I have written previously about the mistakes that Russians consistently make on my Russian blog. Because I was Skyping with Russians quite a bit, all of whom made the same mistakes, it was easier for me to simply link them to that post. A simple recognition of a dozen or so language habits, caused by native language grammar, could eliminate 90% of their errors, so I am going to attempt a post for French speakers.
Third Person Singular (Present Tense)
I have, She has, He has, They have, We have, You have…yes “has” is strange, and likewise: I am, She is, He is, They are, We are, You are…also strange but it’s something you have to memorize.
Almost all verbs have the pattern of an “s” at the end with the third person singular, so that’s an easy rule to help French speakers get it right.
Because of the ability to place an apostrophe “s” after a noun, English speakers can form “noun-noun” compounds very easily. In fact, even without the possession, sandwiching two nouns together is easy in English. French natives default to their “noun-preposition-noun”:
a wine glass (a glass for wine) = un verre à vin
a gold bracelet = un bracelet en or
a leather bag = un sac de cuir / un sac en cuir
Another pattern that the French are comfortable using is the “noun-preposition-infinitive verb” pattern, instead of the English “noun-noun” pattern.
an ironing board = une planche à repasser
a washing machine = une machine à laver
a sewing machine = une machine à coudre
Past Tense vs. Present Perfect vs. Present
I get corrected constantly when I use the past tense, present perfect, and present tense. Likewise, the time frame of verbs that French speakers choose when they write in English, baffles me as well. I’ve even time-lined both French and English to compare their perception of time and action, to English, but I have yet to figure it out completely.
I believe it has something to do with the way they approach story telling, and use the present tense in something known as “historic past”, but I’m still taking notes on this.
As vs. Since
I believe “as” is used more by UK English speakers, and “since” by US English speakers. Both of these words are used as conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs.
The word ‘since’ is used to express time as adverb and preposition, as below:
I had seen him previously, but hadn’t seen him since. (adverb)
I have known her since last year. (preposition)
The word ‘as’ is used to express extent/degree as an adverb and as a preposition:
You’re heavier than I am, and not as tall. (adv)
You are not as tall as I am. (prep)
However, as a conjunction they are usually used to introduce reasons or with verbs of the senses (feel, hear, read…), and to express emotion (admire, hate, love, like…). In the following sentences, they are interchangeable:
As it’s too late, I quit or Since it’s too late, I quit
As/Since we read, we learn.
Since/As we were in the computer lab, our English has improved.
In certain situations ‘as’ can only be used:
As I came in, she flew. (used like the word, when)
He sleeps as the rain falls. (used like the word, while)
I believe “as” is used more by UK English speakers, and “since” by US English speakers. Both of these words are used as conjuctions, prepositions and adverbs.
The word ‘since’ is used to express time as adverb and preposition, as below:
I had seen him previously, but hadn’t seen him since. (adverb)
I have known her since last year. (preposition)
The word ‘as’ is used to express extent/degree as an adverb and as a preposition:
It as Indirect Object
En français, on utilise “y” et “en” si souvent. En anglais ce n’est pas nécessaire.
French: When I was at school, I was trying hard to learn English, but I was unable to do it.
Native: When I was at school, I tried hard to learn English, but I was unable to.
More vs. Better
Better refers to quality, whereas more refers to quantity.
I like him better now than I used to. (quality)
I like him more than he likes me. (quantity)
It’s the same situation with Best vs. Most.
“I like him best” refers to the quality of my affections: I like him best when he is smiling.
“I like him most” refers to the quantity of my affections: Of all my cousins, I like him most.
Now here’s a sentence that could go two different ways:
I like him more than Don.
Which of the following is meant?
I like him more than I like Don.
I like him more than Don likes him.
To remove any doubt, pick one of those two longer sentences and use that instead.
Here’s another tough dilemma:
I like him better/more than she.
I like him better/more than her.
Which is correct? Well, that depends on what you really mean. Again, use a longer sentence to clear up the fog.
I like him better than she does. The quality of my liking is higher than hers.
I like him more than I like her. The quantity of my liking him is greater.
How shall we remember this?
Good Better Best (adjectives, quality)
Some More Most (adverbs, quantity)
Who vs. That
Who refers to people. That may refer to people, animals, groups, or things, but who is preferred when referring to people. The French have qui and que, but they are not a one-to-one comparison to who and that.
Qui and que are the most often confused relative pronouns for English speakers because it is taught incorrectly from the start. French students learn that qui means “who” and que means “that” or “what.”
Que replaces the direct object (person or thing) in the dependent clause.
J’ai acheté le livre. Ma sœur l’a écrit. > J’ai acheté le livre que ma sœur a écrit. (I bought the book (that) my sister wrote)
Qui replaces the subject (person or thing) or indirect object in the dependent clause.
