How to Speak French

Three Methods:Greeting Cheat SheetsBasic Phrase Cheat SheetsSpeaking French

Voulez-vous apprendre le français? Utilizing the spoken language will help you to improve your skills of speaking French. There are many other simple ways to aid your learning of this language which are listed below.

Greeting Cheat Sheets

Sample Ways to Say Hello in French

Sample Ways to Say Good Morning in French

Basic Phrase Cheat Sheets

Sample Ways to Say Goodbye in French

Sample Ways to Say Thank You in French

Sample Ways to Say How Are You in French

Speaking French

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    Expose yourself to French media, such as movies, news and songs, so that you can listen to native speakers. Satellite radio in the US now offers stations from Quebec. Some cable TV companies offer TV5 or other French stations.
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    Find or make a friend who speaks French well, and make an effort to practice your French with this friend. You can also find a pen pal or an online community that will let you ask questions and talk to others who are learning French.
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    Try to find out if a French conversation group is already meeting in your area. Online meeting are available which may help you with this.
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    Consider signing up for a language course at a local college or community college. Some high schools offer adult education classes in languages.
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    Subscribe to a kid's magazine written in French. Bayard Presse Jeunesse and Express Milan have websites which will show you quite a few offerings. Kids magazines are helpful because they have pictures, from which you can sometimes glean the meaning of words you don't yet know. They offer short and very short articles, which is helpful when you are very new to a language.
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    Consider a trip to Québec, New Brunswick, or Louisiana, if you live in North America. Museums in all three regions have bilingual exhibits and creative technologies which will offer you some good practice. While you are there, you can buy some books or other materials, and you will find yourself surrounded by French speakers, particularly outside of Montreal. Keep in mind though that you the farther you go from the Montreal you travel, you will find more people using French which is not as easily recognizable as international French. For example, in Québec's Gaspesie region, many heritages have influenced the development of language over the centuries, as many of the original settlers came from the Guernsey and the Jersey Islands, and not from France. The French dialects spoken in New Brunswick and Louisiana fall under the umbrella "Acadian French", and have local colour and unique differences of their own.
    • Learn the written form of common French words for daily use.
    • You can try watching a DVD, but change the language to French. If you are just starting out, you may want to add English subtitles. As you get better, change to French subtitles, and eventually no subtitles. Remember that the point of this exercise is to practice listening, so try not to just read the subtitles.
    • Practice using these words in a day-to-day situation.
    • Buy or borrow a computer game which can be listened to in French as well as English. Caillou has such a game, but this is offered only as an example. Others are probably occasionally available. Read the boxes and see what you can find.
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    Words to use (more can be found in this article):
    • Bonjour [bon-joor]
    • Oui [wee]
    • Non (Non) Say 'No' as if it were English, but for the last 'n', pronounce it but don't touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth again. It should sound like an abrupt 'No' in a French Accent.
    • Parlez-vous anglais? [parlay voo zon-glay?] (Do you speak English?)
    • Comment ça va? [Com-mon sa va?] (How are you?)
    • Au Revoir [auh revwar] (Goodbye)
    • Chaud [show] (Hot)
    • Froid [fwah] (Cold)
    • Comment t'appelles-tu? [com-mon tahpelle too?] / Comment vous appelez-vous?[com-mon voo zapplay voo?] (What's your name?)
    • Bonne Chance! [bonne chonce] (good luck!)
    • C'est La Loi [say la loe] (it's the law)
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    Learn the numbers (more can be found in this article):
    • Un [a(n)] (one) N is silent, accent will be broad but understood!
    • Deux [deur] (two)
    • Trois [twaah] (three)
    • Quatre [cut] (four)
    • Cinq [sank] (five)
    • Six [sis] (six)
    • Sept [set] (seven)
    • Huit [whit] (eight)
    • Neuf [nerf] (nine)
    • Dix [dis] (ten)
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    Remember: Tu is informal, vous is formal. Also, tu is singular, and vous is plural. If you are addressing more than one person, use vous.
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    Address strangers and authority figures with formal expressions (using vous), and use informal expressions only when speaking with your friends and family.
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    Even though "Je Suis" means " I am", do not use it in front of "chaud" or "froid" if you are hot or cold as this means something entirely different and is guaranteed to earn you a lot of glares in polite company and could possibly lead to very sticky situations. Je suis chaud is quite rude in French. Use "J'ai" instead - I have. J'ai froid -> I'm cold; and J'ai chaud -> I'm hot.
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    Use also the verb "avoir" to indicate your age: I am twenty years old -> J'ai vingt ans.
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    This is much harder than it sounds. Just get a recording and repeat the words on the tape, and memorize what they mean.


  • Schedule your study times on your calendar.
  • Stick to your plan and try not to miss your sessions.
  • Make a plan as to how you are going to pursue the course you have chosen. Decide how much time you are going to spend and decide how often you will do it, and where you will study.
  • Buy a French dictionary if you don't have one. You can visit France to learn too. Always watch some of those french language movies in their original tongue (no subtitles), and read a dictionary.
  • Buy a French textbook or some kind of learning program. Many products are available, so you may want to do a little research to find a book or a program which you think will work for you. Some recommend the French In Action series of videos, which has the bonus of helping to improve listening abilities. There are many to choose from, ask at a specialist language store.


  • Open your mouth very little when speaking French. This is especially important in the "ah" and "oh" sounds.
  • un, une, des is used for general expressions: an apple, a table, ..
  • Watch out for the French vowels when speaking! For example, the 'o' in 'bonjour' is pronounced 'oh', not 'ah'.
  • le, la, les is used for indicating expressions: the apple, the table, ..
  • In French, words are either masculine or feminine, singular or plural. The word chair, in French, "chaise (shes-ze)", is feminine and singular; the word screen is "écran (ay-krah)" in French and is masculine and singular. The word "frites (freet)", meaning French Fries, is feminine and plural. Always add the appropriate articles in front of the noun. Masculine and singular: le (luh) or un(ahn); Feminine and singular: la (lah) or une (ewn); Plural(feminine or masculine): les (layh) or des (dayh)
  • Even though french is pretty close in french speaking countries or places there are still different dialects and words you want say, in for example, quebec or france.

Things You'll Need

  • French-English Dictionary
  • French Verb Book
  • French Grammar book
  • French teacher (optional)

Article Info

Categories: French