Beginner’s Guide to Language Learning: Top French Words to Know

Elly Kim9 min
Created: Oct 12, 2023Last updated: Mar 1, 2024
French Words to Know

What do you start with when learning a new language? Of course, the basics! Even a tourist journey to French-speaking countries requires knowing at least a few simple phrases to communicate with the locals. You will need to ask how to get to the Eiffel Tower or where to take lunch. Therefore, knowing basic French words is useful for everyone. It’s also necessary for beginners, as you cannot master any language before memorizing the elementary phrases. Let’s get acquainted with the top 100 words and collocations.

Start From Essentials: Easy French Words to Master the Language

Learning any language is challenging and takes time; however, little steps lead to significant results. Don’t worry if French remains a secret for you. It’s time to change the situation! The words below will be helpful for beginners and those who just want to take a trip to France and be able to say at least a few expressions.

  1. Bonjour – hello.
  2. Salut – hello (informal alternative).
  3. Au revoir – goodbye.
  4. Bonsoir – good evening.
  5. Bonne nuit – good night.
  6. Oui – yes.
  7. Non – no.
  8. S’il vous plaît – please.
  9. Merci – thank you.
  10. Merci beaucoup – thank you very much.
  11. Excusez-moi – excuse me.
  12. Monsieur – mister.
  13. Mademoiselle – miss.
  14. Madame – missis.
  15. Bonne journée – have a good day.
  16. Je vous en prie – you are welcome.
  17. De rien – you are welcome (informal alternative).
  18. À bientôt – see you soon.
  19. À demain – see you tomorrow.

These are the must-learn terms every student should consider during their first lesson. Memorize them and remember the translation, as you never know when these common French words will be useful. After that, it’s time to move forward and master more popular expressions.

Useful Phrases for People Visiting French-Speaking Countries

Exploring something new is always exciting, and arriving in France is a dream of many people. Statistics indicate that Paris is among the top-visited cities globally, with around 19 million tourists annually. Visitors come to the city to explore its amazing history, culture, and beauty. French people are always open to communication and try to help foreigners with anything. Catch some popular French words that might be helpful when traveling around the countries where this language is widespread: 

  1. Je ne comprends pas – I don’t understand.
  2. Répétez, s’il vous plaît – repeat, please.
  3. Je suis désolé – I am sorry.
  4. Parlez lentement, s’il vous plaît – speak slowly, please.
  5. Je ne parle pas français – I don’t speak French.
  6. Je parle un peu français – I speak a little French.
  7. Je ne sais pas – I don’t know.

Beginners or those not planning to learn French at all can use the above phrases. They will allow locals to understand they are foreigners who need assistance with anything. However, it’s not a solution for those mastering the language. Of course, you can learn these phrases just in case, but you plan to improve your knowledge, right? Let’s take a look at more French words to know.

Learning the Simplest Terms to Start a Conversation

Of course, the most important words to learn depend on the student’s goals. However, the basics are the same for all. Let’s start by introducing yourself, as getting acquainted with new people is essential for everyone:

  1. Je m’appelle… – My name is...
  2. Que lest votre nom? – What is your name?
  3. Comment vas-tu? – How are you?
  4. Je viens de… – I am from…
  5. Enchanté – Nice to meet you.
  6. Ça roule – How it’s going?
  7. Parlez-vous l’anglais? – Do you speak English?
  8. Quel âge as-tu? – How old are you?
  9. J’ai … ans – I am … years.
  10. Je suis … – My name is … 

Now, you know how to get acquainted and learn a bit about your interlocutor. Don’t forget about “bonjour” (hello). Memorize these expressions to feel confident and reply properly when a French starts talking to you.

Easy French Words Learners Should Memorize

Knowing the basic vocabulary is critical in every language, and French is no exception. You never know which topic will be helpful, as locals can start the conversation about barely everything. It’s time to start mastering the language! What are French words everyone must learn?

  1. L’homme – man.
  2. La femme – woman.
  3. La fille – girl.
  4. Le garçon – boy.
  5. L’enfant – child.
  6. L’ami (amie) – friend.
  7. La personne – person. 

Now you know how to name the people around you correctly. Please note that the French address men as “monsieur.” At the same time, unmarried young girls should be addressed as “mademoiselle,” equivalent to the English “miss.” On the other hand, you must say “madame” to married women. Follow these rules to demonstrate your good manners to the interlocutor.

Exploring Locations: Simple Terms for Beginners

You will have to move around when visiting French-speaking countries. Therefore, knowing where you are going and which transport is better is important. Grab some necessary words:

  1. Le bus – bus.
  2. Arrêt de bus – bus stop.
  3. Le taxi – taxi.
  4. L’avion – plane.
  5. La gare – train station.
  6. La voiture – car.
  7. La moto – motorcycle.
  8. Le billet – ticket.
  9. Le bateau – boat.
  10. Le navire – ship.
  11. L’horaire – schedule. 

Suppose you already know where you are heading but have no idea about how to get there. In this case, asking passers-by for some tips is a great idea. French people will gladly help you! Remember that learning time in French is also critical so as not to be late and understand what you see on the clock.


Navigating in the City: Essential Phrases That Might Help

Imagine yourself in the center of a French city. You would definitely want to explore the famous sights, have a tasty dinner, and search for suitable accommodation. However, it might be challenging if it’s your first time in the destination. Grab the French vocabulary lists that can help tourists not get lost and find the necessary locations with the locals’ assistance:

  1. Où est l'arrêt de bus? – Where is the bus stop?
  2. Quelle heure est-il? – What time is it?
  3. Je suis perdu – I am lost.
  4. Je cherche l’arrêt de bus – I am searching for a bus stop.
  5. Aidez-moi, s’il vous plait – Please, help me.
  6. Où est le métro? – Where is the metro?

