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5 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid Making in French

Did you know that mistakes can help you learn a foreign language better? We all want to avoid making mistakes. Sometimes, when we think in our mother tongue, we believe that the same sentence structures can work in different languages. This is (partially) true, and your mother tongue can be of great help. However, that's not always the case. Check out these common mistakes that native English speakers often make.

1. Je peux te demander une question? - The verb demander (to ask) implies that you want to ask a question, so it’s not necessary to say demander une question.

Say instead: Je peux te poser une question? or Je peux te demander quelque chose?

2. Je suis bien. - The question would be: "Comment vas-tu?" When replying, use the verb from the question. Since in French we say: "I’m going well," you would use the verb aller to reply.

Say instead: Je vais bien.

3. Je suis 36 ans. - In English, we use the verb to be to say the age. In French, you will say: "I have 36 years." That means that you will use the verb avoir (to have).

Say instead: J'ai 36 ans.

4. Je veux de dire... - Prepositions before verbs in English and French don't match. In English, you would say: I want to say, whereas in French after the verb vouloir you add the infinitive without a preposition.

Say instead: Je veux dire...

5. Cette machine ne travaille pas. - In English, you would use the verb to work to express various meanings. You can say that you work today, but also that the computer you're using is not working. In French, travailler refers to work that people do (like your job). If you want to say that a machine works well, you would use the verb marcher.

Say instead: Cette machine ne marche pas.


Do you make these mistakes in French? What is the mistake you stopped making?


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