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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15 Proven Tips to Help You Learn French Fast

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Learning another language isn’t easy. I’ve been a fluent French speaker for a long time, but I’ve never forgotten how challenging it was to get here. Along the way, I learned some lessons and discovered some strategies that helped me with everything from studying, to self-esteem (a crucial part of learning just about anything). If …

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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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Everything You Need to Know About the French Verb “Savoir”

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Savoir means “to know” in French. Let’s explore all things savoir, starting with its conjugation. Savoir conjugation Savoir is an irregular verb, which means you’ll have to memorize its conjugations. A small consolation is that it’s conjugated with avoir in compound tenses, so you don’t have to agree the participle and the subject in a …

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What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Learning French

A person is writing, we see only their hand (holding a pen) and sleeve (it looks like they're wearing a comfy cardigan). On the table in front of them are worksheets, a notebook, and a coffee or tea mug.

When you start to learn a language, you may feel intimidated or overwhelmed. There’s so much you don’t know, so much to study and so much knowledge to acquire. Or maybe you only feel overwhelmed when you come upon the first challenging thing. I had my first French class when I was in sixth grade …

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Essential French cooking vocabulary

A smiling, happy middle-aged couple looks at what is probably a recipe book. The woman is cutting squash, and there are other vegetables, as well as wine, baguette, and a frying pan on the counter in front of them.

Whether you’re a budding chef, enthusiastic foodie, or just trying to expand your knowledge of the French language and culture, there are two main kinds of French cooking vocabulary you need to know: cooking words commonly used in French recipes, and French cooking words that have been borrowed into English. Let’s look at the most common …

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