Speak Better French with Less Hesitation

Speak French with less hesitation, by learning full French sentences.

Want all the vocabulary of the lesson ?

1. When you didn’t understand everything

For example:

  • Je veux dormir. = I want to sleep.
  • J’ai une idée. = I have an idea.
  • Je croyais que ça allait marcher. = I thought it would work.

There’s nothing worse than stopping in the middle of a French sentence to think about how to say what you want to say. But when you learn a whole French sentence like these, you can tweak them and use them later in your own conversation.

For example: Je veux partir. = I want to go. By learning this simple sentence, you’ll always have in mind the construction: Je veux + [verb] = I want to [verb].

2. Speak French with less hesitation: Using songs

Some sentences give you several constructions at once. As in:

C’est là que tu te sens chez toi. = That’s where you feel at home.

With this sentence, you get the construction:

  • C’est là que = That’s where…
  • Tu te sens = You feel…
  • Chez toi = At (your) home

And it’s in a song too! In: Il y a (Fredericks Goldmans Jones)

This song was written by Jean-Jacques Goldman, the greatest French singer-songwriter alive. Learning with a song and a melody helps you remember the lyrics. That’s why learning full sentences from songs is particularly effective – if all works well, they’ll get stuck in your head!

3. Speak French with less hesitation: More songs

Pick any of his songs and pore over the lyrics. For instance, in Là-bas, a heartbreaking and motivating song about a man leaving his wife to emigrate to America, you’ll find this sentence:

C’est pour ça que j’irai là-bas. = That’s why I’ll go over there.

With this sentence in your head, you’ll always feel confident using:

  • C’est pour ça que = That’s why / That’s the reason why
  • J’irai = I’ll go, the first person of “aller” in the future tense
  • Là-bas = Way over there, out there in this direction

Goldman loves to sing about travel, as in On ira for instance.

The chorus goes: On ira. On partira, toi et moi. Où ? Je sais pas.
= We’ll go. We’ll leave, you and me. Where? I don’t know?

And Où ? (= Where?) and especially Je sais pas. (= I don’t know in informal French) are very common in French conversations.

Now pick a song, learn the lyrics, and sing it in your shower!
Singing helps you remember, that’s been true since Homer.

4. Speak French with Less Hesitation: Je Marche Seul

In our final song, Je marche seul (= I walk alone) (Goldman again, live version), you’ll get a common slang French sentence:

Je m’en fous (de tout). = I don’t give a damn (about anything)

(Now you know this sentence, and most of all, you understand it if someone else uses it!)

Finally, the chorus uses:
Je marche seul, sans témoin, sans personne. = I’m walking alone, without a witness, without anybody.

Seul = alone, on my own. Sans personne = without anybody (around)

And now you’re ready to do that yourself!

You can pick any French sentence that you think sounds cool, from movies or pop culture – but to me, songs work best.

That’s why I give you explanations on songs by Édith Piaf, Françoise Hardy and Rose (2006).

Click on the link to get to the full lesson:

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!

And now:

→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂

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Join the conversation!

  • It would be helpful to have a list of words that are the same in french and english. that would increase confidence in constructing sentences using familiar words.

  • Thanks Géraldine for these tips! It is a good idea to learn simple sentences to reassure French learners. Bérénice from French Tutoring Fun.

  • Merci beaucoup, Géraldine! C’était la première fois que j’ai entendu des chansons de Jean-Jacques Goldman. Je vais les télécharger et écouter souvent.

  • Merci Géraldine! J’adore les chansons de Georges Moustaki, et, comme vous dîtes, les chansons m’aident à apprendre beaucoup d’ expressions en français. Ma chanson préférée est ‘ Il est trop tard’.

  • Very helpful, Geraldine, I also Iike ‘est ce que tu m’aime’ by Maitre Gimms very enjoyable,saw it on the French voice duos

  • Do what French people do: “comment dirais-je?” holds people’s attention while you find the word you need. Works a treat!

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