32 French Phrases To Help Beginners Keep The Conversation Flowing

French Phrases

I am a great believer in speaking the language right from the start of your language learning journey. Many people have the attitude that first they must learn all the grammar and huge amounts of vocabulary before they could ever be ready to start conversing with native speakers. People are often scared of getting into awkward situations where they have no clue how to express what they want to say, leaving them only with blank expressions on their faces. This is completely the wrong mindset and I’m here to help!

By learning how to express things such as your level in the language or how to ask for clarification and help understanding or explaining, you open yourself up to a whole new dimension of language learning. Armed with these phrases, every native speaker you encounter is a potential tutor (if they’re in a good mood).

So now you have no excuse! Get out there and start talking with natives.


How to say it in English
How to say it in french
I only speak a little French.Je ne parle qu'un peu le français.
I am learning French, but I am only a beginner.J'apprends le français mais je ne suis qu'un débutant.
I have been learning french for 2 days / 2 weeks / 2 months / 1 year / 2 years.J'apprends le français depuis deux jours / deux semaines / deux mois / un an / deux ans.
Will you please correct me?Peux-tu me corriger, s'il te plaît?
What does ___ mean? Que veut dire ___?
What does that mean?Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire?
Can you explain in French/English to me?Peux-tu m'expliquer en français / anglais?
What does that mean in this context?Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire dans ce contexte?
What is the French word for ___?Quel est le mot francais pour ___?
Is this/that correct? C'est juste?
Am I wrong?Je me trompe?/Est-ce que j'ai tort?
Am I correct?Est-ce que j'ai raison?
Do you understand?Est-ce que tu me comprends?
I do not understandJe ne comprends pas.
I want to improve my level in FrenchJe veux améliorer mon niveau de français.
I need to practice FrenchJ'ai besoin de pratiquer le français.
Do you have time to speak with me?As-tu le temps de parler avec moi ?
Can you help me to learn French?Peux-tu m'aider à apprendre le français?
Do you mind if we speak in French?Ça te dérange si nous parlons en français?
Can you please speak in French? it helps me to learn.Peux-tu me parler en français s'il te plaît? Ça m'aide à apprendre.
How do you say '___' in French?Comment dit-on '___' en français ?
I struggle with spelling / reading / writing / listening / pronunciation.J'ai du mal avec l'orthographe / la lecture / l'écriture / la compréhension orale / la prononciation.
Can you please repeat? I did not understand.Pouvez-vous répéter s'il vous plaît ? Je n'ai pas compris.
I don't speak French fluently.Je ne parle pas couramment le français.
I am confused.Je suis perdu(e)
I don't know how to say it in French. Je ne sais pas comment le dire en Français,
Sorry (or 'pardon'), what did you say?Pardon, qu'est-ce que tu as dit?
I've never heard of that.Je n'ai jamais entendu ça
That makes sense.Ça se tient.
That does not make sense.Ça n'a aucun sens.
What's happening? / What's going on? Qu'est-ce qui se passe?
What do you mean by '___' ?Qu'est-ce que tu entends par '___'? / Qu'est-ce que tu veux dire par '___'?


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21 comments… add one

  • MAHFOUD July 15, 2015 2:11 pm edit


  • Elias Loy December 1, 2015 3:56 am edit

    I like to congratulate you for the presence of this site.

  • Jakisha Berry January 15, 2016 12:25 am edit

    I need helpers talk to me in French

  • Georgia March 30, 2016 5:28 pm edit

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for in terms of *actually useful* beginners conversation. Which I can practice, then build on from there! Thank you so much!! The only thing is I’m not great at pronunciation, so I was wondering is there a website (or something like that) where I can find the phonetic breakdown for theses phrases?

    • Oli March 31, 2016 5:27 pm edit

      Thanks for leaving a comment! I suggest you check out forvo.com for any words that you don’t know how to pronounce.

  • Blanche April 2, 2016 7:06 pm edit


    Tout d’abord, félicitations! Cet article est très bien, et surtout très complet.
    Je suis contente d’en voir un sur la langue française!
    Merci beaucoup :) )

  • Josefina May 5, 2016 9:21 pm edit

    Merci Oli! :D

  • masroor July 23, 2016 11:05 am edit

    Ceci est bien sûr une très bonne méthode pour les nouveaux apprenants de langue. Je comprends votre entreprise et que vous souhaitez en savoir plus, je vous remercie, une bonne journée.

  • Hannah Gilbert August 25, 2016 3:16 pm edit


  • chuck September 9, 2016 5:59 pm edit

    I came across your page looking for something else but found it very interesting. When I was in France and still learning French I think the most useful phrase I wish I would have known was “could you please speak more slowly” so I think you should add that and rename your article 33 phrases…

  • Montego Ikarus September 27, 2016 12:55 pm edit

    Great list. In France now. This will help a lot. Merci!

  • Mostafa November 11, 2016 10:14 pm edit

    thanks a lot. i also came across this page looking for a formal conversation, but found it really helpful.

  • Malinda Shepard December 13, 2016 4:48 pm edit

    Thank you so much! This is perfect! I use this on telemarketers and see how long it will take before they hang up on me. I was running out of french phrases that I could remember from highschool. This is now bookmarked and will provide me with hours of entertainment. For the stubborn telemarketers, I put them on hold, change accents, and switch languages and departments.

  • Frederic December 21, 2016 9:37 pm edit

    Very good article! People should indeed get to know essential phrases in parallel to the basic vocabulary and grammar stuff. I have tried this method while learning a new language and I’ve found it way more efficient. It’s much faster and effective as a learning process.

  • Jerry February 7, 2017 11:10 am edit

    I have this approach very efficient in learning a new language.

  • Sani February 20, 2017 4:21 pm edit

    Thank u so much :-) …now I want to learn how to pronounce these sentences :-)

  • Albert m kahenga March 21, 2017 11:10 am edit

    thank you very much, i am a teacher of French as a foreign language. congrats! i love it.

  • Sharon April 3, 2017 12:05 am edit

    Thanks for helping with phrases, I want to learn to speak, I find writing too hard.

  • sierra May 8, 2017 2:32 pm edit

    this is quick and easy access . thanks so much. one more thing,for the public sometimes it is hard to do things like learning a language ,but no matter how quitty or tired or bored etc…you get NEVER give up you WILL make it just KEEP GOING !!!!!! bye.


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