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Unlocking French language: simple advice for avoiding faux amis

Catherine Broughton - 30/05/2013 - www.MyFrenchLife.org

I always tell people who are trying to learn a foreign language – whichever language it is – to not worry too much about getting it absolutely right.

So many people are overly concerned about what they sound like, and they need to accept that it doesn’t matter. Unless you are very talented you are never going to be fluent anyway – so just go for it!

Here are few more of those tricky faux amis that catch out French students of all levels:

Allure vs Allure

The English word allure would in French be attrait or charme. The French word allure means speed/appearance.

Balance vs Balance

The English word balance would in French be équilibre. The French word balance means scales.

Blesser vs Bless

The English word bless would be bénir in French, whereas their word blesser is to injure.

Cave vs Cave

The English word cave would in French be grotte, whereas the French word cave is a cellar.

Compréhensif vs Comprehensive

The English word comprehensive would in French be complet, whereas their word compréhensif means understanding or sympathetic.

Illustration by Kala Barba-Court


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1 Comment




  1. Floriane Baldinger
    6 years ago

    Merci pour ces conseils Catherine, connaitre ces ” faux amis ” peuvent éviter les confusions lors d’un dialogue entre étrangers ! Très bonne idée d’écrire la dessus !