French I Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar

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1. Basic Phrases / les expressions de base Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

If you'd like to study these phrases (and their pronunciations) individually, please go to Basic French Phrases.

Hello / Good day / Good morning
Good evening
Bonne nuit
/bɔn nɥi/
Good night (only said when going to bed)
Hi / Bye
Au revoir
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.
Welcome (also You're welcome in Quebec)
/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)
I'm sorry
Pardon !
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...
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 ?
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 !
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
IPA Phonetic spelling Sample words General spellings
[i] ee vie, midi, lit, riz i, y
[y] ee rounded rue, jus, tissu, usine u
[e] ay blé, nez, cahier, pied é, et, final er and ez
[ø] ay rounded jeu, yeux, queue, bleu eu
[ɛ] eh lait, aile, balai, reine e, è, ê, ai, ei, ais
[œ] eh rounded sœur, œuf, fleur, beurre œu, eu
[a] ah chat, ami, papa, salade a, à, â
[ɑ] ah longer bas, âne, grâce, château a, â
[u] oo loup, cou, caillou, outil ou
[o] oh eau, dos, escargot, hôtel o, ô
[ɔ] aw sol, pomme, cloche, horloge o
[ə] uh fenêtre, genou, cheval, cerise e

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


French semi-vowels
IPA Phonetic spelling Sample words General spelling
[w] w fois, oui, Louis oi, ou
[ɥ] ew-ee lui, suisse ui
[j] yuh oreille, Mireille ill, y

French nasal vowels
IPA Phonetic spelling Sample words General spelling
[] awn gant, banc, dent en, em, an, am, aon, aen
[ɛ̃] ahn pain, vin, linge in, im, yn, ym, ain, aim, ein, eim, un, um,
en, eng, oin, oing, oint, ien, yen, éen
[œ̃] uhn brun, lundi, parfum un
[õ] ohn rond, ongle, front on, 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 + vowel egz examen, exercice
ex + consonant eks exceptionnel, expression
ch (Latin origin) sh architecte, archives
ch (Greek origin) k orchestre, archéologie
ti + vowel (except é) see démocratie, nation
c + e, i, y; or ç s cent, ceinture, maçon
c + a, o, u k caillou, car, cube
g + e, i, y zh genou, gingembre
g + a, o, u g gomme, ganglion
th t maths, thème, thym
j zh jambe, jus, jeune
qu, final q k que, quoi, grecque
h silent haricot, herbe, hasard
vowel + s + vowel z rose, falaise, casino
x + vowel z six ans, beaux arts
final x s six, 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:

  • after a determiner: un ami, des amis
  • before or after a pronoun: vous avez, je les ai
  • after a preceding adjective: bon ami, petits enfants
  • after one syllable prepositions: en avion, dans un livre
  • after some one-syllable adverbs (très, plus, bien)
  • after est

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.

  • rapid(e)ment, lent(e)ment, sauv(e)tage /ʀapidmɑ̃/ /ɑ̃tmɑ̃/ /sovtaʒ/
  • sous l(e) bureau, chez l(e) docteur /sul byʀo/ /ʃel dɔktoʀ/
  • il y a d(e)... , pas d(e)... , plus d(e)... /yad/ /pad/ / plyd/
  • je n(e), de n(e) /ʒən/ /dən/
  • j(e) te, c(e) que /ʃt/ /skə/ (note the change of the pronunciation of the j as well)

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
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's c'est /sɛ/ There is/are il y a /il i a/
There is/are voilà /vwala/ Here is/are voici /vwasi/
and et /e/ always toujours /tuʒuʀ/
but mais /mɛ/ often souvent /suvɑ̃/
now maintenant /mɛ̃tnɑ̃/ sometimes quelquefois /kɛlkəfwa/
especially surtout /syʀtu/ usually d'habitude /dabityd/
except sauf /sof/ also, too aussi /osi/
of course bien sûr /bjɛ̃ syʀ/ again encore /ɑ̃kɔʀ/
so so comme ci, comme ça /kɔm si, kɔm sa/ late en retard /ɑ̃ʀətaʀ/
not bad pas mal /pa mal/ almost presque /pʀɛsk/
book le livre /lə livʀ/ friend (fem) une amie /y nami/
pencil le crayon /lə kʀɛjɔ̃/ friend (masc) un ami /œ̃ nami/
pen le stylo /lə stilo/ woman une femme /yn fam/
paper le papier /lə papje/ man un homme /œ̃ nɔm/
dog le chien /lə ʃjɛ̃/ girl une fille /yn fij/
cat le chat /lə ʃa/ boy un garçon /œ̃̃ gaʀsɔ̃/
money l'argent (m) /laʀʒɑ̃/ job / work le 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/ I nous


