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How to Start a Conversation in French

 

Is it because of its culture, Paris or simply because of the French pronunciation and songs?

You may not know how and where to start?

I am now preparing a series of lessons related to French learning. From beginner levels to advanced.

learn French – Lesson 01

French like many other languages can be formal and informal.

Formal is used when you want to talk to a stranger, teacher, boss or when write essays and documents.

Informal is in the other hand used when you speak to students, your friends, parents, kids… In general people you are close to.

Let’s now start with our first lesson.

How briefly to talk to a person you don’t know?

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The first things you need to do, if you do not want to look rude, is to introduce yourself.

Bonjour ! Je m’appelle Alex.

Je viens de Londres. Je suis un peu perdu… Pouvez-vous me dire où se trouve la Tour Eiffel s’il vous plaît? Merci aurevoir !

Don’t be scared if you don’t understand the whole sentence yet, I will explain it to you step by step.

Bonjour means Good morning.

You use it only in the morning, in the afternoon you should use Bonsoir.

Je m’appelle Alex.

As you may guess it means My name is Alex.

It is an important reflexive verb, the infinitive form of m’appelle is s’appeler which means to be named.

Je viens de Londres. Which is translated to I come from London. It is interesting to notice that London is translated in French as Londres. England is Angleterre, whereas United Kingdom is Royaume-Unis.

Je suis un peu perdu means I am a little bit lost.

The last sentence Pouvez-vous me dire où se trouve la Tour Eiffel ? Is translated to Can you tell me where to find the Eiffel Tower?

Je suis : I am.

Dire : to say or to tell.

Se trouver : to find

Merci : Thank you

Aurevoir : Goodbye

The verb to be is être.

And s’il vous plaît means please.

You may did not notice, but in writing you should put a space in the end of a sentence before “?” or “!”. By the way, due to this detail you can usually recognize French speakers who write in English.

En bref (in conclusion)

In French

Bonjour ! Je m’appelle Alex.

Je viens de Londres. Je suis un peu perdu, pouvez-vous me dire où se trouve la Tour Eiffel s’il vous plaît? Merci aurevoir !

In English :

Good morning! my name is Alex. I come from London. I am a little bit lost. Can you tell me where to find the Eiffel Tower, please? Thank you, goodbye!

Now you know how to introduce yourself briefly to find a place.

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Quartier de la défense

How to introduce yourself in an informal(cool) way?

Salut ! Mon nom est Alex. Je suis de Londres. Je suis un peu perdu, tu peux me dire où est la Tour Eiffel s’il te plaît ? Merci ciao !

What was changed?

Bonjour is replaced by Salut, which is the French way to say hi.

Je viens de Londres is now Je suis de Londres. In English it would be I am from London instead of I come from London.

Je suis un peu perdu stays the same.

Here is what’s interesting.

Pouvez-vous in a informal way is tu peux. You can also see that the verb comes after the pronouns in this case.

Important: You use “tu” instead of “vous” to talk to a person in a informal way. It’s called tutoyer when you use tu and vouvoyer for vous.

The conjugation is different.

The 9 French personal pronouns:

Je I

Tu you

il/elle he/she

nous we

vous you

ils/elles they

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Champs Élysées

In our informal way to introduce ourself où se trouve la Tour Eiffel is now où est la Tour Eiffel, It’s a more simple to use just the verb être (to be).

Please is translated to s’il te plaît instead of s’il vous plaît,

Aurevoir to Ciao.

In France like in many countries all around the world young people tend to use ciao a lot.

Salut ! Mon nom est Alex. Je suis de Londres. Je suis un peu perdu… Tu peux me dire où est la Tour Eiffel s’il te plaît ? Merci ciao !

English:

Hi! I am Alex. I am from London. I’m a little bit lost… Can you tell me where the Effeil Tower is, please? Thanks, bye!

Now you know how to introduce yourself in a formal and in an informal way!

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