100 Basic Words in French Essential Guide for Beginners

Learning the basics of any language can be a great idea, especially when it comes to the beautiful and widely spoken French language.

Whether you're planning a trip to a French-speaking country or just want to expand your language skills, knowing some basic French words and phrases can be incredibly helpful.

Here's a guide to 100 basic French words divided into categories to help you get started.

1. Basic Greetings and Phrases

Starting with basic French phrases used as greetings is essential for any language learner. These common French words and phrases will help you initiate conversations and respond politely in various situations where you need to speak French.

  1. Bonjour (Good morning)
  2. Bonsoir (Good evening)
  3. Bonne journée (Have a nice day)
  4. Au revoir (Goodbye)
  5. Merci (Thank you)
  6. Merci beaucoup (Thank you very much)
  7. S'il vous plaît (Please)
  8. Comment ça va ? (How are you?)
  9. Ça va (I'm fine)
  10. Comment allez-vous ? (How are you? formal)
  11. Comment vous appelez-vous ? (What is your name? formal)
  12. Je m'appelle... (My name is...)
  13. Oui (Yes)
  14. Non (No)
  15. De rien (You're welcome)
  16. Excusez-moi (Excuse me)
  17. Je suis désolé(e) (I am sorry)
  18. Je ne comprends pas (I don’t understand)
  19. Parlez-vous anglais ? (Do you speak English?)
  20. Je vous en prie (You're welcome)
  21. Combien ça coûte ? (How much does it cost?)
  22. Où sont les toilettes ? (Where are the toilets?)

2. Numbers

Numbers are among the most common French words that you need to master early on. They are used in everyday conversations, from shopping to telling time.

Learning these essential French words will help you navigate through France more comfortably.

  1. Un (One)
  2. Deux (Two)
  3. Trois (Three)
  4. Quatre (Four)
  5. Cinq (Five)
  6. Six (Six)
  7. Sept (Seven)
  8. Huit (Eight)
  9. Neuf (Nine)
  10. Dix (Ten)

3. Common French Words for Asking Questions

Questions are fundamental in any language. Knowing the most common French words for asking questions will enable you to seek information and clarify doubts, making your communication more effective.

These common French phrases will be crucial as you interact with French speakers.

  1. Qu'est-ce que c'est ? (What is it?)
  2. Où ? (Where?)
  3. Quand ? (When?)
  4. Pourquoi ? (Why?)
  5. Comment ? (How?)
  6. Quelle heure est-il ? (What time is it?)
  7. Est-ce que...? (Is it...?)

4. French Words for People

Understanding the common French words for people is essential for building basic sentences and engaging in conversation with a native French speaker.

These words include terms for family members, friends, and general terms for individuals, helping you to describe and discuss people around you.

  1. L'homme (Man)
  2. La femme (Woman)
  3. Le garçon (Boy)
  4. La fille (Girl) - 1
  5. L'ami (Friend, male)
  6. L'amie (Friend, female)

5. French Words for Professions

Learning the most common French words for professions can help you in various scenarios, from talking about your job to understanding others' professions.

These basic French words will also assist in expanding your vocabulary related to daily life and work environments.

  1. Le médecin (Doctor)
  2. L'enseignant (Teacher, male)
  3. L'enseignante (Teacher, female)
  4. L'ingénieur (Engineer)
  5. Le cuisinier (Cook, male)
  6. La cuisinière (Cook, female)

6. Food & Drinks in French

Food and drink are significant parts of French culture. Knowing these common French words will enrich your dining experience and make it easier to order food and drinks.

These are some of the most enjoyable basic French words to learn, especially for food lovers.

  1. Le pain (Bread)
  2. Le fromage (Cheese)
  3. Le vin (Wine)
  4. L'eau (Water)
  5. La viande (Meat)
  6. Les légumes (Vegetables)
  7. Les fruits (Fruits)
  8. Le café (Coffee)
  9. Le thé (Tea)

7. Parts of the House and Furniture in French

Describing your surroundings is a practical skill in any language.

Learning French words for parts of the house and furniture will help you speak about your home environment and understand others when they do.

  1. La maison (House)
  2. La chambre (Bedroom)
  3. La cuisine (Kitchen)
  4. Le salon (Living room)
  5. La salle de bain (Bathroom)
  6. La table (Table)
  7. La chaise (Chair)
  8. Le lit (Bed)

8. Modes of Transportation in French

Transport is a critical topic for travelers. Knowing these common French words will make navigating through a French-speaking country much easier.

The following basic and necessary words will help you when asking French people for directions or using public transportation.

  1. La voiture (Car)
  2. Le bus (Bus)
  3. Le train (Train)
  4. L'avion (Plane)
  5. Le vélo (Bicycle)
  6. Le bateau (Boat)

9. Places in French

Being able to name various places is crucial for moving around and understanding directions.

These common French words cover a range of locations you might visit or need to talk about. They are some of the most common French words used in everyday conversations.

  1. La ville (City)
  2. Le village (Village)
  3. La rue (Street)
  4. Le restaurant (Restaurant)
  5. Le café (Cafe)
  6. L'école (School)
  7. Le magasin (Shop)
  8. La plage (Beach)

10. Common French Adjectives

Adjectives are essential for describing objects, people, and experiences. These common French words will allow you to add detail to your conversations and express yourself more clearly.

