The 5 Best French Canadian TV Shows to Master Your Language Skills
Are you amazed by French spoken in Canada?
Online teachers in more than 70 languages
Justlearn is one of the largest tutoring platforms that provide 1-on-1 classes with professional teachers.Find my first class
If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and learn French, you might be wondering how best to go about it.
First of all, you need to find a good native French-speaking tutor who can help you learn French words and grammar rules. Secondly, you need to keep yourself motivated to continue with your French language lessons.
One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated when learning French or any other language is to make sure that you keep your lessons fun!
How do you make your lessons fun? Well, you can expose yourself to the French language by listening to French music. You can improve your French speaking skills by watching French movies or by watching French cartoons. You can also find and study lists of different French idioms.
French idioms are phrases that a French speaker uses in daily conversation to express thoughts and ideas that simple words might not be enough for. While many of these French idioms are beautiful, they can also be confusing for French language learners.
The reason why French idioms can confuse a language learner is that oftentimes, even if the phrase can be translated, the translation doesn’t capture the real meaning. It might even come off as a bit nonsensical, especially in terms of how the speaker used it in conversation.
To help you get started in learning these important elements of French speech, we’ve compiled a list of fun and interesting French idioms about life. We’ve also included some tips on how to use them in a conversation.
Translation: To want is to be able to
Meaning: If there’s a will, there is a way
This French idiom is similar to the English saying, “where there is a will, there is a way”. Basically, it is encouraging you to continue in your endeavors and preserver.
Translation: Who runs after two hares at the same time, catches none
Meaning: You need to concentrate on one thing at a time
This is a wise French idiom about life that reminds us that we need to concentrate and work hard on one goal or to solve one problem at a time. Getting distracted or trying to work on two many things at one time will not work out well.
Translation: It’s as simple as hello!
Meaning: It’s easy
A French speaker might say this if they are trying to encourage you. This idiom is used to say that something is easy or simple.
Translation: It’s not as if you have to drink the sea
Meaning: It’s not that hard
If a French speaker thinks you are worrying about something too much, they might say this. You can also use this to tell someone they are complaining too much.
Translation: Little by little, the bird makes its nest
Meaning: Work steadily and persevere
If you hear this idiom from a French speaker, they are reminding you of the importance of patience and perseverance.
Translation: Nothing should be left to chance
Meaning: Plan ahead
This wise idiom reminds us that life can be filled with unexpected challenges, it pays to be prepared and have a plan and a backup plan.
Translation: It is better to prevent than to heal
Meaning: Take precautions
This French idiom can be used to talk about the importance of good health. Basically, it says that it’s better to take precautions and even spend to stay healthy now than it would be to pay to go to the doctor or the hospital with an illness. It can also be used to caution someone that they should take precautions, period.
Translation: Everyone sees noon at his door
Meaning: Use your own judgment
This French idiom about life reminds you that you shouldn’t take things at face value. Everyone should and does make their own judgments based on their own knowledge and experiences.
Translation: Calling a cat a cat
Meaning: See things as they are
This French idiom refers to being able to see the truth of a situation and being able to speak about it. It reminds us that sometimes, you just need to be frank.
Translation: Do well and let speak
Meaning: Don’t let the opinions of others get to you
This French idiom about life tells us that, as long as you know you are doing good or right, you should ignore the gossips and naysayers.
Translation: To be good in one’s skin
Meaning: To be confident
This French idiom is basically a call for you to be confident and comfortable as you are.
Translation: Strike the iron while it is hot
Meaning: Act quickly when a good opportunity arises
Life is full of opportunities and this French idiom reminds us that when we see a good opportunity we need to move fast and strike.
Translation: Better alone than in the bad company
Meaning: Take care in choosing your friends
This idiom offers some handy advice about choosing who you surround yourself with. Not only will bad friends get you in bad situations, but they might also color the way other people think of you.
Translation: For the young hunter, an old dog is needed
Meaning: Find someone older and wiser to show you how it is done
This French idiom talks about the importance of finding a good mentor. A good mentor is a font of wisdom and advice who can guide you towards future success.
Translation: The night brings advice
Meaning: Take your time to come to a decision
This French idiom about life is the equivalent to the English idiom “sleep on it”. If you are faced with a tough decision, there’s no harm in taking your time to weigh your options.
Translation: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Meaning: Don’t count on just one thing
This French idiom cautions us on pinning all our hopes on one thing. It reminds us that sometimes we need to keep our options open or just our eyes open for other opportunities.
Translation: It’s not the cow that moos the loudest who gives the most milk
Meaning: All talk and no action
This idiom reminds us that just because someone talks a lot about their abilities, doesn’t mean that they are the best person for the job.
Translation: Actions are worth more than words
Meaning: What you do is what is important
This French idiom is similar to the one above in the sense that it tells us to value more what a person accomplishes rather than what they say they can accomplish.
Meaning: A badly acquired good never benefits
Meaning: Bad behavior will get found out
This French idiom about life cautions you about how to properly do business. It basically says that bad or unscrupulous behavior may get you what you want for a little while, but will be found out in the future. It reminds us that we need to safeguard our reputations at all times and not “cheat” because it’s easy.
Translation: After the rain, good weather
Meaning: Things get better
A French speaker might utter this idiom if they are trying to encourage you not to lose hope. Basically, they are reminding you that bad times don’t last forever.
Translation: Eat well, laugh often, love a lot
Meaning: Enjoy life
These three things are what the French believe are necessary to have a good life.
Translation: Life is too short to drink bad wine
Meaning: Don’t bother with things you don’t like
Another thing that the French believe you need to do to have a good life is to drink good wine. This French idiom references that belief, basically stating that you shouldn’t waste your life or your time doing things that you don’t enjoy.
Aside from the fact that it will improve your ability to communicate with native French speakers, there are two other important reasons why you should make it a point to learn some common French idioms alongside common French words and phrases.
First, studying French idioms, how native speakers put together words to make a phrase is a good way to learn how to construct French sentences yourself. Secondly, French idioms often provide you with some valuable insight into the way French speakers think and feel, so they provide a valuable window into the French psyche and French culture.
To help you memorize and understand the different French idioms about life that we discussed in this post, we’ve compiled them in a handy PDF file that you can download. We suggest that you take this list and discuss them with your online native French-speaking tutor.
While you can just memorize these idioms on your own, discussing them with your native French-speaking tutor will help you understand and use these idioms better. Your tutor can provide you with more insight on when it is appropriate to use these idioms, correct your pronunciation and accent on the spot, and might have even more fun facts on how these idioms came to mean what they do.
Are you amazed by French spoken in Canada?
When it comes to learning a foreign language, many people think that kids are better at language learning than adults. But is this really true?
If you are planning to visit some of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries, we have a proposal for you. Have you thought about visiting Guatemala?
Do you know that people from Spanish-speaking countries are very passionate?
Learning basic Portuguese sayings and greetings shouldn't be that hard.
Have you ever watched TED talks? If you have, did you find them useful and amusing?