Why so many French learners freeze when they try to speak French

(and the 2 mistakes to avoid to make sure you don’t)

Dear French learner,

I am a Frenchman living in London and I notice something pretty frustrating every time I go to Paris to visit my family.

As you know, millions of people visit France every year.

Most of them speak English but a few make the effort to speak French because they know it’s the only way to fully enjoy French culture and connect with locals.

They ask for directions to the lovely apartment they rented in Montmartre, buy a few croissants at a local bakery, or book a table at a restaurant. Some may work up the courage to try to speak with locals.

Unfortunately, their attempts aren’t always successful, and I hate to see the look on their faces when they realize French people can’t understand a word they say or when the person they’re talking to asks them to repeat.

It’s not even their fault!

They spent years learning vocabulary and verb conjugations they quickly forgot, did their best to understand the difference between masculine and feminine words and worked hard to try to understand spoken French.

They may even have spent thousands of dollars on expensive French classes and fancy apps.

All of this only to end up switching to English because they’re ashamed of their French!

This breaks my heart.

Luckily, I also see people who speak French with confidence after only a few months.

They can enter a bakery, order a croissant, crack a joke with the baker and leave with a smile on their face.

I spent years wondering why some people quickly speak French with confidence while others never seem to be able to say more than a few simple words.

And I finally found the answer.

But before I reveal it to you, let me tell you a little bit more about myself.

Bonjour ! I’m Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy writing hangul
That’s me learning 한글 (the Korean alphabet)

I grew up in Houilles, a small city near Paris. And my first English conversation was a complete disaster.

I had been studying English for more than 10 years like all French students.

And there I was, standing in front of a group of American students, struggling to keep up with the conversation, ashamed and frustrated by my inability to say anything other than “yes”.

My brain was frozen and my accent so bad the students could hardly tell whether I was speaking English or French.

After asking me to repeat a few times, they excused themselves, quickly walked away and went to talk to Laura, a classmate who could not only form complete sentences in English but also make jokes in English.

That’s when I decided that enough was enough. There had to be a better way!

This happened several years ago and I now speak French (my native language), English and German and just started learning Russian.

I’ve also taught French in South Korea as part of a French government program and helped 2,999,264 people learn French at French Together which is now one of the most popular French learning websites in the world and has been mentioned in several well-known publications.

French Together was featured in

The irony is that people assume I’ve always been good at languages and that I’m one of those people who can pick up language after language without any effort.

The reality is that I just created a method anyone can use to quickly learn new languages.

And I really mean anyone.

Current students include British people and Americans who retired in the South of France, college students who want to get better grades, busy professionals who want to speak French before going to France with their family and people who have been struggling for years before they discovered the French Together method.

Avoiding these 2 mistakes is essential if you ever want to speak and understand French

You may think you just need to work harder, you may think you’re too old to learn French, you may think you’re bad at learning languages.

Truth is, the reason why so many French learners struggle to speak and understand French is that they simply make the following two mistakes.

Mistake #1 Wasting your time learning vocabulary

There is nothing more frustrating than spending months learning French only to realize that the words you know are useless in a real-life conversation.

Yet, that’s what happens to most French learners who learned French the traditional way. They know lots of words but can’t form sentences because the French they know isn’t the French they need to speak French.

funny sentence in Duolingo French
The kind of sentences most French courses and apps teach you

That’s a shame because, according to L’encyclopédie Incomplète, the same 600 French words represent 90% of words used in common French texts.

Knowing these words won’t make you fluent but it will make it considerably easier for you to understand the language.

That’s why it’s essential to focus on high-frequency vocabulary and say goodbye to old-fashioned methods that make you waste your time learning how to say ruler and peony.

Mistake #2 Giving too much importance to grammar rules

Most French learners start by learning conjugation tables by heart and obsessing over the most insignificant aspects of French grammar.

They spend days learning rules they don’t understand, conjugating verbs they don’t need and memorizing the thousand of exceptions of each grammar rule.

The truth is, you don’t need to know that much grammar to speak French with confidence.

You simply need to learn the 20% of grammar rules that will help you understand 80% of sentences.

You don’t need to know the list of all masculine and feminine words. You just need to know that the majority of words ending in -e or -ion are feminine while most other words are masculine.

You don’t need to learn how to conjugate 100 verbs in the present tense, you just need to learn a few conjugation patterns that apply to the vast majority of verbs.

If you do that, you won’t know all the details of French grammar. You will, however, be able to speak French without taking forever to construct a sentence.

The secret to quickly speaking and understanding French

The two mistakes you just discovered show that the key to quickly speaking French with confidence is to focus on what matters.