Je cherche l’artiste. Il étudie à Paris. > Je cherche l’artiste qui étudie à Paris. (I’m looking for the artist (who is) studying in Paris.)
Likewise, the French often make the reverse mistake.
Apostrophes indicate possession, when something belongs to something or someone else. To indicate something belongs to one person, the apostrophe goes before the ‘s’. For instance, “The girl’s horse.” To indicate something belongs to more than one person, put the apostrophe after the ‘s’. For example, “The ladies’ room.” Apostrophes are also used to indicate a contracted word. For example, “don’t” uses an apostrophe to indicate that the word is missing the “o” from “do not”.
Granted, even native speakers of English put an incorrect apostrophe in words like, “the 1980’s”, which should be 1980s. The confusion with apostrophes also helps contribute to the swapping of “they’re” with “there” or “their”, and “it’s” with “its”. If you remember the apostrophe takes the place of a letter, or shows possession, the problem should quickly go away.
Fewer vs. Less
“Fewer” refers to items you can count individually while “Less” refers to a commodity that you cannot count individually, like water. In a similar way, the words “amount” and “number” can be misapplied. “Amount” refers to a commodity which can’t be counted (like the previous “water” example), while “Number” refers to individual things that can be counted.
Then vs. Than
They sound alike, which is probably the source of the confusion. “Than” is used in comparisons, while “Then” is used to indicate something follows something else, in time.
I am taller than she is. There won’t be a problem then if I ask you to reach that on the top shelf.
Gerunds vs. Infinitive Verb Forms
This error is common and hard for French speakers to accept. In French, an infinitive is used, to replace a noun, the way English speakers use a gerund (-ing form). Here are a few examples. Choose one of the two choices in parentheses:
I’m thinking about (to go, going) to work later.
They are interested in (to go, going) to the movies Thursday.
They are interested in (to learn, learning) more about the subject.
French choose the first choice, and English choose the second choice. Knowing this has helped me with the choice when writing in French, or should I say “To know this has helped me with the choice when to write in French”.
Savoir cela m’a aidé à choisir quand écrire en français.
Modals Followed by Infinitives
Similar to the previous example, when a modal verb is used before an infinitive in English, we drop the word “to”. The French do not. Examples:
I will (to finish, finish) my homework tonight.
I must (to go, go) on holiday soon.
We can’t (to leave, leave) anyone behind.
French choose the first choice, and English choose the second choice. As an English speaker I would think of the sentence, “I must learn how to construct sentences like this, and I will improve my French”….as, “I must to learn how to construct sentences like this and I will to improve my French.”
Je dois apprendre à construire des phrases comme celle-ci et je vais améliorer mon français.
In French, the adverb often comes between the verb and its object. This is one of the easiest ways to identify a non-English native speaker. In English, the adverb is between the verb and subject, or at the end of the sentence.
Incorrect: I talk always like that.
Correct: I always talk like that.
Incorrect: I speak very well the English.
Correct: I speak English very well.
In French, there are many adjectives that follow the noun they are modifying. In English, adjectives almost always precede the nouns they modify.
une table ronde – round table
un livre noir – black book
du thé sucré – sweet tea
une femme américaine – American woman
une église catholique – Catholic church
une famille bourgeoise – middle-class family
This mistake isn’t as common as it is for English writing French, however, and that’s probably because words associated with beauty, age, good/bad, and size (acronym, BAGS) follow the English rule.
une jolie fille – pretty girl
un jeune homme – young man
une nouvelle maison – new house
un bon enfant – good child
un petit problème – small problem
As often as I have been instructed to have a space on either side of my question marks, exclamation points, colons, semi-colons and quotation marks, the reverse is also true. No space before these punctuation marks in English. Many times a colon is also used instead of a comma. Let’s take a look at an example:
Lesquelles préférez-vous : les pommes ou les oranges ? -Les pommes !
Which do you prefer, apples or oranges? Apples!
When writing numerals, the period and comma are opposites in the two languages: 2,5 (deux virgule cinq) 2.5 (two point five)
In French, the comma is used as a decimal point: 2.5 (English) = 2,5 (French)
The French don’t use serial commas (you know the one before “and” in a sentence like, “We went here, there, and everywhere.” They would write, “J’ai acheté un livre, deux stylos et du papier.” not “J‘ai acheté un livre, deux stylos, et du papier.” This results in my adding the occasional comma to their English texts.
The French say that someone “has” a certain number of years. English speakers use the verb “to be”, examples: I am 19 years old. They are both 12 years old. My coat is five years old. Most of the time, English speakers simply say, “I am 43” because the time unit is understood.
We say, it is February…while they say…we are February (nous sommes février).
