French Expressions to Make You Sound Like Native French

learn french expressions and idioms to sound like native french (1)

It’s one thing learning French in a textbook and another learning from a native speaker, on a casual night out.  It’s only after months of studying that you realize your French looks nothing like the real thing.

The truth is, French people often tend to shorten the words, use slang and expressions you’ve never heard before. That’s why today, we’ll show you bizarre expressions French use almost every day. 

You’ll have plenty of chances to use these phrases in real life, whether you’re trying to impress the locals or simply want to spice up your conversation.

 Bizzare Things French People Say

french expressions to sound like french

1. Faire la grasse matinée

  • Literal meaning: To have a fat morning
  • Actual meaning: To sleep in

2. Passer une nuit blanche

  • Literal meaning: To have a white night
  • Actual meaning: To stay awake all night on purpose

3. C’est simple comme bonjour!

  • Literal meaning: It’s simple as saying hello!
  • Actual meaning: A piece of cake.

4. Être dans la galère

  • Literally: To be in the gallery
  • Actual meaning: To get yourself into a mess

5. Vouloir, c’est pouvoir.

  • Literal translation: To want to is to have the ability to.
  • Actual meaning:  “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Use it to encourage someone who is doubting himself.

6. Il ne faut rien laisser au hasard.

  • Literal translation: Nothing should be left to chance.
  • Actual meaning: Plan ahead.

7. Mieux vaut tard que jamais.

  • Literal translation: Late is worth more than never.
  • Actual meaning: “Better late than never.”  An English equivalent of this French expression is also very common. It means that it is better to do something late than to neglect it altogether.

8. Les murs ont des oreilles.

  • Literal translation: The walls have ears.
  • Actual meaning: Pay attention to your words cause someone can hear you.

9. Tout est bien qui finit bien.

  • Literal translation: All’s well that ends well.
  • Actual meaning: Suitable to say to somebody after a period in which one experiences hardship and struggle.

10. S’occuper de ses oignons.

  • Literal translation: To take care of your own onions.
  • Actual meaning: A humorous way to say “mind your own business”.

11. Raconter des salades.

  • Literal translation: To tell salads.
  • Actual meaning: “To tell lies”.

12. À bon chat, bon rat.

  • Literal translation: To a good cat, a good rat.
  • Actual meaning: Equally matched.

13. Poser un lapin.

  • Literal translation: To place a rabbit.
  • Actual meaning: To stand someone up. You can say il m’a posé un lapin (“he stood me up”) if the person you were supposed to meet doesn’t show up.

14. L’Appel du vide

  • Literally: Call of the void
  • Actual meaning: Impulse to act in a reckless or wild manner

15. Passer un mauvais quart d’heure

  • Literal meaning: To spend a bad quarter of an hour.
  • What it means: One’s life during a short period of difficulty

16. Après la pluie, le beau temps.

  • Literal translation: After the rain, good weather.
  • Actual meaning: This is a way of encouraging someone to “hang in there”. Even if things are bad now, everything will eventually get better.

17. Courir sur le haricot.

  • Literal translation: To run on the bean.
  • Actual meaning: To get on someone’s nerves. Another saying you gotta love that is connected to the story “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

18. Avoir un chat dans la gorge

  • Literal translation: To have a frog in one’s throat.
  • Actual meaning: To have a cat in the throat / When talking about an obstructed throat, English and French terms are completely different: the French phrase is avoir un chat dans la gorge, while English means to have a frog in one’s throat.

19. Dormir à la belle étoile

  • Literal meaning: To sleep in the pretty star.
  • What it really means: To sleep outside

20. Pisser dans un violon

  • Literally: To piss in a violin
  • Meaning: Spending your time in vain

Learn French Expressions to Impress

If you’d like to learn more about French idioms and expressions, follow French teacher Tanya, that will teach you 18 additional common french idioms, expressions, and saying.

It’s time to impress native French speakers!

Related Posts

French: How to teach on Italki

Why a guide to teaching languages online I’m ready to reveal my small secrets as I transition from providing online instruction to managing my website.

German: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Languages: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo. These are unquestionably the two most well-known language learning programs out there. Let’s

Top 20 Spanish words used in sports

Discover the top 20 Spanish words commonly used in the world of sports. Enhance your sports vocabulary and understanding with our informative blog. Introduction The

French Phrases You Need in Workplace

Mastering French phrases in the workplace is essential for effective communication. This blog explores key phrases to navigate the professional world en français. I. Introduction

Sea in French: How to say Sea in Italian

Discover the Italian translation for “sea” with our guide. Learn how to pronounce and use this common word in the beautiful Italian language. The sea

Spanish adverbials: Mientras…

The word Mientras can be an adverb or conjunction depending on the sentence and its structure. You can use mientras to connect two actions in

Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos

7 Myths About Learning Spanish

Unveiling the truth behind learning Spanish! Discover and debunk the 7 common myths that may be holding you back from mastering this vibrant language. Are

