Lesson 11: In a French café

Simple French lesson on how to order a coffee in a typical French brasserie. You will also learn the two most popular types of coffee ordered in France: un expresso and un café allongé. Enjoy your lesson !

1. Dialoge: Au café


S: Serveur ( a waiter ), Mme: Madame , M: Monsieur

S: Qu’est-ce que vous prendrez Messieurs, Dames ?
Mme: Pour moi un café.
S: Un café serré ou allongé ?
Mme: Ah.., quelle est la différence entre les deux, s’il-vous-plaît ?  
S: Un café serré est un petit café, un expresso si vous préférez. On l’appelle également un “café court”.
M: Et qu’est-ce qu’un café allongé ?  
S: Un café allongé est tout simplement un café court avec deux fois plus d’eau.
M: D’accord. Un café allongé pour moi s’il-vous-plaît.
S: Et pour vous Madame ?
Mme: Moi, je prendrai un café court s’il-vous-plaît.

2. Notes


This lesson introduces the use of the Simple Future Tense (Le futur simple).

The futur simple is heavily used when making orders in a café, bar or a restaurant.  You can also use it when you imagine what your future will look like or when you make projects. In short:

Future Simple:

    1. imagining the future:
      1. Quand je serai grand, je ferai le tour du monde. When I’m big, I will go on a round the world trip.
    2. making projects:
      1. Je prendrai un verre de vin. I will take / have a glass of wine. 
      2. Qu’est-ce que vous prendrez Monsieur? What will you take / have, sir ?

How is Future Simple formed ?

Infinitive (eg. parler, habiter, etc.) + suffixes:aiasaonsezont.

If infinitive + e (eg. prendre, vivre)): no “e” :

je prendrai, je vivrai, …

Distinctive feature of the French Simple Future Tense :

lots of r sound !

This can be quite daunting for the beginning learners of French. Fortunately, there is a remedy exercise on Simple-French to help you tame the pronunciation of the French “R” sound.

Simple Future Conjugation (La conjugaison au Futur simple)

prendre être
je prendrai

tu prendras

il / elle / on prendra

nous prendrons

vous prendrez

ils prendront

je serai

tu seras

il / elle / on sera

nous serons

vous serez

ils seront


Conjugation of Futur Simple with examples: 

je prendrai un thé

tu prendras ce que voudras

il / elle / on prendra deux cafés

nous prendrons un taxi

vous prendrez la permière à gauche

ils prendront la même chose


Dialogue Vocabulary

French English
Les verbes Verbs
prendre to take
commander to order
boire to drink
préférer to prefer
Les noms Nouns
un serveur / une serveuse a waiter / a waitress
Monsieur-Dames a common French expression to address both a man and a woman at the same time (if both are present). It is pronounced as one word.
la différence difference
un café a coffee
eau water
Les adjectifs Adjectives
serré pressed / squeezed  (du verbe serrer: to thighten / to press)
petit small
grand big
court short / brief
alongé stretched out / extended (du verbe allonger: to extend, to prolong)
d’accord OK / All right ! (from: être d’accord = to agree / to be in agreement)

Additional Vocabulary

Additional Vocabulary:

Les boissons: Drinks:
un café au lait milky coffee / latte
un café crème a middle cup of coffee and milk
un petit / grand café a small / big coffee
(un) sucre

Je prendrai du sucre avec mon café s’il-vous-plaît.

un café décafeinné (un déca) decaffeinated coffee
un chocolat chaud hot chocolate
un thé a tea
une tisane, a herbal tea
une infusion a herbal tea / infusion
Les ustensiles: Utensils:
une tasse a cup
une grande tasse / un mug a big cup / a mug
une chope a mug
une soucoupe a saucer
une cuillère a spoon
un sachet packet / sachet / bag
une touillette   a stir stick / a stirrer

Useful Expressions

Useful Expressions

French English
Qu’est ce que c’est ? What’s this  / that ?
Que désirez-vous, Madame / Monsieur ? What will you have ?
Je prendrai …. I will take …
Combien je vous dois ? How much do I owe you ?
Cela / Ca vous fait 10€. / C’est 10€. You owe me 10€. / It’s 10€.

3. Exercises

Click for more information about this exercise

Type in the French translation of the sentence in English. If you are stuck or need a suggestion, look closely into the dialogue above. Some detail might have escaped your attention.

  The punctuation marks have already been added there for you. Don't add the punctuation mark ( " . ", " ? ", " ! ") at the end of the sentence as it won't validate your answer ! Sometimes you may be asked to add a comma ( " , ") inside a sentence.
  For the French characters, if you don't know how to type them on your keyboard, please use the virtual keyboard provided below the exercise. The French characters are necessary for the sentences to be correctly completed. Otherwise, your sentence won't be validated.
  Please, remember: this kind of exercise, that is reading the lesson first and then trying to retrieve it from your memory and / or helping yourself by looking back into the lesson is EXTRAORDINARILY efficient. You will be surprised how fast you will learn and how quickly you will actually build your own sentences.

1. What will you have ?
Qu'est-ce que ?
2. I will have a coffee, please.
, s'il-vous-plaît.
3. What is the difference between the two ?
entre les deux ?
4. What is this ?
5. And for you Miss ?
Et ?

4. Homework

Imagine you are on a trip to Paris. You have been walking for 2 hours and now you want to make a break. You have spotted une brasserie and you decide to enter inside to have a coffee. Write a dialogue in which:

  • You have to order 1 coffee with milk for you, an espresso for you friend and two teas for two other people who are with you.
  • You need to speak for yourself (I will take …) and for your friend (he / she will take …) and the two other people ( they will take …).

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