Test Your French Before You Travel to France

pont-du-gard-France

Basic French Test For Travellers

The summer holiday is coming and maybe you are planing to visit France.

Even though France is a great, multicultural country, speaking English with the locals is far from being the reality.

That is why I invite you to check your knowledge of some basic expressions and and words in French that are essential before visiting this country.

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Learn the Names of Countries in French  

Countries in French

Knowing the names of countries in French is essential for a beginner. Not only will it allow you to speak about yourself properly, but also it will let you understand your speaker when they introduce themselves.

In France, especially in big cities like Paris, Mareseille or Nice you will come across people of different origins and nationalities. It will be easier for you to understand them if you know the names of the countries they are coming from. 

What you need to know about the names of countries in French is that they normally come with a definite article (masculine or feminine). However, they are often dropped, depending on the context and the sentences in which they are used.  

 

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Basic French Verbs

France-10-basic-verbs

10 Basic French Verbs

In this lesson you will learn 10 besic albeit probably the most important and the most frequent French verbs. 

It is always wise to start learning any language by trying to master the most frequent verbs as they they allow to express the most important needs. 

The list below doesn't include the two key verbs in most of the languages: to be: être, and to have: avoir. These verbs have a separate article dedicated to their meaning and their conjugation

These verbs are also the most useful for a tourist or someone going to France and who would like to know the basis. 

 

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100 Most Important French Sentences: 1-10

100 Most Important French Sentences (1-10)

100 Most Important French Sentences: Part 1

100 Most Important French Phrases is a perfect way to start your French language learning

100 sentences doesn't mean 100 words !  It is more than that. Some of the words will repeat though and some of them won't belong to the 100 most important words list that you may find on the Internet. (I will publish an article about that soon). What I wanted was to create 100 simple, ready to use sentences that you will need as a beginner and which will form a base and a support for futher learning.  

If you have no previous experience with the French language, this is the place to start.  

Almost of the sentences concern the first person (I) to help you express the most important things concerning YOU. These can be easily transformed to ask for information about your speaker. 

The sentences are divided into categories. Starting from the given examples you may create even more than 100 sentences by changing the personal pronoun and the verb conjugation or by forming questions and answers.

Here is the first 10 sentences from the category: speaking about yourself. 

Speaking About Yourself 1

  French English Translation Explanation
1

Je suis américain. (man)

Je suis américaine. (woman)

I am American. In general, you need to add “e” to an adjective to get the feminine form. There are two genders in French: masculine and feminine. Thus: "un américain" but "une américaine", "un ami anglais" but "une amie française".  
2

Vous êtes français

Vous êtes française.

You are French. In formal speech to be polite with people you don’t know (adults), you need to use “Vous”, the plural form of the personal pronoun, instead of the informal "tu" reserved for the people you know, your friends and the people younger than you in general.
3 Tu es américain et elle est anglaise. You are French. Between friends, kids and people you know you use “tu” (you).
4 J’habite à New York. I live in New York. Verb “habiter” means “to live”. Je + habite becomes
“J’habite”, the “h” is silent here.
5 Où habitez-vous ? Where do you live ? The formal way of asking questions in French is to
switch the verb and the subject. But there are other
more common ways to ask questions: by adding "est-ce que"
or simply raising your intonation ?
6

On habite aux Etats-Unis.

Nous habitons aux Etas-Unis.

We live in the United States. “On” is the common ways of saying “we” or “nous” in French.
In spoken French you will hear "on" instead of "nous" 99% of
the time.
7 Je m’appelle John. My name is John. Literally “I call myself John”. “s’appeler” (se appeler) is one of the “pronominal verbs” which are very common in Romance languages.
“S’appeler" is also the verb with the “er” ending, the simplest and the most common type of verb to conjugate. Look at the difference between this sentence (7) and the next one (8) in terms of conjugation. You need to add "s" in the second person singular. The pronunciation stays the same however. 
8

Comment t’appelles-tu ?

Comment tu t'appelles(intonation)

What's your name ? Literally “How do you call yourself ?” te + appelles = t'appelles. There can't be two vowels next to each other. It makes the pronunciation easier. 
9 D’où viens-tu ? Where do you come from ? /
Where are you from ?
“Tu viens” comes from the verb “venir”, to come.
10 Je viens du Royaume Uni. I come from the United Kingdom. “venir de” (to come from) + le Royaume Uni = venir du
Royaume Uni. So, "de + le" = du.

 

 

French Nationalities

France-nationalities

Knowing the names of different nationalities (les nationalités) will not only allow you to tell something about yourself but also it will help you to get to know better the person you are talking to, especially if he/she is a foreigner.

Things to remember:

  • As with majority of the French adjectives, there is a masculine and feminine form for most of the names of nationalities. All you need to do is to add an "-e" to the masculine form.  Eg. français / française

    • Most of the time it will change the pronunciation  français / française (z) but there are some exceptions where it stays the same: Eg. espagnol / espagnole
    • If the name of the adjective of nationality ends with "-e", the word stays the same. Eg. Paul est suisse. / Marie est suisse
  • The names of nationalities in French are written in small letters, unlike in the English language !

Names of Nationalities in French: 

French French feminine English
français française French
anglais anglaise English
sénégalais sénégalaise Senegalese
marocain marocaine Moroccan
allemand allemande German
russe russe Russian
américain américaine American
espagnol espagnole Spanish
suédois suédoise Swedish
britannique britannique British
écossaise écossaise Scottish

Names of the Countries 

You may also want to learn the names of the countries in French that go with the names of these nationalities. Have a look at this lesson. 

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3