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French Cheat Sheet: Basic French Questions and Answers

Need a quick cheat sheet to ask or answer questions in French? This handy list of basic survival French questions and answers is here to help!

From greetings to asking for help, and their possible answers, you’ll never get lost in simple French conversations again! 

I. The Basic Niceties

Before anything else, always start a conversation with a simple “Bonjour !” during daytime and “Bonsoir !” in the evening. The basic Q&A will follow soon after.

"How are you?" in French

Comment allez-vous ?How are you? (most common)
Comment ça va ?How's it going? (informal)
Ça va ?How are you? (the shortened version; can be used as greeting)

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How to answer "how are you?"

Je vais bien, et vous ?I’m doing well, and you?
Bien, merci. Et vous? Fine, thanks. and you?
Bien, merci Good, thanks
Pas trop mal Not bad
Comme-ci, comme-caso-so

II. Questions and Answers About Yourself

Now for some simple French questions and answers about your name, age, and where you're from. 

"What's your name?" in French

Comment vous appelez-vous ?What's your name?
Comment tu t’appelles ?What's your name? (informal)

How to reply to "what's your name?"

Je m’appelle.....My name is....

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Question 2:

"Where are you from?" in French

D’où venez-vous ?Where are you from?
D’où viens-tu ? (informal)Where are you from? (informal)

How to reply to "where are you from?"

Je viens de…I'm from...

Question 3:

"How old are you?" in French

Quel âge avez-vous ?How old are you?
Quel âge as-tu ?How old are you? (informal)

How to reply to "how old are you?"

J’ai xxx ansI am ___ years old.

"What do you do for a living?" in French

To ask about a person's job or career:

Vous faites quoi comme métier? What’s your occupation?
Tu fais quoi comme métier? What’s your occupation? (Informal)

How to reply to "what do you do for a living?"

Je suis un/une … m/fI’m a/an …

Now check out some related readings on this topic:

When to Use Tu and Vous

The Easy Guide to French Numbers

III. Speaking Difficulties

At this point where you are still probably on your very first steps to learn French, you’ll eventually come across a few difficulties in understanding some parts of even the simplest conversations. Here’s how to navigate these difficulties.

How to ask if someone can speak in English

To ask someone if they could speak English, here's how to do it.

Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?Do you speak English?

Or quite simply:

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"Do you speak English?" -- How to reply

Oui, je parle anglaisYes, I speak English
Un peu. A little bit.

To ask for help translating French words

If you need to solicit someone’s help in understanding something in French, these questions would help:

Pouvez-vous traduire pour moi?Can you translate for me?
Can you explain in French/English to me? Peux-tu m'expliquer en français / anglais?

To check for understanding

Do you understand?Est-ce que tu me comprends?

To admit that you don’t understand anything at all

Je ne comprends pas.I don’t understand.

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Je ne parle pas bien français.I don’t speak French very well.

More useful questions about speaking difficulties

Pourriez-vous parler plus lentement, s’il vous plaît?Could you please speak more slowly?
Pourriez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît?Could you repeat that, please?
Pouvez-vous parler plus lentement?Could you speak slower?
Comment ça s’écrit ?How do you spell that?

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IV. Small Talk

Now for some small talk. There’s a complete guide here on how you can make small talk in French, but the following question and answer (about the weather--what else!) would also come in handy.

Asking about the weather

Quel temps fait-il?What’s the weather like?

Answers about the weather

Le temps est couvert.It’s …cloudy
Il fait froid.It’s …cold
Il fait chaud.It’s …hot
Il pleut.It’s …raining
Il neige.It’s …snowing
Il fait beau.Il fait beau
Il fait du vent.It’s …windy

V. The More Important Questions

In case you want to ask some important questions or you’re in a bit of a difficulty while in a French-speaking country, these questions could help.

Other useful questions in French

C’est combien?How much is it?
Combien coûte…? How much does . . . cost?
Où est-ce que je peux trouver. . .?Where can I find . . .?
Où sont les toilettes? Where are the bathrooms?
Avez-vous…? Do you have. . . ?
Où est…? Where is. . . ?
Combien de temps faut-ilHow long does it take to go
pour aller à XX?to XX?
Qu’est-ce que c’est?What’s that?
Qu'est-ce qui se passe?What's happening? / What's going on?
Qu'est-ce que tu entends par '___'?What do you mean by '___' ?
Qu'est-ce que tu veux dire par '___'?What do you mean by '___' ? (informal)

You could also ask:

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Don’t forget to follow Talk in French on Instagram! You’ll get useful videos of French phrases like these every week! Plus more video content such as vocabulary, expressions, slang terms, and so much more!

For a complete list of French phrases with audio for your listening and pronunciation practice, grab your copy of French Phrasebook. It’s the only phrasebook you need to travel to any French-speaking destination.

About the Author Frederic

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 Twitter and Google +

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