Home Language HacksExpressions & Idioms How to Sound More French: Top 10 French Phrases You SHOULD Use

How to Sound More French: Top 10 French Phrases You SHOULD Use

by Michele
How to Sound More French - Top 10 French Phrases to Use
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So, how do you sound more French? Use these top 10 French phrases and expressions that the French love saying and will make you automatically sound more like a local and blend in.

After you get tuned into French a little, you may suddenly hear people use very French phrases expressions that seem to just sort of slip out at any given occasion. You may even have heard some of these already; now it’s time to casually use these French phrases yourself.

Once you’ve mastered phrases to never say in French and laughed as some hilarious French expressions, try adding these common 10 French phrases to your repertoire to make you sound more French. 

1. À mon avis

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "a mon avis"

If you want to express your opinion in French, you use this handy phrase. À mon avis (ah mohN-nah-vee) means ‘in my opinion’. You can use the expression before or after you state your opinion.

2. C’est pas vrai

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "C'est pas vrai"

If you hear something that is hard to believe, you say C’est pas vrai (seh pah vreh) (No way!, You don’t say!) This expression’s literal meaning is ‘It is not true’. Note that, grammatically, this expression should be Ce n’est pas vrai (suh neh pah vreh); however, in oral French, the ne is often omitted, and you only hear the pas.

3. Avec plaisir

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "avec plaisir"

Avec plaisir (ah-vehk pleh-zeer) means ‘with pleasure’, and it’s a great way to accept an invitation to lunch or to see a film, for example. You can also use this expression to show that you are willing and happy to do a favour for someone.

4. Bon appétit!

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "Bon appetit"

Bon appétit! (bohN-nah-pey-tee!) literally means Good appetite! However, it certainly is not commenting on anyone’s good or bad appetite. You use this phrase when you begin to eat or when you see someone eating and want to express your desire that that person enjoy the meal. Bon appétit! is much like the English ‘Enjoy!’ except that the French say Bon appétit! much more freely.

5. C’est génial

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "c'est genial"

Use C’est génial (seh jey-nyahl) to convey excitement about something. It means ‘It’s fantastic!’ or ‘It’s great!’. It can also suggest that something is really clever or, as the British say, ‘It’s brilliant’.

6. À votre santé

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "a votre sante"

When the French raise their glasses, they say À votre santé (ah vohh-truh sahN-tey) in the singular formal or plural, or À ta santé (ah tah sahN-tey) in the familiar form. These phrases literally mean ‘to your health’, but their general meaning is the same as their English counterpart: ‘Cheers!’.

7. À vos souhaits

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "a vos souhaits"

When someone sneezes, in English you say ‘Bless you’. In French, you say À vos souhaits (ah voh sweh) (to your wishes), which is more formal, or À tes souhaits (ah tey sweh), which is more familiar or informal. Both expressions mean that you hope the sneezer’s wishes come true.

8. Quelle horreur!

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "quelle horreur"Quelle horreur! (kehl oh-ruhr!) means ‘What a horror!’. You use it not only for real horrors but also to express any kind of disgust, as in these expressions: ‘What a terrible thought!’ ‘How nasty!’ and ‘I can’t believe it!’. You also use this expression when something looks, sounds, or smells terrible.

9. À bientôt

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "a bientot"

The literal translation of À bientôt (ah byaN-toh) is ‘Until soon’. You use this expression when you expect to see the departing person within a reasonable time frame.

10. Pas mal

How to Sound More French - Say the French phrase "pas mal"

Use pas mal (pah mahl) (not bad) when you want to express that something isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either; instead, it’s in-between. Generally, you use this phrase in response to someone asking you how you are feeling or how things are going.

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Over to you!

Have you ever used any of these phrases? What others have you heard the French use? What would you add to this list? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

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L November 23, 2016 - 16:16

They also say, “tu vois?” Meaning, “You know?”

Michele November 23, 2016 - 17:56

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Marina Piskopos September 22, 2016 - 19:26

Love your ideas!!!

Michele September 22, 2016 - 22:22

Thanks Marina 🙂

Laure (Sprachcaffe) July 27, 2016 - 09:18

Bonjour ! Thank you for this nice list of French words, I agree with them all. However for “Cheers”, French people tend to say “Santé” only, or even sometimes “Tchin tchin”, like in Italy!
Merci et à bientôt !
Laure from Sprachcaffe

Michele July 27, 2016 - 22:08

Thanks Laure 🙂

Carla Tenret April 29, 2016 - 18:34

C’est genial!

Michele May 5, 2016 - 12:46

Merci beaucoup, Carla! 🙂


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