Learning French: Sounding Less Like A Beginner (part 1)


A short and sweet post this week!

I’ve recently started to feel much less like a beginner and a lot more proficient in my use of the French language and I wanted to share one of the simple reasons for this. I’ve titled this Part 1, because I have so many more tips to share. Having a husband that has been speaking French fluently for 20 years has really helped me to learn French as spoken by real French people and not text book French.

If you learnt French at school you will definitely know the phrase “Je voudrais” which means, I would like. This is a very polite way of asking for something and most people use this phrase all the time when they start learning French, I know I have used it countless times over the last few years. However, French people don’t use it all that often. Certainly my husband never uses this phrase.

As I’ve become more confident and relaxed with my language use, I’ve found that I have naturally started to use other phrases when asking for things. These phrases have made me feel, and in my opinion, sound, less like a beginner and more fluent.
Just some of the phrases I’ve been using more often are:

Je veux (I want)
Je prends (I take/I am taking) or Je vais prendre (I am going to take)
Je dois (I need)

As in English, you can also just say that name of the item you asking for, for example “un verre de rosé“, another phrases I have used countless times! Just don’t forget to follow all of these up with “s’il vous plaît“!

Je voudrais is an example of the conditional tense (as opposed to the present tense, “je veux“) and is a very polite way of asking for what you want, but it’s always good to mix things up a little. I’m not advising you to be rude, far from it, but I think that having different phrases to hand and using these almost interchangeably will increase your confidence, make you sound more natural and less like a beginner.

If you still want to be super polite, but also want to add some variety to your language use, try one of the following phrases:

Je prendrais (I will take)
J’aimerais (I would like)

A bientôt,

Catherine xx

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