tu /ty/ You (informal) vous /vu/ You (formal and plural)
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 am je suis /ʒə sɥi/ We are nous sommes /nu sɔm/
You are tu es /ty ɛ/ You are vous 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 was j'étais /ʒetɛ/ We were nous étions /nu zetjɔ̃/
You were tu étais /tu etɛ/ You were vous 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 be je serai /ʒə səʀe/ We will be nous serons /nu səʀɔ̃/
You will be tu seras /ty səʀa/ You will be vous 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 have j'ai /ʒe/ We have nous avons /nu zavɔ̃/
You have tu as /ty ɑ/ You have vous 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 had j'avais /ʒavɛ/ We had nous avions /nu zavjɔ̃/
You had tu avais /ty avɛ/ You had vous aviez /vu zavje/
He had
She had
One had
il avait
elle avait
on avait
/il avɛ/
/ɛl avɛ/
/ɔ̃ navɛ/
They had ils avaient
elles avaient
/il zavɛ/
/ɛl zavɛ/

Future tense of avoir - to have
I will have j'aurai /ʒoʀe/ We will have nous aurons /nu zoʀɔ̃/
You will have tu auras /ty oʀɑ/ You will have vous 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 hot être de retour /ɛtʀ də ʀətuʀ/ to be back
avoir froid /avwaʀ fʀwa/ to be cold être en retard /ɛtʀ ɑ̃ ʀətaʀ/ to be late
avoir peur /avwaʀ pœʀ/ to be afraid être en avance /ɛtʀ ɑ̃ navɑ̃s/ to be early
avoir raison /avwaʀ ʀɛzɔ̃/ to be right être d'accord /ɛtʀ dakɔʀ/ to be in agreement
avoir tort /avwaʀ tɔʀ/ to be wrong être sur le point de /ɛtʀ syʀ lə pwɛ̃ də/ to be about to
avoir faim /avwaʀ fɛ̃/ to be hungry être en train de /ɛtʀ ɑ̃ tʀɛ̃ də/ to be in the act of
avoir soif /avwaʀ swaf/ to be thirsty être enrhumée /ɛtʀ ɑ̃ʀyme/ to have a cold
avoir sommeil /avwaʀ sɔmɛj/ to be sleepy nous + être (un jour) /ɛtʀ œ̃̃̃ ʒuʀ/ to be (a day)
avoir honte /avwaʀ ʽɔ̃t/ to be ashamed      
avoir besoin de /avwaʀ bəzwɛ̃ də/ to need      
avoir l'air de /avwaʀ ɛʀ də/ to look like, seem      
avoir l'intention de /avwaʀ ɛ̃tɑ̃sjɔ̃/ to intend to      
avoir envie de /avwaʀ ɑ̃vi də/ to feel like      
avoir de la chance /avwaʀ də la ʃɑ̃s/ to be lucky      

J'ai froid.  I'm cold.
Tu avais raison.  You were right.
Il aura sommeil ce soir.  He will be tired tonight.
Elle a de la chance !  She's lucky!
Nous aurons faim plus tard.  We will be hungry later.
Vous aviez tort.  You were wrong.
Ils ont chaud.  They are hot.
Elles avaient peur hier.  They were afraid yesterday.
Je suis en retard!  I'm late!
Tu étais en avance.  You were early.
Elle sera d'accord.  She will agree.
Nous sommes lundi.  It is Monday.
Vous étiez enrhumé.  You had a cold.
Ils seront en train d'étudier.  They will be (in the act of) studying.
Elles étaient sur le point de partir.  They were about to leave.
On est de retour.  We/you/they/the people are back.