This may sound simple but most French courses try to teach you so much at once that you end up overwhelmed and frustrated by your inability to speak and understand French.

What you need to do is learn the most common French words first and focus on the grammar that you actually need to know.

You could do that on your own of course but knowing what truly matters when you don’t know the language isn’t exactly easy.

Sure, you could download a list of the most common French words but knowing words is not the same as speaking French.

You could search for the best “grammar hacks” but you’re not guaranteed to find anything. And again, how do you know you’re not wasting your time on useless grammar rules?

That’s why I created the French Together course.




Introducing: The French Together™ Course

The French Together course is the only French course teaching you the 20% of French you need to know to understand 80% of everyday conversations and quickly speak French with confidence.

After using the course, you will know exactly what to say to order a coffee like a local, book a table at a restaurant, have conversations with locals or buy a train ticket.

You will completely avoid the embarrassment of not understanding what people say and will be able to engage in meaningful exchanges with locals without feeling like a foreigner.

All of this with lessons you can easily fit into your day and will look forward to, even after a long day at work.

Simply open the course (interactive ebook) on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone/tablet, and click on the blue play button to get started.

Oh and don’t worry about recurring fees and annoying limitations. Just pay once and use the course forever on as many devices as you like.

couple stiing at French cafe

“There are so many online resources for learning French that it can be overwhelming to try and choose! I found I was spending too much time looking for the “best” course when I should have been spending that time learning. I found the French Together course was just what I had been looking to find. It gives me a quick lesson I can easily fit into my day. I look forward to it, even after a long day at work. I can access it on my computer, tablet, and phone – so can easily complete or review a lesson when I have a few minutes to spare. The phrases are real and applicable. The speakers are real people, so do not have the computer voice glitches I hear in some other programs. And I love that I can listen to them in real time for comprehension and slowly for repetition. The notes are just right to me – enough to be helpful and interesting, but not so much that I get bogged down. Lastly, I like that there isn’t extraneous dialogue in English.I’m hoping for the next 30 days SOON!!”

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Laura

Portland – United States




Step 1: Listen to real-life conversations recorded at slow and normal speed

Your learning journey starts by listening to a fun and realistic conversation between Jérome, Elodie, Stéphane and the other professional voice actors who worked on this course.



They speak fast, don’t they?
That’s how all French people speak (especially Parisians, they are the worst!)
Don’t worry though, the French Together course comes with audio recorded at slow and normal speed so you can get used to the sounds of the language.
Simply switch between the two speeds and train your ears to finally understand fast-talking locals.



Do this for a few weeks and you could dramatically improve your understanding of spoken French.
Oh and the course also includes audio from a variety of speakers so you get used to different accents and intonations and don’t end up having to ask locals to repeat when you go to France.

women speaking French

“After using the French Together course, I had a chance to speak to a French person – I traveled to England and Normandy and dared to start a conversation with our guide (who is from Paris and spoke perfect English. He wasn’t very talkative with me in French – but I was thrilled that he understood me and I – him. He was very surprised that I had studied French only for a few months.”

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Irene Belyakov-Goodman

United States




Step 2: Improve your understanding of the language with full transcripts and natural translations

Unlike other courses that teach you a ton of words you will never use, the French Together course focuses on the most common French words because these are the 20% of French words you will find in 80% of conversations.

These words have been carefully selected based on a list of the most common French words in everyday speech. Each sentence has then been reviewed by several native speakers to make sure the sentences you learn are the sentences you will hear the most in real life.

Each conversation comes with a full transcript and translation so you know exactly how to use each word and sentence you learn.

This includes literal translations to help you quickly understand how the French language works and discover the true meaning of some of the most common French expressions.

French words often have multiple meanings. Understanding all the nuances is essential if you want to sound French. That’s why the course also includes clear vocabulary explanations when necessary.

Finally, cultural explanations help you learn more about French culture so you don’t simply speak French but also act French and avoid embarrassing mistakes.

For example, you will discover how to tip like a local, learn a simple phrase you can use to get tap water for free in restaurants and discover the words you must use if you don’t want to come across as rude.

French Together course transcripts

“Your class is awesome! I am starting totally from scratch having never taken French classes before. My husband speaks French and he’s amazed how much I’ve learned in just a couple weeks! Every night I read the new conversation to him so he can listen to my pronunciation. I’m a teacher about to be on summer break so hoping to devote lots of time to it!”

Lauren

Boston – United States




Step 3: Understand how the language works with clear grammar explanations

Each lesson builds on what you have already learned, and slowly incorporates new elements, so you don’t have to struggle to memorize anything. You can focus on learning effortlessly.

