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If you’re just diving into the French language, you’re in for a treat; the French language is certainly beautiful in our opinion, and a pleasure to learn. There are over 200,000 French phrases and words in the language, and many French dictionaries to choose from while you develop your French conversational skills. While that may seem a bit intimidating (over 200,000 words!), you truly only need to know 5% of those French words in order to have a compelling conversation with someone in French. So, if you start to learn basic French words and common phrases, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how confident you will be as you join others for conversation, in French.
But What About Those French Grammar Rules?
English words stem from a variety of origins, with 30% of our words coming from French origin. Some say English is really difficult to learn and others, not as much. Truly, any language can be viewed as either easy or hard to grasp, depending on your mother tongue and … your attitude. Instead of fretting over how hard it might be to learn French, find comfort in knowing that when you learn French with Rosetta Stone’s award-winning language program, it will be a positive experience. Our program is built to make deeper connections while learning French, so you can learn to speak with confidence even if you’re feeling intimidated by learning French words, phrasing and grammar in the beginning.
But, before you begin to learn French phrases, keep in mind some of these language-learning tips & general grammar basics:
Tips for Learning Basic French Words and More
Eager to “Parlez-vous français?” Chouette! (That’s a French slang word for “cool”).
As you start your journey to becoming a true Francophile: and embracing the language, keep in mind a few things:
Learn common words
By learning some common phrases and basic French words, you’ll build some confidence so that way when it comes time to learn more difficult phrases and grammar, you’ll be ready for the challenge.
The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture as much as you can, whether it’s watching French movies, talking to other French speakers, or reading French books—even children’s stories.
Of course, Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® method will also have you immersed in the French language. Our program teaches you new words and phrases based on real-life scenarios in which they’re used, so you’ll be prepared to have an actual conversation that doesn’t follow a textbook script as you build your conversational skills.
Know Some Basic Grammar Rules
This isn’t designed to be a primer on French grammar, but understanding some of these basic grammar rules will help you as you begin your language-learning journey.
- Articles in French rely on gender and number: In English, we use “the”, however in French, you use “le” for masculine subjects, “la” for feminine, and “les” for plural subjects (feminine or masculine); this rule is the same for the article “a/an”: “un” (masculine), “une” (feminine)
- Pronouns affect verbs in a different way: If you use a verb in the present tense in English like talk, you can say talk or talks—whereas, French verbs are dependent on the pronoun, meaning that one verb will have many different endings.
- Adjectives are placed differently: In English, we place the adjective before the noun but in French, adjectives are often found after the noun…but not always.
Learn Some Common French Words
Build your confidence up by starting with some basic words and phrases to start building your French word bank:
- Bonjour = Hello, Good morning
- Au revoir = Goodbye
- Oui = Yes
- Non = No
- Merci = Thank you
- Merci beaucoup = Thank you very much
- Fille = Girl
- Garçon = Boy
- Femme = Woman
- Homme = Man
- Amour = Love
- Français = French
- S’il vous plaît = Please
- Bonsoir = Good evening
- Bonne Nuit = Good night
- Excusez-moi = Excuse me
- De Rien = You’re welcome (casual, informal way)
- Je vous en prie = You’re welcome (formal)
- Temps = Time
- Jour = Day
- Monde = World
- Monsieur = Mister, gentleman
- Raison = Reason
- Mademoiselle = Miss, unmarried woman
- Madame = Married woman, older woman
- Beau = Handsome
- Belle = Beautiful
- Chat = Cat
- Chien = Dog
- Fort = Strong
More French Phrases & Common Things You May Say in French
- Je suis désolé(e)= I’m sorry
- Comment vous appelez-vous?= What is your name?
- Parlez-vous anglais?= Do you speak English?
- Je m’appelle= My name is
- Comment allez-vous?= How are you doing?
- Quelle heure est-il?= What time is it?
- Pouvez-vous m’aider?= Can you help me?
- Combien ça coûte?= How much is this?
- Je t’aime= I love you
While this certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of every basic French word or phrase you should know, this primer will help you while you begin your French lesson with Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone helps you converse in French confidently, whether you enjoy studying common French words, reading interesting stories in French, or talking to our native-speaking tutors–so you’ll be ready to have real-world conversations.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with French whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.