8. Question Words / les interrogatifs Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

Who Qui /ki/
What Quoi /kwa/
Why Pourquoi /puʀkwa/
When Quand /kɑ̃/
Where /u/
How Comment /kɔmɑ̃/
How much / many Combien /kɔ̃bjɛ̃/
Which / what Quel(le) /kɛl/

9. cardinal Numbers / Les nombres cardinaux Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

Zero Zéro /zeʀo/
One   Un /œ̃̃̃/
Two Deux /dø/
Three Trois /tʀwɑ/
Four Quatre /katʀ/
Five Cinq /sɛ̃k/
Six Six /sis/
Seven Sept /sɛt/
Eight Huit /ʽɥit/
Nine Neuf /nœf/
Ten Dix /dis/
Eleven Onze /ɔ̃z/
Twelve Douze /duz/
Thirteen Treize /tʀɛz/
Fourteen Quatorze /katɔʀz/
Fifteen Quinze /kɛ̃z/
Sixteen Seize /sɛz/
Seventeen Dix-sept /disɛt/
Eighteen Dix-huit /dizɥit/
Nineteen Dix-neuf /diznœf/
Twenty Vingt /vɛ̃/
Twenty-one Vingt et un /vɛ̃t e œ̃̃̃/
Twenty-two Vingt-deux /vɛ̃ dø/
Twenty-three Vingt-trois /vɛ̃ tʀwɑ/
Thirty Trente /tʀɑ̃t/
Thirty-one Trente et un /tʀɑ̃t e œ̃̃̃/̃/
Thirty-two Trente-deux /tʀɑ̃t dø/
Forty Quarante /kaʀɑ̃t/
Fifty Cinquante /sɛ̃kɑ̃t/
Sixty Soixante /swasɑ̃t/
Seventy Soixante-dix /swasɑ̃tdis/
(Belgium & Switzerland) Septante /sɛptɑ̃t/
Seventy-one Soixante et onze /swasɑ̃t e ɔ̃z/
Seventy-two Soixante-douze /swasɑ̃t duz/
Eighty Quatre-vingts /katʀəvɛ̃/
(Belgium & Switzerland) Octante /ɔktɑ̃t/
Eighty-one Quatre-vingt-un /katʀəvɛ̃ tœ̃̃̃/
Eighty-two Quatre-vingt-deux /katʀəvɛ̃ dø/
Ninety Quatre-vingt-dix /katʀəvɛ̃ dis/
(Belgium & Switzerland) Nonante /nɔnɑ̃t/
Ninety-one Quatre-vingt-onze /katʀəvɛ̃ ɔ̃z/
Ninety-two Quatre-vingt-douze /katʀəvɛ̃ duz/
One Hundred Cent /sɑ̃/
One Hundred One Cent un /sɑ̃ tœ̃̃̃/
Two Hundred Deux cents /dø sɑ̃/
Two Hundred One Deux cent un /dø sɑ̃ tœ̃̃̃/
Thousand Mille /mil/
Two Thousand Deux mille /dø mil/
Million Un million /õ miljɔ̃/
Billion Un milliard /õ miljaʀ/


French switches the use of commas and periods.  1,00 would be 1.00 in English.  Belgian and Swiss French use septante and nonante in place of the standard French words for 70 and 90 (though some parts of Switzerland use huitante for 80 and octante is barely used anymore).  Also, when the numbers 5, 6, 8, and 10 are used before a word beginning with a consonant, their final consonants are not pronounced. Phone numbers in France are ten digits, beginning with 01, 02, 03, 04, or 05 depending on the geographical region, or 06 and 07 for cell phones. They are written two digits at a time, and pronounced thus: 01 36 55 89 28 = zéro un, trente-six, cinquante-cinq, quatre-vingt-neuf, vingt-huit.


Ordinal Numbers / Les nombres ordinaux Listen to MP3 Flashcards

first premier / première
second deuxième / second
third troisième
fourth quatrième
fifth cinquième
sixth sixième
seventh septième
eighth huitième
ninth neuvième
tenth dixième
eleventh onzième
twelfth douzième
twentieth vingtième
twenty-first vingt et unième
thirtieth trentième

The majority of numbers become ordinals by adding -ième.  But if a number ends in an e, you must drop it before adding the -ième.  After a q, you must add a u before the -ième.  And an f becomes a v before the -ième.


