Quiz: Can You Translate These Common French Sayings to English?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Translate These Common French Sayings to English?
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By: Kennita Leon
6 Min Quiz
Image: Busakorn Pongparnit/Moment/Gettyimages
About This Quiz
French is the language of love, but we don't love it so much when we're learning it. As good as this beautiful tongue sounds, it has so many rules that most of us tend to give up just after learning how to say our names. But as with all the most popularly spoken language of the world, there are certain things that we need to know how to say, especially if we're traveling to the country, have friends or family from there or if we're just curious about the language itself. And we want to test just how much you know about some common French phrases in this quiz.
So we'll give you the French phrase and ask you what it means. It'll be up to you to rack your brain for any bit of French that it has and apply it to our questions. You know names have something to do with apples (or is it appelle?) and merci always deals with being thankful. If you can handle each of our questions like this and choose the correct answer each time, we'll be thoroughly impressed. Can you really translate some of the most common French sayings?
What does "S'il vous plait" mean?
S'il vous plait is a formal way of saying "please" when asking a question or even making a request for assistance in some way. The "vous" is a pronoun which means "you," and it is a respectful way of addressing strangers or speaking in a professional setting.
What is being said when you see the words "C'est quoi?"
C'est quoi is a French phrase used to mean "what is it?" or "what's that?" Quoi is used in questions when referring to indirect objects and it is used after a preposition. C'est quoi, ce truc?- meaning "What is that thing?"- is another example of how "quoi" is used.
Can you correctly translate "Je ne sais pas" for us?
Je ne sais pas literally translates to "I know not what" in French. However, this popular phrase is used to mean "I don't know" when referring to something that someone either cannot explain or when someone does not have the answer to a question that has been asked.
What does the French term "Comment t'appeles-tu" mean?
"Comment t'appelles- tu?" and "comment tu t'appelles" is the French way of asking someone what their name is. The "tu" is used when you are speaking to someone in your age group. For older persons or more formal settings, it is better to use "vous" in the sentence, "Comment vous appelez-vous?"
What is being said in the following line? "Comment cas-tu?"
Comment cas-tu is the informal way of saying "comment allez-vous?" which both mean, "How are you?" "Vas" is a conjugated form of the verb "aller" which means "to go" In response, someone may say "Je vais bien. Et toi?". This means "I am fine and you?"
Which of the following options means the same thing as "Je ne comprend pas"?
Je ne comprends pas means "I don't understand," when referring to a concept or idea that is hard to grasp. "Comprends" is the conjugated form of the word comprendre, which means "to understand."
What does "C'est tres gentil" mean?
C'est tres gentil is used to talk about something that is very nice or kind, whether it be an act or gesture or something that was said. "Tres" means very in English and "gentil" means "nice."
Can you correctly translate "Je suis desole" for us?
Je suis desole is a way of apologizing by saying "I'm sorry." Desole derives from the word "désoler" and "suis" is a conjugated form of the être verb.
Do you know the meaning of "pourquoi pas?"
Pourquoi pas is a simple way of asking, "Why not?" in French. It can be used in many different social situations, such as when simply making a suggestion or questioning someone's choice to perform one action. Example: Alors pourquoi pas déjeuner avec moi? – So why not have lunch with me?
What is being said in the following line? "Ou sont les toilettes?"
Ou sont les toilettes is a way of asking, "Where is the bathroom?" The literal French translation of this question would actually be "Où est la salle de bains," but this would be referring to where the shower or bath is and the toilet may be in a separate room. Instead, "Ou sont les toilettes" should be used.
What does "Je ne parle pas francais" mean?
Je ne parle pas francais means "I don't speak French" and is a way of letting someone know that you are not familiar with this particular language. The word parle comes from the verb "parler," which means to talk.
What is being said when you see the words "C'est tout?"
C'est tout is a question in French that means "Is that all?" in English. Tout, meaning "all," is pronounced as "too" in French. Also, "le tout" is a masculine noun which means "the whole/entire thing."
What does the French term "Qui est-ce" mean?
Qui-est-ce means "Who is it?" Qui is used to talk about other people and it means who or whom. When whom is being used, "est-ce que" can be added to the sentence. For example, "Qui aimez-vous" means, "Whom do you love?"
Which of the following options means the same thing as "Pouvez-vous repeter, s'il vous plait"?
"Pouvez-vous répéter, s'il vous plait" is used to ask someone to repeat a question or statement that they have made in one of two situations: when the listener did not hear the statement properly or did not understand what was said.
What is being said in the following line? "Quoi de neuf."
"Quoi de neuf" means "What's new?" or "What's up?" It is used when speaking to someone and making general inquiries about their life. It's another way of asking, "How are you?" "Quoi de neuf chez toi" is another similar expression which means "What's new with you?"
What does "Ca n'est pas grave" mean?
