Très, Trop, or Beaucoup — What’s the Difference?

Très amusant ! / Trop drôle ! / J’aime beaucoup!

Très”, “trop,” and “beaucoup” are three very common adverbs in French, especially in spoken French. They almost mean the same thing… but, they aren’t quite the same, and they’re not synonyms that you can swap for one another.

You probably learned about these adverbs at school decades ago, but it’s been a while and you might not remember the intricate details and rules for using each one.

To help you use “très”, “trop,” and “beaucoup” without making mistakes, today I’ll show you the rules for using them in French.

Bonjour I’m Géraldine, your French teacher.
Welcome to Comme une Française.

Today (and every Tuesday) I’ll help you get better at speaking and understanding everyday French 🙂

Index:

  1. Très = (very) Before an adjective
    1. Before an adjective
    2. Before an adverb
    3. Before feelings with “avoir”
  2. Beaucoup = a lot
    1. After a verb
    2. Before a noun (“Beaucoup de”)
    3. Extra Mile: before “plus” / “moins”
  3. Trop = too much
    1. Before an adjective
    2. Before an adverb
    3. After a verb
    4. Before a noun (“Trop de”)

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1) “Très” = very

Très” means “very.” For example:

  • Très amusant ! = Very amusing!
  • Nous mangeons de très bons éclairs. = We’re eating some very good éclairs.
  • Elle est très jolie ! = She’s very pretty!
  • Une très grande maison est très difficile à chauffer. = A very big house is very hard to keep warm.

Rules for using “Très”: 3 cases

1) Before an adjective
→ “Très” comes immediately before an adjective!
Ce tableau est très beau. = This painting is very beautiful.
Le métro est très pratique. = The métro is very handy.
Très jolie ! = Very pretty!

2) Before an adverb
→ “Très” also comes before adverbs.
Ça va très bien. = It’s going very well. (= “I’m great.”)
Caroline lit très rapidement, pour son âge ! = Caroline reads very quickly for her age!

3) Before feelings (or needs) with “avoir”
→ Special case: “Très” also comes with feelings that use “avoir,” the auxiliary verb. The main cases are “soif / faim” (“thirst / hunger”) and “chaud / froid” (“hot / cold.”)

J’ai soif. = I’m thirsty. → J’ai très soif. = I’m very thirsty.
J’ai faim. = I’m hungry. → J’ai très faim. = I’m very hungry.
Elle a froid. = She’s feeling cold. → Elle a très froid. = She’s very cold.

But you can’t say: Je t’aime très ! or Il y a très personnes. It simply doesn’t make sense.

In casual spoken French, instead of J’ai faim, you can also say:
J’ai la dalle. = I’m hungry. → J’ai vraiment la dalle. = I’m really hungry.

Find explanations and examples for this colloquial expression (and more) in another lesson: 5 Most Useful Colloquial Expressions in French.

2) “Beaucoup” = a lot

Beaucoup means “A lot” in French.
The spelling is more complicated than the pronunciation: [boh koo]
→ “Eau” sounds like “oh” in French.
→ The final “p” is silent.

Rules for using “Beaucoup”: 3 cases

1) Right after a verb (Most common case)

On marche beaucoup à Paris ! = We walk a lot in Paris.
Nous mangeons beaucoup. = We eat a lot.
Je t’aime beaucoup. = I like you a lot.

(You already saw that last example in my lesson on Love in French, with more specific ways to say “I like,” “I love” and “I like a lot.”)

→ In some cases, you might use souvent (= often) instead:
Tu viens souvent ici ? = Do you come here often? Do you come here a lot?
Nous allons très souvent à Lyon. = We go to Lyon a lot. / We go to Lyon very often.

For advanced learners:

→ With le participe passé, beaucoup usually comes between “être / avoir” (the auxiliary verb) and the past participle. For example:
J’ai beaucoup mangé. = I ate a lot.
Elles ont beaucoup dansé. = They danced a lot.

→ Otherwise, when there are two verbs in a row, beaucoup comes right after the one you want to emphasize. For example:

J’aime manger. = I like to eat. (Verbs: “Aime” and “Manger”)
J’aime beaucoup manger. = I really like to eat.
J’aime manger beaucoup. = I like to eat a lot (a lot of food.)

2) Before a noun: “Beaucoup de”
Before a noun, “beaucoup” becomes “beaucoup de” (= “a lot of.”)

  • Tu as mis beaucoup de sauce sur ta salade. = You put a lot of dressing on your salad.
  • Il y a beaucoup de gens ce soir. = There are a lot of people tonight.
  • Beaucoup d’enfants aiment les bonbons. = A lot of children like sweets.

3) The extra mile: “Beaucoup” + adverb

Finally, you can also use beaucoup with some adverbs. The most common cases are:

  • Beaucoup plus = A lot more

Tu as beaucoup plus de temps. = You’ve got a lot more time.
(Here, we pronounce the final “s” in plus. Find out why in my lesson: How to say “Plus” – with or without the S.)

