1. Basic Phrases / les expressions de base Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises
Bonjour
/bɔ̃ʒuʀ/
Hello / Good day / Good morning
Bonsoir
/bɔ̃swaʀ/
Good evening
Bonne nuit
/bɔn nɥi/
Good night (only said when going to bed)
Salut
/saly/
Hi / Bye
Au revoir
/ɔʀ(ə)vwaʀ/
Goodbye
S'il vous plaît / S'il te plaît
/sil vu plɛ/
Please (formal / informal)
Merci (beaucoup)
/mɛʀsi boku/
Thank you (very much)
De rien.
/də ʀjɛ̃/
You're welcome.
Je vous en prie.
/ʒəvu zɑ̃ pri/
You're welcome. (formal) / Go ahead.
Bienvenu(e)
/bjɛ̃vəny/
Welcome (also You're welcome in Quebec)
Allons-y!
/alɔ̃ zi/
Let's go!
A tout à l'heure
/a tu ta lœʀ/
See you in a little while
A plus tard
/a ply taʀ/
See you later
A bientôt
/a bjɛ̃to/
See you soon
A demain
/a dəmɛ̃/
See you tomorrow
Je suis désolé(e)
/dezɔle/
I'm sorry
Pardon !
/paʀdɔ̃/
Excuse me! (pushing through a crowd) / Sorry! (stepped on someone's foot)
Excusez-moi !
/ekskyze mwa/
Excuse me! (getting someone's attention) / I'm sorry! (more formal apology)
Comment allez-vous ?
/kɔmɑ̃ tale vu/
How are you? (formal)
Je vais bien
/ʒə ve bjɛ̃/
I'm fine.
Très bien / mal / pas mal
/tʀɛ bjɛ̃/ /mal/ /pa mal/
Very good / bad / not bad
Ça va ?
/sa va/
How are you? (informal)
Ça va.
/sa va/
I'm fine. (informal response to Ça va ?)
Oui / non
/wi/ /nɔ̃/
Yes / no
Comment vous appelez-vous ?
/kɔmɑ̃ vu zaple vu/
What's your name? (formal)
Tu t'appelles comment ?
/ty tapɛl kɔmɑ̃/
What's your name? (informal)
Je m'appelle...
/ʒə mapɛl/
My name is...
Enchanté(e)
/ɑ̃ʃɑ̃te/
Nice to meet you.
Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle
/məsjø/ /madam/ /madwazɛl/
Mister, Misses, Miss
Mesdames et Messieurs
/medam/ /mesjø/
Ladies and gentlemen
Vous êtes d'où ? / Vous venez d'où ?
/vu zɛt du/ /vu vəne du/
Where are you from? (formal)
Tu es d'où ? / Tu viens d'où ?
/ty ɛ du/ /ty vjɛ̃ du/
Where are you from? (informal)
Je suis de... / Je viens de...
/ʒə sɥi də/ /ʒə vjɛ̃ də/
I am from...
Où habitez-vous ?
/u abite vu/
Where do you live? (formal)
Tu habites où ?
/ty abit u/
Where do you live? (informal)
J'habite à...
/ʒabit a/
I live in...
Quel âge avez-vous ?
/kɛl ɑʒ ave vu/
How old are you? (formal)
Tu as quel âge ?
/ty ɑ kɛl ɑʒ/
How old are you? (informal)
J'ai ____ ans.
/ʒe __ ɑ̃/
I am ____ years old.
Parlez-vous français ? / Tu parles anglais ?
/paʀle vu frɑ̃sɛ/ /ty paʀl ɑ̃glɛ/
Do you speak French? (formal) / Do you speak English? (informal)
Je parle allemand.
/ʒə paʀl almɑ/̃
I speak German.

