How good is your French ?

How’s your French ?    The French call these words “les faux amis”.  In English we just say misunderstandings.


-The English word FAMOUS is BIEN CONNU in French, but the French word FAMEUX mean INFAMOUS

-The English word POPULAR in French would be BIEN AIME.  The French word POPULAIRE means WORKING CLASS.

-A PIECE in English becomes MORCEAU in French, whereas une PIECE is a ROOM.

-The English word MISERALBLE translated in to French is MALHEUREUX or DEPRESSIF.  The French word MISERABLE means POOR.

-The English word PETROL translates as ESSENCE.  But the French word PETROLE means PARAFFIN.

-The English word OFFICIAL is OFFICIEL in French, but the French word OFFICIEUX means UNOFFICIAL in English

-The English word CONTROL is MAITRISER in French.  The French word CONTROLE means a TEST or VERIFICATION

-PRETEND in English becomes FAIRE SEMBLANT in French. Whereas PRETENDRE in French means to CLAIM in English

-A PRUNE in English becomes a PRUNEAU in French, whereas the French word une PRUNE is a PLUM

-The English word RETIRE in French is PRENDRE SA RETRAITE.  The French word RETIRER means to REMOVE or WITHDRAW

-To REST in English becomes se REPOSER in French, but the French word RESTER is to STAY or REMAIN

– SYMPATHETIC in English translates in to COMPATISSANT.  The French word SYMPATIQUE mean NICE

– TISSUE in English is a KLEENEX (mouchoir) in French.  The French word TISSU means FABRIC or CLOTH

– a VEST in English becomes a MAILLOT de CORPS in French (they don’t seem to wear them!), but une VESTE in French means a JACKET in English.

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites.  Her sketches are on her web site .  Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.


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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  Her books are available as e-books on this site:-            “A Call from France”          “French Sand”         ”The Man with Green Fingers”        “Saying Nothing”

They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.


Posted on 21/08/2012 by Catherine
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