You learn grammar naturally by focusing on common patterns and similarities between French and English. Instead of learning French from scratch, the French Together course uses your knowledge of English to help you learn French in the easiest and most logical way possible.

The clear grammar explanations help you easily understand complicated grammar concepts such as the difference between masculine and feminine words and the conjugation of irregular verbs.
While most courses teach you as much grammar as possible, the French Together course only teaches you the grammar you actually need to know.

For example, you won’t learn how to conjugate verbs in the passé simple tense if you’re a beginner using the Level 1 course because that’s unnecessary and would only slow you down. You will, however, discover a simple trick you can use to easily guess the gender of French nouns just by looking at their ending.
This approach helps you learn grammar logically without feeling overwhelmed so you can construct sentences without freezing when it comes time to speak.

Each level of the French Together course follows a clear grammatical progression inspired by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR.)
By the end of Level 3, you will have reached a level equivalent to the B1 level of the CEFR. This means you will be able to speak about most everyday topics with confidence and understand most of what people tell you.

French Together course grammar

“The best thing about the French Together course for me, was just how accessible and enjoyable it made the process of learning the language. That’s never happened to me before. From the capsule-sized lessons where I was able to listen, read and understand the concepts around the dialogues in as little as five minutes at a time, to the everyday scenarios that I could practice (e.g asking for directions at the train station, shopping), I found myself absorbing the vocabulary and the nuances of grammar from the course automatically, because it was easy to understand. One of the best parts of this course is the fact that you had the dialogues at ‘normal speed’ versus slowed down dialogues, so it meant that you could hear how the conversation would sound in ‘real time’ vs the ‘slowed down’ audio for your ears to ‘listen more’. By day twenty of this course, I felt confident enough to speak (I had to travel to France), as well as understand simple everyday sentences/directions, which only enhanced my stay in France. In brief, I do recommend this course highly, because of the understanding and confidence that it gives you!​”

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J. Williams Robson

Nottingham – United Kingdom




Step 4: Gain confidence and improve your speaking skills with conversation practice exercises

Real life French is nothing like textbook French and the French Together course prepares you for it with conversation practice exercises.

Whether you are in front of your computer, in your car or working out, these exercises recreate the experience of speaking in real life and help you gain the confidence you need to speak French with locals.

I call these exercises “anti-freeze” exercises because they solve the two main problems French learners face in real life:

1) Even though you know the words, you can’t hear them when people talk because they speak so fast and single words melt into sentences.
2) You can’t seem to string sentences together and frequently freeze when it’s time to speak.

As a language learner myself, I know how scary speaking a foreign language can be. The conversation practice exercises help you gain confidence by simulating real-life conversations from the comfort and safety of your home.
This allows you to improve your listening and speaking skills without having to worry about someone asking you to repeat or making fun of you.

Group Of Friends Enjoying Evening Drinks In Bar

“Before using the French Together course, I would never have tried speaking even though I knew what to say. This course has given me more confidence in my pronunciation and usage.

I wish I had bought this sooner. I really only had about 7 weeks with your program and already felt more confident speaking. I am continuing to practice and work and feel that on our return to Paris in October I will be so much more fluent.”

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Rebecca Spears

United States

The essential things Level 1 will teach you

  • 8 greeting words you must know if you don’t want to sound rude.
  • The secret to easily guessing the gender of any French noun with 80% accuracy.
  • The simple conjugation pattern you can use to easily conjugate the French present tense.
  • What to do first when you enter a French shop.
  • Why you should never use “how are you” as a greeting in France and what to do instead.
  • Do you know the difference between “tu” and “vous”? I’ll show you which one to use
  • The simple pronunciation mistake that could get you to say the opposite of what you meant to say.
  • How to ask for directions and actually understand the answer.
  • The sneaky way to talk about the future without using the future tense.
  • Nous is the best way to say “we” in French. WRONG. In lesson 6 I’ll show you how locals say “we”.
  • The expressions you can use to add color to your French.
  • The exacts words you should use to book a hotel room or a table at a restaurant.
  • How to ask for the chef’s recommendation and get a meal you will love.
  • Why dropping words and letters can help you sound more authentic.
  • The 3 words you need to know to make comparisons in French.
  • French people speak fast. Here is how to politely ask them to slow down or repeat.
  • WARNING. The French don’t always use the correct word order and you shouldn’t either.
  • How to introduce yourself and other people with style.
  • Why speaking English is an advantage when it comes to learning French.
  • A few embarrassing vocabulary and grammar mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • When to use filler words to sound more natural.

“It is an excellent French course – very different than how we learn a language in the classroom. I wish I had known these lessons before moving to France. It took me FOREVER to figure out that you could switch ‘on’ and ‘nous’ when speaking. I had no idea what people were saying! Great work!”