Je ne parle pas espagnol.
/ʒə nə paʀl pa ɛspaɲɔl/
I don't speak Spanish.
Comprenez-vous? / Tu comprends?
/kɔ̃pʀəne vu/ /ty kɔ̃pʀɑ̃/
Do you understand? (formal / informal)
Je comprends
/ʒə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃/
I understand
Je ne comprends pas
/ʒə nə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃ pa/
I don't understand
Pouvez-vous m'aider ? / Tu peux m'aider ?
/puve vu mede/ /ty pø mede/
Can you help me? (formal / informal)
Bien sûr.
/bjɛ̃ syʀ/
Of course.
Comment ?
/kɔmɑ̃/
What? Pardon?
Tenez / Tiens
/təne/ /tjɛ̃/
Hey / Here (formal / informal)
Je sais
/ʒə sɛ/
I know
Je ne sais pas
/ʒən sɛ pa/
I don't know
Où est ... / Où sont ... ?
/u ɛ/ /u sɔ̃/
Where is ... / Where are ... ?
Voici / Voilà
/vwasi/ /vwala/
Here is/are... / There it is.
Il y a ... / Il y avait...
/il i a/ /il i avɛ/
There is / are... / There was / were...
Comment dit-on ____ en français ?
/kɔmɑ̃ di tɔ̃ __ ɑ̃ fʀɑ̃sɛ/
How do you say ____ in French?
Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça ?
/kɛs kə sɛ kə sa/
What is that?
Qu'est-ce qu'il y a ?
/kɛs kil i a/
What's the matter?
Ça ne fait rien.
/sa nə fɛ ʀjɛ̃/
It doesn't matter.
Qu'est-ce qui se passe ?
/kɛs ki sə pas/
What's happening?
Je n'ai aucune idée.
/ʒə ne okyn ide/
I have no idea.
Je suis fatigué(e) / Je suis malade.
/ʒə sɥi fatiɡe/ /ʒə sɥi malad/
I'm tired / I'm sick.
J'ai faim / J'ai soif.
/ʒe fɛ̃/ /ʒe swaf/
I'm hungry / I'm thirsty.
J'ai chaud / J'ai froid.
/ʒe ʃo/ /ʒe fʀwɑ/
I'm hot / I'm cold.
Je m'ennuie.
/ʒə mɑ̃nɥi/
I'm bored.
Ça m'est égal. / Je m'en fiche.
/sa mɛ teɡal/ /ʒə mɑ̃ fiʃ/
It's the same to me / I don't care. (informal)
Ne vous en faites pas. / Ne t'en fais pas.
/nə vu ɑ̃ fɛt pa/ /nə tɑ̃ fɛ pa/
Don't worry (formal / informal)
Ce n'est pas grave.
/sə nɛ pa gʀav/
It's no problem. / It's alright.
J'ai oublié.
/ʒe ublije/
I forgot.
Je dois y aller.
/ʒə dwa i ale/
I must go.
A vos souhaits ! / A tes souhaits !
/a vo swɛ/ /a te swɛ/
Bless you! (formal / informal)
Félicitations !
/felisitasjɔ̃/
Congratulations!
Bonne chance !
/bɔn ʃɑ̃s/
Good luck!
C'est à vous ! / C'est à toi !
/sɛ ta vu/ /sɛ ta twɑ/
It's your turn! (formal / informal)
Taisez-vous ! / Tais-toi !
/tɛze vu/ /tɛ twɑ/
Shut up! / Be quiet! (formal / informal)
Je vous aime / Je t'aime
/ʒə vu zɛm/ /ʒə tɛm/
I love you (formal & plural / informal)
Tu me manques.
/ty mə mɑ̃k/
I miss you. (informal)
Quoi de neuf ?
/kwɑ də nœf/
What's new?
Pas grand-chose.
/pa gʀɑ̃ ʃoz/
Not a whole lot.