Make vs. Do
In English, we use do and make with noun phrases. The difference is that do focuses on the process of acting or performing something, while make emphasizes the product or outcome of an action. Here is a perfect example. The first part is the action, and the second part of the sentence is the outcome:
When I was doing the calculations, I made two mistakes.
This leads me to point out, that like the French word “faire”, there a lot of expressions that use the words do and make.
do good, do harm, do well, do badly, do a favor, do business
make an attempt, make a bed, make a change/changes, make a complaint, make a decision (prendre une decision, ‘take a decision’), make a demand, make an effort, make an exception, make an excuse, make love, make a mistake, make money, make a noise, make an offer, make peace, make a phone call, make a profit, make a suggestion, make war
French speakers do not use the auxiliary verb “do”, so they often have problems posing native sounding questions. They also avoid saying “don’t have” or “do have”, preferring to negate the verb. Example: I have no water (I don’t have water) = je n’ai pas d’eau.
Related to problems with “do” is the tendency for French speakers to revert to their style of forming questions, where they lift their voice at the end of a statement:
He is rich? (instead of “Is he rich?”)
or inverting the subject and verb:
How often see you her? (instead of “How often do you see her?”), notice the missing “do” as well.
Pluralization of Words
Some English words do not take a plural by simply placing an “s” at the end, while others are completely abnormal in their pluralization. A list can be found here.
Article use in French is similar but not identical to that in English. French pronouns are based on the gender of the noun they are associated with; and the possessive adjectives agree with the nouns they qualify. Interference in these areas will lead to mistakes such as:
He is doctor.
This is the John’s car.
What stupid thing to do!
The German is easier than the English.
Do you like my umbrella. He was very cheap.
I met John and her wife for dinner.
Slang and Idioms
A French speaker would do well to avoid most slang words, since context and timing is everything. Until you hear the way the phrase or word is used, several times, in various situations, your risk vs. reward is simply too high.
There are a great many words that French and English share, and many more that appear to be shared. Over the years, however, those words have changed in their application or meaning in each of the languages, even though the spelling stayed the same. This is where “false friends” or “faux amis” lead the language learner astray. Example:
In French, the word actuellement means “at this moment or right now.” But in English, actually means “really, truly, in reality.”
|Mot français avec lequel il peut y avoir confusion||Mot anglais faux ami||Traduction du faux ami anglais||Traduction en anglais du mot français objet de la confusion|
|Absurde; Raisonnement par l’absurde||Absurd||Aberrant||Nonsense, absurd|
|Abuser||Abuse||Insulter, injurier||Go too far, overstep|
|Accommoder; Accommoder (vue)||Accommodate||Loger, contenir||Prepare; Focus|
|Achever||Achieve||Réaliser, atteindre (une performance)||Finish, complete|
|Achèvement||Achievement||Réalisation, exploit, réussite||Finish|
|Avancer||Advance||Faire progresser||Move forward|
|Actuellement||Actually||En fait, en réalité (tic de langage US)||Currently, presently, at the present time|
|Affaire / Affaires||Affair||Liaison (amoureuse)||Business|
|Affluence, Heure d’affluence||Affluence||Opulence, richesse||Crowds, Peak hour|
|Agence||Agency||Organisme, agence||Office, branch|
|Agenda||Agenda||Ordre du jour||Diary, appointment book|
|Agonie||Agony;||Douleur atroce;||Death Throes|
|Agréer||Agree||Être d’accord||Accept, to welcome|
|Agréable||Agreeable||Favorable, d’accord||Pleasant, nice|
|Alléger||Alleged||Prétendu, allégué||Lighten, make lighter|
|Alternative||Alternative||Solution de rechange||Two solutions|
|Aménité||Amenities||Ressources, équipements;||Friendliness, affability|
|Inquiet||Anxious to||Désireux de||Worried, anxious|
|Apologie (faire l’)||Apologize||Présenter ses excuses||Praise, justify, vindicate|
|Application||Application||Candidature, demande||Application, Implementation|
