You are in France and as you’re still learning the language, you probably make some mistakes from times to times, and that’s totally okay, this is how you progress! But you should know that some mistakes are very funny for French people, and can be very embarrassing for you. So check out this list if you want to avoid them:
#1- “I’m hot”
Sometimes, you just cannot translate something literally. You probably think “oh yes, I’m hot is probably Je suis chaud, right?” but no… Actually, in French, this means that you are horny. If you want to say that the heat is bothering you, you have to say “J’ai chaud”. In some situations, you can use “Je suis chaud” but it means that you are ready for something and excited about it. By the way, if you want to say that you are excited about something, avoid these kinds of wordings: “Je suis excité” ou “ca m’excite” because these sentences have sexual connotations #3-implying that you are turned on!
#2- “You’re good”
If you want to congratulate a friend because she is a good singer or she is good at cooking, don’t say to her « Tu es bonne! », she may take it the wrong way! In French, this means “You’re attractive/you’re smoking hot” in a familiar way that girls usually don’t appreciate, so rather use “Tu es douée” or “Tu cuisines bien” if you are still talking about her cooking.
Again, beware of French faux-amis! Preservatives in English are products you put in the food in order to conserve it whereas in French, préservatifs are condoms. So you are pretty sure that you are never going to find any préservatifs in your food!
#4- Female cat
French, especially young French people, can have a dirty mind and when they hear the word “chatte”, there is something that happens in their brain, and they always thought about a pussy before thinking about a female cat, even if this is the first meaning of the word! So don’t be surprised if you hear raucous laughter when you talked about how cute is your “chatte”…
#5- A kiss
Beware! A kiss in French can be a “bisou” or a “baiser”. However, the latter must be used carefully because if you use it as a verb, it means “to fuck”! If you want to have a kiss on your cheek, say “Fais-moi un baiser” (even if this sentence is clearly outdated) instead of “Viens me baiser” or something like that.
#6- You suck
Again, don’t try to translate literally the expression “you suck”… This idiom does not exist in France and the word “sucer” is only used to talk of sweets, lollipops, or penis, so you may offence someone if you tell him that “il suce”! Opt for “tu crains” instead.
In French, a pipe can have two meaning and obviously, when people hear this word they always think about the sexual one. A “pipe” in French can be a pipe, something you smoke, and it can also be a blowjob.
#8- “I’m full”
This is a nice expression in English to say that you can eat no more. But the literal French translation “Je suis pleine” means that you are pregnant and is usually used to talk about pregnant animals. And when it’s used to talk about a woman, it is quite familiar and pejorative!
#9- “I envy you”
If you had French grammar lessons at school, you probably know that the words’ order is important and is usually not the same in French and in English. This is one of those cases. You can’t translate “I envy you” by “J’ai envie de toi” which would mean “I want to have sex with you”. The correct wording would be “Je t’envie”.
#10- “Let me introduce you…”
Faux-ami once again! You can’t say to someone “Laisse moi t’introduire” because it conveys a very sexual overtone… It would mean that you want to penetrate the person you are talking to, and I’m pretty sure this is not what you meant!
If you ever made one of these mistakes, don’t torture yourself about it! People probably found it funny and forgive you, knowing that French is a difficult language, and that slang can be hard to master. If you think about any other embarrassing mistakes, tell us in the comments section! And the best way to learn French, is with your roommates!
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