Listen to the la téléphone : un message mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.

10. Days of the Week / Les jours de la semaine Listen to MP3 Flashcards

Monday lundi /lœ̃di/
Tuesday mardi /maʀdi/
Wednesday mercredi /mɛʀkʀədi/
Thursday jeudi /ʒødi/
Friday vendredi /vɑ̃dʀədi/
Saturday samedi /samdi/
Sunday dimanche /dimɑ̃ʃ/
day le jour /lə ʒuʀ/
week la semaine /la s(ə)mɛn/
today aujourd'hui /oʒuʀdɥi/
yesterday hier /jɛʀ/
tomorrow demain /dəmɛ̃/
next prochain / prochaine /pʀɔʃɛ̃/ /pʀɔʃɛn/
last dernier / dernière /dɛʀnje/ /dɛʀnjɛʀ/
day before yesterday avant-hier /avɑ̃tjɛʀ/
day after tomorrow après-demain /apʀɛdmɛ̃/
the following day le lendemain /lə lɑ̃dəmɛ̃/
the day before la veille /la vɛj/

Articles are not used before days, except to express something that happens habitually on a certain day, such as le lundi = on Mondays. Days of the week are all masculine in gender and they are not capitalized in writing.


Listen to the l'heure & la date : l'emploi du temps mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.

11. Months of the Year / Les mois de l'annEe Listen to MP3 Flashcards

January janvier /ʒɑ̃vje/
February février /fevʀije/
March mars /maʀs/
April avril /avʀil/
May mai /mɛ/
June juin /ʒɥɛ̃/
July juillet /ʒɥijɛ/
August août /u(t)/
September septembre /sɛptɑ̃bʀ/
October octobre /ɔktɔbʀ/
November novembre /nɔvɑ̃bʀ/
December décembre /desɑ̃bʀ/
month le mois /lə mwa/
year l'an / l'année /lɑ̃/ /lane/
decade la décennie /deseni/
century le siècle /lə sjɛkl/
millennium le millénaire /milenɛʀ/

To express in a certain month, such as in May, use en before the month as in "en mai."  With dates, the ordinal numbers are not used, except for the first of the month:  le premier mai but le deux juin.  Also note that months are all masculine and not capitalized in French (same as days of the week).

12. Seasons / Les saisons Listen to MP3 Flashcards

Summer l'été /lete/ in the summer en été /ɑ̃ nete/
Fall l'automne /lotɔn/ in the fall en automne /ɑ̃ notɔn/
Winter l'hiver /livɛʀ/ in the winter en hiver /ɑ̃ nivɛʀ/
Spring le printemps /lə pʀɛ̃tɑ̃/ in the spring au printemps /o prɛ̃tɑ̃/

13. Directions / Les directions Listen to MP3 Flashcards

on the left à gauche /a goʃ/
on the right à droite /a dʀwɑt/
straight ahead tout droit /tu dʀwɑ/

North le nord /lə nɔʀ/ Northeast le nord-est /lə nɔʀ(d)ɛst/
South le sud /lə syd/ Northwest le nord-ouest /lə nɔʀ(d)wɛst/
East l'est /lɛst/ Southeast le sud-est /sydɛst/
West l'ouest /lwɛst/ Southwest le sud-ouest /sydwɛst/

