How to Improve Your Written French

  • February 26, 2019

Spelling has weight in the written French language. For native French-speaking people, a spelling error is a bad signal: it’s seen as incorrect, a sign of lower education. (And/or is seen as lower class, sadly.)

What does it mean for you as a non-native speaker? Well… It’s not such a problem. People won’t think you’re under-educated. They’ll just understand you’re on your own learning journey. It’s OK to make mistakes!

However, spelling errors can still lead to misunderstandings, and are often easily fixable mistakes.

No matter your level of French, here’s how to improve your written French, thanks to modern technology… and a few tips and explanations!

Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson → Know exactly what to focus on when writing in French, at your own level: beginner, intermediate, advanced.

Bonjour c’est Géraldine, bienvenue sur Comme une Française. C’est parti !

Want all the vocabulary of the lesson ?

Want to read this lesson later , 0 - let’s start on the right foot.

  • Use ALL the technology you want. No shame in that.
  • DO NOT skip a level because you think your French is “too good.” Climb up each section!
  • Use this written lesson as a checklist.

I won’t talk about “practices” today. I’m going to push you because I know you can do it. This is a special lesson for students who are REALLY serious about improving their written French.

If you’re interested in exercises to practice your French writing, let me know in the comment section or in an email! I’m thinking about offering a program on that this year.

1 - Beginners

A – Get your basics right: Greetings + politeness

Click here to learn French greetings

For example: Don’t write “bon jour” → It’s “ bonjour ” (= “ Hello! ”) Don’t write “ cou cou ” (or worse “ couscous ”) → It’s “ coucou ” (= “ Hi! ”)

And be sure to learn the use of different greetings, and the politeness attached to them.

For example, know when to use “ Bonjour ” (= Good day / Hello ) and when to use “ Bonne journée ” (= Have a good day ).

B – Check the gender of words.

All French nouns are either feminine or masculine. There are some limited rules that can help you know if a given noun is feminine or masculine (that I won’t get into now); but really, you just need to learn the gender of the nouns as you come across them.

For example: La table (= the table ) is feminine. Le bureau (= the desk ) is masculine.

→ I cover all these problems (and more!) in my course French for Beginners Click here to learn more.

how to learn to write french

Accents are not optional in French. Forgetting them won’t (usually) break the communication, but it does makes it harder for people to understand you. And it’s a spelling mistake. Find out how to make them on your device.

Example: Mon chien est lavé → My dog is washed Mon chien est lave → My dog is lava

Bonus point if you don’t forget the accents on capital letters! (Most French people don’t do it, and even I sometimes make that mistake, but it’s still incorrect.)

Example: À Paris, il pleut. (= In Paris, it’s raining ) → correct A Paris, il pleut (= same thing, but with no accent on “A” ) → technically incorrect

2 - Intermediate

This is where I’ll push you the most. Take a deep breath!

A – Make Zero Mistakes → Aim for 0 spelling mistake on individual words.

Yes, it sounds impossible, but with the spell checker on your phone/tablet/computer, you CAN achieve it.

For example: une mèson (incorrect) → une maison (= a house )

This is the minimum I expect from my students when I correct their homework live on Le Salon de Géraldine. → Click here to learn more about Le Salon de Géraldine

I say this is the bare minimum, that shows you care about making an effort with your written French.

B – Les accords : article + adjectif + nom

Any French noun is either feminine or masculine, singular or plural. The same also applies to their adjectives. A change in the noun’s gender and plurality also often changes the adjective’s spelling and pronunciation.

When describing a noun, ask yourself: Is it masculine? feminine? Is it singular? Plural?

Every time you need to write a noun / an adjective / an article (like “ the ” = “ le, la, les ”), go through them one by one and check if you’re correct. Think about how the sentence would change if the noun’s gender flipped.

For example: Un beau garçon (=” a handsome boy ”) → Une belle fille (= “ a beautiful girl ”)

C – Les accords : sujet + verbe

French verbs also change their spelling and pronunciation, according to their subject.

Take your time to think about the subject of any verb you write. Ask yourself: Is it masculine? feminine? Is it singular? plural?