|Apprécier||Appreciate||Prendre de la valeur (finance)||Appreciate, estimate, begrateful|
|Apprécier||Appreciate||Reconnaître, comprendre||Appreciate, estimate, begrateful|
|Arguer||Argue||Se disputer||Allege, put forward as a pretext|
|Arriver (se produire)||Arrive||Arriver à destination||Happen|
|Articuler||Articulate||Qui s’exprime clairement, clair, précis||Articulate|
|Aspersion||Aspersion||Calomnie, médisance||Spraying, sprinkling|
|Assister||Assist||Aider, assurer le support||Attend, take part in|
|Asset||Assets||Atouts, biens; actif||Titres asset backed|
|Assistance (concert);||Assistance||Aide, secours||Audience;|
|Assumer||Assume||Supposer||Take responsibility for; to assume, to take on|
|Attention||Attention||Garde à vous||Look out, watch out, take care|
|Audience||Audience||Assistance, public||Audience, attendance|
|Auditeur||Auditor||Commissaire aux comptes, responsable d’un audit||Listener, member of the audience|
|Bail||Bail||Caution contre libération||Lease|
|Balance||Balance||Équilibre||Scale, a pair of scales|
|Balancer||Balance (to)||Équilibrer, tenir en –||Swing, rock|
|Ballot, paquet||Ballot||Scrutin, bulletin de vote||Bundle,|
|Bande||Band||Orchestre, bande||Band, Gang / Strip / Tape|
|Baraque||Barracks||Caserne||Hut, shed, stall, stand, shack, shanty|
|Basique||Basic||Fondamental, essentiel||Basic (item)|
|Biais (en);||Bias||Tendance / Biais (math)||At an angle;|
|Billion (1012)||Billion (109)||Milliard (109)||Trillion (1012)|
|Bizarre||Bizarre||Insolite||Strange, odd, weird|
|Blâmer||Blame||Attribuer un tort||Reprimand, censure|
|Blême||Blemish||Défaut, imperfection, tare||Pale, palish, pallid|
|Blesser||Bless||Bénir||Hurt, injure, wound|
|Bond||Bond||Lien, engagement||Jump, leap, bound|
|Bras||Bra||Soutien-gorge (du français: brassière)||Arm|
|Branche||Branch||Succursale, division||Branch, stick|
|Bribes||Bribe||Pot-de-vin||Bits; snatches of conversation|
|Buffet||Buffet||Coup violent, secouer||Sideboard|
|Buffet (réception)||Buffeted (by the storms)||Buffet||Buffet|
|Boulette||Bullet||Balle (arme)||(Small) ball|
|Cabinet||Cabinet||Armoire||Closet, toilet / Cabinet (minister)|
|Cagoule||Cagoule||Anorak, K-way||Hood, cowl, balaclava|
|Calcul||Calculus||Analyse, calcul infinitésimal||Calculation, computation, reckoning|
|Candide||Candid||Franc, sincère||Innocent, pure|
|Candide||Candid;||Franc, sincère;||Ingenuous, naïve|
|Carte électronique||Card||Carte électronique (rare)||Electronic board, module|
|Carte géographique||Card||Cartes de jeux||Map|
|Catch||Catch||Entourloupe, attrape/ prise, loquet||Professional wrestling|
|Caution||Caution||Prudence, attention||Bail, guarantee, deposit, backing|
|Chance||Chance||Risque, hasard, occasion||Luck|
|Change (argent)||Change||Petite monnaie||Exchange|
|Caractère||Character||Personnage; caractère||Character, characteristic|
|Charade||Charade||Mascarade, parodie, comédie; charade||Riddle, charade|
|Charge||Charge;||Prix; accusation;||Load, burden; charge|
|Chaste||Chaste||Chaste, pure; simple, sobre||Chaste|
|Circonstanciel||Circumstantial||Fondé sur des présomptions||Incidental|
|Clerc de notaire||Clerk||Employé, vendeur||Lawyer’s clerk|
|Climat||Climax||Apogée, paroxysme,||Climate, weather|
|Coine||Coin||Pièce de monnaie||Corner|
|Collège||College||Faculté (enseignement supérieur)||Secondary school|
|Commander (système)||Command||Contrôler (peu utilisé) / commander à qqu’un||Control, manage, handle|
|Commodité||Commodity||Marchandise, matière première||Convenience, amenities|
|Compagnie||Company||Société, entreprise, compagnie||Company, gathering|
|Compas||Compass||Boussole||compasses, pair of compasses, calliper|
|Compétition (sport)||Competition||Concurrence, rivalité||Racing, competition|
|Complément (en)||Complement||Effectif, équipage||Addition (in)|
|Compléter, remplir||Complete||Achever, parachever||Fill up, out|
|Complémentaire||Complimentary||Gratuit, de faveur||Complementary|
|Concevoir||Conceive||Imaginer, concevoir (idée)||Design, devise, plan|
|Conducteur||Conductor||Chef d’orchestre, receveur||Driver|
|Confection||Confection;||Bonbon, sucrerie; confiserie, pâtisserie||Garment making|
|Confesse||Confess||Avouer, faire une confidence||Confess|
|Consistant||Consistent with||Compatible, logique avec, cohérent||Sound, substantial|
|Content||Content||Satisfait, d’accord||Happy, glad, pleased|
