Can You Translate These Basic French Phrases If We Write Them in Cursive?

Tasha Moore

Image: BamBamImages/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

This French quiz tests your visual knowledge of one of the most sophisticated tongues on the planet. Peer over elegant cursive forms of basic French phrases to see if you can master corresponding translations. Do you know the difference between l'accent aigu and the circumflex? These language markers shape the vowel sounds that help distinguish the French language. 

Admittedly, the mechanics of French can be tricky, as there are quite a few exceptions to grasp. But we leave the more difficult discourse for another time. Now, it's time to learn through visualization. And that means brushing up on your fourth-grade cursive. Remember when you first started to learn how to write in the cursive script? Connecting letters on paper ... what is the point of further confounding a set of already confusing words? Alas, writing and understanding the French language in cursive form tickles the high culture itch in us all. And with high culture comes cosmopolitan "activités." Take our quiz and you'll know what to ask a Parisien when in search of the Mona Lisa portrait, or you'll know what to do with your strawberry jam when "un serveur" thrusts "une assiette de délicieux croissants" in front of you.

Allez! Allez! Scroll on and get cultured all over again!

Can you translate this phrase of consideration?

Canada is the first country in the world to issue formal apologies to patients that have suffered "adverse events." Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital upholds "a humanistic, care-giving attitude with those who had been harmed, rather than responding in a defensive and adversarial manner."

If you lack discernment, what should you say?

The yellow vests (gilets jaunes) protests is a grass-roots movement that promotes economic justice in France. Said French journalist Christophe Barbier about the protests, "...there is a nation who understood the new rules of capitalism ... but the body of France did not understand."

What's a good way to question if someone speaks this language?

Disco-duo sensation Baccara may hail from Spain, but their 1978 single "Parlez-vous français?" was a commercial success in Europe. Baccara's members are Mayte Mateos and Maria Mendiola.

To inquire about someone's well-being is to ask ________?

Some time ago, French T.V. producers tried to produce an American-style western that was filmed in France's Massif Central region, which failed to look like authentic wild-west U.S. terrain. The "Indians" cast for the show were scripted to mumble "Comment allez-vous?" as an alternative to "How?"

Before you buy something, first ask this?

French, Dutch and German are the official languages of Belgium. In the years following World War I, Belgium suffered economic setbacks that required international intervention to aid the country's cost-of-living expenses. Assistance ceased in 1919, but Belgium's food shortages persisted until 1924.

This is a courteous way to acknowledge gratitude. Can you translate the phrase?

At the start of the 21st century, Canada, where French and English are official languages, welcomed new immigrants. The country revised its point system and placed more emphasis on an immigrant's "flexible" work skills. At the time, many Canadian citizens had emigrated to the U.S. for work.

Always reinforce your requests with this phrase. Do you recognize it?

When American soul singer James Brown released his 1950s hit "Please, Please, Please," French translators likely stood firm in translating the correct French version of the "please"-filled chorus. "Please, please, please, please" translates to "Veuillez s'il vous plaît, s'il vous plaît, s'il vous plaît."

Can you identify this exceptional way to verbalize your appreciation for gracious acts?

The French-speaking U.S. city of New Orleans hosted a "Merci Beaucoup" campaign in November 2007 to show gratitude to its citizens who contributed to rebuilding the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The campaign featured luncheons, public speaking events, and vocal performances.

Italians say, "Ciao." What do the French say?

"Au Revoir les Enfants" is a critically acclaimed 1987 film drama written, directed and produced by Louis Malle. The loosely autobiographical film takes place at a Roman Catholic boarding school in occupied France during World War II.

Prevent an onslaught of French words with this safe phrase. See if you can make the right choice?

French language is an important aspect of south Louisiana's cultural heritage. Citizens of south Louisiana, United States furnished a Cajun version of the U.S. National Anthem and a French version of the nation's Pledge of Allegiance.

When all else fails, speak this sentence to anyone who asks you a response-less query. Can you choose the answer?

A direct translation of the term "savoir faire" is "know how to do." The phrase is generally understood to describe a person's or a group's ability to respond appropriately, by speech and/or action," in every possible situation.

