Can You Translate These French Phrases?

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

BONJOUR! Today, we're taking a trip to France! One of the most spoken languages of the world, you'll hear French everywhere! From the basics of "please," and "how are you," only a Francophile can translate these French phrases. Can you?

French is one of the five romance languages. This means that the language is a derivation from vulgar Latin. Along with French, you'd find Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. While a lot differs between these languages, many things stay the same because their languages all have the same foundation. 

When it comes to native speakers, French is the 18th most spoken language around the world. With that said, there are around 75 million people who speak French as their first language. There are over 275 million people around the world who are fluent speakers.

French is such a common language that many of their words have been adopted into English. How would you go on a job interview without a resume? Would you be able to order at a restaurant without a menu? How do you ask someone to respond to a wedding invitation without an RSVP (Repondez S'il Vous Plait)? While all these words have been adopted into our language, could you translate the basic words and phrases that haven't?

Do you know what "Bonjour" means? What if we said "au revoir?" Only a Francophile could ace this quiz of basic French words and phrases. Is that you? Je ne sais pas! I guess we'll find out!

Are you ready? Commencez!

Merci beaucoup!

Merci beaucoup means "thank you very much." The simpler merci pertains to "thanks" as well.

S'il vous plaît...

S'il vous plaît means "please" but in the formal sense of the term.

Bon appétit!

Bon appétit is what you say if you want to wish someone "Happy eating" or something to that effect. Literally, though, it means "to have a good appetite."

Ça va?

Ça va is generally used if you want to say "How's it going?" But it can also mean "How are you?" depending on the usage.

Au revoir

Au revoir is said if you mean "see you later" or "until we meet again."

Parlez-vous Anglais?

Parlez-vous Anglais is usually used if you want to ask someone about their English-speaking skills. It translates to "Do you speak English?"

très bien

Très bien means "very good."

Café au lait

Café au lait means "coffee with milk." It's like latte.

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Qu'est-ce que c'est? is a question that means "What is this?" You usually point at something near you.

Qui est-ce?

Qui est-ce? is a question that means "Who is that?" You could be referring to someone near or far.

excusez-moi

Excusez-moi is the term to use if you want to say "excuse me." However, "pardon" is also sometimes used.

Je ne comprends pas.

Je ne comprends pas is a complete sentence. It means "I don't understand."

De rien!

De rien is usually the reply when somebody thanks you. It means "it's nothing" but some people also interchange it with "you're welcome."

Je t'aime.

Je t'aime means "I love you." It's kind of the informal form.

Bon voyage!

Bon voyage is a term you say when you want to wish someone a good trip.

Je ne sais pas.

Je ne sais pas literally means "I don't know." It's easy enough to pronounce.

joie de vivre

Joie de vivre is a term that connotes happy living or having a happy life. It's a generally positive declaration.

Au secours!

Au secours means calling for help. It's a useful term when you travel.

l’addition

When asking for the bill or the check in a restaurant or eatery, you ask for "l’addition." The hand gestures might not translate accurately.

bonne nuit

Bonne nuit is what you say if you mean "good night." It's a polite way of ending things at night.

J'ai une question.

J'ai une question is a statement. It means "I have a question."

Je suis perdu.

Je suis perdu is what you say if you are lost. "I am lost" is what it says, but use "perdue" if you're female.

un peu

You can say "un peu" if you mean "a little." It's what you can answer if they ask you about your French knowledge.

Comment allez-vous?

Comment allez-vous is what you ask if you mean "How are you?" It's the more formal and polite term to use with a stranger or a new acquaintance.

J'ai un problème.

J'ai un problème means "I have a problem." It's a good statement to use in delicate situations.

J'arrive.

When you want to say "I'm coming," you say "J'arrive." It means you're arriving there, or maybe you're coming to open the door.

Mon Dieu!

Mon Dieu literally means "My God." It's used as an interjection of surprise.

Combien ça coûte?

Combien ça coûte is a question that means "how much does it cost." You can ask this in any kind of transaction.

là bas

Là bas means "over there." It's used to point at a direction that's really far.

Bonjour!

Bonjour literally means good day. But it's also a greeting to say "Good morning" or simply "hello."

Bonsoir!

Bonsoir is a formal way to say "Good evening" to someone you just met up with. It's different with "bonne nuit" because that means you're already parting ways.

C’est pas vrai!

C’est pas vrai literally translates to "that's not true." It's an interjection that means "You're kidding."

vive la France

Vive la France means "long live France." It's like an interjection if you're feeling patriotic about the country.

Je suis désolé.

Je suis désolé literally means "I am sorry." You use the term "désolée" if you're a woman, though.

Aie!

Aie! is how the French say Ouch! It's an interjection.

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