They are among the basic French words that you’ll frequently use.

  1. Grand(e) (Big)
  2. Petit(e) (Small)
  3. Bon(ne) (Good)
  4. Mauvais(e) (Bad)
  5. Beau/Belle (Beautiful)
  6. Nouveau/Nouvelle (New)
  7. Vieux/Vieille (Old)

11. Animals & Nature Vocabulary in French

Nature and animals are popular topics in everyday discussions and travel. Learning these common words will help you appreciate and talk about the natural world in French.

A simple French word from this list that enrich your vocabulary and make conversations more interesting.

  1. Le chat (Cat)
  2. Le chien (Dog)
  3. L'oiseau (Bird)
  4. Le poisson (Fish)
  5. L'arbre (Tree)
  6. La fleur (Flower)
  7. La mer (Sea)
  8. La montagne (Mountain)
  9. Le soleil (Sun)
  10. La lune (Moon)
  11. La terre (Earth)

Tips for Learning French Vocabulary Effectively

Here are also some helpful tips on how to learn these essential words more easily and effectively in order to use them correctly in your interactions with French speakers.

1. Learn the Gender of Each Noun

French nouns are either masculine or feminine, and this affects the use of articles and adjectives. Always learn the gender of each noun as you memorize new words.

For example, "le livre" (the book) is masculine, while "la table" (the table) is feminine.

2. Practice Adjective and Noun Agreement

In French, adjectives must agree with the gender and number of the nouns they describe. Make sure to practice this agreement regularly to ensure correct sentence structure.

For instance, "un grand homme" (a tall man) versus "une grande femme" (a tall woman).

3. Learn Words in Context

Immersing yourself in the language by learning words in context helps you understand how they are used naturally.

Read French books, watch French films, or listen to French music to see and hear vocabulary in action. This approach can also help you remember words more effectively.

4. Focus on Pronunciation

French pronunciation can be quite different from English, so it's important to pay close attention to it.

Use language learning apps or online resources with audio components to practice your pronunciation. Mimic native speakers and repeat words and phrases until they sound natural.

5. Practice Regularly

Regular practice with native French speakers or fellow learners is crucial for reinforcing your vocabulary.

Join language exchange groups, take French classes, or find a language partner to practice speaking and listening. This interaction helps solidify your understanding and usage of new words.

6. Use Language Learning Tools

Take advantage of language learning resources and tools such as flashcards, vocabulary apps, and online courses.

These resources often include quizzes and interactive exercises that make learning more engaging and effective. They can also help you track your progress and stay motivated.

By following these tips, you will build a strong foundation in French vocabulary and improve your overall language proficiency.


Here are also some of the most frequently asked questions relating to learning French vocabulary

How many words do you need for a basic conversation in French?

To have a basic conversation in French, you typically need to know around 500 to 1,000 words. This vocabulary range includes common French words and phrases that cover everyday topics, allowing you to understand and participate in simple dialogues with native speakers.

Learning these essential words will significantly improve your French skills and enable you to communicate effectively in various situations, such as ordering in French restaurants or asking for directions.

What simple words are taught in French in the first lesson?

In the first lesson when you learn French, you are usually introduced to basic French words and phrases such as "bonjour" (hello), "merci" (thank you), "oui" (yes), and "non" (no).

These simple words are foundational and help new learners start speaking French right away. Also, you might learn how to introduce yourself with "je m'appelle" (my name is) and ask basic questions like "comment ça va?" (how are you?).

How many words for B2 in French?

To achieve a B2 level in French, you typically need to know around 4,000 to 5,000 words. This vocabulary allows you to understand and engage in more complex conversations and read a variety of texts with ease.

How can I learn French fast?

To learn French quickly, immerse yourself in the language through intensive practice. This includes:

  • Daily Practice: Spend at least 30 minutes to an hour each day learning French.
  • Language Apps: Use language learning apps for structured lessons and practice.
  • Media Consumption: Watch French TV shows, movies, and listen to French music and podcasts.
  • Speaking Practice: Engage in conversations with native speakers or language exchange partners.

How can I practice French words?

Practicing French vocabulary can be effective and enjoyable with these methods:

  • Flashcards: Create or use digital flashcards to regularly review new words.
  • Reading: Read books, articles, and news in French to see words in context.
  • Writing: Write daily journals or short stories using new vocabulary.
  • Language Games: Use apps and games designed to reinforce vocabulary through repetition and context.
  • Speaking: Incorporate new words into conversations with native speakers or fellow learners.

Summing Up: 100 Basic Essential Words in the French Language


Learning the most common French phrases will give you a solid foundation to start speaking French.

Engaging with French vocabulary through practical categories such as greetings, numbers, and common questions can help you navigate daily conversations more effectively.

Remember, practice is key, and immersing yourself in the French language and culture will significantly enhance your language learning journey.

To further boost your French skills, why not try a fun and interactive way to learn? Sign up for a free trial with Lingopie today and immerse yourself in the French language through movies and TV shows. It's a great way to learn new words and phrases in context, and it's also fun.

Bon apprentissage !

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