For example: Don’t write Tu mange une pomme → instead, it’s Tu manges une pomme (= “you’re eating an apple.” with a silent “s” to “manges.” )

Tip for intermediate students: Limit your use of French slang until you’re advanced! It’s hard to get it right in written French 🙂

You can start using my Dictations to improve your writing at your level. Click here to try “La Dictée” – Dictation 1 Click here to go to “Improve your Dictée” – the Dictation 2

3 - Advanced

This is where the fun starts 🙂 Bad news: you’ll (very probably) never reach perfection with your written French. My students in my live program Le Salon de Géraldine have an impressive level of French ( much more than they think ), yet there’s always more to learn.

Learn more about Le Salon de Géraldine

Even native French speakers don’t know everything, after all. The goal is to always make better mistakes!

A – Last “simple” tip: accord des participes passés.

This is something that French people themselves often struggle with. But it’s not that difficult. It happens when you use the “ passé composé ”, a tricky tense to use correctly.

The first rule : “être” + “participe passé” (ex: “mangé”, “allé”, “pensé” ) → “ participe passé ” changes with the subject.

For example: “ Elle est allé à la plage ” is incorrect. “Allé” needs to accord with “ Elle ” ( “she”, feminine singular) → Elle est allée à la plage. (= She went to the beach )

This also applies to “ On ” (= the French informal “We”), by the way.

Example: Marie et moi, on est allées à la plage. Mary and I, we went to the beach.

Notice that we use “s” at the end of the participe passé because the subject is plural.

B – Make short sentences. This is a piece of advice that’s easy to forget, yet it’s very effective. Shorter sentences = Less chances of making mistakes Don’t lose yourself in meandering sentences. Cut them short. You’ll be more clear. Trust me.

Tip for advanced students: Keep studying: don’t simply translate advanced grammar structure in French. It will get easier as you read more, and “get” how French complex sentences work more instinctively.

For example, try to find examples of how to use a few French segues: Non seulement = not only Mais aussi = but also À mon avis = in my opinion

With the second rule of passé composé (“avoir” + “participe passé”), the “participe passé” does not accord with the subject.

However, it follows the direct complement , if there is one that comes before the “participe passé”. Yup, that’s the rules that gives French schoolchildren nightmares.

For example: J’ai mangé la pomme. (= “ I ate the apple ”. Correct) La pomme ? Je l’ai mangée. (=” The apple? I ate it. ” Correct, because here, “ l ’” refers to “ la pomme ”, feminine and singular, and it comes before “ mangée .”)

→Sur quoi vas-tu te concentrer pour corriger ton français écrit ? What the #1 element you’ll focus on with your written French?

Tell me in French! 🙂

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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 🙂

→ Double your Frenchness! Get my 10-day “Everyday French Crash Course” and discover more spoken French for free. Students love it! Start now and you’ll get Lesson 01 right in your inbox, straight away.  Click here to get started

Join the conversation!

je suis plasir

you are so 333

Hi I am interested in practising French exercise everyday!

Bonjour Géraldine j’aimerai perfectionner les écrits, des rapports, synthèse et surtout les tournures de phrases.Merciiiii

french is such unnecessary difficult language it’s like studying two languages the written and spoken language

I would love to have exercises to practice French writing!

Coucou, Moi, je vais concentrer premierement a apprendre comment utiliser le technologie. Comment mettre les accents, et comment utiliser le spellchecker, sur mon ordinateur. Merci Geraldine, et bonne journee

Coucou Géraldine, Je pense que je vais concentrer sur le genre pour les noms et les adjectifs. Merci beaucoup pour cette leçon d’orthographe. Bonne journée.

Bonjour Géraldine – je vais concentrer sur mes phrases. Je pense elles sont très longues. Comme d’habitude, bon conseil, merci. Bonne journée.

This is a most helpful and interesting lesson Géraldine. The grammar of the French language is a challenge, without a doubt, but I think that starting to read some French literature could be a big help to students. The UK A-level (advanced) language exams are literature based, and offer a big step up regarding vocabulary and grammatical construction. You can also discover some wonderful authors; it’s where I found Marcel Pagnol’s Le Château de Ma Mère, which I would highly recommend as a starting point.