Notice that French has informal and formal ways of saying things. This is because there is more than one meaning to "you" in French (as well as in many other languages.) The informal you is used when talking to close friends, relatives, animals or children. The formal you is used when talking to someone you just met, do not know well, or someone for whom you would like to show respect (a professor, for example.) There is also a plural you, used when speaking to more than one person. Also notice that some words take an extra e, shown in parentheses. If the word refers to a woman or is spoken by a woman, then the e is added in spelling; but in most cases, it does not change the pronunciation. To make verbs negative, French adds ne before the verb and pas after it. However, the ne is frequently dropped in spoken French, although it must appear in written French.

Don't forget to check out my video series on informal French expressions and slang vocabulary at the Informal French tutorial


2. Pronunciation / la prononciation Listen to MP3 For a more in-depth look at French pronunciation, try to the French Phonetics tutorial.

French Vowels
IPAPhonetic spellingSample wordsGeneral spellings
[i]eevie, midi, lit, rizi, y
[y]ee roundedrue, jus, tissu, usineu
[e]ayblé, nez, cahier, piedé, et, final er and ez
[ø]ay roundedjeu, yeux, queue, bleueu
[ɛ]ehlait, aile, balai, reinee, è, ê, ai, ei, ais
[œ]eh roundedsœur, œuf, fleur, beurreœu, eu
[a]ahchat, ami, papa, saladea, à, â
[ɑ]ah longerbas, âne, grâce, châteaua, â
[u]ooloup, cou, caillou, outilou
[o]oheau, dos, escargot, hôtelo, ô
[ɔ]awsol, pomme, cloche, horlogeo
[ə]uhfenêtre, genou, cheval, cerisee

[ɑ] is disappearing in modern French, being replaced by [a]. Vowels that do not exist in English are marked in blue.

French semi-vowels
IPAPhonetic spellingSample wordsGeneral spelling
[w]wfois, oui, Louisoi, ou
[ɥ]ew-eelui, suisseui
[j]yuhoreille, Mireilleill, y

French nasal vowels
IPAPhonetic spellingSample wordsGeneral spelling
[ã]awngant, banc, denten, em, an, am, aon, aen
[ɛ̃]ahnpain, vin, lingein, im, yn, ym, ain, aim, ein, eim, un, um,
en, eng, oin, oing, oint, ien, yen, éen
[œ̃]uhnbrun, lundi, parfumun
[õ]ohnrond, ongle, fronton, om

[œ̃] is being replaced with [ɛ̃] in modern French

In words beginning with in-, a nasal is only used if the next letter is a consonant. Otherwise, the in- prefix is pronounce een before a vowel.

French Consonants
ex + vowelegzexamen, exercice
ex + consonanteksexceptionnel, expression
ch (Latin origin)sharchitecte, archives
ch (Greek origin)korchestre, archéologie
ti + vowel (except é)seedémocratie, nation
c + e, i, y; or çscent, ceinture, maçon
c + a, o, ukcaillou, car, cube
g + e, i, yzhgenou, gingembre
g + a, o, uggomme, ganglion
thtmaths, thème, thym
jzhjambe, jus, jeune
qu, final qkque, quoi, grecque
hsilentharicot, herbe, hasard
vowel + s + vowelzrose, falaise, casino
x + vowelzsix ans, beaux arts
final xssix, dix, soixante (these 3 only!)

There are a lot of silent letters in French, and you usually do not pronounce the final consonant, unless that final consonant is C, R, F or L (except verbs that end in -r).

Liaison: French slurs most words together in a sentence, so if a word ends in a consonant that is not pronounced and the next word starts with a vowel or silent h, slur the two together as if it were one word. S and x are pronounced as z; d as t; and f as v in these liaisons. Liaison is always made in the following cases:

It is optional after pas, trop fort, and the forms of être, but it is never made after et.

Silent e: Sometimes the e is dropped in words and phrases, shortening the syllables and slurring more words.

Stress & Intonation: Stress on syllables is not as heavily pronounced as in English and it generally falls on the last syllable of the word. Intonation usually only rises for yes/no questions, and all other times, it goes down at the end of the sentence.


