How to ask “What Do you Call This” or “How do You Call That” When You’re in France

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  • Salut! Merci pour le site, c’est excellent!! Pis je voudrais ajouter « C’est quoi cette affaire, là? » comme on dit au Québec! 🙂

  • When I’m looking for something at a store and don’t know how it’s called, I just say ‘Je cherche….’ and then I describe what I’m looking for the best I can in other terms, usually employing ‘truc’ and ‘chose’ too many times!

  • Bonjour Geraldine,

    I am a beginner in French and have recently come across your site. I found your videos and tips are so helpful! What you re doing is just brilliant!
    I am in Dordogne at the moment and planning to visit a local farmers market on the next days so I will get to practice all those phrases quite a lot!
    Merci,
    Yasmin

  • Salut Geraldine

    You are right, it is a long process. These tips are very helpful – Merci. One day I may be able to write my feedback in French…..

    • Hi Roz!

      Glad you’re French in improving.

      What about: next comment you post is in French? We’ll all be very proud of it!

  • Excusez-moi. Je ne peut pas parler bien le Francais 😉 <– this is my most popular sentence when I was in Paris 😀

    • Bonjour Trinh Thanh Su !

      Super ! The exact form is “Excusez-moi. Je ne parle pas bien français.” 😉

      Your French will be SO MUCH better next time you visit Paris. I’m SO looking forward to it!

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  • Salut Géraldine,

    Je viens de découvrir Comme une française il ya juste quelque mois mais je le trouve excellent – félicitations. Mon premier stage en France était en 1978 et je suis tombé sur des gens très sympa qui m’ont donnés un conseil très utile – le mot « truc » ! Bien sur depuis ce temps la j’ai appris plusieurs autres phrases mais le truc continue de me sauver la situation de temps en temps.

    Bon allez et merci encore une fois.

    R

    • Bonjour Rob,

      Ton français est parfait ! Je suppose donc que ce stage en 1978 t’a fait aimer la langue française. 🙂
      Oui tu as tout à fait raison : “truc”, “machin” et ‘bidule” nous sauvent souvent la mise !

  • Bonjour Geralidine, For the expression: “Je voudrais de ca, s’il vous plait.” Does the preposition, “de” change to “de la” if it’s a feminine object? Or will it always be “de”? I noticed in the video the word was in parentheses, so I wondered if it is subject to change. Merci!

    • Bonjour Alice,

      Great question!

      It doesn’t change whether feminine or masculine.
      I put “de” in parentheses for the following reason:

      Je voudrais DE ça = I’d like SOME OF this
      Je voudrais ça = I’d like this

      If you want to buy some pâté at the boucherie : “Je voudrais DE ça” (you won’t by all of it: it’s a 3kg pâté)
      If you want to buy a croissant at the boulangerie : “Je voudrais ça” (you buy the full croissant)

      • Merci pour votre réponse dans le question par Alice! Quand j’étais à Bruxelles, et j’ai fait un peu de shopping, je toujours dit “Je voudrais ça” ou “Je voudrais acheter ça” mais je sais pas si ces phrases sont correctes.

        Mon premiere langue est Anglais, et pour moi, le phrase “I would like that” est correct. Le même phrase en Français, je suis pas certain.

        • Bonjour Tim,
          Ces phrases sont tout à fait correctes et polies si tu ajoutes “s’il vous plaît” à la fin.
          C’est excellent ! Bravo !
          Ta traduction de “I would” en “je voudrais” est parfaite.

  • Bonjour Geraldine, Je suis Ellen:) comme se vas? Is that correct? Je suis Americaine. Je (will) vas a Provence en Avril. Am I speaking so you can understand? I will buy antiques in markets. I will study hard so I can speak a little French, and ask how much it is? I forgot already how to say, “I want that”. Merci Comme une Francaise TV! Salut, Ellen

    • Bonjour Ellen,

      Comment ça va ?

      You can use “Combien coûte ceci ?” (How much is this?) and “Je voudrais cet objet” (I want this object).

      For antiques (as well as luxury clothes), we often use the word “pièce” (feminine) instead of “objet”.
      Use “C’est une très belle pièce.”

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