|Contrôler||Control||Diriger, commander, faire fonctionner||Inspect, check, monitor , supervise, command (rare)|
|Corporation||Corporate||Direction centrale||Trade guild|
|Corporation||Corporation||Organisme public||Trade guild|
|Course||Course||Route d’un bateau||Race|
|Crash||Crash||Collision / En urgence||Crash landing|
|Cru||Crude||Brut, non raffiné||Raw / Harsh|
|Curer, draguer||Cure||Guérir||Clean out, dredge|
|Couramment||Currently||Actuellement||Commonly / Fluently(langue)|
|CV||Curriculum||Programme scolaire||Curriculum vitae, résumé|
|Date||Date (a)||Rendez-vous de flirt / petit(e) ami(e)||Date|
|Décade||Decade||Décennie||Ten days (no specific word)|
|Définitif||Definitely||Sans aucun doute||Definitively|
|Délai||Delay||Retard||Deadline, time limit, cut-off date, closing date|
|Délivrer||Deliver||Livrer||Free, release, issue|
|Député||Deputy||Adjoint, suppléant||Representative, delegate|
|Desservir||Deserve||Mériter||To clear the table|
|Désigner||Design||Concevoir, dessiner les plans||Point out, name, refer|
|Déterrer||Deterrent||Dissuasion (de)||Dig up|
|Régime||Diet||Régime alimentaire||Starvation diet|
|Désagrément||Disagreement||Désaccord||Annoyance, trouble, unpleasantness|
|Dispute||Dispute||Désaccord, litige, controverse||Argument, quarrel|
|Distraction||Distraction;||Ce qui détourne l’attention, divertissement;||Entertainment, leisure|
|Dramatique||Dramatic||Spectaculaire, extraordinaire||Dramatic, tragic|
|Éditer||Edit||Préparer pour la publication, corriger||Publish, issue|
|Élévation||Elevation||Angle de site||Elevation|
|Emphase||Emphasise||Mettre l’accent sur||Bombast, pomposity|
|Engin||Engine||Moteur||Machine, instrument, vehicle, gear|
|Entretenir||Entertain||Amuser, distraire, recevoir||Maintain|
|Appeler||Entitle||Avoir le droit / Intituler||Name, label|
|Estimation||Estimation;||Devis;||Valuation, assessment, ball park figures|
|Évader (s’-)||Evade||Éluder, échapper à||Escape|
|Éventuellement||Eventually||Certainement à la longue, en fin de compte||Possibly, maybe, if need be|
|Exécuter||Execute||Signer pour entrer en vigueur||Perform, carry out|
|Exécuter||Executive||Cadre (entreprise)||To carry out, to implement, to perform|
|Fastidieux||Fastidious||Maniaque, méticuleux, délicat, difficile à contenter||Boring, tedious, tiresome,|
|Figure||Figure||Chiffre / Silhouette||Diagram, chart, illustration, art work;|
|File||File||Fichier, dossier||Line, queue|
|Fixer à||Fix||Réparer||Fasten to|
|Flexible;||Flexible;||Souple, polyvalent;||Supple, flexible;|
|Tuyau flexible||I’m quite flexible||Je peux m’arranger||Flexible hose;|
|Fortuné||Fortunate||Heureux, chanceux||Wealthy, well-off|
|Function (poste)||Function||Cérémonie, réception||Post, position|
|Gazole||Gas-oil||N’existe pas||Diesel fuel|
|Global||Global||Mondial, universel||Total, overall, comprehensive|
|Grief||Grief||Peine, douleur, deuil||Grievance|
|Hall||Hall||Château, salle, vestibule; couloir||Concourse;|
|Hasard||Hazard||Risque, danger||Chance, fate / Random|
|Ignorer||Ignore||Ignorer délibérément, méconnaître||Not to know, pay no attention|
|Impliquer||Imply||Sous-entendre, insinuer, vouloir dire||Involve|
|Important||Important||Qui importe, essentiel||Considerable, sizeable|
|Inconsistant||Inconsistent||Incohérent||Flimsy, lacking of character|
|Informel||Informal||Officieux, sans cérémonie||Informal|
|Information||Information||Renseignement||piece of information, news|
|Intéressant||Interesting||Qui mérite attention||Attractive, advantageous, beneficial, worthwhile|
|Introduire||Introduce||Présenter quelqu’un||Insert (object) / Launch (product)|
|Sans valeur||Invaluable||De grande valeur, sans prix||Of no value|
|Issue||Issue||Édition /||Exit, way out, outlet|
|Labeur||Labour||Main d’œuvre||Hard work;|
|Large||Large||Vaste, grand||Wide, broad|
|Lecture||Lecture||Conférence, cours magistral||Reading matter|
|Licence||Licence||Permis de conduire||Licence|
|Listing||Listing||Mise en liste||Computer print out|
|Living||Living||Revenu suffisant pour vivre||Living room|
|Matière||Matter||Question, sujet||Matter, material|
|Merci||Mercy||Pitié, miséricorde||Thank you|
|Misère||Miser, miserly||Avare||Poverty, destitution|
|Misérable||Miserable||Malheureux||Pitiful, poor, broke, wretched|
|Mitiger; mitigé||Mitigate||Atténuer, alléger, (trouver un compromis)||Mitigate; mixed, lukewarm|
|Notice||Notice||Pancarte, écriteau annonce;||Leaflet, booklet, note|