14. Colors & Shapes / Les couleurs & les formes Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

Red rouge /ʀuʒ/ square le carré /kaʀe/
Orange orange /ɔʀɑ̃ʒ/ circle le cercle /sɛʀkl/
Yellow jaune /ʒon/ triangle le triangle /tʀijɑ̃gl/
Green vert / verte /vɛʀ/ /vɛʀt/ rectangle le rectangle /ʀɛktɑ̃gl/
Blue bleu / bleue /blø/ oval l'ovale /ɔval/
Purple violet / violette /vjɔlɛ/ /vjɔlɛt/ cube le cube /kyb/
White blanc / blanche /blɑ̃/ /blɑ̃ʃ/ sphere la sphère /sfɛʀ/
Brown brun / brune
/bʀõ/ /bʀyn/
cylinder le cylindre /silɛ̃dʀ/
Black noir / noire /nwaʀ/ cone le cône /kon/
Pink rose /ʀoz/ octagon l'octogone /ɔktogɔn/
Gold doré / dorée /dɔʀe/ box la boîte /bwat/
Silver argenté / argentée /aʀʒɑ̃te/ light clair / claire /klɛʀ/
Gray gris / grise /gʀi/ /gʀiz/ dark foncé / foncée /fɔ̃se/

Some adjectives of color do not change to agree with gender or number, such as adjectives that also exist as nouns: orange, marron, rose; and compound adjectives: bleu clair, noir foncé remain masculine even if they describe a feminine noun.  Remember to place the color adjective after the noun.

15. Weather / Le temps qu'il fait Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

What's the weather like? Quel temps fait-il ? /kɛl tɑ̃ fɛ til/
It's nice Il fait bon /il fɛ bɔ̃/
bad Il fait mauvais /il fɛ mɔve/
cool Il fait frais /il fɛ fʀɛ/
cold Il fait froid /il fɛ fʀwɑ/
warm, hot Il fait chaud /il fɛ ʃo/
cloudy Il fait nuageux /il fɛ nyaʒ/
beautiful Il fait beau /il fɛ bo/
mild Il fait doux /il fɛ du/
stormy Il fait orageux /il fɛ ɔʀaʒ/
sunny Il fait soleil /il fɛ sɔlɛj/
humid Il fait humide /il fɛ ymid/
muggy Il fait lourd /il fɛ luʀ/
windy Il fait du vent /il fɛ dy vɑ̃/
foggy Il fait du brouillard /il fɛ dy bʀujaʀ/
snowing Il neige /il nɛʒ/
raining Il pleut /il plø/
freezing Il gèle /il ʒɛl/
hailing Il grêle /il gʀɛl/
It is ____ degrees. Il fait ____ degrés. /il fɛ __ dəgʀe/

Il pleut des cordes /il plø de koʀd/ is a common expression meaning it's pouring. Il caille /il kaj/ or ça caille /sa kaj/ is slang for it's freezing. And remember that France uses Celcius degrees.

Listen to the le climat: le temps dans les Alpes mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.

16. Time / Le temps qui passe Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises

What time is it? Quelle heure est-il ? /kɛl œʀ ɛ til/
It is... Il est... /il ɛ/
one o'clock une heure /yn œʀ/
two o'clock deux heures /dø zœʀ/
noon midi /midi/
midnight minuit /minɥi/
a quarter after three trois heures et quart /tʀwɑ zœʀ e kaʀ/
one o'clock sharp une heure précise /yn œʀ pʀesiz/
four o'clock sharp quatre heures précises /katʀœʀ pʀesiz/
twelve thirty midi (minuit) et demi /midi (minɥi) e dəmi/
six thirty six heures et demie /si zœʀ e dəmi/
a quarter to seven sept heures moins le quart /sɛt œʀ mwɛ̃ lə kaʀ/
five twenty cinq heures vingt /sɛ̃k œʀ vɛ̃/
ten fifty onze heures moins dix /ɔ̃z œʀ mwɛ̃ dis/
in the morning/AM du matin /dy matɛ̃/
in the afternoon/PM de l'après-midi /də lapʀɛmidi/
in the evening/PM du soir /dy swaʀ/

Official French time is expressed as military time (24 hour clock.) You can only use regular numbers, and not demi, quart, etc. when reporting time with the 24 hour system. For example, if it is 18h30, you must say dix-huit heures trente. The word pile /pil/ is also a more informal way of saying précise (exactly, sharp).


Listen to the l'heure & la date : l'emploi du temps mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.