  • Beaucoup moins = A lot less.

→ Ils aiment beaucoup moins la fin du film. = They like the ending of the movie a lot less.

  • Beaucoup trop = Way too much (see below for more about “Trop”)

Ce livre est beaucoup trop long. = This book is way too long.
Il y a beaucoup trop de touristes au Louvre. = There are way too many tourists in the Louvre.
J’ai beaucoup trop faim ! = I’m way too hungry.

Beaucoup” looks like two words stuck together: “Beau” (beautiful) and “coup” (a punch, a hit). However, these two words used to mean something else: “great” and “part”. And that’s how “Beau coup / Beaucoup” came to mean “a big part of” = “a lot of.”

3) “Trop” = Too much

Trop” means “too much” / “too many” / “too (+ adjective).”

In a sentence, it can be used like très and like beaucoup!

1) Before an adjective
Vous êtes trop jeunes pour ce film. = You’re too young for this movie.

2) Before an adverb
Ce TGV va trop lentement. = This TGV is going too slowly.

3) Right after a verb
Tu manges trop ! = You’re eating too much!

4) Before a noun, withde” : “Trop de

Trop de” can mean “too many” or “too much.
J’ai mis trop de sel dans mon gâteau. = I put too much salt in my cake.
Ma tante a trop de chats! = My aunt has too many cats!

And one final note:
In colloquial French, Trop = “Très

It’s a popular turn of phrase; a casual exaggeration to express your enthusiasm (or dismay.) For example:

C’est trop bien ici ! = It’s too good here, it’s amazing here.
Je suis trop contente que tu sois là ! = I’m so happy you’re here!
Oh non, c’est trop dommage ! = Oh no, that’s too bad!

Now that you know about très, trop and beaucoup, it’s time for two other French “small words” for everyday life. Check out this playlist to find more about:

→ “On” in everyday French
→ “Allez”, a small word with many meanings

À tout de suite !

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Allez, salut 🙂

Géraldine

Join the conversation!

  • Can one use tellement the same as trop for emphasis? Le livre est tellement long./ Le livre est trop long. ?????

    • Hi Judy!

      Yes, you can! It’s more informal – and you’ll need a sarcasm inflection. But “tellement” as “très” is indeed quite common in modern everyday French.

      (Arthur – Comme une Française Team)

  • Salut,Geraldine.In teenager spoken English,le nom ‘cool’ is to refer to sth awesome what is its french?

    • Hi Osteen!

      Same thing, “cool.”

      Or “classe” / “stylé” (classy / stylish = cool)

      Or something else now, maybe. I have to admit we don’t focus too much on teenager slang with Comme une Française, as it’s its own everchanging subculture that we’re not a part of 🙂

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • Merci beacoup Geraldine. J’ai une toute petite question concernant ‘tu sois là’. Quand est-ce que “là” veut dire ici et pas là?

    • Hi Alistair!

      Indeed, sometimes “là” can mean “here” too. Especially in “Être là” = to be there.
      (But “Ici” never means “over there” – it always means “here, in this place.”)

      Bonne journée,
      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • Merci Geraldine (je n’ai pas les signes diacritique). Comme d’habitude, c’etait tres clair et “mengeble.”

  • Merci beaucoup Géraldine. Et un vampire ?
    Non non, je ne crois pas ~ du tout. Vous êtes
    plutôt une Vampette 😀 Allez ………………………

  • Bonjour Géraldine. J’adore vos leçons et ils me servent très bien dans ma vie. J’ai un petit comment et je pense que vous n’êtes pas inquiéte. La pronunciation de “adjective” en anglais a l’accent sur le premier syllable, comme “très contente”. Merci encore pour tout que tu fais pour nous.

  • Merci ! Tu offres toujours des aperçus très fins de (sur ?) la langue française. J’aime beaucoup, même trop, tes vidéos. Une petite question : on entend souvent cette phrase « On est très amis. » Etant anglophone, j’ai toujours trouvé cette construction assez bizarre, parce que l’équivalent anglais l’est : « We are very friends.» J’ai l’habitude de me dire « Surely that should have been ‘On est de grands amis’ », mais personne ne le dit comme ça, et ce n’est pas à moi d’apprendre aux Français comment parler leur langue ! Qu’est-ce qui se passe ici ?

    • Hi Bikram!

      Yes, sometimes “ami” is used as an adjective, it’s weird 🙂

      In English, it seems it also happens, as in: “He’s friends with her.”

      “Grand ami” / “Grands amis” is a bit old-fashioned, to be honest.

      Have a great day,
      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • Bonjour! Je suis trop contente que tu sois là ! = Pourquoi est-ce que “là” et pas ici? Je vois beaucoup là écrire comme ça. I thought it meant “there”. J’aime beaucoup ces vidéos et vôtres cours. Merci !!

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