French words you need to know to build your French vocabulary

Common French words

According to the French dictionary Larousse, there are more than 63,500 words, 125,000 meanings and 20,000 phrases and 28,000 proper names.

There are some words you've already know as they are used in English:

  1. 1. Nouns: Accident, Compliment, Passion, Religion, Suggestion, Nature, Prison
  2. 2. Adjectives: Intelligent, Invisible, Visible, Impossible, Admirable, Capable

Basic French verbs

  • • être: 'to be' Example: Il est en retard. (I'm tired.)
  • • avoir: 'to have' Example: J'ai une voiture. (I have a car.)
  • • aller: 'to go' Example: Je vais au travail. (I go to work.)
  • • faire: 'to make' Example: Nous faisons du café ensemble. (We make coffee together.)
  • • savoir: 'to know (something)' Example: Je sais que. (I know that.)
  • • vouloir: 'to want' Example: Nous voulons des vacances. (We want a holiday.)
  • • parler: 'to speak' Example: Parlez lentement. (Speak slowly.)
  • • voir: 'to see' Example: Je vois le coucher du soleil. (I see the sunset.)
  • • venir: 'to come' Example: Je viens à la maison. (I come home.)

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Common French words

When you know the most common 100 French words

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Top 10 most common French words pronounced by fluent French speakers

  1. 1. Salut = Hello

    Let's naturally start with "Salut" which means "Hello" in French. This is one of the most known words in French and a great way to start a conversation with someone from France. Click play below to listen to the actual pronunciation:


  2. 2. Amour = Love

    Love is a universal feeling and we definitely had to talk about it here. French people have a lovely way of saying they love someone or something through the word "amour". Hear it in action here:


  3. 3. Bonheur = Happiness

    When there's love, there's definitely happiness. We are all chasing "bonheur" as French-speaking people would say. Listen closely and you might just get some “bonheur” in your life today:


  4. 4. Chat = Cat

    Let's talk pets. There are two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. We are going to talk about cats first or how people in France would say: "chat". Listen to how it sounds like:


  5. 5. Chien = Dog

    But let's not forget our lovely and loyal companions, dogs. A dog in French is "chien", a really useful word for dog lovers worldwide. Here is how you would pronounce it:


  6. 6. Sourire = Smile

    Now it is time to smile. Or how someone from France would say: "sourir". Smiling makes us happy and helps us stay healthy, so that's why we all need to smile every day. Here's the French pronunciation:


  7. 7. Français = French

    Next, let’s see how people in a French-speaking country would pronounce the name of the language they are speaking:


  8. 8. Oui = Yes

    Yes, we have arrived at number 8 where “yes” is the subject to be discussed. French speakers say “yes” by simply saying "oui". Enhance your understanding by listening to how a person from France would pronounce it:


  9. 9. Merci = Thank you

    Thank you for reading this far or should I say "Merci" as they say in French. Here's a native speaker thanking you in French:


  10. 10. Au revoir = Goodbye

    No polite conversation can end without a good old goodbye or "Au revoir" how French people usually say. Now it's time for a delightful French voice to say "Au revoir" to you:

    Au revoir

Basic French words for learners

Speaking French

    French nouns for people
  • La Fille: Girl
  • Le Garçon: Boy
  • La Femme: Woman
  • Le Homme: Man
  • Le Monsieur: Mister
  • La Mademoiselle: Miss
  • La Madame: a married or older woman

  • French nouns for places
  • Le marché: Market
  • La plage: Beach
  • Les Magasins: Shops
  • L'auberge: Hostel
  • Centre commercial: Shopping mall
  • L'église: Church
  • L'ambassade: Embassy
  • Boulangerie (feminine noun): Bakery

French nouns for transportation
  • Métro: Subway
  • Aéroport: Airport
  • Gare: Train station
  • Avion: Plane
  • Voiture: Car
  • Billet: Ticket
  • Bus: Bus
  • Taxi: Taxi

  • Food and drink nouns
  • Pain: Bread
  • Fromage: Cheese
  • Viande: Meat
  • Vin: Wine
  • Thé: Tea
  • Eau: Water
  • Café: Coffee
  • Speaking French

    French question words

    People speaking French

    Qui?: Who? Example: Qui est-ce? (Who is that?)
    Que?/Qu'est-ce que?: What? Example: Qu'est-ce que c'est? (What is it?)
    Quand?: When? Example: Quand retournons-nous à la maison? (When do we return home?)
    Où?: Where? Example: Où sont les voitures de location? (Where are the rental cars?)
    Pourquoi?: Why? Example: Pourquoi ne restes-tu pas? (Why don't you stay?)
    Comment?: How? Example: Comment ça va? (How are you?)
    Combien?: How much/how many? Example: Combien ça coûte? (How much is it?)
    À quelle heure?: (At) what time? Example: A quelle heure partez-vous? (What time are you leaving?)
    Combien de temps?: How long? Example: Combien de temps dure la visite? (How long is the tour?)

    People speaking French

    The most beautiful 10 French words

    Top French words

    Onirique: something that comes from a dream.
    Saperlipopette: an old-fashioned saying of “Oh my goodness!” or “Oh my stars!"".
    Coquillage: seashell
    Flâner: wander with no destination in mind
    Rêvasser: daydreaming
    Retrouvailles: a moment of incredible happiness to see that person again
    Parapluie: umbrella
    Émerveiller: the concept of “wonder” or perhaps to be amazed
    Éblouissant: dazzling
    Chéri: endearment, “mon chéri,” meaning my dear

    Top French words

    Why learn the most common French words first?

    Make French learning fun and easier

    Starting with the French basics means you will begin by learning the easiest words first and gradually increase difficulty. This way you will feel great while learning and see how your language knowledge broadens.

    Have basic French conversations in no time

    You'll be able to speak to someone from Paris or Brussels about regular topics like weather, politics or family. This will make you confident in your French skills and eager to learn more.

    Become fluent in French faster

    By learning the most simple words first you are learning the smart way. Why learn the most unusual words in French when you might never use them in real life?

    You improve your French vocabulary

    Each new French word you learn piles up until your vocabulary builds stronger and stronger. Each lesson gets you one step closer to fluency.

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