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French: 75 Core Words

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

drawer full of papers with mandarin chinese characters

Use these core words to create your first simple sentences in French. Read the word, the translation and see the example sentences to see how the words are used. Have fun!

Hint: French uses feminine and masculine, requiring different articles (“the” = le/la/les) and word endings for adjectives. French also has a formal “you” (vous) and a less formal “you” (tu). Don’t forget that verbs are conjugated differently for I/you/we/they/he/she/you formal, but to keep it simple, we’ll just cover the verb endings for “I” (Je) here, in present form and give you the infinitive in ( ).

Social Words

yes - oui

no/not - non/ne (verb) pas

thank you - merci

please - s’il vous plaît

hello - bonjour

good-bye - au revoir


I/me - je/moi

my - mon/ma

you - vous/tu

it - il

he - il

she - elle

we - nous

they - ils/elles

one/we (not specific) - on

Question Words

what - quoi/qu’est-ce que

when - quand

where - où

who - qui

why - pourquoi

how - comment


I am - (être) je suis

do/make - (faire) je fais

can - (pouvoir) je peux

have - (avoir) j’ai

go - (aller) je vais

stop - (s'arrêter) je m'arrête

look at - (regarder) je regarde

open - (ouvrir) j’ouvre

close - (fermer) je ferme

eat - (manger) je mange

drink - (boire) je bois

help - (aider) j’aide

want - (vouloir) je veux

need - (avoir besoin de) j’ai besoin de

say - (dire) je dis

know - (savoir) je sais

come - (venir) je viens

read - (lire) je lis

like - (aimer) j’aime

think - (penser) je pense

work - (travailler) je travaille

play - (jouer) je joue

give - (donner) je donne

wait - (attendre) j’attends

Descriptive words

more - plus

one - un/une

big - grand/grande

little - petit/petite

fast - vite

slow - lent/lente

same - même

different - différent/différente

pretty - joli/jolie

red - rouge

blue - bleu

yellow - jaune

good - bon/bonne

new - nouveau/nouvelle

old - vieux/vieille

happy - content/contente

sad - triste

very - très


at - à

on - sur

under - sous


this - ce/cette

that - ça/cela

some - des … /quelques

all - tout/tous


and - et

but - mais


now - maintenant

here - ici

there - là


Comment vas-tu? How are you?

Je vais bien. I’m good.

Je veux jouer. I want to play.

Où est-il? Where is he?

Il est là. He is there.

Elle aime attendre. She likes to wait.

Elle n’aime pas attendre. She does not like to wait.

Qui êtes-vous? Who are you?

Quand on va manger? When are we going to eat?

Qu’est-ce que tu veux boire? What do you want to drink?

Donne-moi ça s'il vous plaît. Give me that please.

Tous sont rouges. All are red.

Je ne sais pas. I don’t know.

Merci! Au revoir! Thank you! Goodbye!

Have fun making your first French sentences and share your sentences with us on Instagram! Tag us @languagetvclub. Or send us an email at

If you're way past the core words phase, think about joining us for French TV Club. I'd love to see you there!

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