If assistance is in order, speak up and ask ________?

Some historians insist that Switzerland's laissez-faire style of governance may have inadvertently assisted in prolonging Nazi war efforts during World War II. War-time financial documents confirm how Nazis used the country's financial resources to hide stolen funds.

When you are comfortable giving directions, say this phrase liberally and you'll be right some of the time. Will you choose wisely?

Poschiavo Valley, also referred to as "the lost valley," is a cozy destination spot located near Switzerland's southeast border near Italy. "The lost valley" is a peaceful 21 miles of lakes, farmland and vineyards nestled on the south side of the Swiss Alps.

This answer is closer than you think. Do you know the right choice?

Bray-Dunes is the most northern commune in France. During World War II, the British Royal Navy destroyer ship "Venomous" arrived at the shores of the French enclave to evacuate soldiers that had been hiding amid sand dunes.

All that's "great" about French gets one of these. Can you guess the phrase?

French is one of several official languages in Switzerland. The country has maintained a unique position of neutrality during times of war and consistently nurtures "very good" economic and diplomatic ties with an assortment of international countries and political entities.

Utter this phrase and the natives are likely to assist verbally. See if you can choose the correct option?

There are over 25 countries that have decreed French an official language. France, Switzerland, Belgium and Monaco are a handful of French-speaking European countries, and in Africa Burundi, Ivory Coast and Tunisia nationals regularly use the language.

Don't just say it, understand it. Do you comprehend this phrase?

The word "ça" usually means "that," but it can mean several things in French. It's commonly used as a contraction of the word "cela," which means "it." "Ça" also replaces "ceci" to mean "this."

Take your time and say it ________?

The French territory of Martinique relies heavily on mainland France for economic sustenance. The Caribbean island's sluggish economy depends mainly on its services industry. In 2012, the youth unemployment rate there was 47 percent.

This phrase is best for new learners of the language. Are you sure that you know it?

Madagascar is one of many French-speaking African territories. This island nation of East Africa harbors many exotic animals, such as tenrecs of the shrew family and mongooses that exhibit a cat-like hunting style.

Brush on your French writing skills by asking this. How well do you understand the phrase?

The State University of New York at Geneseo sponsors a National French Week celebration which featured a rigorous French Spelling Bee competition in 2016. The 18-year old annual festivity of French culture typically includes a French food-tasting event.

When in Paris, do what most Parisians leave for the tourists to do. Choose this common visitor's question?

Installed in a Parisian palace, the Louvre is the national museum of France and home of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa portrait. On any given day, you will find long lines of people waiting in the rain or sun to enter the facility, especially near the museum's pyramid entrance.

You're bound to get thirsty after speaking so much French. Go ahead and assert which statement?

Wild civets of Vietnam's Dak Lak province, known as the Asian palm civets, produce the "coffee beans" used to brew civet coffee, or kopi luwak, the world's most expensive café. The small animals ingest and then defecate coffea shrubbery fruits. France colonized Vietnam in the 19th century.

This simple phrase rings in just about every French boutique. How well do you know it?

The world's most expensive apartment is located in Monaco's tallest building called the La Tour Odeon, which offers residents views over the French-speaking principality. As of 2016, the ocean-facing, five-floor, 31,500 square-foot luxury residence cost $335 million.

When "nature" calls, call out ________?

You won't have to trek far to find public toilets in old town Monaco's Palace Square. The country has planned to install self-cleaning toilets in the "Place du Palais," which is in the heart of the principality's tourist hub.

Certain beverages may not agree with your tummy, so, say what?

Compared to other groups, Asians and Africans tend to produce less of the lactase biological enzyme that's necessary to adequately process the sugars in milk. In many parts of the African continent, milk is eliminated from the diet after a baby is weaned.

It's the phrase that expresses supreme affection. Are you sure that you know it?

Nothing says "Je t'aime" better than a mouth full of chocolates. Switzerland's 1974 "Chocolate Law," or Schoggigesetz, prevents chocolate makers from buying cheap foreign milk to make the confection. Swiss food traders are compensated for the country's high price of agricultural goods.

