French Phrases You’ll Hear Often in France


Last Updated: August 29, 2022

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Whether you're starting out on your beginner French lessons or planning to travel to a French-speaking destination soon, learning about common French phrases is a good idea. 

useful french phrases

Here in this article, I will share common phrases in French, which I am sure you will find useful. 

But before anything else...

Get the free PDF and MP3

I also offer an extended version of this blog post, (90 Common French Phrases) saved as a PDF that you can print for daily use. You can also listen to the audio in MP3 format which is included in the French Learning Package. Access it below by clicking the download button.

Before we jump to the list of commonly used French phrases, let's get to know the very basics first. Ready?

Bonjour - Hello

Even if you don't know any other French words or phrases, this one is actually just enough for you to get by. Use it to start every conversation in French!

Meeting a new person, say "bonjour !

Entering a shop -- "bonjour !"

Bumped into someone you know --- "bonjour !"

Well, you catch the idea. 

You can also check out this separate lesson on French greetings which includes sample audio exercises. 

Merci - Thank you

Another very basic French word you should know is "merci". Feel free to use this whenever you have someone to thank! It would always be appreciated. 

See also: How to Say Thank you in French: The Ultimate Guide

S’il vous plaît - Please

Same as "excusez-moi" (excuse me), "pardon" (pardon me, I beg your pardon), and "je suis désolé(e)" (I'm sorry), this phrase is a useful one to learn as part of basic French politeness. 

Learn more about it here: The Ultimate Guide to French Politeness and Niceties

Comment allez-vous ? - How are you?

The most common and formal way to ask someone how they're doing is to say "comment allez-vous ?" Other informal options are "Comment ça va ? " and simply, "ça va ?"

Je m’appelle... - My name is...

When you have to tell someone your name, just say Je m'appelle <your name>. 

You can also check out French Cheat Sheet: Basic French Questions and Answers for your guide to the different common questions and answers in French.

Je ne comprends pas - I don't understand

If you don't understand anything, no need to hide it or fake it. Simply say "je ne comprends pas"!

Je ne sais pas - I don't know

Similar to the one above, if you don't know it, just say so. 

Que veut dire ___ ? - What does ___ mean?

You can ask "Que veut dire <insert word here>" to ask about something you don't understand. You can also say "Que veut dire ça ?" (What does that mean?)

Où est … ? - Where is ...?

Trying to find your way around but not sure how to ask in French, just say "Où est (l’hôtel / la banque / l’aéroport  etc.)?"

Pouvez-vous m’aider? - Can you help me?

Remember this useful phrase for when you need help!

For more useful travel phrases like this, also check out the article Essential French Travel Phrases.  

Je voudrais... - I would like...

Whether you're in a restaurant and would like to order something from the menu or you're in a regular conversation, je voudrais is a useful phrase to remember so you could express what you want.  

See also: How to Make Polite Requests in French Using Je Voudrais

Now with all the basics out of the way, let's have a look at this list of 50 common French phrases

50 Frequently Used French Phrases

Now here is your list.

attendez-nous làwait for us there
avez-vous faim?are you hungry (formal)?
c'est pour vousit is for you (formal)
c'est quoi?what is it?
c'est tout?is that all?
c'est très gentilit is very nice
c’est combien?how much is it?
c’est grave?is it serious?
ça n'est pas graveno problem
ce n’est pas comme çaIt is not like that
combien cela coûte?how much is this?
comment as-tu passé... ?how have you spent...? (informal)
comment t'appelles-tu?what's your name (informal)?
comment vas-tu?how are you (informal)?
depuis quand?since when?
il est prêthe is ready
il veut y allerhe wants to go there
j'ai déjà dit queI have already said that
j’attends mes amisI am waiting for my friends
je ne comprends pasI don't understand
je ne sais pasI don't know
je serai àI will be at
je suis arrivéI have arrived (m)
je suis désoléI am sorry (m)
je suis perduI'm lost (m)
je suis près deI am close to
je te tiens au courantI'll let you know (informal)
je vais être en retardI'll be late
ne t'inquiète pas!don't worry (informal)!
nous parlerons plus tardwe will speak later
où on se retrouve?where do we meet?
où pouvons-nous manger?where can we eat?
où sont les toilettes?where is the bathroom?
où veux-tu dîner?where do you want to have dinner? (informal)
parlez-vous anglais?do you speak English? (formal)
pas du toutnot at all
pas pour moinot for me
peux-tu m'aider?can you help me (informal)?
pourquoi pas?why not?
pourriez-vous répéter?can you say it again? (formal)
puis-je faire ça?can I do that?
qu'est-ce qui se passe?what is happening?
qu’est-ce que vous recommandez?what do you recommend (formal)?
que voulez-vous faire?what do you want to do (formal)?
qui est-ce?who is it?
quoi de neuf?what's new?
tu vas y alleryou are going to go there (informal)
va-t'en!go away!
viens avec moi!come with me! (informal)