However ~ with regard to how far one might go in achieving excellence in the French language, it’s interesting to note that the first (and only, I think) Englishman, Professor Michael Edwards, ever elected to the Académie française attained that position just a few years ago. OK, so the the French language has been his life’s work, but this is an honour indeed. Well done sir.

Salut Géraldine ! Je me demandais pourquoi ils ne sont pas les accents sur les plaques de rues en France. Les lettres sont toutes en magiscule et Il y a des moments quand ils me posent des problèmes en ce qui concerne la pronunciation.

Est-ce que tu peux conseiller de la lecture a etudier? Des romanciers contemperaires dont le style serait bon a servir comme modele? (Pardon! je ne sais pas inserer les accents encore)

Bonjour Géraldine, Moi, je prévois de ralentir, et pour vérifier ce que je viens d’écrire avant de toucher le touche d’envoi. Aussi, pour garder mon message simple. Merci de vos cours !

Je voudrais améliorer mon français écrit et bien sûr ma ponctuation. Utilisez “Word” plus !

Bonjour Géraldine Merci pour tous les bons conseils Bonne journée Anne

Une fois de plus, une excellente leçon. Je vous remercie. Mais je veux faire une petite correction. Vous avez dit que tous les verbes de la deuxième personne au singulier finissent dans un « s », mais si je peux être si audacieux, je connais quelques-uns qui finissent en « x ».

In order to spell better in French, I’d like to know better the RULES of Frech spelling. I know there are rules too which can help a lot with gender such as words that end in “-ence” are feminine. Words that end in “-eau” are masculine (with a few exceptions such as l’eau). Do you have a lesson or resource on those types of rules?

Je suis assez dépassée parce que j’aime encore utiliser mon dictionnaire! Je trouve que les exemples, les phrases avec les prépositions et le genre d’un nom sont très utiles. J’adore aussi la dictionnaire électronique, WordReference.com, qui est un très bon outil.

Quand j’écris en français, mon ordi “corrige” tous les mots qui auraient été des fautes d’orthographe en anglais. J’envoie au moins 3 courriels en français par jour, et je dois relire chacun plusieurs fois. Pour éviter tout ça, je devrais changer le clavier aussi bien que le dictionnaire dans mon ordi, et le clavier français est tout à fait différent du clavier anglais.

coucou Géraldine ~ Merci pour le leçon ! Moi je suis en train de améliorer mes SMS — c’est pas facile (comme tu sais bien je suis sûre), parce que tous mes amis n’écrivent pas parfaitement quand ils m’envoient des messages. Et aussi je suis au niveau pour (?) essayer d’écrire moi-même avant de consulter google translate — c’est super mais pas facile ! La ponctuation est différente en français aussi (par exemple les espaces avant les points d’interrogation) et ça j’essaie d’apprendre. (pas facile ça!) Merci encore & à bientôt ~ Una p.s. est-ce que c’est “je suis sûre” au féminin ?

Je suis sûr qu’il s’accorde en genre et en nombre Una. 😉

Merci encore. Je souhaite d’apprendre le français façile et plus dur aussi. Je ne sais pas si je utilise les mots corrects. Je ne suis pas confidante. Mais je vais essayer!

J’ai commis beaucoup d’erreurs ! J’écris: ” Je souhaite apprendre le français facile et le plus difficile aussi. Je ne suis pas confiante. ” Je ne suis pas sur encore. Merci pour une leçon géniale!

Bonjour, Geraldine! Comme toujours la leçon m’a donné des idées utiles. J’oublie souvent de faire l’accord entre le participe passé et le sujet de la phrase ou entre le participe passé et le mot qu’il décrit. J’ai besoin de plus faire pour devenir comme une française.

Bonjour Géraldine,

J’ai vraiment aimé votre leçon aujourd’hui. J’aimerais un jour écrire en français le plus parfaitement possible. Maintenant, j’utilise “Google Translate” pour corriger cet email. Je sais que ce n’est pas parfait, mais cela m’aide beaucoup.

With the above, when I wrote “I really liked your lesson”, since I am female, should I have written, “J’ai vraiment aimée”?