17. Family & Animals / La famille & les animaux Listen to MP3 Flashcards Exercises


Family la famille /famij/
Relatives des parents /paʀɑ̃/
Parents les parents /paʀɑ̃/
Grandparents les grands-parents /gʀɑ̃paʀɑ̃/
Mom la mère / maman /mɛʀ/ /mɑmɑ̃/
Stepmother/Mother-in-Law la belle-mère /bɛlmɛʀ/
Dad le père / papa /pɛʀ/ /papa/
Stepfather/Father-in-Law le beau-père /bopɛʀ/
Daughter la fille /fij/
Son le fils /fis/
Sister la sœur /sœʀ/
Half/Step Sister la demi-sœur /dəmi sœʀ/
Sister-in-Law la belle-sœur /bɛlsœʀ/
Stepdaughter/Daughter-in-Law la belle-fille /bɛl fij/
Brother le frère /fʀɛʀ/
Half/Step Brother le demi-frère /dəmi fʀɛʀ/
Brother-in-Law le beau-frère /bo fʀɛʀ/
Stepson/Son-in-Law le beau-fils /bo fis/
Twins (m) les jumeaux /ʒymo/
Twins (f) les jumelles /ʒymɛl/
Uncle l'oncle /ɔ̃kl/
Aunt la tante /tɑ̃t/
Grandmother la grand-mère /gʀɑ̃mɛʀ/
Grandfather le grand-père /gʀɑ̃pɛʀ/
Cousin (f) la cousine /kuzin/
Cousin (m) le cousin /kuzɛ̃/
Wife la femme /fam/
Husband le mari /maʀi/
Woman la femme /fam/
Man l'homme /ɔm/
Child (m) / (f) un enfant / une enfant /ɑ̃fɑ̃/
Girl la fille /fij/
Boy le garçon /gaʀsɔ̃/
Niece la nièce /njɛs/
Nephew le neveu /n(ə)vœ/
Grandchildren les petits-enfants /p(ə)tizɑ̃fɑ̃/
Granddaughter la petite-fille /p(ə)tit fij/
Grandson le petit-fils /p(ə)tifis/
Godfather le parrain /paʀɛ̃/
Godmother la marraine /maʀɛn/
Godson le filleul /fijœl/
Goddaughter la filleule /fijœl/
Distant Relatives des parents éloignés /paʀɑ̃ elwaɲe/
Single célibataire /selibatɛʀ/
Married marié(e) /maʀje/
Separated séparé(e) /sepaʀe/
Divorced divorcé(e) /divɔʀse/
Widower veuf /vœf/
Widow veuve /vœv/
Dog le chien / la chienne (m) / (f) /ʃjɛ̃/ /ʃjɛn/
Cat le chat / la chatte (m) / (f) /ʃa/ /ʃat/
Puppy le chiot /ʃjo/
Kitten le chaton /ʃatɔ̃/
Pig le cochon /kɔʃɔ̃/
Rooster le coq /kɔk/
Rabbit le lapin /lapɛ̃/
Cow la vache /vaʃ/
Horse le cheval /ʃ(ə)val/
Duck le canard /kanaʀ/
Goat la chèvre /ʃɛvʀ/
Goose l'oie /wa/
Sheep le mouton /mutɔ̃/
Lamb l'agneau /aɲo/
Donkey l'âne /ɑn/
Mouse la souris /suʀi/

Le gendre /ʒɑ̃dʀ/ is another word for son-in-law.


Listen to the la famille : ma famille mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.


Slang words for people and pets:

The entire family toute la smala /tut la smala/ Sister la frangine /fʀɑ̃ʒin/
Grandma mémé / mamie /meme/ /mami/ Brother le frangin /fʀɑ̃ʒɛ̃/
Grandpa pépé / papi /pepe/ /papi/ Son le fiston /fistɔ̃/
Children des gosses /gɔs/ Aunt tata / tatie /tata/ /tati/
Kid un gamin / une gamine /gamɛ̃/ /gamin/ Uncle tonton /tɔ̃tɔ̃/
Woman une nana /nana/ Dog le cabot / clébard /kabo/ /klebaʀ/
Man un mec / type / gars /mɛk/ /tip/ /gaʀ/ Cat le minou /minu/


Listen to the animaux : chien ou chat ? mp3 and try the cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise from French Listening Resources.

