Misused Phrases

As with anything, there are phrases in French that often get misused, or are just used incorrectly – perhaps with the idea that something literally translates the same from your native language to French. It happens, but that’s why I’m here to help.

“Bonne nuit” to say “goodbye”

This phrase does mean “good night”, but, unless you are actually heading off to bed, you should actually use the phrase “bon soir”, which means “good evening”.

Using “garçon” for “waiter”

It is terribly offensive to call your waiter “garçon”. Instead, please say “Excusez-moi, monsieur/madam.” to get your waiter’s attention.

Saying “Je suis excité(e)” to say you’re excited

This actually means that you are sexually aroused. If that’s the actual case, then by all means, you may use that! Otherwise, you should said “J’en ai hâte” which means “I can’t wait”, or “J’ai hâte __” which means “I look forward to __”. Another good and simple phrase you could use is just simply “Je suis très heureux/heureuse” (“I am very happy”).

Saying “Je suis chaud(e)/froid(e)” to say you’re hot/cold

“Je suis chaud(e)” means “I’m horny”. And similarly, “Je suis froid(e)” actually means you’re frigid! When you’re feeling a certain temperature, always use avoir to indicate this. “J’ai chaud(e)/froid(e)”.

Saying “Je suis plein(e)” to say you’re full

Saying it this way actually means “I am pregnant”. Instead you should opt for “J’ai fini”, which means “I’m done”, or “J’ai assez/trop mangé”, meaning “I ate enough/too much”.

Don’t ask for change saying “J’ai besoin de change”

Don’t use the above phrase if you need change for a large bill. Whomever you say this to may think you need a change of clothing. Instead use “J’ai besoin de monnaie” (“I need change”.) Or you can also use “J’ai besoin de faire du change”.

Don’t say “Je suis…ans” to tell your age

Always use avoir when stating your age. “J’ai…ans”… “I have…years”. The phrase above is just incorrect grammar.

Using the verb “visiter” in reference to people

The verb visiter (to visit) is used for places and monument, sightseeing. It is not to be used to say you are visiting people. Instead, say “Je vais voir…” (“I am going to see…”), or “…rendre visite à…” which is used to visit people.


Let me know if you like posts like this and I will make more!

Have an amazing week!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

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6 thoughts on “Misused Phrases

  1. yes. we do like! especially if they are funny

    Actually, I suprised myself by knowing all these apart from the proper use of “visiter” being to places rather than people.
    Hang on. I know stuff? maybe I am progressing!

  2. These are good ones–thanks. People do indeed mess these up. The famous Spanish one is “estoy embarazada” to say “I’m embarrassed”–“embarazada” is pregnant. You need to say “estoy avergonzado” or “tengo avergüenza,” maybe.

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