Speaking French as a native speaker before you have even learned French seems paradoxical, but thanks to these fifteen basic expressions, when you arrive in France, you will be able to look like a native speaker or at least understand these expressions which are very often used by the French.
15 basic expressions for speaking French like a native
Yes, that’s true, it may sound very basic. It’s the typical “good morning” in English. However, in French, you can’t say “Bon matin” at the beginning of the day when you get somewhere. Also, it is important to know that French people say “bonjour” only once a day. Saying “bonjour” to someone means that the contact is open for the whole day.
“Ça va?” is the informal way of asking if everything is all right, and is used among friends and family. The particularity is that you answer in exactly the same way, to say that yes, everything is fine.
When someone wants to say “you are welcome”, they will most likely say “je vous en prie”, especially if you don’t have a very close relationship. So every time you say “merci”, you will be able to hear that wording.
Once you have completed the second step of the meeting, you will replace “bonjour” with “salut”, which is one of the most familiar ways of greeting someone in French.
If you say goodbye to someone, but you plan to see that person later, it is likely that as you walk away you say “à tout à l’heure” which simply means “see you later”.
We can translate this as “here we go”. You normally use it when something is going to start, or when finally something you have been waiting for is going to happen.
In France, politeness is a very important value. Therefore, not only is it essential to always greet others, but whenever you ask for something, don’t forget to include the magic word “s’il vous plaît” at the end.
When you want to tell someone you can’t help them, or that you do not know something that they have asked, you use this phrase that means “sorry”. It is very common to use it when you make a mistake or when you forget something.
Let’s just say this is the nice way to say an insult in French. When something makes you angry, or you make a mistake, you will probably spontaneously say this phrase.
This word is used to describe something that is very good or is wonderful. You can also use it to agree with a proposition.
French people use this phrase to say something or someone is incredible, literally. So sure, if you say it, it will come accompanied with a face of emotion and a good smile.
“Sympa” is the abbreviation for “sympathique”; this is the word used by the French to say someone is friendly or that something is nice.
If something goes well for you, or you agree with a situation or proposition, then you will only have to say “ça roule!”, which basically translates as “perfect.”
This expression is used to tell someone to be careful, or to pay close attention to some situation in particular or in general.
When you think of saying “oh my God”, then just say “(oh) la vache!”, which is the polite expression that would replace it. The strange thing here is that “vache” means “cow”. Once you are in France, you will find that many animals are the protagonists of many French expressions.