I am taking college French 2 and I love it! Your class is helping me so much. Thank you!

Not exactly. You can say either, “I liked the lesson.” = “j’ai aimé la leçon.” Or “I liked IT.” = “je l’ai aimée,” when “it” (“la”- the direct object) is feminine. HTH

Yes, this does help. Thank you Sarah.

Je veux faire attention aux différences de ponctuation, un sujet dont on parle presque jamais

Hi Geraldine, I am enjoying your lessons. Thank you very much! I have a suggestion for your spoken English. I am American. When you pronounce the word “focus”, it sounds a bit like a bad expression in English. Try saying it with a true long “o”. Again, thanks so much for all your help! Sally

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Techniques to Improve Your French

How to improve your french writing skills [do at home].

how to learn to write french

Writing is one of the hardest components of language learning. One of the reasons it can be so difficult is because you never really know if what you’re writing is correct. There are plenty of people, websites, companies out there that will tell you that in order to improve your French writing abilities you need to go out there and practice writing short stories, poems or even essays.

I really don’t like this approach because it gets you in the habit of making all sorts of mistakes. When you continuously make the same mistake over and over you internalize it and then it makes it difficult to correct because it no longer sounds wrong to you.

how to learn to write french

People also recommend that you take the time to write something and then bring it to someone, whether it be a friend, tutor, or teacher, and have them correct your mistakes.

Now, although I don’t think this is the worst thing you could do I’m still not a big fan because you still will likely write things incorrectly.

What I’m getting at here is that I firmly believe that you should never have to write anything that’s considered incorrect (whether that be grammatically incorrect or just considered incorrect by native speakers).

Now, never making a mistake is probably an impossible task, however, it definitely is possible to minimize them and correct them within seconds or minutes. How can you do this? Let’s talk about two easy-to-perform techniques that anybody can use at home.

If you were to start learning a musical instrument how would you go about it? Would you pick up whatever instrument you were learning and start right away with composing your own songs? Chances are you wouldn’t. If you’re like most people you’d start by learning songs that were written by others.

Once you felt comfortable with those you would move onto ones that were a little harder, and continue this pattern. At some point in time, after having practiced using songs that other people have written, you would start to feel confident enough to be able to compose your own songs.

Getting to this point can take quite a lot of work, but nobody denies that it takes time. Learning French is no different than learning a musical instrument.

I f you are currently learning French and struggling to write anything without the confidence that what you are writing is correct, then understand that it’s completely normal. You’re no different than the musician who doesn’t feel comfortable composing their own music.

Here’s one technique that you can do practice to improve your French writing without internalizing any mistakes. This is one of the methods that is described in the article “ How to Improve Your French [The Complete Guide] ” so if you’ve checked out that article you should be pretty familiar with it. If not, keep reading as I’ll describe it right here.

  • The first step to this technique is to locate some written content that has both an English version and a French version. It should really be something that was professionally made such as a bilingual book. If you have French-learning materials that have English to French translations then start with those as they should be easier to work with. It doesn’t really matter how long your chosen content is, but the longer it is the more you’ll have to practice with.
  • Take a few sentences at a time (or even just one sentence if you’d like to start slow) and study both the English and the French version until you feel quite familiar with both. Don’t worry about doing this quickly, take as much time as you need.
  • Begin by taking the English version of your content and translating it into the French content. You absolutely must translate it verbatim so that you are 100% sure your translation is correct. Don’t rely too much on your own French knowledge or translation skills and just worry on relying on the French translation because you already know that it’s grammatically correct.
  • Take a look at your finished translation and if you weren’t 100% correct start over from the beginning and retranslate everything. Don’t just fix each individual mistake. Go through and rewrite everything. If you just correct each mistake without doing it all over you risk internalizing some of those mistakes and that’s the last thing that you want here.
  • Move through your text translating each sentence from English to French until you have completed everything. Once you feel confident translating the English version to the French version start over and translate in the opposite direction. If you would prefer, instead of translating the entire text from English to French and vice versa you can simply focus on one sentence at a time and translate back and forth. At the end of the day it really is up to you.

There’s a bit of a misconception in the world of language learning that learning through translation is a bad thing. Believe it or not translation can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you learn French when done correctly.

