9 unique, untranslatable French words

Seen from the back, a woman with shoulder-length brown hair and wearing a black leather jacket pauses while strolling in one of Paris's covered passages, taking in the sights and sounds around her.

What are the most unique French words? French has many beautiful, funny, and otherwise memorable words, and some of them have no exact, single-word equivalent in other languages. Let’s discover nine of these unique, untranslatable French words. 9 unique and untranslatable French words Here are 9 unique and untranslatable words that you’ll often come across …


7 common French greetings (and the faux-pas to avoid)

French greeting

There are a number of ways to greet people in French, including saying Bonjour and exchanging la bise (cheek kisses). Let’s look at the ones you’ll come across most often, and how use these greetings like a native French person! 7 common French greetings The typical French greeting: Bonjour As you probably know, Bonjour means “Hello” …


The essential guide to French reflexive verbs

A woman with red painted fingernails and wearing a long-sleeved black shirt holds a large mirror at the level of her head, reflecting the very bright blue sky with scattered clouds that we also see all around her.

A reflexive verb is a verb that’s preceded by a reflexive pronoun. These verbs show that someone or something is doing something to/by themself. For instance, Je me réveille means “I wake up.” As you can see, in English we don’t usually use reflexive verbs, although you could say “I wake myself up” for clarification or …


Good or bad: What does “terrible” mean in French?

A woman with long blond hair looks at the screen of her tablet, which is posed upright on a table. We can only see the lower part of her face. From the set of her mouth, she seems to be confused or figuring something out.

The French word terrible means something is bad – but it can also mean something is really good! Let’s take a look at the tricky French usage of terrible. Does terrible mean bad or good in French? If you look up terrible in a French dictionary or a site like Wiktionniare, most of the definitions will show that terrible means, …


6 ways to say “Good evening” in French

A view of the Pont Alexandre III, Paris's famous bridge adorned with magnificent glass lamps and cherub sculptures, beneath a typical lavender-tinged evening Parisian sky.

Bonsoir is the most common way to say “Good evening” in French. Although Bonjour is a French greeting you can use at any time, the French have a fondness for being specific. That’s why you’ll usually hear people greet each other with Bonsoir instead, in the evening and night. But Bonsoir isn’t the only way to say “Good evening” in …


The beginner’s guide to French ordinal numbers | With audio pronunciation

Lanes of a track for runners, with the lane numbers painted white on the ground.

Ordinal numbers are numbers used to show the order of something – for instance, first, second, two hundredth, etc.  To make a regular, or cardinal, French number an ordinal number, most of the time you’ll add the suffix -ième to it. But there are a few exceptions, notably the number un, which becomes premier or première, depending …