|Nombre, chiffre||Number||Numéro, nombre (quantité)||Figure|
|Offense||Offence||Délit, infraction||Misdeed, insult, trespass|
|Opérer, réaliser||Operate||Fonctionner||Carry out, implement|
|Parents (autres)||Parent||Père, mère||Relatives|
|Partition (maths)||Partition||Cloison, partage||Partition;|
|Il (Elle) est parti(e)||Party||Réception, soirée, fête||He’s (she’s) gone|
|Parti (tirer)||Party of three||Groupe de 3 (restaurant aux US)||Take advantage|
|Penalty||Penalty||Amende (infraction)||Penalty kick|
|Performance||Performance||Exécution d’un travail||Exploit, feat, achievement|
|Performance (données)||Performance||Caractéristiques, résultats;||Performance characteristic|
|Permettre||Permit, authorise||Autoriser||Allow, enable, make possible, provide|
|Pétrole brut||Petrol, gasoline (US)||Essence||Crude oil , petroleum|
|Planning||Planning||Plan prévisionnel (organisation)||Timetable, Schedule|
|Plot (électrique)||Plot||Complot; terrain||Contact, pin|
|Point||Point / Pointless||Sujet / Inutile, vain||Point|
|Porc||Pork||Viande de porc||Pig (GB), hog (EU)|
|Pratiquement||Practically||En fait, quasiment||In practice, practically|
|Préciser||Precise (to)||Peu usité||Clarify, be more specific|
|Présenter une image||Present||Présenter, offrir||Display a picture|
|Prétendre||Pretend (to)||Faire semblant||Claim|
|Procéder||Proceed||Avancer, se mettre à, continuer||Carry out|
|Produire||Produce||Prolonger (géométrie)||Produce, make, generate|
|Proéminent||Prominent||Éminent, important||Prominent, bulbous|
|Provision (réserve)||Provision||Clause||Stock, supply|
|Prune||Prune||Élaguer / Réduire, simplifier||Plum|
|Questionner||Question (to)||Remettre en question, en doute||Interrogate|
|Qui pro quo||Qui pro quo||Contrepartie||“Mistake”|
|Ranger||Range||Gamme||To tidy up, to put away, to arrange|
|Rare||Rare||Saignant (viande)||Rare, scarce; Seldom|
|Réaliser||Realise||Réaliser une ambition; se rendre compte||Implement a plan, Execute, perform|
|Récipient||Recipient||Bénéficiaire, destinataire||Container, bowl, receptacle|
|Reconnaître||Reckon||Calculer, compter / estimer||Recognise, acknowledge, admit|
|Record||Record||Disque, enregistrement||Record, highest score|
|Regard||Regard||Estime, respect:||Look, stare, glance|
|Relier||Reliable||Fiable||To link up|
|Relief, orographie||Relief||Soulagement; secours; relief||Landscape, relief, orographic|
|Rente||Rent||Loyer||Pension, annuity, allowance|
|report||Report||Compte rendu, rapport; signaler; détonation||Postponement|
|Résumé||Résumé||CV (Curriculum Vitae)||Summary|
|Revers||Reverse||Marche arrière||Back, reverse side|
|Royauté||Royalty||Droits d’auteur; Famille royale||Monarchy, kingship|
|Rude||Rude||Impoli, grossier; indécent||Rough, hard, tough, severe, rugged|
|Schéma||Scheme||Projet, cadre / Projet, intrique, combine||Plan, sketch|
|Séculaire||Secular||Qui n’a pas trait à la religion, séculier, profane||Age-old, ancient|
|Sécuriser||Secure||Attacher, fixer (avec des vis…)||Give security|
|Sensible||Sensible||Sensé, raisonnable||Sensitive, delicate|
|Sentence (peine)||Sentence||Phrase||Judgment, sentence|
|Sévère||Severe||Grave, rigoureux||Strict, harsh|
|Sobre (boisson)||Sober||À jeun, non ivre, dessoûlé, abstinent||abstemious, teetotal|
|Sobriété||Sobriety||Abstinence, modération; sérieux||Sobriety|
|Solide||Solid||Dense, massif, plein, compact||Solide|
|Spirituel||Spiritual||Croyant, qui a la foi||witty|
|Stationnaire||Stationary||Papeterie||Still, standing, static|
|Subsidiaire;||Subsidiary||Filiale||Supplementary, accessory, subsidiary; tiebreaker|
|Supplier||Supply||Fourniture||To beg, supplicate, plead|
|Supporter||Support||Soutien, service, servitude||Stand, endure, tolerate|
|Surfacique||Surfacic||N’existe pas||Bidimensional [bai-]|
|Surnom||Surname||Nom de famille||Nickname|
|Surveiller||Survey||Enquête, étude, tour d’horizon sur un sujet||To watch over, to supervise|
|Sympathique||Sympathetic||Compatissant, compréhensif||Charming, congenial|
|Sympathiser||Sympathise||Partager la peine||Get on well|
|Sympathique||Sympathy||Compassion||Pleasant, nice, friendly, lovable|
|Tank (char)||Tank;||Réservoir, citerne;||Tank|
|Targette||Target||Cible||Latch, daps-fastening, catch|
|Tentative||Tentative||Provisoire, expérimental; timide, hésitant||Attempt|
|Terminer||Terminate||Mettre fin à, résilier||Finish, end|