Let your new French acquaintances know where you hail from, if it's the case. Do you spot the right translation?

French is widely spoken in the U.S. states of Vermont, Louisiana and Maine, among other regions of the country. In Vermont, organizations like the Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society foster awareness of the French-Canadian roots that many Vermonters share.

Your cool non-French accent will tip them off every time. French-speaking natives will surely ask you ________?

Madagascar is a popular tourist island destination off of Africa's southeast shore. The land mass detached from India 80 million years ago. Seventy percent of the exotic creatures of Madagascar cannot be found in a natural habitat environment anywhere else in the world.

Choose the simplest way to state your city?

In 2018, the Cincinnati Reds American Major League Baseball team added French Rosé to its "Cincinnati Reds Club Series Wine Collection." The wine is pink in color and is a blend of Pinor Noir, Cabernet Franc and Gamay.

It's polite to ask how someone probably spends most of their time. Can you guess the verbal gesture?

"Qu'est-ce que vous faites" also means "What do you do?" The Archdiocese of New Orleans facilitates rigorous professional and spiritual cultivation for its priests. The mission of its Vocation Office is to "coordinate programs and events that foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life."

Should you bring a sweater or an umbrella? Ask which question to find out?

Luxembourg is a small French-speaking land-locked European country surrounded by France, Belgium and Germany. The country's climate is mild throughout the year. Summertime is the most visited time of year there, and its grape-harvesting season occurs during early Fall.

See if your French associates have cuddly companions and ask ________?

In the late 1950s and for most of the 60s, a woman named Stella Shanteau raised pumas, leopards, llama, and lions among other exotic beasts in her humble Toledo, Ohio home. Officials from the Toledo Zoo eventually sent the animals to Prince Rainer of Monaco, who issued Shanteau a letter of thanks.

Everyone probably has one. What should you ask to find out which one it is?

In 2018, the country of Madagascar opened its first cinema (an 800-seater) in 20 years. The country's political instability and pervasive corruption have impeded the African nation's arts and culture development, in general.

Ask this again, if you have to. What might you ask at least once?

In 2015, the former French colony of Haiti conducted a repeat election after violence plagued the island nation's August 9, 2015 parliamentary elections. The second-round of voting for Haitian voters in 25 districts was held on October 25, 2015.

Some types are "stinky" and some are holey. If you are a fan then, say what?

Regulators in Luxembourg have recently eased infamous bank secrecy laws that the 999-square-foot nation had been known for. The nation's secrecy laws were so strict that critics and supporters had been compared the country to Gruyere cheese: The clients got the holes and the bankers got the cheese.

Adventurous types will like this phrase. How do you translate it?

Luxembourg has a reputation for demonstrating unique compassion for asylum seekers. In 1998, the small European country opened its borders to African Congo refugees after war broke out in that region. Luxembourg even granted permissions that allowed family reunification after violence had quelled.

Catch up on the latest local communiqué by asking ________?

"Quoi de neuf?" also means "What's up?" The School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol conducted a 2013 study of the correlation between mortality rates and high-rise residential buildings in Switzerland. Results showed that mortality rates dropped with increasing floors.

French parents respond, "Because I said so!" too, but in French. Can you recognize the universal kiddie question?

International executives flock to Monaco to hold elaborate business conventions for several basic reasons. Monaco's Department of Tourism and Conferences caters to the needs of business travelers, with large and luxurious hotel spaces, fancy multi-media venues, and an array of jetset activities.

From time to time you might express regret this way. Do you know the phrase?

Starting in the 1990s, France sparked a wave of public apologies among countries that have acknowledged historical injustices. France's police departments, medical bureaus and Catholic Church issued public statements denouncing any endorsement of pre- and post-World War II antisemitism.

If you don't recognize something, stop everything and ask ________?

In the late 1990s, a number of elderly Madagascar natives reported hearing and seeing strange creatures they'd never before observed. Presumed extinct as of centuries earlier, the giant lemur kidoky and the dwarf hippopotamus kilopilopitsofy had allegedly resurfaced in the island nation.

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