The 3 Common Mistakes That Explain Why Some People Quickly Speak and Understand French While Others Never Go Beyond "Bonjour"

Dear French learner,

I notice something pretty frustrating every summer when I go back to visit my family in Paris.

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.

They ask for directions to the lovely apartment they rented in Montmartre, buy a few croissants at a local bakery, book a table at a restaurant or simply 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 months learning vocabulary and verb conjugations they quickly forgot, did their best to understand the difference between masculine and feminine words and worked hard to get rid of their accent.

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

All of this 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 go beyond a simple "bonjour".

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

And my first English conversation was a 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 Americans, 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 most people could hardly tell whether I was speaking English or French.

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

This happened 7 years ago and I now speak French (my native language), English and German and just started learning Russian.

I've also helped 2,997,264 people learn French at French Together which is now one of the most popular French learning websites in the world.

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 languages.

And I really mean anyone.

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

Here is how they did it and how you can too!

Avoiding these 3 mistakes is essential if you ever want to speak and understand French

The reason why so many French learners have a terrible pronunciation, struggle with grammar and feel overwhelmed is that they simply use the wrong method.

Avoid the three mistakes below and you'll be able to quickly speak and understand French.

Mistake #1 Wasting your time learning vocabulary

There is nothing more frustrating than spending months learning French only to realize you sound like a grammar book, and that the majority of the words you know are useless.

Unfortunately, most courses care more about teaching you as much vocabulary as possible than teaching you phrases you'll actually need in real-life.

The kind of sentences most French courses and apps teach you
That's truly a shame considering focussing on useful vocabulary is one of the best ways to quickly speak and understand French.

A study by Mark Davies from Brigham Young University has shown that the 4,000–5,000 most common words account for up to 95 percent of a written text and the 1,000 most common words account for 85 percent of speech.

Imagine this, you could understand 85% of French conversations if you start by learning the 1,000 most common French words.

Mistake #2 The pronunciation killer

Let's say you want to learn how to say "please" in French.

You open your phrasebook, French course or just search the answer in Google and discover that "s'il vous plait" is the correct way to say "please" in French.

Nobody will understand you if you speak French like that.
There is just one problem.

You just started learning French so you don't know how to pronounce it.

At this point, it's tempting to simply pronounce the word the way you think it's pronounced.

Unfortunately, that's a huge mistake because:

Which is why you should always listen to a native speaker pronouncing the words and phrases you want to learn before seeing how the word or phrase is written.

This way you hear the correct pronunciation before you have the time to guess it and end up with an accent people actually understand instead of a weird mix of French and English.

Mistake #3 Giving too much importance to grammar rules

Knowing grammar is essential if you want to speak French correctly.

Grammar rules? Not so much.

In fact, several studies have confirmed what top linguists have long suspected: learning grammar rules is often a waste of time and students who learn grammar in context end up with a better mastery of grammar than students who focussed on rules.

As a French learner, your priority should be to learn basic words and sentences and get their pronunciation right.

Focussing on authentic learning material such as real-life conversations helps you naturally learn grammar because your brain notices patterns and create rules by itself.

The secret to quickly speaking and understanding French

The three mistakes you just discovered show that the key to speaking French with confidence is to learn from authentic content, focus on listening before reading and naturally absorb grammar.

And the best way to do that is to learn with real-life conversations, the kind of conversations you would hear if you were sitting on the terrace of a café in Paris.

The 30-Day French course makes that easy.

"The best thing about 30-Day French 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!​"

J. Williams Robson - Nottingham

"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 30-Day French 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!!"

Laura - Portland - United States

Introducing: 30-Day French

30-Day French is a beginner French course teaching you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations.

After using the course, you'll know exactly what to say to order a café 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.

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

Here is what's inside each lesson

A real-life conversation

The French speak very fast and understanding the stream of sentences they say isn't always easy.

That's why the conversations between Jérome, Elodie, and Stéphane (the 3 professional voice actors who worked on this course) were recorded at slow and normal speed.

This helps you train your ears, get used to the sounds of French and make sure you understand locals.