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Emily Bernstein

“Before using French Together Level 1, I had spent one year struggling with French grammar and couldn’t speak French at all. After using the course for only 30 days, I feel that I better understand French grammar and feel more confident speaking. I particularly love the slow audio, because it helps my ears to listen more so that I can speak more and can honestly say that this course has saved me lot’s of time and prevented many headaches. I would totally recommend this course. In fact, I passed it to my 13-year-old daughter Lili who finds your course is much simpler and easier to understand than her textbook. “

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Lyn

Indonesia

The essential things Level 2 will teach you

  • Follow this simple rule to easily conjugate most French verbs in the future and conditional tense
  • The subtle but extremely important differences between the two main French past tenses
  • How using the present tense to talk about the future can help you sound more French
  • A conjugation mistake most French people make and how to avoid it
  • The easiest way to talk about events that just happened
  • The truth about “vegetarian” French food
  • How to conjugate verbs in the imperfect
  • Warning: you need to know these fundamental differences between spoken French and written French
  • The RE technique: a simple way to change the meaning of French verbs and sound like a local
  • How to ask for the waiter’s recommendation and get a meal you will never forget
  • The multiple translations of “you” (and how to use the right one)
  • Tricky false friends that confuse French learners
  • All the ways to answer the phone in French
  • How to say “should” in French and avoid common mistakes
  • The questions French waiters ask you when you enter a restaurant and how to answer them
  • The 4 letters you can use to easily turn most French adjectives into adverbs
  • How a few hilarious French expressions can help you sound more natural and impress locals
  • The mistake many French learners make when talking about countries
  • 4 ways to say “what” in French and why it matters
  • How to conjugate verbs in the passé composé
  • Learn how to say “have to” in French

The essential things Level 3 will teach you

  • An introduction to the French passive voice (and why you need to use it sparingly.)
  • Do you know the difference between “ses” and “son”? I’ll show you which one to use.
  • The easiest way to say “I should probably…” or I better…”
  • How to conjugate verbs in the imperative.
  • The secret of BANGS.
  • A romantic faux-ami to avoid.
  • The essential irregular verb imperative to watch out for.
  • The “most important” French words and how to use them to unlock your Frenchness.
  • Why you shouldn’t use the French “be + ing” form (and the tense to use instead.)
  • How do you say “just + verb” in French? (hint: it’s really simple.)
  • The dozens of ways to use “salle” to create words.
  • The mysterious life of “là.”
  • How to say “has to” in French.
  • How to say “while doing something” in French.
  • The conditional conjugation of “pouvoir” (and why it’s more useful than it may seem.)
  • The “magical” French prefix you can use to easily create new verbs and express repetition.
  • The romantic “to miss” or why the French don’t say “I miss you”.
  • How to know where to place short adverbs.
  • How the French tip (and don’t tip).
  • What “ça fait” really means.
  • How not to let “en” and “y” drive you crazy.

“I’ve now finished Level 1 and I think it’s a huge difference in my French skills now compared to before. My French vocabulary has gotten a lot bigger and thanks to the audio – both normal speed & slow speed – my pronunciation has improved and I better understand simple, common meanings in French just by listening. As I’ve already said in one of my previous e-mails, I’ve struggled a bit with French in school for a few years until I got in contact with you, Benjamin, and this course. It has truly helped me a lot. The course makes learning much less boring and tiring, I really appreciate the side notes in almost every chapter that either explains something from that chapter or helps you to remember some things a bit more easily. Yes, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’d like to learn French, and I think that I will continue reading it myself now and then to repeat everything I learned since I do not live in a French-speaking country or talk French regularly. “

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Moa Berghall

Sweden

ONE LEVEL

USD59

  • Choose between Level 1 (complete beginner), Level 2 (beginner) and Level 3 (intermediate)
  • 30 lessons based on real-life conversations
  • No recurring payments. Pay once and keep the course forever.
  • Use the course (ebook with integrated audio) on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone/tablet or Windows PC/tablet.
  • Recordings of all conversations at slow and normal speed
  • Conversation practice exercises
  • Bonus: The How to Learn French in a Year Ebook

COMPLETE COURSE

  • Get all 3 levels of the French Together course at a 40% discount compared to buying the courses individually.
  • 90 lessons based on real-life conversations
  • No recurring payments. Pay once and keep the course forever.
  • Use the course (ebook with integrated audio) on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone/tablet or Windows PC/tablet.
  • Recordings of all conversations at slow and normal speed
  • Conversation practice exercises
  • Bonus: The How to Learn French in a Year Ebook
payment methods

The 60-day sourire guarantee

This course comes with a 60-day sourire (smile) guarantee. This means that you have 60 days to try the course risk-free and see how you like it.