18. To Know People & Places / connaitre & savoir Listen to MP3 Exercises

connaître-to know people /kɔnɛtʀ/ savoir-to know facts  /savwaʀ/
connais /kɔnɛ/ connaissons /kɔnɛsɔ̃/ sais /sɛ/ savons /savɔ̃/
connais /kɔnɛ/ connaissez /kɔnɛse/ sais /sɛ/ savez /save/
connaît /kɔnɛ/ connaissent /kɔnɛs/ sait /sɛ/ savent /sav/

Connaître is used when you know (are familiar with) people, places, food, movies, books, etc. and savoir is used when you know facts.  When savoir is followed by an infinitive it means to know how.
There is another form of savoir commonly used in the expressions que je sache that I know (of) and pas que je sache not that I know (of).

Je connais ton frère.  I know your brother.
Je sais que ton frère s'appelle Jean.  I know that your brother is named John.
Connaissez-vous Grenoble ?  Do you know (Are you familiar with) Grenoble? / Have you ever been to Grenoble?
Oui, nous connaissons Grenoble.  Yes, we know (are familiar with) Grenoble. / Yes, we've been to Grenoble.
Tu sais où Grenoble se trouve.  You know where Grenoble is located.
Ils savent nager.  They know how to swim.

Connaître can be translated several ways into English:
Tu connais le film, Les Enfants ? Have you seen the film, Les Enfants?
Tu connais Lyon ? Have you ever been to Lyon?
Tu connais la tartiflette ? Have you ever eaten tartiflette?

19. Formation of Plural Nouns / la formation des noms pluriels Listen to MP3

To make a noun plural, you usually add an -s (which is not pronounced).
But there are some exceptions:
If a noun already ends in an -s, add nothing. bus(es) le bus les bus
If a noun ends in -eu or -eau, add an x. boat(s) le bateau les bateaux
If a masculine noun ends in -al or -ail, change it to -aux. horse(s) le cheval les chevaux
Some nouns ending in -ou add an -x instead of -s. knee(s) le genou les genoux

Exceptions: festival, carnaval, bal, pneu, bleu, landau, détail, chandail all add -s. There are only seven nouns ending in -ou that add -x instead of -s: bijou, caillou, chou, genou, pou, joujou, hibou. There are, of course, some irregular exceptions:  un œil (eye) - des yeux (eyes); le ciel (sky) - les cieux (skies); and un jeune homme (a young man) - des jeunes gens (young men).

Notice that the only time the pronunciation will change in the plural form is for masculine nouns that change -al or -ail to -aux and for the irregular forms. All other nouns are pronounced the same in the singular and the plural - it is only the article that changes pronunciation (le, la, l' to les).

20. Possessive Adjectives / les adjectifs possessifs Listen to MP3 Exercises

Masc. Fem. Plural
My mon /mɔ̃/ ma /ma/ mes /mɛ/
Your ton /tɔ̃/ ta /ta/ tes /tɛ/
His/Her/Its son /sɔ̃/ sa /sa/ ses /sɛ/
Our notre /nɔtʀ/ notre /nɔtʀ/ nos /no/
Your votre /vɔtʀ/ votre /vɔtʀ/ vos /vo/
Their leur /lœʀ/ leur /lœʀ/ leurs /lœʀ/

Possessive pronouns go before the noun.  When a feminine noun begins with a vowel, you must use the masculine form of the pronoun for ease of pronunciation.  Ma amie is incorrect and must be mon amie, even though amie is feminine. Remember that adjectives agree with the noun in gender and number, not the possessor! Sa mère can mean his mother or her mother even though sa is the feminine form, because it agrees with mère and not the possessor (his or her).

C'est ma mère et mon père.  This is my mother and my father.
Ce sont vos petits-enfants ?  These are your grandchildren?
Mes parents sont divorcés.  My parents are divorced.
Sa grand-mère est veuve.  His grandmother is a widow.
Notre frère est marié, mais notre sœur est célibataire.  Our brother is married, but our sister is single.
Ton oncle est architecte, n'est-ce pas ?  Your uncle is an architect, isn't he?
Leurs cousines sont néerlandaises.  Their cousins are Dutch.


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