Impress the French Natives with these Expressions

Already speak a little French and want to impress the native speakers with your knowledge? Here we have a list of phrases, expressions and new vocabulary used in colloquial French. Spice up your basic French and don't limit your vocabulary to "Salut", "Oui" or other phrases you might have picked up from the lyrics of Lady Marmalade!

oh là là !

Contrary to how people use it in countries other than France, this phrase is generally used when something wrong or very exciting has happened. It's basically an expression of shock or extreme happiness. The sexual innuendo often associated with "oh là là" is not common in France.


This is the common phrase used by everyone to say "nice to meet you" in French.


Who hasn't heard the French word "voilà"? By itself, "voilà" can mean "exactly" or "here it is". It really depends on the context! You can also say "voilà" to introduce someone: "Voilà Jean, mon meilleur ami".

truc, machin

You know the feeling when looking for a simple word that just doesn't come to mind when you need it? Well, when this happens to French people, they replace the word they are looking for with "truc" or "machin": "où est le truc de ta soeur?" - "where is your sister's thing?". You could also use these words to refer to someone, but this would be very disrespectful and indicates that you do not like the person.


If you spend some time in France, you have to get used to this one! Instead of "oui" (yes), it's not uncommon for French people to say "ouais" (pronounced "wey"). However, children are often taught by their parents not to say it!

ah bon?

This is a simple phrase to express surprise about what someone has just told you. It could be translated as "oh, really?".


This is also a very common word in French. Apart from its literal translation "at last", you can find it in different expressions like "enfin bon" (anyway), "enfin tu vois" (well, you see).

à tout à l'heure / à toute' !

Although "à plus tard !" would be the literal meaning of "see you later", you might want to learn the other common phrase "à tout à l'heure !". And if you want to sound even more French, try the shorter version "à toute' ! "

You're guaranteed to come across these French expressions in France:

N'importe quoi !

With this phrase, you want to tell the person you are speaking to that he/she is talking nonsense. Commonly used as "Tu racontes n'importe quoi !" - "You are talking nonsense!", or simply as an interjection.

Laisse tomber

Literally "let it fall". French people use it to tell somebody to give up or to simply say "nevermind".

Bref !

"Bref" would be the translation of "anyway". Generally used to cut the conversation of a particular topic short and point out you do not want to talk about that topic anymore.

Comme d'habitude / Comme d'hab'

Literally "as usual". However, note the common use "Comme d'hab' " very often heard spoken by French people!


Although "okay" is also quite common in French, you will more often hear people say "d'accord". Note the longer version "je suis d'accord" to say "I agree".

C'est clair !

This French expression is used to approve of somebody's saying.


Literally "in a square way"... French people say it either to agree with something, like "totally" or "definitely" or as an adverb to say "very". In this case, if you really like something you would say "c'est carrément bien!"

Merci for your attention! If you know other expressions or typical French words that you want to share with us, visit our Sprachcaffe Facebook Site and comment under the post for this article! Au revoir et à bientôt!