Basic French Phrases For Travelers – Je Suis, Je Veut, J'ai Besoin

I am. I want. I need. You'll have extra fun on your trip, and feel like you're fitting in a bit more, if you learn to express yourself with basic phrases in French like "I am, I want, I need."

It's a bit disconcerting feeling tongue-tied when entering a Paris shop or restaurant. But by memorizing just a few basic French phrases, you'll be able to order a meal, make a reservation and find the bathroom. Bon Courage! Good luck!

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The Three Verbs to Know

The Three Verbs to Know

In French, as in most other languages, the two most important verbs are avoir (to have) and etre (to be).

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I Am…

Je suis is the first person ("I am") of etre.
You'll use je suis to communicate basic information about yourself.

Je suis (jzeu swee) — I am.
Je suis Americaine — I'm American (woman).
Je suis docteur — I am a doctor.
Je suis vegetarienne — I'm a vegetarian.

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I Want…

Je veut… — I want…
Je voudrais… — I would like… (the more polite way of asking)
Je voudrais une boisson, s'il vous plait — I'd like a drink please.

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I Need…

J'ai besoin de… (jzay beh/zwan deh) — I need…
J'ai besoin de quelque chose a boire — I need something to drink.
J'en ai besoin — I need some.

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Other Basic French Phrases

Other Basic French Phrases

HURRY UP!
Tout suite! — Right away!
Depechez-vous, s'il vous plait! — Hurry up please!
Allons-y — Let's go!

EMERGENCY
Aide-moi! — Help me!
Pouvez-vous m'aider? — Can you help me?
Je suis perdu — I'm lost.

I'M HUNGRY AND THIRSTY!
J'ai faim — I'm hungry.
J'ai soif — I'm thirsty.

Basic French Phrases in the Restaurant

Basic French Phrases in the Restaurant

Avez-vous une table ce soir? — Do you have a table for tonight?

J'ai une reservation — I have a reservation.

Je voudrais une table pres de la fenetre — I'd like a table close to the window.

Je voudrais une coupe de champagne — I'd like a glass of champagne.
Encore — Another one.
Ou sont les toilettes? — Where is the bathroom?
Qu'est-ce que c'est? — What is it?
Pas encore — Not yet.
Je voudrais un cafe, s'il vous plait — I'd like a coffee, please.
L'addition, s'il vous plait — The bill please.
Acceptez-vous les cartes bancaire? — Do you accept credit cards?

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Problem Solving at the Restaurant

Ce n'est pas ce que j'ai commande. — I didn't order this.
Le service est-il compris? — Is the tip included? [By the way, the tip is always included in the menu prices.]
C'est trop froid — It's too cold.
C'est trop chaud — It's too hot.
C'est pas frais — It's not fresh.
C'est saignant — It's rare.
C'est trop cuit — It's overcooked.
C'est delicieux — It's delicious.

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Basic French Phrases – Weather & Time

Weather & Time

In French, when describing the weather, the verb faire (to make or do) is used, literally translated to something like, "It makes nice".

Quel temps fait-il? — How's the weather?
Il fait beau — It's nice.
Il fait froid — It's cold.
Il fait du vent — It's windy.
Il fait chaud — It's hot.

Note these French weather expressions that do not use faire
Il neige. — It's snowing.
Il pleut. — It's raining.

In France, the 24 hour clock is the most common way to tell time. 20:00 is 8 PM, 14:00 is 2 PM, etc.
Quelle heure est-il? — What time is it?
Il est midi — It's noon.
Il est minuit — It's midnight.
Il est 14:00 moins quart — It's 1:45 pm. ("2:00 pm minus a quarter.")

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