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Useful French Phrases and Expressions

Whether you are an aspiring Francophile (lover of French) or need to learn a few French phrases for a vacation in a French-speaking country, this page will teach you some of the most useful French words and phrases. You may want to memorize them all or pick just a few that seem to be most interesting and practical. Whatever your decision, taking some time to learn these common phrases will give you more choice and confidence when communicating with native French speakers, as well as classmates in your French class. The phrases in the table are accompanied with pronunciation guides and English translations. While studying the phrases below, it may be a good idea to occasionally consult your French-English dictionary and look up the definitions of individual words. You will discover that literal English translations are quiet different from the original French phrases. Dedicating a little extra time to word-by-word translations will help you to better memorize the phrases, achieve deeper understanding, and get some insight into how sentences are structured in French.

French phrase Pronunciation English translation
Bonjour bohn-zhoor Hello. (literally: good day)
Je m'appelle... zhuh mah-pehl My name is... (literally: I call myself)
Comment vous appelezvous? kohn-mahn voo zah-play voo What is your name?
Parlez lentement. par-lay lehn-ta-mohn Please speak slowly.
Je ne comprends pas. zhuh nuh kohn-prahn pah I don't understand.
Merci mehr-see Thank you.
De rien. dah ree-ehn You' re welcome
Excusez-moi. ehk-kew-zay mwah Excuse me.
Je t'aime. zhuh-tehm I love you. (informal)
Je veux être avec toi. zheh-vehr-eht-trah-ah-vehk-twah I want to be with you.
Comment allez-vous? kom-mohn tah-lay voo How are you? (formal or plural)
Je suis de... zhuh swee duh I am from...
Je voudrais... zhuh voo-dreh I would like...
Salut! sah-loo Hi! / Bye! (informal)
Ça va? sah vah How are you? (informal)
Où est-ce que se trouve...? oo escuh suh troov Where is...?
Combien coûte-t-il? bee en coo teel How much does it cost?
S'il vous plaît. see voo play Please.
Ne t'en fais pas. nuh tawn feh pah Don't worry. (informal)
Ne vous en faites pas. nuh voo zawn fett pah Don’t worry. (formal)
Non. nohn No.
D'accord dah-core OK
Je ne comprends pas. jhuhn kom-prohn pah I don't understand.
Avez-vous... ah-way voo Do you have...
Parlez-vous anglais? pahr-lay voo ahn-leh Do you speak English?
Qu'est-ce que vous avez dit? kehs-kuh voo ah-vay dee What did you say?
Qu sont les toilettes? oo sahn lay twah-leht Where are the bathrooms?
Ce n'est pas grave. suh neh pah grahv No problem.
Je vais bien. zhuh vay bee-ahn I’m fine.
Allons-y! ah-lohn-zee Let’s go!
Tu parles anglais? tew parl on-glay Do you speak English? (informal)
Je ne sais pas. zheh-nuh say pah I don't know.
Au revoir. oh-reh-vwar Goodbye.

Famous French quotations

In addition to basic words and phrases, you might want to have a couple quotes and sayings under your belt. We are working on separate lessons with French quotations, sayings and slang expressions. In the meantime, here are some inspirational quotes for you to enjoy.

Le genie est une longue patience.

Genius is patience.
- Buffon

C'est une grande habileté que de savoir cacher son habilité.

It takes great skill to hide the fact that you have great skill.
- Rochefoucauld

Le travail éloigne de nous trois grands maux: l'ennui, le vice et le besoin.

Work delivers us from three great evils: boredom, vice and want.
- Voltaire

Les homes ne croient jamais les autres capables de ce qu'ils ne le sont pas eux-mêmes.

People never believe others capable of doing that which they themselves are not capable of doing.
- De Gondi

Les grandes pensées viennent du coeur.

The greatest thoughts come from the heart.
- Marquis de Vauvenargues

L'homme n'est point fait pour méditer, mais pour agir.

Man was not made to meditate, he was made to act.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau