Basic French words

From please and thank you to good morning and good night you'll have what you need to be polite and win a smile for trying.

Use this page to quickly learn some basic French words and common French phrases. If you are serious about learning French then start at The French Language page where you will find free language videos for learning the alphabet, numbers, French greatings, apologizing and French listening skills for absolute beginners.

When you are more confident, you can move onto English to French grammar where we have listed useful French videos and information to get you started. You will learn about diacritical marks, French pronunciation, nouns, masculine and feminine and the rules of stress.

How to agree in French

In France, the word for French is Français.
Learn the Top 7 More Ways to Agree in French

Three French words for saying hello

  1. Salut - is the informal way of saying "Hi" or "Hello".
  2. Bonjour - is the formal way of saying "Hello" or "Good morning".
  3. Bonsoir - is the formal way of saying "Good evening".

French word list for everyday conversation

Here's a list of common French phrases that will help you communicate whilst travelling in France. Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you have a basic French vocabulary and the locals will appreciate your efforts.

English
French
Pronunciation
Yes
Oui
wee
No
Non
nong
Yes, please
Oui, s'il vous plaît
wee, seel voo play
No, thank you
Non, merci
nong, mair-see
Please
S'il vous plaît
seel voo play
Thank you
Merci (madame/monsieur)
mair-see (mah-dahm/mer-syer)
You're welcome
Il n'y a pas de quoi
eel nyah pah der kwah
Here is
Voici...
vwah-see
Here are
Voici...
vwah-see
There is
Voilà...
vwah-la
There are
Voilà...
vwah-la
Hello/Good morning/afternoon
Bonjour, (madame/monsieur)
bong-zhoor, (mah-dahm/mer-syer)
Hello/Good evening
Bonsoir (madame/monsieur)
bong-swahr, (mah-dahm/mer-syer)
Goodbye
Au revoir
oh rer-vwahr
Good night
Bonne nuit
bonn nwee
How are you? / How are you feeling?
Comment allez-vous?
kommahng tahlay voo
Very well, thanks
Très bien, merci
tray byang mair-see
Excuse me
Excusez-moi
ex-kewzay mwah
Do you speak English?
Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?
essker voo pahrlay ahng-glay
Can you help me?
Est-ce que vous pouvez m'aider?
essker voo poovay may-day
I don't understand.
Je ne comprends pas.
zher ner kong-prahng pah
I don't know.
Je ne sais pas.
zher ner say pah
Could you please write it down
Est-ce que vous pouvez l'écrire?
essker voo poovay lay-kreer
Sorry
Désolé(e)
day-zo-lay
Leave me alone!
Laissez-moi tranquille.
lay-say mwah trahng-keel
Where?
Où?
oo
When?
Quand?
kahng
How?
Comment?
kommahng
Why?
Pourquoi?
poor-kwah
Who?
Qui?
kee
Which?
Lequel?/Laquelle?
ler-kell/lah-kell
Where is...?
Où est...?
oo ay
How much?
Combien?
kong-byang
How many?
Combien?
kong-byang
What's that?
Qu'est-ce que c'est?
kessker say
I'd like...
Je voudrais...
zher voodray
I want...
Je veux...
zher ver
I like it.
Ça me plaît.
sahm play
I don't like it.
Ça ne me plaît pas.
sah ner mer play pah
OK
Ça va.
sah vah
Agreed
d'accord.
dah-korr
That's fine.
C'est bien.
say byang
I love you (singular)
Je t'aime
zhuh tem
I love you! (plural)
Je vous aime
zhuh voo zem

French words for Valentines Day

  1. Je t'aime (zhuh tem) - I love you.
  2. 14 février - 14th February.

Pronouncing French words

French = La Prononciation

The following examples show you how to pronounce French letter combinations. The italic examples are the English equivalents.

French = English equivalent

a = ah

ai = eh

au = oh

 

eau = oh

e = ee

eu = uh

ei = eh

 

i = ee

in = eh

ien = yeh

o = oh

ou = oo

on = aw

om = aw

oi = wah

 

u = uu

un = eh

For more information about French pronunciation and the rules of stress, view our English to French pronunciation page.

French words for measurement

French = La Mesure

Centimeter = le centimètre (0.39 in.)

Meter = le mètre (3.28 feet)

Kilometer = le kilomètre (0.621 mile)

Liter = le litre (1.75 pints)

Gram = le gramme (0.0352 oz.)

Kilogram = le kilo(gramme) (2.20 lbs)

Color (US) / Colour (UK) in French

French = La Couleur

The below English French translations show colors and there pronunciation with links to French lessons by Lya and FrenchPod101. You can watch all the French videos here: French Colors | Tutorial Videos.

