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Basic French Vocabulary: Expressions, Questions, Numbers and Time

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Learning a few French expressions before coming to Quebec can be fun, and you’ll find that locals are very pleased when they notice visitors make an effort speaking the language.

Visitors should note that about 65% of Montreal’s population has French as its first language, whereas about 95% of Quebec City’s population does. The vast majority of Montrealers understands and speaks at least some English, but that assumption cannot be made in Quebec City, where most locals understand at least basic English, but many don’t speak it or are shy to. Hotel employees, sales clerks and phone operators usually greet people initially in French, but they will quickly switch to English if necessary.

Basic Vocabulary
Every visitor to Quebec should try to memorize these easy words and expressions.

Every expression is formatted this way:
English = French (Pronounciation)

  • Yes/No = Oui/Non (wee/nohn)
  • Please = S’il vous plait (seel voo play)
  • Thank you = Merci (mair-see)
  • Excuse me, sorry = Pardon (pahr-don)
  • Good morning/Good afternoon = Bonjour (bohn-zhoor)
  • Good evening = Bonsoir (bohn-swahr)
  • Goodbye = Au revoir (o ruh-vwahr)
  • Mr. (Sir) = Monsieur (muh-Ssyuh)
  • Mrs. (Madam) = Madame (ma-dam)
  • How are you? = Comment allez-vous? (kuh-mahn tahl-ay voo)
  • Very well, thanks = Très bien, merci (tray bee-ehn, mair-see)
  • And you? = Et vous? (ay voo?)
  • Pleased to meet you = Enchanté (ohn-shahn-tay)
  • Do you speak English? = Parlez-vous anglais? (par-lay voo ahn-glay)
  • I don’t speak French = Je ne parle pas français (zhuh nuh parl pah frahn-say)
  • I understand = Je comprends (zhuh kohm-prahn)
  • I don’t know = Je ne sais pas (zhuh nuh say pah)
  • Where are the washrooms? = Où sont les toilettes? (oo sohn lay twah-let)
  • Men/Women = Hommes/Femmes (oh-mm/fah-mm)
  • Left/Right = À gauche/À droite (a goash/a draht)
  • Cheers! = Santé! (sahn-tay)
  • Enjoy! = Bon appétit (bohn a-pay-tee)
  • Ok/Agreed = Ok/D’accord (okay/dah-korr)

Asking Something

  • Can you help me? = Pouvez-vous m’aider (poovay voo may-day)
  • What is it? = Qu’est-ce que c’est? (kess-kuh-say)
  • Where is…? = Où est…? (oo ay)
  • Is it near/far? = Est-ce que c’est près/loin? (eesker say pray/lwehn)
  • How much is it? / C’est combien? (say comb-bee-ehn)
  • What time is it? / Quelle heure est-il? (kel air eh-teel)
  • What’s your name? / Comment vous appelez-vous? (ko-mahn voo za-pell-ay-voo)

Numbers

  • One = Un (uhn)
  • Two = Deux (deuh)
  • Three = Trois (twah)
  • Four = Quatre (kaht-ruh)
  • Five = Cinq (sank)
  • Six = Six (seess)
  • Seven = Sept (set)
  • Eight = Huit (wheat)
  • Nine = Neuf (nuf)
  • Ten = Dix (deess)
  • Eleven = Onze (ohnz)
  • Twelve = Douze (dooz)
  • Thirteen = Treize (trehz)
  • Fourteen = Quatorze (kah-torz)
  • Fifteen = Quinze (kanz)
  • Sixteen = Seize (sez)
  • Seventeen = Dix-sept (deez-set)
  • Eighteen = Dix-huit (deez-wheat)
  • Nineteen = Dix-neuf (deez-nuf)
  • Twenty = Vingt (vehn)
  • Twenty-One = Vingt-et-un (vehn-ay-uhn)
  • Twenty-Two = Vingt-deux (vehn-deuh)
  • Twenty-Three = Vingt-Trois (vehn-twah)
  • Twenty-Four = Vingt-Quatre (vehn-kaht-ruh)
  • Twenty-Five = Vingt-Cinq (vehn-sank)
  • Thirty = Trente (trahnt)
  • Forty = Quarante (ka-rahnt)
  • Fifty = Cinquante (sang-kahnt)
  • Sixty = Soixante (swa-sahnt)
  • Seventy = Soixante-Dix (swa-sahnt-deess)
  • Eighty = Quatre-Vingt (kaht-ruh-vehn)
  • Ninety = Quatre-Vingt-Dix (kaht-ruh-vehn-deess)
  • One Hundread = Cent (sahn)
  • One Thousand = Mille (meel)

Time

  • When? = Quand? (kahn)
  • Now = Maintenant (mahn-teh-nahw)
  • Morning = Matin (ma-tahn)
  • Noon = Midi (mee-dee)
  • Afternoon = Après-midi (ah-pray-mee-dee)
  • Evening = Soir (swar)
  • Night = Nuit (new-wee)
  • Yesterday = Hier (yair)
  • Today = Aujourd’hui (o-zhoor-dwee)
  • Tomorrow = Demain (duh-mehn)
  • Tonight = Ce soir (suh swahr)
  • Second = Seconde (say-gohn)
  • Minute = Minute (mee-noot)
  • Hour = Heure (urr)
  • Day = Jour (jhoor)
  • Week = Semaine (sah-mehn)
  • Month = Mois (mu-wa)
  • Year = An/Année (ahn/an-nay)
  • What time is it? = Quelle heure est-il? (kel air eh-teel)
  • It’s __ o’clock = Il est __ heure(s) (eel-ay __ air)
  • Sunday = Dimanche (dee-mahnsh)
  • Monday = Lundi (luhn-dee)
  • Tuesday = Mardi (mahr-dee)
  • Wednesday = Mercredi (mair-bruh-dee)
  • Thursday = Jeudi (zhuh-dee)
  • Friday = Vendredi (vawn-druh-dee)
  • Saturday = Samedi (sahm-dee)
  • January = Janvier (john-vee-air)
  • February = Février (fe-vee-air)
  • March = Mars (mar-see)
  • April = Avril (av-reel)
  • May = Mai (may)
  • June = Juin (jeh-ehn)
  • July = Juillet (jeweeh-ay)
  • August = Août (ooht)
  • September = Septembre (sep-tahm-bhr)
  • October = Octobre (ok-toe-bhr)
  • November = Novembre (noh-vahm-bhr)
  • December = Décembre (day-sahm-bhr)
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