50 Basic French Words You Should Learn in 2023

Traveling to the country of France will definitely be a great adventure. The reason is that you get to explore the culture, places, foods, etc as well as you will be in situations where people might not speak English.

Here are 50 basic French words which are useful for travelers to know. These popular French phrases can help you navigate through France and neighboring countries with ease.

Common French Greetings 50 basic French words

You should always start learning the basic French language by knowing the greeting or salutations. They are fairly simple to grasp. 

  1. Salut – Hi!
  2. Bonjour – Hello! / Good morning.
  3. Bonsoir – Good evening!
  4. Enchante – Nice to meet you/ Glad to meet you.
  5. Bienvenue – Welcome.
  6. Bon Voyage! – Have a good trip!
  7. Felicitations! – Congratulations!

Common French Phrases

These are the popular French phrases amongst the 50 basic French words that can help you continue your conversation. Here are a few questions and answers for standard communication. 

  1.  Comment Ça va? / Comment vas-tu? – How are you?
  2. Je vais bein / Ça va bien – I am fine/well.
  3. Et toi? – And you?
  4. À tout à l’heure! – See you later!
  5. À bientôt! – See you soon!
  6. À demain! – See you tomorrow!
  7. Au revoir! – Good bye!

Useful French Phrases for Being Polite

Learning basic French language means you should also know these basic French words as they are expressions of courtesy. 

  1. Merci/ Merci bien – Thank you.
  2. Merci beaucoup – Thank you very much. 
  3. Pardon, Excusez-moi – Pardon, excuse me.
  4. Je suis désolé – I am sorry.
  5. Il n’y a pas de quoi It’s nothing/ mention not. 
  6. Répétez, s’il vous plait – Repeat, please.

Check out How to Pronounce French E with Accent.

Useful French Phrases for Dealing with Problems

If you are to deal with a problem, you should always know certain French Phrases out of the 50 basic French words. Here are some questions and expressions to use when you face difficulties. 

  1. Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît? – Can you help me please! 
  2. Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire? – What does that mean?
  3. Je suis malade – I’m ill/sick
  4. Fais/faites attention! – Be Careful!
  5. Je ne comprends pas – I don’t/ do not understand.

French Question Words

Knowing the question words in French can get you a long way by helping you give a prompt answer. These play a vital role among the 50 basic French words. 

  1. Quoi? – What?
  2. Qui? – Who?
  3. Quand? – When?
  4. Où? Where?
  5. Quel(le)? – Which?
  6. Pourquoi? – Why?
  7. Comment? – How?
  8. Combien? – How many?

Some examples of question words and answers are mentioned below:

  1. Comment tu t’appelles? – What’s your name?
  2. Je m’appelle – My name is …
  3. Quel âge as-tu? – How old are you?
  4. J’ai 30 ans – I am 30.
  5. Quelle heure est-il? – What’s the time?
  6. Il est 5/ cinq heures – It is 5’o clock.
  7. C’est combien? – How much is it?
  8. C’est 200 (deux cent) roupies. – It is 200 rupees. 
  9.  Oui – Yes.
  10. Non – No.
  11. Bien sûr! – Of course!

French Phrases for Directions

You should know these French phrases for directions as it plays a major role in 50 basic French words. 

  1. Où sommes-nous? – Where are we?
  2. C’est à droite – It is to the right.
  3. C’est à gauche – It is on the left.
  4. C’est à droite – It is straight ahead. 
  5. Est-ce que c’est proche/loin/? – Is it close/far?
  6. Traverser la route, la rue – Cross the road, the street. 


To sum up, you will be amazed as you get to know all the above-mentioned 50 basic French words and phrases before making your trip to France. The best way to immerse yourself is by communicating with the locals and fellow tourists. Moreover, prepare yourself by taking French classes at Zing Languages to get to know more fascinating words and to speak French more fluently.


What French words do I need to know?

You should start learning basic French language by knowing the greetings. The common French words include Bonjour – Hello or good morning, Bonne apres-midi – Good afternoon, Au revoir – Good bye, Merci – Thank you, Merci beaucoup – Thank you very much, etc. You should also know some pleasing words like S’il Vous Plait – Please, Desolee – Sorry, etc.

What is the French word for Year 7?

While you start learning the basic French language, you should get to know the days, months, and years besides knowing how to say time. The number ‘7’ in French is Sept and for ‘Year’ it is ‘Annee’. If you mention the age in years, it is ‘Ans’. So, the French word for Year 7 would be Sept annee or Sept ans.

What is the prettiest French word?

The word ‘pretty’ itself is a wonderful word in English. When you start learning basic French language, get to these prettiest words – belle (Beautiful), charmante (Charming or lovely), éblouissante (Dazzling), étonnante (Astonishing), étourdissante (stunning). All these words belong to the feminine adjective. beau (handsome), cheri (my dear/ my sweetheart). These denote the masculine adjective.

Check out Naming your family members in French.

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