|Terrible, formidable||Terrible||Épouvantable||Terrific, wonderful|
|Grâce à, du fait de||Thanks to||Grâce à (…Dieu)||Due to|
|Traitre||Treat||Régal, petit plaisir||Betrayer, treacherous,traitor|
|Trépasser||Trespass||Entrer sans autorisation||Die, Pass away|
|Unique||Unique||Unique en son genre, exceptionnel||Only, single|
|Vacance||Vacancy||Logement vacant, poste vacant||Holiday(s)|
|Vengeance||Vengeance (with a-)||Avec grande ardeur||Vengeance, revenge|
|Venir||Venue||Lieu de réunion||To come|
|Verge (bâton)||Verge||Accotement||Stick, cane|
|Verge (sexe)||On the verge to||Sur le point de||Penis|
|Versatile||Versatile||Polyvalent||Fickle, changeable, capricious, moody, fickle, erratic|
|Voyage||Voyage||Voyage par mer, traversée||Trip, travel, journey|
|Warning auto||Warning||Avertissement||Emergency flasher|
Below is a list of 93 mistakes, put together as a PDF by another blog. I offer them to you in column format, so that you can copy and paste them into a document, and individually access the cause for the mistake in a third column, eliminating the error. Likewise, an English speaker may wish to recognize the reverse truth, and adopt the error to improve their French thinking.On the error list below, you can see a great many of theses “faux amis” errors. For more, go here and here.
|1. She is a very sympathetic gal||1. She is a very nice gal|
|2. We passed our vacation in Holland||2. We spent our vacation in Holland|
|3. I have not the possibility to go on vacation now||3. I can’t go…or – It is not possible for me to go…|
|4. Tom is the President of our society||4. ……………….of our company|
|5. He proposed to me to visit next week||5. He suggested that I… (proposed to is French form)|
|6. The car of which the tire is missing is theirs||6. The car whose tire is missing is theirs|
|7. We are the 3rd of September||7. It is September 3rd (third)|
|8. What time is it? It’s three and quarter||8. …It is quarter past three|
|9. For why did he do it||9. Why did he do it|
|10. She borrowed it to him||10. She borrowed it from him|
|11. I knew him in Italy last spring||11. I met him in Italy last spring|
|12. And the Italians and the French have trouble with English||12. The Italians and the French have trouble with English|
|13. They had a very big success in Florida||13. They were successful…(not: to have success)|
|14. I rested in Paris 2 weeks||14. I stayed (remained)… (rested = se reposer)|
|15. She has only a few ones||15. …a few (never is followed by one-ones)|
|16. She went a for buying a hat||16. She went to buy a hat or for a hat|
|17. We telephoned to him yesterday||17. …telephoned him (not: to him)|
|18. Her hairs are black||18. Her hair is black or she is black-haired|
|19. We will go to the snack for lunch||19. …to a snack bar (coffee shop) for lunch|
|20. I’m agreeing with you||20. I agree with you|
|21. I know a nice dancing nearby||21. …a nice dancing place, a nice place to dance|
|22. When the snow will stop, we will leave||22. When the snow stops… (when +present)|
|23. What do you want I do?||23. What do you want me to do?|
|24. Please excuse me, I’m very confused about the whole thing||24. I’m really very sorry; I’m confused or mixed- up with ……|
|25. I heard it at the T.V where they’re showing it every night||25. I heard it on T.V where they show it every night|
|26. I’m learning you English||26. I’m teaching you English|
|27. Remember me about that tomorrow||27. Remind me ….|
|28. She thinks not about it often||28. She doesn’t think about it often|
|29. Here are the reason for why I didn’t come||29. Here are the reason why I didn’t come|
|30. She made the same fault||30. She made the same mistake (error) (fault=défaut)|
|31. We succeeded to do it||31. We succeeded in doing it|
|32. Whose is this book?||32. Whose book is this?|
|33. He made her too much unhappy||33. He made her very unhappy|
|34. I entered in the room||34. I entered the room|
|35. The whole people in France like cheese||35. All the people in France like cheese|
|36. We had too days with snow||36. It snowed for two days|
|37. He wanted that we eat with them||37. He wanted us to eat with them|
|38. I like very much that film||38. I like that film very much|
|39. Will you make my excuses to them||39. Will you give them my excuses|
|40. Before to go to Italy, I want to call him||40. Before going to Italy, I want to call him|