These French common words and expressions can help tourists reach the necessary destination, which is essential when traveling. The locals are friendly and will gladly assist you in this case. However, they need to understand you, as not every French speaks English.

Ordering Food in France

French restaurants are famous worldwide – hardly anyone hasn’t heard of the local onion soup and other delicacies, making the country’s cuisine so special. It’s time to learn more about the local food so you will be able to order a tasty dish in a restaurant or go for groceries to prepare everything yourself:

  1. Le fromage – cheese.
  2. La viande – meat.
  3. Le pain – bread.
  4. Le lait – milk.
  5. La pomme – apple.
  6. Le fruit – fruit.
  7. Les légumes – vegetables.
  8. La pomme de terre – potato.
  9. Le poisson – fish.
  10. La glace – ice cream.

France is well-known for its fantastic cuisine, so almost every tourist would gladly explore local restaurants. Are you excited about what to order to feel the country’s spirit? We have some pieces of advice for you – so everything you have to do is ask for a menu and order something from the following list:

  1. Soupe à l’oignon – onion soup.
  2. Blanquette de veau – veal stew.
  3. Les galettes bretonnes – Breton pancakes.
  4. La bouillabaisse – bouillabaisse (traditional fish soup).
  5. Les escargots persillés – parsley snails.
  6. Les huîtres – oysters.

Did your mouth water after reading this list? You will probably want to try at least one of these dishes. Remember their names; you will have no problems ordering them in your favorite restaurant and tasting France!

Understanding Animals: French Words to Learn

Animals and nature are among the important topics when learning any language. Therefore, let’s take a look at some words. Maybe you are planning to have a pet or visit the local zoo. In any case, the above terms will help replenish your French vocabulary.

  1. Les animaux – animals.
  2. Le chat – cat.
  3. Le chaton – kitten.
  4. Le chien – dog.
  5. Le chiot – puppy.
  6. Le poisson rouge – goldfish.
  7. Le lapin – rabbit.
  8. L’oiseau – bird.
  9. La vache – cow.
  10. La poule – chicken.
  11. Le cochon – pig.
  12. Le loup – wolf.
  13. L’ours – bear.
  14. Le cerf – deer.

Visiting a farm or forest will be much more exciting now, as you already know the popular animals’ names. Memorize these words – they are simple, so it won’t probably take much time. And we move to the next topic. It’s time to explore popular adjectives.

French Words List: Widely Used Adjectives

The French language is among the richest and most melodic in the world. And it wouldn’t be so beautiful if locals didn’t use many adjectives in their speech. You can follow their example and diversify your vocabulary with the following words:

  1. Grand/grande – big.
  2. Petit/petite – small.
  3. Beau/belle – beautiful.
  4. Bon/bonne – good.
  5. Content/contente – happy, satisfied.
  6. Chaud/chaude – hot.
  7. Froid – cold.
  8. Gentil/gentille – kind.
  9. Mauvais – bad.
  10. Fort – strong.

Describing your day, mood, and feelings will be simpler after you memorize the above adjectives. These France words diversify the vocabulary and help you achieve the desired fluency level. Learn as many easy terms as possible and communicate confidently.

Find More Words in Promova

The Promova app is a perfect solution for French learners, offering everything you need to reach the desired fluency level. Our platform provides new terms daily and exciting interactive quizzes for every user. You can download the app or use the web version to reach exciting lessons and enjoy daily learning.

Students of different levels can take advantage of Promova. The app is free, so you won’t have to pay to install it. However, it also provides a Premium subscription, offering even more benefits. Explore different topics and French words and strengthen your skills with the help of guided courses developed by highly proficient tutors.


Knowing the basics is essential for everyone desiring to master the French language. All the vocabulary mentioned on this page can give a perfect boost for further expanding knowledge. Try to memorize the terms and find examples of their usage to implement them in your speech. The language is rich and diverse, so learning it is never enough. Overall, knowing 100 most common words in French is a perfect start for every student, allowing them to put the basis for further education. 


What are the best sources to search for French words?

Promova provides learners with detailed guides with real-life examples so students can easily memorize everything they need. Moreover, using additional materials is a great idea, and online dictionaries are the perfect assistants. Use the Collins-Robert French Dictionary and WordReference to replenish your vocabulary and strengthen your French skills.

How many words should I have in my French vocab list to be fluent in this language?

Memorizing as many terms as possible is the best solution for students. However, don’t worry; you don’t have to learn 10,000 words to become a fluent speaker. According to statistics, a vocabulary consisting of around 5,000 terms is enough for an upper-intermediate level. Knowing this number of words, you will be able to keep a conversation with a French. Remember, the number of wordings you know is not the most critical thing; the ability to operate them and build sentences correctly is much more important.

What are the primary topics beginners should consider when learning the French language?

Answering this question is difficult, as everyone forms their lesson plans according to their goals and demands. However, the main topics usually include greetings, numbers, personal details, food, transport, jobs, animals, etc. Overall, it’s not so significant where to start. Just ensure you learn the basic terminology to communicate with French people.

What are the main tips for mastering French as soon as possible?

Experienced tutors mention that regular learning is the key to success. Even half an hour daily will quickly bring positive results. Moreover, dipping into the language environment is a great idea. Of course, not everyone can drop everything and leave for a French-speaking country. In this case, online conversations are the perfect helpers. Finding a pen-friend and chatting with them regularly can significantly strengthen your writing and speaking skills.


Giovanni Apr 18th, 2024
Very good
ErnestoNov 7th, 2023
Merci for sharing!