If you don’t like it, haven’t had the time to use it or feel that it’s not the right course for you, email benjamin@frenchtogether.com within 60 days of your purchase and I will issue a refund with a smile. No questions asked

Here is what it means:

If you believe there is even a “slight chance” the French Together course can work for you, you should give it a try.

You should give it a try because there is no risk. If the course works for you, you will be able to finally speak and understand French. If it doesn’t, simply send me an email within 60 days of your purchase to get a full refund. No questions asked.

I’m happy to offer you this guarantee because I honestly believe the French Together course is the best French course on the market but you don’t have to take my word for it. Give the course a try and see for yourself!

smiling woman

Is this the right course for me?

Now you might be wondering, is the French Together course right for me?

This course is for you if you can say OUI to at least 4 of these statements:

  • You’re just getting started learning French and would like to speak and understand French before your trip to France.
  • You studied French at school and want to refresh your knowledge.
  • Despite knowing thousands of words, you feel paralyzed when it’s your turn to speak French.
  • You can read in French but struggle with conversation.
  • You don’t mind putting in the work as long as you know that the time you invest is a positive step towards your goal of becoming a confident French speaker.
  • In fact, you’re already working hard to learn French and just want to make sure you’re spending your learning time as efficiently as possible.
  • You can’t wait to become a confident French speaker and can already picture yourself asking for the chef’s recommendation in a Michelin-starred restaurant and talking about your favorite movie with your French friend Paul.
  • You love how French sounds and can’t wait to be able to watch French movies and read French books in the original version.

The course isn’t for you if:

The French Together course is awesome but it’s not always the right choice. I don’t recommend it if at least one of the following statements is true:

  • You’re looking for a magical pill that’ll allow you to learn French in a day. The French Together course is awesome and it can help you quickly speak and understand French, but it won’t help you unless you’re motivated and ready to work a little bit every day.
  • You regularly speak French with your friends and have become a master in the art of asking French shopkeepers how their family is doing while joking about the weather. C’est GENIAL, this is GREAT congratulation! You could still learn a ton of useful French expressions and improve your French with the French Together course, but you’d be better off with a more advanced course.
  • You only want to learn French to pass your exams. This is a noble goal, and I congratulate you on it, but unless your exam is focused on expressing yourself and communicating in French, you’ve better ways to prepare for it (learning conjugation tables by heart for example).

“Bonjour Benjamin !

I have been getting up a bit earlier each morning just to study french on your course, and then I have it with me all day, repeating to myself and combining different sentences. I only used the duolingo app before and it has helped me build up vocabulary and grammar, but for sentences it hasn’t really done anything for me. As you’re saying, when will I ever say ”Il y a une vache dans le jardin !” ?

I even feel confident enough to let people hear me speak, to show them what I’ve learnt and it feels amazing! I can better assist my son, who is going to choose french as extra language in school next year. He’s going to have a bit advantage and I cannot tell you enough how happy I am to have found this course!

It makes me confident enough to tell my son ”we can do this together!” Merci :,) Merci beaucoup !”

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Donna Åhrberg

Sweden

ONE LEVEL

USD59

  • Choose between Level 1 (complete beginner), Level 2 (beginner) and Level 3 (intermediate)
  • 30 lessons based on real-life conversations
  • No recurring payments. Pay once and keep the course forever.
  • Use the course (ebook with integrated audio) on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone/tablet or Windows PC/tablet.
  • Recordings of all conversations at slow and normal speed
  • Conversation practice exercises
  • Bonus: The How to Learn French in a Year Ebook

COMPLETE COURSE

  • Get all 3 levels of the French Together course at a 40% discount compared to buying the courses individually.
  • 90 lessons based on real-life conversations
  • No recurring payments. Pay once and keep the course forever.
  • Use the course (ebook with integrated audio) on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone/tablet or Windows PC/tablet.
  • Recordings of all conversations at slow and normal speed
  • Conversation practice exercises
  • Bonus: The How to Learn French in a Year Ebook
60 day moneyback guarantee
payment methods

“The Level 1 course in general is something i wish i would have read when i first started to learn french. But since i already knew pretty much all that stuff it’s even easier for me to notice some useful tips that you’ve included in the course like dropping the ‘ne’ part, “possessing” the age, or filter words. Even though its a ‘crash course’ for total beginners it can be very well used for someone who studied french in the past and wants to get back on track.Everything is spot on. As a total beginner i would have started learning french with this course for sure.”

Anton

Moscow – Russia