"Ca n'est pas grave" directly translates to "It's not serious." However, in French, it is a way of reassuring someone by saying "No problem/ it doesn't matter/ it's OK." Another similar way of saying this is "pas de problème," which means "no problem."
What is being said when you see the words "Parles-vous anglais?"
"Parles-vous anglais" is a formal way of asking someone if they speak the English language. This question may be used in a formal setting or when addressing a stranger. This question would come in handy for tourists visiting a French territory.
Can you correctly translate "Je t'aime" for us?
"Je t'aime" is a term of endearment or a way of expressing affection toward someone by saying "I love you." Aime comes from the word "aimer" which means "to like/to love." A suitable response may be "Moi aussi, Je t'aime" which means "I love you too."
Do you know the meaning of "Nous parlerons plus tard"?
"Nous parlerons plus tard means, "We will speak later" and is used to indicate to someone that a conversation or topic will be discussed at a later date or time. Parlerons is a conjugated form of the word "parler" which means "to talk."
What is being said in the following line? "Combien ça coûte?"
"Combien ca coûte?" is one way of questioning the price of an item or a service that is being provided. It means "How much is it?" and in this question, "combien" means "how much" and "coûte" refers to the cost.
Which of the following options means the same thing as "Je suis perdu"?
"Je suis perdu" is an important expression that anyone traveling to or living in a French-speaking territory, should learn. It means "I am lost" and indicates to the listener that you cannot find your way to or from a particular location and you are in need of assistance. Perdu derives from perdre which means "to lose."
What does "L'addition, s'il vous plaît" mean?
When dining in a restaurant or another such establishment, there will be a time when you will need to request your bill. This can be done by saying "L'addition, s'il vous plait" which is a formal concise and polite way of doing so.
What is being said when you see the words "C'est grave?"
"C'est grave?" with a question mark at the end, is a means of asking someone if a situation is of a serious nature. A suitable response to this may be "Ce n'est pas grave" which means that it is not, in fact, serious at all.
Do you know the meaning of "Avez-vous faim?"
"Avez-vous faim?" is a way of asking someone if they are hungry at the moment. Avez is a conjugated form of the word "avoir" in the present tense while faim means hunger. A response to this may be "J'ai faim" -- "I am hungry."
What does the French term "merci beaucoup" mean?
"Merci beaucoup" is a popular phrase that means "thanks a lot" or "thank you very much" and is used to express appreciation for a gesture or an item received. For example, "J 'ai bien aimé le cadeau. Merci beaucoup!" means "I really liked the present. Thanks a lot!"
What is being said in the following line? "De rien."
"De rien" directly translates to "of nothing," but it is used to mean "You're welcome/ it was nothing." It can be said in response to "merci" which means "thanks."
Can you correctly translate "Comment ca s'ecrit" for us?
"Comment ca s' ecrit?" is a way of seeking clarification by asking someone how exactly a particular word is spelled or written out. "Ecrit" derives from "écrire" which means "to write."
What does "Je vais etre en retard-" mean?
"Je vais etre en retard," meaning "I will be late/I am going to be late" is a polite means of letting someone know that you will be late for an event or late in meeting them. In this sentence, both avoir and etre are used, where "vais" is an avoir verb.
Which of the following options means the same thing as "Bon apres-midi"?
"Bon apres-midi" is a greeting in French which means "good afternoon." This greeting may be followed by other words or include the title of the person who is being addressed for example, "Bon apres-midi monsieur Charles" which means "Good afternoon Mr. Charles."
Do you know the meaning of "felicitations"?
"Felicitations" is a way of expressing congratulations to someone on a special occasion, whether it be on their birthday or as an acknowledgment of an achievement in their life. It is often used in its plural form with an "s" at the end.
What is being said when you see the words "Je vais bien"?
"Je vais bien" means "I am fine" and can be said in response to a question such as "Comment vas-tu?" which means "How are you?" Expressions such as "Ca va/ Super" can be said in response, to mean "It is going well/ great."
What does "Enchante de vous recontrer" mean?
"Enchante de vous recontrer" means "nice to meet you," and it is said when you are meeting someone for the first time and you wish to express your pleasure in meeting them. "Recontrer" means "to meet."
What is being said in the following line? "D'ou venez-vous?"
When meeting someone, particularly for the first time, you may be curious as to where they are from. You can ask this question politely by saying "D' ou venez-vous?" In this question, "venez" derives from "venir" and is used in the present tense.
Can you correctly translate "Viens avec moi" for us?
"Viens avec moi" means "come with me" and is said to someone who may have just arrived at or requested assistance to a particular location. Once again, viens is the conjugated form of "venir."
What does the French term "Que veut dire ca" mean?
"Que veut dire ca?" is a way of asking "What does that mean?" This can be in reference to a number of things, such as a statement that was made or something that someone has seen and is curious about.
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