Beige = beige

Black = noir/e

Blue = bleu/e

Brown = marron

Green = vert/e

Grey = gris

Orange = orange

Pink = rose

Purple = violet/te

Red = rouge

Yellow = jaune

White = blanc/-che

 

Dark = foncé

Light = clair/e

Here's a 2 minute video by Lya (weekly French words with Lya - colors), how to say colors in French.

Weekly French words with Lya - colors

FrenchPod101 have also created this great French colors vocabulary video (Learn French - French Color Vocabulary) which shows you how to say 17 colors with pictures.

Learn French - French Color Vocabulary

French words for saying the time

French = l'heure

What time is it? = Quelle heure est-il?

It is a quarter to two = Il est 2 heures moins le quart

 

1am = une heure du matin

1:05 = une heure du matin

2:10 = deux heures dix

3:15 = trois heures et quart

4:30 = quatre heures et demie

5:35 = six heures moins vingt-cinq

11:25 am = onze heures quarante cinq or midi moins le quart

Join Alexa in "What Time Is It? - part 1 (French Essentials Lesson 15)". Alexa will teach you the basics about how to tell time in French.

What Time Is It? - part 1 (French Essentials Lesson 15)

Once you have learnt the basics you can move on a more difficult lesson "What Time Is It? - part 2 (French Essentials Lesson 16)". Alexa will now show you how to build a sentence for telling the time.

What Time Is It? - part 2 (French Essentials Lesson 16)

noon = midi

midnight = minuit

today = aujourd'hui

morning = le matin

afternoon = l'après midi(m)

evening = le soir/la soirée

night = la nuit

tonight = ce soir

an hour ago = il y a une heure

a long time ago = il y a longtemps

not so long ago = il n'y a pas si longtemps

next month = le mois prochain

next summer = l'été prochain

next year = l'année prochaine

this weekend = cette fin de semaine

soon = bientôt

yesterday = hier

the day before yesterday = avant hier

that day = ce jour là

at that moment = à ce moment là

tomorrow = demain

the day after tomorrow = aprés-demain

Now that you have learnt some vocabulary, how about testing yourself with this listening exercise: Choosing a Delivery Time in France.

Choosing a Delivery Time in France

All of the French language lessons, which teach you to tell the time, can be found in our French Time | Tutorial Videos page.

French words for expressing the weather

Weather = Météo

What's the weather like? = Quel temps fait-il?

The weather is nice = il fait beau

It's warm = il fait chaud

It is foggy = il fait du brouillard

It is sunny = il fait du soleil

It is windy = il fait du vent

It's cold = il fait froid

The weather is bad = il fait mauvais

It rains / It's raining = il pleut

It snows / It's snowing = il neige

It is cloudy = le temps est nuageux

Alexa teaches you the French words for weather and the seasons in The French Weather (French Essentials Lesson 6) tutorial.

The French Weather (French Essentials Lesson 6)
(11 minutes 53 seconds long)

Lya sums up the Weather with her "Weekly French Words with Lya - Weather".

Weekly French Words with Lya - Weather
(1 minute 48 seconds long)

If you are feeling up for a challenge, try FrenchPod101's Listening to a French Weather Forecast listening comprehension video.

French Listening Comprehension - Listening to a French Weather Forecast
(3 minutes 2 seconds long)

For a complete list of English to French language tutorials which teach you how to talk about the weather, view our French Weather | Tutorial Videos page.

Learn French words with native speakers

You will learn French words faster when you listen to native speakers. These videos and lessons have been developed by French speaking teachers in a fun and friendly way. You will find your ability to remember essential words improves with every lesson and your pronunciation will being to flow much more naturally. We have included speaking exercises were ever possible. Listening to conversations in real life situations that you will expect to find whilst travelling around French speaking countries will be your greatest asset.

Build your French vocabulary with these language videos

Learning a language requires time to study and resources to learn. The time and effort will be entirely down to you. However, LanguageHelpers.com can certainly help with free French language lessons and vocabulary.

These videos are each about five minutes long and will provide you with hours of learning from beginners French to advanced French at no cost to you. The lessons are fun and very effective. This makes French language videos a great option for building your vocabulary. Each lesson concentrates on a single area so you get to grips with real life situations rather than random words. Having structure to your lessons will help you learn French words faster by building associations and memory patterns in your brain.

