Comme il faut

Proper French Expression

Comme il faut
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Meaning properly, correctly, respectably
Literally as it must
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Pronunciation French sound files [kuh meel foh]
IPA   [kɔ mil fo]

Usage notes: When etiquette counts, you can request respectability with the French expression comme il faut. The impersonal verb falloir means "to be necessary," so comme il faut means “as (it) is necessary” or, more idiomatically, “correctly, respectably.”

Par exemple…

Conduis-toi comme il faut.   Behave, Be on your best behavior.
Personne ne s’habille plus comme il faut.   No one dresses respectably any more.
C’est chez eux que les enfants apprennent à se comporter comme il faut.   Kids learn to behave (properly) at home.
Je n’ai jamais appris à écrire comme il faut.   I never learned to write correctly.


  • bien
  • convenablement
  • correctement

Comme il faut can be used as an adjectival phrase.

Par exemple…

des écoliers très comme il faut   very well-behaved students


  • bien éduqué
  • sage

Comme il faut can also mean “as it should” or “like it’s supposed to”:

Par exemple…

Toutes les machines fonctionnent comme il faut.   All of the machines are working normally.


  • comme prévu
  • normalement

 En anglais

Comme il faut is used in English with a somewhat pretentious nuance that doesn’t necessarily exist in French.

It’s not comme il faut for guests to wear white to a wedding.

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Comme il faut


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