01 02   03   La Parisienne Temporaire: Top Ten: False French Friends (False Cognates) 04   05     15   16     19   20     21      22      23      24     25   26   27   28    31    32     33     

Top Ten: False French Friends (False Cognates)

34     
Time for another French lesson? I think so!

Beefing up your French vocabulary? Be careful! The following words look like words you see in English, but they don't mean in French what they mean in English. These are great words to know just because you'll get mixed up if you hear them and you think "oh that means #####" when it really means "&&&&&" I've selected these as my Top Ten "faux amis" because they're common both in French and in English (in a way), and how important they are to NOT mess up. As you read through, you'll notice that making some of these faux pas will get you everything from giggles when you get corrected, to confused when you hear them, to flat out embarrassed to the point of never wanting to show your face wherever you made the mistake.



French word: Assister
What you THINK it means: To assist
What it REALLY means: To attend
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Aider
Word 1 in a sentence: "I'm attending a show at the theatre." J'assistant à un spectacle au théâtre.
Word 2 in a sentence: "My mom wanted me to assist her with the chores." Ma mère voulait que je l'aider avec les tâches.

French word: Unique
What you THINK it means: Unique
What it REALLY means: Only
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Exceptionnel
Word 1 in a sentence: "I'm an only child." Je suis un enfant unique.
Word 2 in a sentence: "She's truly unique." Elle est vraiment exceptionnel.

French word: Chair (la)
What you THINK it means: Chair
What it REALLY means: Flesh
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Chaise
Word 1 in a sentence: "Your flesh is very light." Ta chair est très clair. 
Word 2 in a sentence: "This chair is so comfortable!" Cette chaise est tellement confortable!

French word: Robe
What you THINK it means: Robe
What it REALLY means: Dress
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Peignoir
Word 1 in a sentence: "Should I wear this dress to the party?" Dois-je porter cette robe à la fête?
Word 2 in a sentence: "I love wearing my robe to bed." J'aime porter mon peignoir au lit.

French word: Chance
What you THINK it means: Chance
What it REALLY means: Luck
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Hasard, possibilité, occasion.
Word 1 in a sentence: "You're very lucky!" Vous avez de la chance!
Word 2 in a sentence: "There's a chance that will work." Il y a une chance que ça marchera.

French word: Demander
What you THINK it means: To demand
What it REALLY means: To ask
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Exiger
Word 1 in a sentence: "I need to ask you a quick question." J'ai besoin de vous poser une question rapide.
Word 2 in a sentence: "Noah demanded that I feed him." Noah a exigé que je lui donner à manger.

French word: Attendre
What you THINK it means: To attend
What it REALLY means: To wait for (a person)
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Assister (but you knew that one already)
Word 1 in a sentence: "My dad waited for me at the airport." Mon père m'attendait à l'aéroport.
Word 2 in a sentence: See the other word!

French word: Sale
What you THINK it means: Sale
What it REALLY means: Dirty
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Les soldes (by the way, they only happen twice a year in France)
Word 1 in a sentence: "Noah is so dirty! He needs to go to the groomer." Noah est tellement sale! Il a besoin d'aller à la dameuse.
Word 2 in a sentence: "I'm broke. Where is the sale?" Je suis fauché. Où sont les soldes?

French word: Rater
What you THINK it means: To rate
What it REALLY means: To fail, misfire, "mess up."
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Évaluer
Word 1 in a sentence: " I think I failed that test." Je pense que j'ai raté cet examen.
Word 2 in a sentence: "Would you like to rate our service?" Voulez-vous évaluer notre service?

HI, MALES. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS ONE. RIGHT HERE. YEAH. I MEAN IT.
French word: Napkin
What you THINK it means: Napkin
What it REALLY means: Sanitary napkin. Maxi pad. Something your girlfriend needs once a month.
Wait a minute... Then what's the other word? Serviette
Word 1 in a sentence: "Uh oh... I think I need another napkin..." Euh... je pense que j'ai besoin un autre napkin..."
Word 2 in a sentence: "I'm a messy eater. I need another napkin."Je suis un mangeur de désordre. J'ai besoin une autre serviette."

I hope this has helped you demystify French for you a bit more. Keep in mind, these are only my 10 favorite faux amis, and there are plenty more in the world that exist to trip you up. Some will only trip you up a teeny bit! One last little example, a grape is un raisin, but a raisin is un raisin sec, literally, a dry grape. Not too difficult, but still enough to trip you up. Do you research and stay focused, and you'll survive. Je promis.

L'ignorance est toujours prête à s'admirer. -Boileau 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

35     36    37   38