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 !


Etiquette – French Dining

Etiquette – French Dining

A first etiquette post! For those of you who have never dined in a restaurant in France and are planning on it in the future, please take a look at these phrases to use while dining in France.

If you didn’t know, dining in France is an experience and is quite different than dining in any other country. Just like anywhere, always always always remember your manners!

Je voudrais une table pour ____ personne(s).

  • I would like a table for ____ person/people.
  • May I have a table for ____ person/people.

La carte, s’il vous plaît.*

  • A menu, please.
  • May I have a menu, please?

*Never have I ever been to a restaurant in France that didn’t give me the menu straight away. But it’s always good to know the right way to ask, just in case.

Pourrais-j’avoir la carte boissons, s’il vous plaît ?

  • May I have the drink menu, please?
  • Could I have the drink menu, please?

Avez-vous des plats végétariens ?

  • Do you have vegetarian meals?

Un autre, s’il vous plaît.

  • One more, please.

Je voudrais une carafe d’eau.

  • I would like tap water.*

*You can also as for tap water the same way and use “tap water”. Most waiters know the phrase “tap water”. (You may also say plate (flat) as well, or even gaseuse (bubbly).)

Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit ?

  • Do you accept credit cards?

C’était très bon !

  • It was very good!

L’addition, s’il vous plaît !*

  • Check, please!

*Restaurants in France, you always request your bill at the end of the mean when you are ready for it. The wait staff does not push the bill on you, it’s considered rude.

Enjoy your meals in France! Remember to always say s’il vous plaît and merci. And always, always remember to tip your waiter/waitress.

If you are curious about any other types of French etiquette, please don’t hesitate to request something!

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !


For further reading, please head over to my fellow blogger’s posts on how to interact with a Parisian waiter, and what not to do in a French restaurant.

Happy reading!