What are the most useful phrases to learn in French?

Learning a new language often means learning the most commonly used and essential phrases first. It’s the same when you learn French. It would help if you grasped some essential French phrases so that you’ll be able to communicate while you’re still learning the language.

Take note of “Tu” and “Vous”

Like many other languages, French has two ways to say “you,” mainly depending on the person you’re addressing. Use ‘Vous’ when you’re talking to strangers or to people who seem older than you. Use ‘Tu’ when speaking to someone you’re familiar with on someone younger than you.

“Bonjour à tous” or “Hello everyone”

Everyone knows what does “Bonjour” mean. Use the phrase “Bonjour à tous” when you are addressing more than one person.

“Ça va” or “How are you?”

Initiating a conversation is a basic French communicating skill you should learn first. Asking a person how they are is easy to remember, and it’s one of the basic French phrases.

“Je ne sais pas” or “I don’t know”

This is another important phrase to learn initially, especially if you are living or planning to travel to a French-speaking country. If you want to express that you don’t understand what your interlocutor is saying, you could also use “Je ne comprends pas” or “I don’t understand”.

“Répétez, s’il vous plaît” or “Repeat, please”

Use this phrase to ask you, conversational partner, to repeat something you didn’t hear well.

“Je voudrais” or “I would like”

You can use this phrase when you’re ordering food at a restaurant or when you want to express your will and intentions about something.

“J’ai besoin de” or “I need to”

Same as in English, this phrase expresses a need or desire about something.

“Ça marche” or “That works”

This is a very popular phrase that you don’t often see in French textbooks. Usually, it’s used to express that something is functioning properly, but it can also mean “OK” or “Great” depending on the context. Another more informal way to say it is “Ça roule”.

Avoid translating French into English

As a beginner, you’re likely to do some translation. However, as you advance in your French studies, it’s important to avoid translations. In fact, translating from your mother tongue lengthens your learning curve. You spend more time translating an idea from English into French than it would have taken putting it in French directly.

Enroll in a French class on italki

Finding a French teacher is an important step to take when you want to learn French. On italki, we have hundreds of French teachers and native tutors who can help you study more efficiently and improve your level. Consider taking a Trial Lesson with us and start learning French online today.