French Language Tutorial Title Details
Learn the Top 20 Words Youll Need for the Beach Learn the Top 20 Words Youll Need for the Beach French Top Words for Every Day!
Words the French Shorten Words the French Shorten EN FRANÇAIS
Learn the Top 10 Things to Do in the Summer in France Learn the Top 10 Things to Do in the Summer in France French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 Compliments You Always Want to Hear in French Learn the Top 10 Compliments You Always Want to Hear in French French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 Must-Know Expressions for Agreeing and Disagreeing Learn the Top 10 Must-Know Expressions for Agreeing and Disagreeing French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 15 French Adjectives that Describe Your Personality Best Learn the Top 15 French Adjectives that Describe Your Personality Best French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 20 Must-Know French Family Words Learn the Top 20 Must-Know French Family Words French Top Words for Every Day!
Want to Save the Planet? Earth Day in French Want to Save the Planet? Earth Day in French French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 Animal Sounds in French Learn the Top 10 Animal Sounds in French French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 Ways to Remember French Words Learn the Top 10 Ways to Remember French Words French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 Responses to 'How are you?' in French Learn the Top 10 Responses to 'How are you?' in French French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 French Phrases for Bad Students Learn the Top 10 French Phrases for Bad Students French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 French Foods Learn the Top 10 French Foods French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn French for Free Learn French for Free One French Word a Day
And in French And in French One French Word a Day
You in French You in French One French Word a Day
The in French The in French One French Word a Day
He in French He in French One French Word a Day
Not in French Not in French One French Word a Day
From, Of in French From, Of in French One French Word a Day
I in French I in French One French Word a Day
To Go in French To Go in French One French Word a Day
French lesson - The sound ill at the end of feminine words and verbs French lesson - The sound ill at the end of feminine words and verbs How to pronounce French sounds
French lesson - The sound ill at the end of a masculine word French lesson - The sound ill at the end of a masculine word How to pronounce French sounds
Learn the Top 10 New Years Resolutions in French Learn the Top 10 New Years Resolutions in French French Top Words for Every Day!
Learn the Top 10 French Sad Words Learn the Top 10 French Sad Words French Top Words for Every Day!
Weekly French Words with Lya - Negative Adjectives Weekly French Words with Lya - Negative Adjectives Weekly French Words with Lya!
French word for brother is le frére French word for brother is le frére Portable French - Emergencies
French word for aunt is la tante French word for aunt is la tante Portable French - Emergencies
French word for tennis is le tennis French word for tennis is le tennis Portable French - Recreation
French word for tent is la tente French word for tent is la tente Portable French - Recreation
French word for volleyball is le volley-ball French word for volleyball is le volley-ball Portable French - Recreation
French word for walking is la marche French word for walking is la marche Portable French - Recreation
French word for ice hockey is le hockey sur glace French word for ice hockey is le hockey sur glace Portable French - Recreation
French word for ice skates is les patins à glace French word for ice skates is les patins à glace Portable French - Recreation
French word for ice skating is le patinage French word for ice skating is le patinage Portable French - Recreation
French word for jogging is le jogging French word for jogging is le jogging Portable French - Recreation
French word for opera is lopéra French word for opera is lopéra Portable French - Recreation
French word for park is le parc French word for park is le parc Portable French - Recreation
French word for picnic is le pique-nique French word for picnic is le pique-nique Portable French - Recreation
French word for racquet is la raquette French word for racquet is la raquette Portable French - Recreation
French word for racquetball is le jeu de balle French word for racquetball is le jeu de balle Portable French - Recreation
French word for need is avoir besoin de French word for need is avoir besoin de Portable French - Common Verbs
French word for read is lire French word for read is lire Portable French - Common Verbs
French word for run is courir French word for run is courir Portable French - Common Verbs
French word for see is voir French word for see is voir Portable French - Common Verbs
French word for sit is sasseoir French word for sit is sasseoir Portable French - Common Verbs
French word for thank you is merci French word for thank you is merci Learn French - Polite French Conversation w/ Portable French
French word for foot is le pied French word for foot is le pied Portable French - Parts of the Body
French word for hair is les cheveux French word for hair is les cheveux Portable French - Parts of the Body

Common French words

The advantage of learning the most common French words first is that you will have a better chance of understanding parts of the conversations going on around you, helping you to pick up more French word patterns.

To become fluent in French you will need to learn around 5% of all available words which equates to 10,000 words. We can break this down into smaller steps: Learning just 100 of the most common words will enable you to understand half of the words you can expect to read in a book or online in a blog. Learn 1000 words and you will start to understand 75% of what you read.

Now concider, when you learn a word, how many words which sound similar are related?

On average, for every word you learn you will be able to work out 50 other words. Suddenly the world is a smaller place!