Useful French sentences to start a conversation

Speaking French might feel intimidating for many English people. But if you want to learn French, why not begin with simple and common French sentences? If you can remember and pronounce the most useful French sentences, at least you will be able to have quick conversations with people.

Obviously, it’s difficult to really define which French sentences are the most useful on a daily basis. It will depend on which situation you’re in and the type of person you meet. But we tried to assemble the most common sentences in French to create a quick guide to conversation.

And don’t forget about the “tu” / “vous” distinction! In French, there are two ways to speak with a person. You can use “tu” if you want to be friendly and/or if the person is your age or younger. In Québec, most people use “tu” in every situation. If you want to be polite or respectful, use “vous” with the conjugation of the second person plural pronoun, even if you speak to only one person.

Example : Comment vas-tu? Vs Comment allez-vous?

Now that you’re aware of the difference between “tu” and “vous”, here are some French sentences you should learn if you want to nail your first conversations with a French person.

Best French sentences to introduce yourself

Bonjour / Bonsoir – Good morning / Good evening
Comment ça va ? – How are you?
Je m’appelle… – My name is…
Quel âge as-tu ? How old are you?
J’ai … ans. – I’m … years old.
Je parle un petit peu français. – I speak a little bit French.
Peux-tu parler moins vite, s’il te plaît ? – Can you speak slower, please?
Tu viens d’où ? – Where are you from?
Merci – Thank you
Excusez-moi – Excuse me / pardon me
Je suis désolé – I’m sorry
S’il vous plaît – Please
Au revoir – Goodbye

Useful sentences to ask for help

Best French sentences to ask for help

Pouvez-vous répéter s’il vous plaît ? – Can you say that again, please?
Je ne comprends pas. – I don’t understand
Je n’ai rien compris ! – I didn’t understand anything!
Je ne parle pas (bien) français – I don’t speak French (well).
Je suis perdu. – I’m lost.
Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire ? – What does it mean?
Je ne me sens pas bien. I don’t feel well.
Je suis malade. – I’m sick.

Common French sentences to use during holidays

Je suis en vacances. – I’m on holiday.
Pouvez-vous m’aider ? – Could you help me?
Où est la station de métro la plus proche ? Where is the nearest subway station?
Un billet pour… s’il vous plaît. – A ticket for… please.
Où est la gare ? – Where is the train station?
Où est l’office de tourisme? – Where is the tourism office?
Vous pouvez me prendre en photo ? – Could you take a picture of me?
Je cherche ce restaurant / cette boutique. – I’m looking for this restaurant / shop.
Vous connaissez un bon restaurant dans le coin ? – Do you know a good restaurant in the neighborhood?

French sentences to use at a restaurant

Best French sentences for ordering food and drinks

Puis-je avoir le menu ? – Could I see the menu?
Je vais prendre un verre de vin / une bière / un café. – I will have a glass of wine / a beer / a coffee.
Je ne peux pas boire d’alcool. – I can’t drink alcohol.
Je suis intolérante au lactose / au gluten. – I am lactose / gluten intolerant.
Quel est le plat du jour ? What’s the dish of the day?
Que conseillez-vous comme plat ? What would you recommend as a dish?
Je suis végétarienne / végétalienne. – I’m vegetarian / vegan.
J’aimerai manger des pâtes / de la viande / du poisson. – I would like to eat pasta / meat / fish.
C’était délicieux. – It was delicious.
J’aimerai voir la carte des desserts. – I would like to see the dessert menu.
C’est froid / chaud. – It’s cold / hot.
L’addition, s’il vous plait. – The bill, please.

Obviously, these few sentences aren’t enough to have a long and complex conversation with French people. But this quick guide is a good way to feel more confident while learning French or while on vacation in a francophone country. Would you add more French sentences to this article? What do we need to learn first?