Famous French Food You Must Try

Indulge in the flavors of France with our guide to famous French food. Discover must-try dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée. Bon

Famous French Singers You Must Know

Discover the iconic voices that have made French music famous worldwide. Our list of famous French singers features timeless classics and modern hits. French singers

Famous Spanish Food You Must Try

Embark on a delectable journey through Spain’s culinary wonders! Discover the must-try famous Spanish dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Spanish Food Spain is

Famous German Singers You Must Know

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German music as we showcase the extraordinary talents of renowned singers from Germany. From timeless

Famous Spanish Singers You Must Know

Let the music captivate your senses and ignite your passion for Spanish culture by knowing the famous Spanish singers that ever existed. Importance of Spanish

German Phrases You Need in the Workplace

Discover essential German phrases for the workplace. From greetings to professional conversations, equip yourself with the necessary language skills. German Phrases in the Workplace Learning

Spanish Phrases You Need in Workplace

Master the essential Spanish phrases for the workplace and enhance your communication skills. From greetings to professional requests, we’ve got you covered! Spanish Words in

Top Spanish Speaking Countries

Explore the vibrant cultures and diverse landscapes of the top Spanish-speaking countries in this blog. Discover their history, traditions, and more! Explanation of the importance

Top 20 German Words Used in Sports

Discover the top 20 German words commonly used in sports, from ‘Tor’ to ‘Abseits’. Enhance your sports vocabulary and impress your German-speaking friends! Introduction Explanation

Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in

How to Say “Food” in Spanish

“Learn the different ways to say ‘food’ in Spanish and expand your vocabulary with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your language skills today!” One of the

How to Say “Food” in French

Learn the various ways to say “food” in French with this comprehensive guide. Expand your vocabulary and impress your francophone friends! “Food” in French: La

How to Say “Food” in German

Learn how to say ‘food’ in German and impress your friends with your language skills! Check out our easy guide and enhance your vocabulary today.

Top 7 Reasons for learning French

Parlez-vous Français? Explore the top 7 reasons for learning French and unlock a world of opportunities. Start your language journey with confidence today! 7 reasons

Top 7 Reasons for Learning German

Discover the power of learning German! Unlock opportunities and expand your horizons with compelling reasons to study German. Start your linguistic journey today! Reasons for

Top 9 Reasons for learning Spanish

Is learning Spanish worth it? What are the top reasons for learning the Spanish language? Start your Spanish journey now! Reasons why learning Spanish is worth

How to learn Spanish through Podcasts

Do you want to learn Spanish through podcasts? Immerse yourself in the richness of the Spanish language with our podcast-based learning guide. Learn Spanish through

How to learn Languages through Podcasts

Unlock the power of language learning with podcasts! Explore the ultimate guide to mastering a new language through engaging podcasts. Start your linguistic journey now!

How to Maximize Your Time in Learning German

Learn German efficiently with expert tips! Discover effective techniques on how to maximize your time in learning German. Tips and strategies for efficiently learning German

How to learn French through Podcasts

Unlock the beauty of the French language with our podcast-based learning approach. Master French effortlessly with engaging lessons and practical tips! The Power of Podcasts

How to Learn German through Podcasts

Master German with ease! Explore the ultimate guide to learning German through podcasts. Gain language skills, cultural insights, and fluency. Start your German journey now!

How hard is it to learn German?

How hard is it to learn German?  Our comprehensive guide provides insights into the challenges and strategies to master the language. How hard is it

How hard is it to learn French?

Discover how difficult it is to learn French in our latest blog post, “Parlez-Vous Français?”. Gain insights and tips to improve your French skills. Parlez-vous

How to say in German

Looking to learn how to say common phrases in German? Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to speak the language like

How to Pronounce Luxury Brands in French?

Are you a fashion enthusiast struggling to correctly pronounce luxury brand names in French? Look no further! In this French pronunciation guide for luxury brands,

Silent French H: Mute and Aspirated

The silent letter h is often causing trouble to French learners. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the “h” mute and

Faire la Bise: All about French Kiss

If you’re wondering how to greet in French, either through handshakes or kisses, you are at the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to navigate

Speaking practice: talk to yourself

Improve your speaking skills with these simple tips on how to practice speaking by talking to yourself. Start speaking confidently today! Read more here. Speaking

Spaced repetition for the German language

Master German faster with spaced repetition! Our blog explains how this powerful technique works and offers tips to incorporate it into your learning routine. What

What does TE AMO mean in Spanish?

Discover the romantic meaning behind Te Amo, the Spanish phrase for ‘I love you’. Explore its cultural significance and usage in everyday life. Te Amo

What does JE T’AIME mean in French?

Discover the meaning and cultural significance of “Je t’aime,” the famous French expression for “I love you.” Explore its nuances and usage in this blog.

What does ICH LIEBE DICH mean in German?

Discover the meaning and cultural significance of ‘Ich liebe dich’ in German. Explore its nuances and usage in this insightful blog post. “Ich liebe dich”