Full transcript and translation

Each conversation comes with a full transcript as well as translations 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.

Cultural explanations help you learn more about French culture so you don't simply speak French but also act French and avoid embarrassing mistakes.

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 and learn effortlessly. You learn grammar naturally by focusing on common patterns and similarities between the French and English language.

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.

A few essential things you'll learn in the course

"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!"

Emily Bernstein - Providence - United States

"Before using 30-Day French, I had spent one year struggling with French grammar and couldn't speak French at all. After using 30-Day French 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. "

Lyn - Indonesia

"I've now finished 30 Day French 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. "

Moa Berghall - Sweden

Here's what you get when you buy 30-Day French today

30-Day French course

€44 EUR US$47 £37

  • The full 30-Day French course. This includes access to 30 conversations with grammar hacks, transcripts, translations and cultural explanations.
  • An interactive version of the course with integrated audio for iPad, iPhone and Mac computers.
  • A PDF version of the course so you can easily access it from your PC, Android smartphone or Android tablet.
  • MP3 files of all conversations at slow and normal speed so you can listen on the go.
  • Bonus: a free e-book version of my Amazon Bestseller “How to Learn French in a Year.”

Get Instant Access

Speak French in 60 days or your money back

You have 60 days to go through the course totally risk-free.

That's more than the time it takes most students to finish the course!

If you don't feel confident enough to speak as well as understand simple everyday sentences or simply don't like the course, send me an email within 60 days of your purchase to get a full refund. No questions asked!

You made it this far, here is what it means

If you made it this far down this page, it's a sign you're determined to speak French.

Maybe you've wanted to speak French for a while and have been dreaming of the day when you can finally have meaningful conversations with locals and order your favorite food in French, maybe you've even tried to learn French before.

You know anyone can successfully learn French and that you don't need to live in France or spend hours learning everyday to succeed.

The question is: what are you going to do about it?

You could keep doing what you were doing and get the same result, or you could give 30-Day French a try and join hundreds of people who now speak French.

And remember, when you get the course today, you have 60 days to go through it 100% risk free. If you feel that you don't speak French as well as you would like or simply don't like the course, email me and I'll quickly issue a refund.

Questions students asked before buying the course

I'm not a complete beginner, will this course help me?

This course was created with complete beginners in mind. But it's also a great choice if you've been learning French for a while and feel like you're not making much progress or if you learned French a long time ago and would like to refresh your knowledge.

What if I need help?

I'm here for you. When you buy the course, you get direct access to me.

  If you have questions about the course, the French language or simply need tips on how to best use the course in your case, just write me an email and I'll be happy to help. 

I'm busy, can I use the course later?

Once you buy 30-Day French, it's yours to keep forever. You can start using it now, in one week or in 10 years. 

Of course the sooner you start, the sooner you'll be able to communicate with locals and express yourself in French, so don't wait too much. Time flies!

Why can't I simply use a free course or textbook from the library?

You can and you would probably learn a few useful words, but the problem of most courses (including many paid ones) is that they don't teach you French, they just throw a bunch of random words and grammar rules at you and ask you to learn them by heart (yawn).

With 30-Day French, you follow a clear roadmap that'll quickly bring you from beginner to a conversational level.

You don't waste time wondering what to study next or learning phrases and grammar rules you'll never use.

The result?  You learn French faster, avoid headaches and feel happy when you realize how much you can say in French.

What if I don't like the course?

This course comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee. If you don't like it or changed your mind, contact me within 60 days of your purchase and I will give you your money back. No questions asked.

30-Day French course

€44 EUR US$47 £37

  • The full 30-Day French course. This includes access to 30 conversations with grammar hacks, transcripts, translations and cultural explanations.
  • An interactive version of the course with integrated audio for iPad, iPhone and Mac computers.
  • A PDF version of the course so you can easily access it from your PC, Android smartphone or Android tablet.
  • MP3 files of all conversations at slow and normal speed so you can listen on the go.
  • Bonus: a free e-book version of my Amazon Bestseller “How to Learn French in a Year.”

Get Instant Access