Essential French

Essential French phrases
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Français indispensable

Knowing just a few key words and phrases can be very helpful in your French classes, while traveling in France, and everywhere in between.

Here are some general terms; please see the list at the end for more specific vocabulary.

Communication Issues

Do you speak English?   Parlez-vous anglais ?
(or some other language)
I speak (a little) French.   Je parle (un peu de) français.
What?   Comment ?
I don’t understand.   Je ne comprends pas.
Repeat, please.   Répétez, s’il vous plaît.
More slowly   Plus lentement
One more time   Encore une fois
I have a problem.   J’ai un problème.


What does ___ mean?   Que veut dire ___ ?
How do you say ___ in French?   Comment dit-on ___ en français ?

Questions and Answers

      Related lessons
I have a question.   J’ai une question. Asking questions
I don’t know.   Je ne sais pas.
who   qui Interrogative pronouns, Relative pronouns
what   quoi
when   quand Interrogative adverbs
why   pourquoi
how   comment
yes   oui Yes in French
yes (in response to no)   si
no   non No in French
OK   d’accord
and   et Coordinating conjunctions
or   ou

 More essential French

French for beginners French for beginners

Self-study checklist with lessons, quizzes, and comprehension exercises.

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Essential French

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