3. Alphabet / l'alphabet Listen to MP3

a/a/
j/ʒi/
s/ɛs/
b/be/
k/ka/
t/te/
c/se/
l/ɛl/
u/y/
d/de/
m/ɛm/
v/ve/
e/ə/
n/ɛn/
w/dubləve/
f/ɛf/
o/o/
x/iks/
g/ʒɜ/
p/pe/
y/igrɛk/
h/aʃ/
q/ky/
z/zɛd/
i/i/
r/ɛʀ/



4. Nouns, Articles & Demonstratives / les noms, les articles & les demonstratifs Listen to MP3

All nouns in French have a gender, either masculine or feminine. For the most part, you must memorize the gender, but there are some endings of words that will help you decide which gender a noun is. Nouns ending in -age and -ment are usually masculine, as are nouns ending with a consonant. Nouns ending in -ure, -sion, -tion, -ence, -ance, -té, and -ette are usually feminine.

Articles and adjectives must agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. And articles have to be expressed even though they aren't always in English; and you may have to repeat the article in some cases. Demonstratives are like strong definite articles.

Definite Articles (The)
Masculine
Feminine
Before Vowel
Plural
le lit
/lə li/
the bed

la pomme
/la pɔm/
the apple

l'oiseau
/lwazo/
the bird

les gants
/le ɡɑ̃/
the gloves

Indefinite Articles (A, An, Some)
Masculine
Feminine
Plural
un lit
/œ̃̃ li/
a bed

une pomme
/ yn pɔm/
an apple

des gants
/de ɡɑ̃/
some gloves

Demonstrative Adjectives (This, That, These, Those)
Masc.
Masc, Before Vowel
Fem.
Plural
ce lit
/sə li/
this/that bed

cet oiseau
/sɛ twazo/
this/that bird

cette pomme
/sɛt pɔm/
this/that apple

ces gants
/se ɡɑ̃/
these/those gloves

If you need to distinguish between this or that and these or those, you can add -ci to the end of the noun for this and these, and -là to the end of the noun for that and those. For example, ce lit-ci is this bed, while ce lit-là is that bed.


5. Useful Words / les mots utiles Listen to MP3 Flashcards

It's / That'sc'est/sɛ/There is/areil y a/il i a/
There is/arevoilà/vwala/Here is/arevoici/vwasi/
andet/e/alwaystoujours/tuʒuʀ/
butmais/mɛ/oftensouvent/suvɑ̃/
nowmaintenant/mɛ̃tnɑ̃/sometimesquelquefois/kɛlkəfwa/
especiallysurtout/syʀtu/usuallyd'habitude/dabityd/
exceptsauf/sof/also, tooaussi/osi/
of coursebien sûr/bjɛ̃ syʀ/againencore/ɑ̃kɔʀ/
so socomme ci, comme ça/kɔm si, kɔm sa/lateen retard/ɑ̃ʀətaʀ/
not badpas mal/pa mal/almostpresque/pʀɛsk/
bookle livre/lə livʀ/friend (fem)une amie/y nami/
pencille crayon/lə kʀɛjɔ̃/friend (masc)un ami/œ̃ nami/
penle stylo/lə stilo/womanune femme/yn fam/
paperle papier/lə papje/manun homme/œ̃ nɔm/
dogle chien/lə ʃjɛ̃/girlune fille/yn fij/
catle chat/lə ʃa/boyun garçon/œ̃̃ gaʀsɔ̃/
moneyl'argent (m)/laʀʒɑ̃/job / workle travail/lə tʀavaj/

The expression il y a is reduced to y a in everyday speech. When il y a is followed by a number, it means ago. Il y a cinq minutes means five minutes ago. Some common slang words for money include: le fric, le pèze, le pognon, des sous and for job/work: le boulot.


6. Subject Pronouns / les pronoms sujets Listen to MP3

Subject Pronouns
je/ʒə/Inous

/nu/

We
tu/ty/You (informal)vous/vu/You (formal and plural)
il
elle
on
/il/
/ɛl/
/ɔ̃/
He
She
One
ils
elles
/il/
/ɛl/
They (masc.)
They (fem.)

