Watch out for these French False Friends!

French and English share many words. When reading French, you will recognise A LOT of the vocabulary.

However, there are words that look or sound similar in both languages but mean something entirely different. Those are called false friends, “faux-amis” in French.

Here is a list of some false friends to watch out for when speaking French.

  1. Attendre – Attend
    • Fake Friend: Attend
    • Actual Translation: Wait
    • Example Sentence: “Je vais attendre le bus.” (I’m going to wait for the bus.)
  2. Actuellement – Actually
    • Fake Friend: Actually
    • Actual Translation: Currently
    • Example Sentence: “Actuellement, je suis en vacances.” (Currently, I’m on vacation.)
  3. Bras – Bra
    • Fake Friend: Bra
    • Actual Translation: Arms
    • Example Sentence: “Elle a un bébé dans les bras.” (She’s holding a baby in her arms.)
  4. Sensible – Sensible
    • Fake Friend: Sensible
    • Actual Translation: Sensitive
    • Example Sentence: “Il est très sensible aux critiques.” (He is very sensitive to criticism.)
  5. Librairie – Library
    • Fake Friend: Library
    • Actual Translation: Bookstore
    • Example Sentence: “J’ai acheté ce livre à la librairie.” (I bought this book at the bookstore.)
  6. Compatissant – Compassionate
    • Fake Friend: Compassionate
    • Actual Translation: Sympathetic
    • Example Sentence: “Elle a été très compatissante après ma perte.” (She was very sympathetic after my loss.)
  7. Journal – Journal
    • Fake Friend: Journal
    • Actual Translation: Newspaper
    • Example Sentence: “Je lis le journal tous les matins.” (I read the newspaper every morning.)
  8. Pain – Pain
    • Fake Friend: Pain
    • Actual Translation: Bread
    • Example Sentence: “Je vais acheter du pain à la boulangerie.” (I’m going to buy bread at the bakery.)
  9. Blessé – Blessed
    • Fake Friend: Blessed
    • Actual Translation: Injured
    • Example Sentence: “Il est blessé, mais il se rétablira.” (He is injured, but he will recover.)
  10. Collège – College
    • Fake Friend: College
    • Actual Translation: Middle School
    • Example Sentence: “Mon frère va au collège.” (My brother goes to middle school.)
  11. Envie – Envy
    • Fake Friend: Envy
    • Actual Translation: Desire
    • Example Sentence: “J’ai envie de glace.” (I have a desire for ice cream.)
  12. Location – Location
    • Fake Friend: Location
    • Actual Translation: Rental
    • Example Sentence: “La location de skis est incluse dans le forfait vacances.” (Ski equipment rental is included in the vacation package.)
  13. Préservatif – Preservative
    • Fake Friend: Preservative
    • Actual Translation: Condom
    • Example Sentence: “Les préservatifs sont disponibles gratuitement dans les centres de santé” (Condoms are available for free at health centers.)
  14. Coin – Coin
    • Fake Friend: Coin
    • Actual Translation: Corner
    • Example Sentence: “Il y a un café au coin de la rue.” (There’s a café on the corner of the street.)
  15. Lecture – Lecture
    • Fake Friend: Lecture
    • Actual Translation: Reading
    • Example Sentence: “J’aime faire une bonne lecture le soir.” (I enjoy a good reading in the evening.)
  16. Demande – Demand
    • Fake Friend: Demand
    • Actual Translation: Request
    • Example Sentence: “J’ai fait une demande pour un prêt.” (I made a request for a loan.)
  17. Éventuellement – Eventually
    • Fake Friend: Eventually
    • Actual Translation: Possibly
    • Example Sentence: “Je pourrais venir te voir éventuellement.” (I might come to see you possibly.)
  18. Discussion – Discussion
    • Fake Friend: Discussion
    • Actual Translation: Argument (although it can also mean discussion)
    • Example Sentence: “Ils ont eu une grosse discussion hier soir.” (They had a big argument last night.)
  19. Sensible – Sensible
    • Fake Friend: Sensible
    • Actual Translation: Sensible
    • Example Sentence: “Il est très sensible à la mode.” (He is very sensible about fashion.)
  20. Actualité – Actuality
    • Fake Friend: Actuality
    • Actual Translation: News
    • Example Sentence: “Je regarde les actualités tous les soirs.” (I watch the news every evening.)
  21. Monnaie – Money
    • Fake Friend: Money
    • Actual Translation: Change (money)
    • Example Sentence: “Je n’ai pas de monnaie pour la machine à café.” (I don’t have change for the coffee machine.)
  22. Déception – Deception
    • Fake Friend: Deception
    • Actual Translation: Disappointment
    • Example Sentence: “J’ai ressenti une grande déception en apprenant la nouvelle.” (I felt a great disappointment upon hearing the news.)
  23. Réalisation – Realization
    • Fake Friend: Realization
    • Actual Translation: Achievement
    • Example Sentence: “C’est une grande réalisation pour lui d’avoir terminé ce projet.” (It’s a great achievement for him to have completed this project.)
  24. Introduire – Introduce
    • Fake Friend: Introduce
    • Actual Translation: Insert
    • Example Sentence: “Il a introduit la clé dans la serrure et a ouvert la porte.” (He inserted the key into the lock and opened the door.)
  25. Résumé – Resume
    • Fake Friend: Resume
    • Actual Translation: Summary
    • Example Sentence: “Voici un résumé de ce que nous avons discuté lors de la réunion.” (Here is a summary of what we discussed during the meeting.)
  26. Maison – Mansion
    • Fake Friend: Mansion
    • Actual Translation: House
    • Example Sentence: “Ils ont une jolie maison à la campagne.” (They have a lovely house in the countryside.)
  27. Sensibilité – Sensibility
    • Fake Friend: Sensibility
    • Actual Translation: Sensitivity
    • Example Sentence: “Elle a une grande sensibilité artistique.” (She has a great artistic sensitivity.)
  28. Commode – Commode
    • Fake Friend: Commode
    • Actual Translation: Chest of drawers
    • Example Sentence: “Elle a rangé ses vêtements dans la commode.” (She put her clothes in the chest of drawers.)
  29. Formidable – Formidable
    • Fake Friend: Formidable
    • Actual Translation: Terrific
    • Example Sentence: “C’est une journée formidable pour une promenade.” (It’s a terrific day for a walk.)
  30. Physique – Physique
    • Fake Friend: Physique
    • Actual Translation: Physics
    • Example Sentence: “Il étudie la physique à l’université.” (He studies physics at the university.)
  31. Tromper – Tromp
    • Fake Friend: Tromp
    • Actual Translation: Deceive
    • Example Sentence: “Il ne faut pas se tromper sur ses intentions.” (We must not be deceived about his intentions.)
  32. Prétendre – Pretend
    • Fake Friend: Pretend
    • Actual Translation: Claim
    • Example Sentence: “Il prétend être le meilleur joueur de football de l’équipe.” (He claims to be the best football player on the team.)
  33. Sensation – Sensation
    • Fake Friend: Sensation
    • Actual Translation: Feeling
    • Example Sentence: “J’ai ressenti une sensation de bonheur en le voyant.” (I felt a feeling of happiness upon seeing him.)
  34. Visite – Visit
    • Fake Friend: Visit
    • Actual Translation: Visit (noun)
    • Example Sentence: “J’ai rendu visite à mes grands-parents le week-end dernier.” (I paid a visit to my grandparents last weekend.)

Learning a new language is an adventure filled with surprises. Keep practicing and don’t be afraid to laugh at your mistakes—it’s all part of the journey! Before you know it, you’ll be speaking French avec confiance!

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