The essential guide to French abbreviations

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Whether it’s to save space, avoid repeating long terms, or even simply to sound cool, French speakers often abbreviate (shorten) words. Let’s look at some of the most common French abbreviations, as well as some of the general rules for how they’re formed. What is an abbreviation? An abbreviation is a shortened word. In French, …

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40 Essential French Christmas Words to Put You in a Festive Mood

A close-up of a Christmas tree decorated with bright green and yellow, silver, and red Christmas balls, as well as large snowflake ornaments that look like they light up at night, some white and some red.

As Christmastime comes near, you may find yourself wondering how to talk about this holiday in French. So, here’s a little gift from us to you: French Christmas vocabulary! French Christmas ambiance and traditions Noël – Christmas Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas/Happy Christmas le réveillon (de Noël) – Christmas Eve. Note that réveillon means ‘Eve’ …

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How To Say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” in French

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Ho, ho, ho, Christmas decorations are appearing in the streets of France, people are in a festive mood and Christmas shopping is in full swing. But how do you say “Merry Christmas” in French? And while we’re in the holiday spirit, how do you say “Happy New Year” or “Happy Hanukkah” in French? How about …

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Ça Va: 6 Ways to Use the Incredibly Popular French Phrase

Two young guys greet each other by clenching hands. We see only the back of one, and the torso and smiling face of the other. It's easy to imagine them asking each other, "Ça va, mon pote ?"

Even if you’re only at the beginning of your French learning journey, you’ve probably come across the phrase ça va…or you soon will. Depending on the context, ça va can mean anything from “How’s it going/How are you?” to “Is this okay?” to “Are you all right?” Let’s take a look at ça va, one …

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What You Really Need to Know About Writing French Letters and Emails

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When I was learning French in school, writing letters was one of the most intimidating things we covered. There were so many formules de politesse (polite phrases and salutations) and all of them seemed absolutely required to be included in any formal or professional correspondence. Then, I came to France and found that letter (and …

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How to Use (And Not to Use) Au Contraire

Two men sitting on a rooftop lounge look at a laptop computer screen. They seem to be debating something, either having a conversation with a third person via the computer, or maybe arguing about something they're reading or looking at. We see them from mid-face, down.

Au contraire means “On the contrary”. But if you’re an English-speaker, the phrase’s translation isn’t contrary at all; it turns out we use it the same way the French do. Still, it’s not quite so simple. Let’s take a closer look at au contraire. The meaning of au contraire Important: There is only one way …

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