10 mistakes not to make in France!

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10 mistakes not to make in France!
10 mistakes not to make in France!
Have you ever heard of false friends? No? Well, let us fix that! False friends are words that are
identical in English and in French and so mistakenly lead you to think “That’s easy! I know what this
French word means!” And that’s why it’s called a false friend! It tricked you! It actually means
something totally different!
1-Une entrée
Meaning:
The first time I saw the prices of entrées in an American restaurant, I thought “wow these appetizers are so expensive!” It took me a moment to realize that I was looking at the main dishes and not the
appetizers! Une entrée, as its etymology implies (to enter, entering, an entrance) is the first dish of a
meal, the appetizer.
Example:
« Alors comme entrée je vais prendre la soupe du jour puis comme plat principal je voudrais la
ratatouille s’il vous plait! »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Ok, for the appetizer I’ll have the soup of the day and for the entrée I would like the ratatouille please!
Une entrée = an appetizer
2-Organique
Meaning:
Organique does mean organic in most usages of the word, but not when it comes to food! If you want
to talk about organic foods, then you must use the word biologique! When staying in France, look for
the AB sign: Agriculture Biologique.
Example:
« Excusez-moi, est-ce que vous vendez des légumes biologiques? »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Excuse-me, do you sell organic vegetables?
Biologique = organic
3-Sensible
Meaning:
I know it is tempting. Sensible means… let me think… sensible! Well if it did, it wouldn’t be on this list! It means sensitive!
Example:
« De nos jours, les femmes préfèrent les hommes sensibles. »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Nowadays, women prefer sensitive men.
Sensible = sensitive
4-Une librairie
Meaning:
Alhtough we are definitely in the book family here, we are not quite at the library ! We are at the… book store ! Et oui ! Une librairie is a book store. A library is une bibliothèque.
Example:
« Ce matin, je vais à la librairie ! J’ai très envie de lire en ce moment! »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
This morning, I’m going to the book store! I really feel like reading these days!
NB: this book store is one of my favorites! It’s in Vienne, my home town, which also happens to be a Roman town. There is an amphitheater, a circus, lots of ruins and… a Temple! Can you see its columns reflected in the window?
Une librairie = a book store
A library = une bibliothèque
5-Une location
Meaning:
Once again, it’s easy to think “Well that’s an easy one, une location means a location!” Non non non,
it does not! Une location means a rental !
Example:
« Combien coûte la location de skis pour une semaine ? »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
How much does the ski rental cost for one week?
Une location = a rental
6-Un photographe
Meaning:
Un photographe is not a thing, it’s a person! It’s a photographer! A photograph is une photographie. This one took me a while to get used to! Well of course, us Frenchies have the exact same issues you
do, only the opposite!
Example:
« Robert Doisneau était un très grand photographe français ! Ces photographies en noir et blanc sont
très connues ! »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Robert Doisneau was a great French photographer! His photographs in black and white are very
famous!
Un photographe = a photographer
A photograph = une photographie / une photo
7-Un tissu
Meaning:
I remember when I was little, I had tissues made out of fabric. I suppose that was a lot better for the
environment and the trees! Yes, tissue does not mean tissue but fabric.
Example:
« Elle voudrait acheter plusieurs mètres de tissu pour faire des rideaux pour son nouvel
appartement. »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
She would like to buy several meters of fabric to make curtains for a new apartment.
Un tissu = a fabric
8-Demander
Meaning:
Demander is not at all aggressive and forceful like to demand is. Demander simply means to ask. To
ask someone or to ask for something.
Example:
« Demande lui si elle aimerait venir faire une randonnée avec nous demain ! »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Ask her if she’d like to come hike with us tomorrow!
Demander = to ask
9-Embrasser
Meaning:
Embrasser people in French does not mean you are embracing them. It means you are kissing them!
Example:
« Mais dis-moi, est-ce qu’il t’a embrassée sur la joue ou sur la bouche ? »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Ok tell me, did he kiss you on the check or on the mouth?
Embrasser = to kiss
10-Un préservatif
Meaning:
I left this one for the end because it cracks me up! Whatever you do, do not tell people there are lots
of préservatifs in American food! They would be very surprised and maybe a little worried!
Préservatif in French does not mean preservative but condom! Ha!
Example:
« Est-ce que tu penses que c’est une bonne idée de vendre des préservatifs à l’école ? »
Listen: (slow and normal speed)
Audio file
Translation :
Do you think it’s a good idea to sell condoms at school?
Un préservatif = a condom

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