If you’re learning French, surely it’s because you want to speak with some natives, isn’t it? It’s not always easy to start a conversation with a stranger, especially if you don’t know his or her language very well. To help you, here are some questions to start a conversation in French ! Obviously, there is more than one way to ask for directions or to ask someone his name. Start from here, and build your own questions!
Knowing the Differences Between “Tu” and “Vous”
Before we give you some good and polite questions to start a conversation, you should know that in French, “you” can mean “tu” or “vous”. What’s the difference? Well, most of the time you have to use “tu” when speaking with someone that you know well, or someone younger than you. If you’re speaking to someone older, a stranger, your boss, or if you want to be extra respectful, you have to use “vous”. Be careful, the conjugation change between “tu” and “vous”!
How are you = Comment vas-tu ? (singular, familiar) or Comment allez-vous? (plural, more polite)
Common French Questions to Start a Conversation
Before starting a conversation with a stranger, don’t forget to analyze the situation. You want to be polite, not annoying. If you try to speak with someone who seems reluctant, busy or not interested, just stop. When traveling, it’s easy to make new friends, but don’t forget to have good manners.
Je ne comprends pas, pouvez-vous répéter s’il vous plaît? — I don’t understand, could you repeat please?
Comment allez-vous ? Ça va ? — How are you?
Vous êtes là pour les vacances ? — Are you here on holiday?
Que faites-vous dans la vie ? — What do you do for a living?
Que fais-tu pendant ton temps libre ? — What do you do in your free time?
D’où venez-vous ? Je viens de… — Where are you from ? I’m from…
Voulez-vous un verre ? — Would you like a drink?
Est-ce que je peux t’offrir un verre ? — Can I buy you a drink?
Voulez-vous aller manger ? — Would you like something to eat?
T’as quel âge ? — How old are you?
Est-ce que tu connais un bon endroit pour manger dans le coin ? — Do you know a good place to get food around here?
French Sentences to Learn to Know Someone
If you met new French-speaking friends, you might want to learn more about them. After asking the polite questions about their name, age or jobs, it’s a good idea to ask them about their activities or hobbies. If you’re going abroad hoping to meet people, it might be a good idea to write down a couple of questions or sentences about your own hobbies.
These questions can be good conversation starters. Don’t be afraid, just try to engage with people and you might be lucky enough to meet new friends.
Est-ce que tu voyages souvent ? — Do you travel often?
Quel est ton genre de livre ou film préféré ? — What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?
Si tu pouvais habiter n’importe où, t’irais où ? — If you could live anywhere, where would you go?
Quelles séries télé tu regardes ? — Which TV shows do you watch?
Quel est l’endroit le plus relaxant que tu connaisses ? — Where is the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?
Est-ce que tu as des animaux de compagnie ? — Do you have any pets?
It can be stressful to start a conversation in a new language, but it’s the best way to improve yourself! Just trust your abilities and use these common questions to engage with other people. If you explain to them that you’re not fully bilingual in French, surely they will understand and adapt their conversation.
And if you want to practice with someone first, take private lessons online! With a private teacher, you will be able to have nice conversations without being stressed out.