For beginners : to be polite in French and idioms to begin

Hi, Welcome all on Fast French Learning, the blog to Learn and Improve your French 🇫🇷 😀

If you are a true novice, a newbie, you do not have bad habits, so you do not have to change anything, you have everything to learn. You have to be taught on French accent, words, a variety of French expressions, the conjugation rules , the grammar rules, the nouns, the variety of elements to read, different topics to study, support with translation,… To learn French you can also use an app, an app like Duolingo or Mosalingua, to teach yourself you can as well meet French native speakers online.

Here, I suggest you a starting path.

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To be polite

Usually the French people says Bonjour (Hi, hello) before saying anything else, and that is very important for them. You can be considered a little bit as a rude person if you do not say it at the beginning of conversations.

The difference between tu (you) and vous (you)

A very important point related to politeness in French is the difference between tu and vous. It is a basic. A lot of English people are confused everytime, so if you get this it is a very nice point for your trip in a French speaking country or in France.

 InformalFormal
SingularTUVOUS
PluralVOUSVOUS

It is important for the agreement with the verbs (conjugation), adjectives, pronouns,… It is to be considered in the relationship between two people, the interaction. Tu is informal and singular, and vous is formal and/or plural. You use vous if you are talking to several people, it is not related to the type of relationship. But you have to use the right one when you are talking to a single person.
Let us see an example :
Hi sir, how are you ? → Bonjour monsieur, comment allez-vous ?
Hi, man, how is it going ? → Salut mec, tu vas bien ?      

TU

It is informal and singular, you can use it when you are talking to a friend, or in an equal relationship between two people : in the family, friends, lovers, colleagues, classmates, flatmates,… The kids and the teenagers use it each time they meet, even the first time they meet. We use tu as well in these situations : when an adult talk to a children and when we talk to an animal.

VOUS

You use it to show respect and/or in a distance relationship. You use it in professional situations : with your colleagues at work, with the boss, between people they do not know each other, between a patient and a doctor, between a client and a seller, a pupil and a professor. It is plural as well, so you use it when you are talking to several people such as family, a group of people.
Allez-y / allez-y → Go for it

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Few words and little sentences to know

ça va ? (How is it going )

This is the first thing that people says just after Salut, Salut-ça va ?. It is to ask to someone how does he/she feels, how he/she is keeping, how things are. Usually people says ça va, sometimes they say ça va pas, which means things are not good.

Bonjour (Hi, hello)

Everyone says bonjour, if you do not say it when you meet someone you will be considered as a rude person. It is formal and informal, you can use it with everyone : friends, family, colleagues of work, … If you know well people you can replace it by salut. Salut can be used as bonjour or au revoirI (bye).

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Comment vous appelez-vous ? Comment est-ce que vous vous appelez ? (What is your name)  

It is one of the first question you ask when you meet soemone. The answer is Je m’appelle… When you use tu the question is Comment t’appelles-tu ?.

S’il vous plaît / s’il te plaît (Please)

To not to be considered as rude in France, when you ask for something : your way to get somewhere, a pastry in a bakery shop, the price of the ticket to take the bus,… use s’il vous plaît (formal), more than s’il te plaît (informal).
Bonjour, s’il vous plaît quelle est la direction pour le centre ville ? → Hello please, what is the direction for the city center ?

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Je viens de… (I am from…)

After you have introduced yourself, this sentence can come quickly, not everytime but it is usual. It refers to your city or your country.  
I am from London → Je viens de Londres
I am from the USA → Je viens des USA
The sentence that comes after to continue the exchange could be d’où venez-vous / d’où viens-tu ? (Where are you from ?). You can ask it or your partner can ask it.

Excusez-moi (excuse me)

You can say it to get the attention of someone : a person in the street, you want to ask him somethin-a waiter in a restaurant-… Or you can say it to say « sorry » to someone who is on your way and you want to conitnue to walk, to ask him to put himself beside.

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Qu’est-ce que vous faites ? / qu’est-ce que tu fais ? (What is your job ?)

The literal translation is « What do you do ? », the answer will be the name of a profession : écrivain (writer), fireman (pompier), conducteur de bus (bus driver),… Then to continue the exchange you can ask est-ce que ça vous plaît ? / est-ce que ça te plaît ? (Do you enjoy it ?).

Have a look to others articles to get informations to improve your conversations, to keep the motivation in your learning journey. To read about different topics, to see movies, movies to improve your oral comprehension, to learn new nouns and keeping the motivation.

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Thank you for reading this article !
Thomas 😀

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