|41. I eat there this night||41. I will eat there this evening|
|42. She assisted to the conference||42. She attended the conference|
|43. I have the intention to do it tomorrow||43. I intend to do it tomorrow|
|44. I’m obliged to go||44. I have to go or I must go|
|45. What means this word, please?||45. What does this word mean please?|
|46. She has many relations with Americans||46. … a lot of business with: contact with|
|47. My brother is a very high man||47. … a very tall man|
|48. The boss talks on the phone now||48. The boss is talking on the phone now|
|49. It is the greatest building in France||49. It’s the highest building in France|
|50. The doctors performed the experience||50. ….the experiment|
|51. I have read that book last week||51. I read that book last week|
|52. Dear Miss||52. Dear Miss Smith (never Miss alone)|
|53. I met many difficulties in trying to write that letter||53. I had lot of trouble in trying….|
|54. Yesterday we watched T.V because there was something on this evening||54. Yesterday we watched T.V because there was something on (it refers to “ce soir”)|
|55. Or his wife will tell you, or he will||55. Either his wife will tell you, or he will|
|56. I think to be able to go||56. I think I’ll be able to go|
|57. Every people should wash daily||57. Every one should wash daily|
|58. They are ancient pupils of his||58. They are ex pupils (ancient=antique)|
|59. This is the reason for which she called||59. This is the reason why she called|
|60. Jane is very strong in English||60. She is very good in English|
|61. We had a difficulty to find a parking||61. It was difficult finding a parking spot|
|62. I don’t see them for three month||62. I haven’t seen them for three month|
|63. I am watching T.V every night||63. I watch T.V|
|64. She is learning English for three years||64. She has been learning English for three years|
|65. I’m used to get up early||65. I ‘m used to getting up early|
|66. I’m hoping to read you soon||66. I’m hoping to hear from you soon|
|67. When we saw her at night out with the boss we understood that there was something between them||67. When we saw her at night out with the boss we realized that there was something between them|
|68. From what says Joe, his wife is pretty sick||68. From what Joe says, his wife is pretty sick|
|69. You should never say that word before a cop||69. …..in front of a cop|
|70. The price of perfume in France is very interesting||70. ….is very reasonable|
|71. My boss didn’t answer to me and I’m very angry against him||71. My boss didn’t answer me and I’m very angry with him or at him|
|72. She is a friend of me||72. She is a friend of mine|
|73. She has a rendezvous with him at six||73. …an appointment (date)|
|74. We were deceived by the play last week||74. We were let down…(to be deceived=to be betrayed)|
|75. The result depends of the effort||75. ….depends on the effort|
|76. They have nice souvenirs of their travel to London||76. They have nice memories of their travel to London|
|77. Sue I present you Larry||77. Sue I’d like you to meet…or Sue may I introduce you Larry|
|78. Write me in case you would need help||78. Write in case you need help|
|79. She stayed six years without to see his parents||79. He went six years without seeing his parents|
|80. She went to live in California for two years but now she regrets her family||80. She went to live in California for two years but now she misses her family|
|81. They are actually selling those in Paris||81. They are presently……|
|82. She doesn’t never smoke||82. She never smokes|
|83. He showed to me a book||83. He showed me a book|
|84. That crash arrived because of the storm||84. The crash happened…..|
|85. She is such young a girl to marry now||85. She is such a young girl…..|
|86. Sue, as well than her sister, will come||86. Sue will come as well as her sister|
|87. He wasn’t alone to think that way||87. He wasn’t the only one to think that way|
|88. She doesn’t like him and I either||88. She doesn’t like him and don’t either (or neither do I)|
|89. His sister is a bachelor||89. His sister’s single|
|90. She is waiting for a baby||90. She is expecting a baby|
|91. I’m born in NYC||91. I was born in NYC|
|92. I had satisfaction with the whole project||92. I’m satisfied with the whole project|
|93. I won’t go nowhere||93. I will go nowhere|