Shopaholic from home: Top 40 phrases to survive in French

Shopaholic from home: Top 40 phrases to survive in French

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Don't know a word of French? These 40 tried and tested phrases will help you on your first foray into the French world.

Before moving abroad, all I knew were common French stereotypes but I couldn't speak a word of French. I love other cultures and international environments but my move happened so unexpectedly that I arrived unprepared. After buying a French phrasebook, which was completely useless, I did my own research.

I thought about French words I needed to survive daily activities, such as commuting, socialising, shopping etc. I came up with the best French phrases that truly helped me get on my feet.

Top 40 most useful French phrases

  1. Excusez-moi, où est...? – Excuse me, where is...?
  2. Où se trouve la station de métro la plus proche? – Where is the closest metro station?
  3. Un billet, s’il vous plaît. – One ticket, please.
  4. Avez-vous une carte en anglais, s’il vous plaît? – Do you have a menu in English, please?
  5. Je voudrais..., s’il vous plaît. – I would like..., please.
  6. Au secours! – Help! Emergency!
  7. J’ai besoin d’un médecin qui parle anglais. – I need a doctor who speaks English.
  8. Où est la pharmacie? – Where is the pharmacy?
  9. J’ai une douleur ici. – I have a pain here.
  10. A bientôt – See you soon.
  11. Vous parlez anglais? – Do you speak English?
  12. Comment allez-vous? – How are you? (formal)
  13. Très bien / mal / pas mal – Very good / bad / not bad
  14. Ça va? – How are you? (informal)
  15. Ça va. – I’m fine. (informal response to Ça va?)
  16. Oui / non Yes / no
  17. Comment vous appelez-vous? – What’s your name? (formal) / Tu t’appelles comment? (informal)
  18. Je m’appelle… – My name is… (informal)
  19. Enchanté(e) – Nice to meet you.
  20. Je suis de… / Je viens de… – I am from…
  21. Où habitez-vous? – Where do you live? (formal)
  22. J’habite à… – I live in…
  23. Je ne parle pas espagnol. Je parle allemand. I don’t speak Spanish. I speak German.
  24. Parlez-vous français? Tu parles anglais? – Do you speak French? (formal) Do you speak English? (informal)
  25. Je comprends. – I understand.
  26. Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand.
  27. Pouvez-vous m’aider? / Tu peux m’aider? Can you help me? (formal / informal)
  28. Comment? – What?
  29. Bien sûr. – Of course.
  30. Je ne sais pas. Je sais. – I don’t know. I know.
  31. Voici... / Voilà – Here is/are… / There it is.
  32. Il y a… / Il y avait... – There is/are… / There was/were…
  33. Comment dit-on ____ en français? – How do you say ____ in French?
  34. Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça? – What is that?
  35. J’ai chaud / J’ai froid. – I’m hot / I’m cold.
  36. J’ai faim / J’ai soif. – I’m hungry / I’m thirsty.
  37. Ce n’est pas grave. – It’s no problem. / It’s alright.
  38. J’ai oublié. – I forgot.
  39. Félicitations! – Congratulations!
  40. Je vous aime / Je t’aime. – I love you. (formal and plural / informal)


Even if you only learn these 40 phrases, I guarantee you will survive in French. Just print these top basic French phrases list here, read it a few times and take it with you. You can also look at the Mini French Phrasesbook I created here or download the
Google Translate app.

Are you ready to go?


Shopaholic from home / Expatica

 Aga had never spoken French nor been to France until she moved to Lyon. She is a Pole who now spends her free time with her ears and eyes wide open, observing cultural traits, soaking in customs and writing about them on her blog. She also loves shopping — online shopping, window shopping, all forms of shopping! You’ll find her on J'adore Lyon.



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