Il and elle can also mean it when they replace a noun (il replaces masculine nouns, and elle replaces feminine nouns) instead of a person's name. Ils and elles can replace plural nouns as well in the same way. Notice there are two ways to say you. Tu is used when speaking to children, animals, or close friends and relatives. Vous is used when speaking to more than one person, or to someone you don't know or who is older. On can be translated into English as one, the people, we, they, or you.

Tutoyer and vouvoyer are two verbs that have no direct translation into English. Tutoyer means to use tu or be informal with someone, while vouvoyer means to use vous or be formal with someone.


7. To Be & To Have / Etre & avoir Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

Present tense of être /ɛtʀ/ - to be
I amje suis/ʒə sɥi/We arenous sommes/nu sɔm/
You aretu es/ty ɛ/You arevous êtes/vu zɛt/
He is
She is
One is
il est
elle est
on est
/il ɛ/
/ɛl ɛ/
/ɔ̃ nɛ/
They are
They are
ils sont
elles sont
/il sɔ̃/
/ɛl sɔ̃/

Past tense of être - to be
I wasj'étais/ʒetɛ/We werenous étions/nu zetjɔ̃/
You weretu étais/tu etɛ/You werevous étiez/vu zetje/
He was
She was
One was
il était
elle était
on était
/il etɛ/
/ɛl etɛ/
/ɔ̃ netɛ/
They were
They were
ils étaient
elles étaient
/il zetɛ/
/ɛl zetɛ/

Je and any verb form that starts with a vowel (or silent h) combine together for ease of pronunciation.

Future Tense of être - to be
I will beje serai/ʒə səʀe/We will benous serons/nu səʀɔ̃/
You will betu seras/ty səʀa/You will bevous serez/vu səʀe/
He will be
She will be
One will be
il sera
elle sera
on sera
/il səʀa/
/ɛl səʀa/
/ɔ̃ səʀa/
They will be
They will be
ils seront
elles seront
/il səʀɔ̃/
/ɛl səʀɔ̃/

Present tense of avoir /avwaʀ/ - to have
I havej'ai/ʒe/We havenous avons/nu zavɔ̃/
You havetu as/ty ɑ/You havevous avez/vu zave/
He has
She has
One has
il a
elle a
on a
/il ɑ/
/ɛl ɑ/
/ɔ̃ nɑ/
They have
They have
ils ont
elles ont
/il zɔ̃/
/ɛl zɔ̃/

Past tense of avoir - to have
I hadj'avais/ʒavɛ/We hadnous avions/nu zavjɔ̃/
You hadtu avais/ty avɛ/You hadvous aviez/vu zavje/
He had
She had
One had
il avait
elle avait
on avait
/il avɛ/
/ɛl avɛ/
/ɔ̃ navɛ/
They hadils avaient
elles avaient
/il zavɛ/
/ɛl zavɛ/

Future tense of avoir - to have
I will havej'aurai/ʒoʀe/We will havenous aurons/nu zoʀɔ̃/
You will havetu auras/ty oʀɑ/You will havevous aurez/vu zoʀe/
He will have
She will have
One will have
il aura
elle aura
on aura
/il oʀa/
/ɛl oʀa/
/ɔ̃ noʀa/
They will have
They will have
ils auront
elles auront
/il zoʀɔ̃/
/ɛl zoʀɔ̃/

In spoken French, the tu forms of verbs that begin with a vowel contract with the pronoun: tu es = t'es /tɛ/, tu as =t'as /tɑ/, etc. In addition, it is very common to use on (plus 3rd person singular conjugation) to mean we instead of nous.

Common Expressions with avoir and Etre Listen to MP3


Avoir and être are used in many common and idiomatic expressions that should be memorized:

avoir chaud/avwaʀ ʃo/to be hotêtre de retour/ɛtʀ də ʀətuʀ/to be back