Here are some FAQs about Common French Phrases

French phrases to know when traveling

When traveling to a French-speaking country, these phrases will be helpful!

Bonjour – Hello.
Merci – Thank you.
S’il vous plaît – please
Comment allez-vous ? – How are you?
Je vais bien/ ça va – I am fine. 
Je m’appelle… – My name is…
Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand.
Je ne sais pas – I don’t know.
Que veut dire ___ ? – What does ___ mean?
Où est … ? – Where is …?
Pouvez-vous m’aider? – Can you help me?
Je voudrais… – I would like…

Why are subject pronouns repeated in French sentences?

Subject pronouns in French are usually repeated to add emphasis.

Check the example below:

English: I like pizzas
French: Moi j‘aime les pizzas

Moi = Me
J’/je= I

How do you make French sentences plural?

To make sentences plural, you must make nouns, verbs, and adjectives plural. You can do so by adding an -s to their singular form. If the singular form of a noun already ends in -s, -x or -z, there is no need to add -s. And if the noun ends in -eau or -eu add an -x.

How do you say some very basic French words?

Bonjour /boh·zhoor/ (Hello or good morning)
Adieu /a·dyoe/ (Farewell)
Oui /wee/ (Yes)
Merci /mehr·see/ (Thank you)
Non /nõ/ (No)
Fille /fiy/ (Girl)
Garçon /gar·son/ (Boy)
Femme /fam/ (Woman)
Homme /om/ (Man)
Amour /a·mour/ (Love)
Mademoiselle (Miss, unmarried woman)
Madame /ma·dam/ (Married woman, older woman)
Beau /bo/ (Handsome)
Belle /bel/ (Beautiful)

How do you say some common French phrases?

Here are common French phrases with audio!
Au revoir. (Goodbye)
Pardon, excusez-moi. (Pardon, excuse me.) 
Je vous en prie or De rien. (You’re welcome.)
Parlez-vous anglais? (Do you speak English?)
Je ne parle pas français. (I do not speak French.)
À tout à l’heure! (See you later!)
Je ne comprends pas. (I don’t understand.)
S’il vous plaît. (Please.)
Je m’appelle… (My name is…)
Pardon or Excusez-moi. (Excuse me.)

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

    • I double checked and it is working from my side. There is in total 4 pages in the pdf. Perhaps your computer or electronic device cannot open it properly. I just sent you an email with the file again.

  • I’m not sure I ever heard my grandfather use ‘toilettes” for a washroom— he usually said “bécosse” or “biffy”.

  • […] 50 Common French Phrases Every French Learner Should Know. Heure. Numero. Deux Mondes A Communicative Approach 0072320702. Sign In | McGraw-Hill's Connect. Duolingo | Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English for free. […]

  • Very useful list, thanks. I would like to add two phrases I have found indispensable – ‘puis j’avoir..’. and ‘je t’empris’.

  • Thank you for what you have been doing for we the french learners. You did very well for us. Thanks a lot!

  • I speak French after over 25 years in France and school learning as a kid I would hope so!
    I’ve had some amusing episodes from UK Tourists in French, particularly ‘Je vais vous tuer’ (I’m going to kill you) instead of ‘Je vais vous tutoyer’ (I’m going to speak to you in the personal form’) and ‘Sausaages’ instead of ‘Saucisses’…..We learn from mistakes!

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