some of those on this list.

Do you have a favorite French word or expression that’s used in English? Are there any words these lists that surprised you? If so, why not try to use them today?

How To Make, Accept And Refuse An Invitation In French / 2023

Making or refusing an invitation is always tricky: finding the right words in French to do so with tact is essential. Furthermore, the grammatical constructions, verbs and tenses don’t always match between French and English. So you need to train a lot on this concept so the French way becomes natural to you…

To make, accept or refuse and invitation in French, we use mostly 3 irregular verbs : vouloir (want), pouvoir (can) and devoir (must).

Vouloir: je veux, tu veux, il veut, nous voulons, vous voulez, ils veulent (don’t say the ent but do say the L).

Pouvoir: je peux, tu peux, il peut, nous pouvons, vous pouvez, ils peuvent (don’t say the ent but say the V).

Devoir: je dois, tu dois, il doit, nous devons, vous devez, ils doivent (don’t say the ent, but do say the V).

Remember, when 2 verbs follow each other, the second one is in the infinitive; tu veux dinER.

You will find audio recordings of the verbs vouloir and devoir, and their correct modern French pronunciation + exercises in my French Verb Drills.

1 – How To Make an Invitation In French

To say “would you like”, we say “do you want to” – we do not use the verb “aimer”, we use the verb “vouloir”. And we use the present tense, not the conditional.Est-ce que tu veux dîner avec moi ?Est-ce que vous voulez jouer au tennis avec nous ?

So, if you translate literally, we say “do you want to have dinner with me”, “Do you want to play tennis with us”, but the meaning is “would you like to…”: this is the polite way to invite someone in French.

You cannot translate word by word, so you need to train until this way of making an invitation in French sounds normal to you.

2 – How to Accept an Invitation in French?

There are many ways to accept, but here are the most common:

Volontiers – with pleasure – we also use “avec plaisir” but it’s a bit less common.

Oui, d’accord – yes, OK, I agree

Je veux bien. – OK, I’d love to, meaning YES, I accept.Note that in English, “I’d love to” can lead to a positive or negative answer (yes I’d love to ≠ I’d love to but I can’t).In this context (an invitation) “Je veux bien” means that you accept the invitation.You cannot say “je veux bien mais…” and then refuse or give an excuse.

Examples of accepting an invitation in French:

Oui, je veux bien aller au cinéma avec toi, merci.

D’accord, à quelle heure ?

Volontiers, merci, c’est très gentil.

3 – How To Politely Refuse an Invitation in French?

Refusing an invitation in French – or in any language – is not easy. You need to be tactful, not hurt the other person’s feelings, but also make the message clear. Let me warn you that the typical French may be a bit blunter than the Americans on this front…

Non, je ne veux pas – No, I don’t want to.If you may need to say that in some occasion, be careful that it is quite strong, and can be seen as rude.

We tend to use the expressions below:

Malheureusement…. then give an excuse – unfortunately. It’s pronounced “ma leu reuz man(nasal)”

Désolé(e)… then give an excuse – sorry

Je voudrais bien, mais… then give an excuse.Same remark as above, you need to watch out!In this context (answering to an invitation) “Je voudrais bien” means that you actually refuse the invitation.

Examples of politely refusing an invitation in French:

Non, désolée, je ne peux pas dîner avec toi ce soir. J’ai déjà des projets.

Non, je ne veux pas acheter ce magazine ! Arrêtez d’insister ! (stop insisting – quite strong)

Malheureusement, nous ne pouvons pas ce soir. Peut-être que nous pouvons dîner ensemble samedi soir ?

Je voudrais bien, mais malheureusement, je ne peux pas. Est-ce que tu peux la semaine prochaine ?

Note that in French, it is not considered rude to not say why you cannot accept the invitation. French people will often just say that they cannot, then offer another day to meet. In the States, people always said why they couldn’t make it, even when my students canceled a class…

I felt they were telling me too much, especially when this was business related. I guess that in France we are blunter when it comes to making/accepting/refusing invitations. It’s about finding a date that works for everybody, not about telling your personal life. I’m in no way judging, just pointing out cultural differences.

4 – How to Ask for Something Politely in French

Note that in French, we use the verb “vouloir”in the conditional, just like in English, to ask for something politely.

je voudrais, tu voudrais, il voudrait, nous voudrions, vous voudriez, ils voudraient.

Je voudrais réserver une table pour deux personnes s’il vous plaît.

To learn More on French politeness, I invite you to check out my audio masterclass on French politeness and greetings: on top of teaching you the modern French pronunciation of these quintessential French expressions, this lesson will explain cultural points such as tu versus vous, and give you plenty of practice with audio.

I suggest you check out my article on why French women don’t date – pointing out huge differences between the French and the American dating system.

5 – Asking for Permission in French – Can, may I have…

You can also use “pouvoir” to ask for permission, but still in the present tense;Est-ce qu’il peut regarder la télévision avec Marc ?

Note that you cannot say “peux-je”. You may say “puis-je” but it is very formal and kind of old fashion.

“Pourrais-je” (conditional of politeness) is used but quite formal, “est-ce que je peux” is the most common one.

6 – How do you say “would You Mind” in French?

Note that the answer in French is “OUI, je veux bien” in the affirmative : this means that you are willing to do it, that you do not mind. We don’t use a negative, we don’t say “NO, I wouldn’t mind”. This always confuses me when I speak English, to say “no, I wouldn’t mind” meaning “yes, I’m willing to do it”…

If you DO mind and therefore don’t want to do it, you cannot say “je ne veux pas bien “, but just say “je ne veux pas” or something less direct like “je n’ai pas vraiment envie” (I don’t feel like it).

Est-ce que tu veux bien ouvrir la fenêtre s’il te plaît ? – oui, bien sûr, pas de problème. – non, désolé, j’ai un peu froid.

6 – How To Express Permission/Wish in French – I wouldn’t mind having…

Another way of asking for permission, less direct, is saying “I wouldn’t mind having some tea” (or I would be willing to have some tea if you prefer…)

– Est-ce que vous voulez du thé? – Non merci, (je ne veux pas de thé – you don’t actually have to say that).Mais je voudrais bien du café s’il vous plaît.

It’s a less direct way than saying “may I have some tea”…Je voudrais bien du thé.

7 – Note the Difference Between

J’aime écouter la radio (I like to listen to the radio – saying what you like and don’t like).

Est-ce que tu veux écouter la radio ? (would you like to listen to the radio – invitation, but we use the present tense).

Je voudrais écouter la radio s’il vous plaît (I would like to listen to the radio – permission – conditional of politeness)

8 – Contrast the tenses used in this dialogue

Unlike English, we use the present tense for the question and the negative answer.

We use the conditional of politeness to express our wish.

Voilà, I hope it’s not clear as mud 🙂 It’s a lot to take in!

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