What you don’t want to do is translate on your own without having any clue whether or not your translation is correct OR translate vocabulary out of context. There are so many flashcard systems out there designed to teach you vocabulary that only give you one or two word translations for each foreign word.

The obvious issue with this is that there are plenty of French words that don’t have direct translations and can’t be learned by just comparing them to another word in English or another language.

That’s why you should always learn new vocabulary through complete sentences so that the full definition of the word can be captured through the context of the sentence.

If you still don’t want to use this technique because of the translation element then just leave the English content out and write the French part. If you choose to do this make sure you fully understand what you’re writing and don’t just write out the French content blindly.

There’s another easy technique that you can do at home that will help your French writing skills and involves using movies or online videos with subtitles. I find YouTube videos to work best for this, but you can choose whatever you’d like.

The only real requirement for this is that the subtitles match what’s being said exactly and don’t just capture the gist of everything. Put the subtitles on and let your video (or movie) play for a just a few seconds before pausing it. Don’t look at your video during this period, just listen to what’s being said. Write down what you heard during those few seconds to the best of your ability. This should only be a few sentences at most.

When you’re done look up and read the subtitles that should be on the screen. If what you wrote matches what’s written on the screen then great, you can play the video again and pause it again in a few seconds. If you’ve made any mistakes at all, no matter how small, try to rewrite the entire thing again.

You don’t have to rewind your video and listen to it all again (although you can if you want). Keep moving through your video until you’ve gone through it all at which point you can either start back from the beginning or move onto something new. One of the big reasons I prefer to do this with YouTube videos is that you can get through an entire video in one sitting.

Not only does this technique do wonders for your writing skills, it also can help your oral comprehension seeing as you are trying to write down what you are listening to. Although this can really be done with any video (or audio) I high recommend you do it with something that has subtitles (or at least some sort of transcript that you can use) so that you know that what you are writing is correct.

Remember, we don’t want to get into the habit of making mistakes and any mistakes that we do make we want to correct immediately.

Alright let’s recap. In our first method you have to find a piece of content that is in both English and French. Study sections of both until you feel familiar with them and then proceed translate chunks of the English text into the French text verbatim.

Either make your way through the text translating the English to the French and then do the same in the opposite direction or just take each sentence (or short paragraph) and translate it back and forth. The only real rule here is that you find something that was professionally made and translate thing exactly as they are.

Our second method just requires that you find a video or movie with French subtitles, put the subtitles on, and then proceed to listen to the video without looking at the screen. Pause it after a few seconds and try to write down what you’ve heard.

When you’re done, look up at the subtitles and verify if you’ve written everything down correctly. If not, rewrite everything without looking at the subtitles and move on.

What are some of your favorite methods to improve your French writing abilities? Comment below and let us know how they work!

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Hunter Van Ry

Hunter Van Ry, the owner of Frenchplanations.com, has spent extensive periods of time living in both France and Canada learning and studying the French language. He created Frenchplanations as a way to help others improve their French with easy-to-understand explanations.

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Tips and ideas to improve your French writing skills

how to learn to write french

First things first

In order to write well, you need to read, a lot. Reading is an excellent way to improve your knowledge of French structure, grammar, and vocabulary, so be sure to make reading a variety of materials part of your regular French practice.

Correct spelling is essential, and in French that means not just using the right letters, but also including the right accents on them. Check out our article about the best way to type accents in Windows and Linux .  

French writing ideas

Our popular French Weekend Workout includes writing challenges and dictées for Premium subscribers - learn more:

  • French writing challenges
  • French dictées

For regular French practice, I highly recommend that you keep a journal. If you write a little bit every day, you'll soon find that it gets easier, just like everything you practice regularly. It doesn't really matter what you write, though your level of French will limit you to some extent. But as long as it's something that interests you and that you have or can find the necessary vocabulary and grammar for, you can write whatever you want.

  • Your daily routine (wake up, get dressed, go to work, etc.)
  • Personal experiences (a party, vacation memories, meeting your best friend...)
  • Book / movie reviews
  • Letters to the editor
  • Devenez poète et critique littéraire - Advanced writing exercises
  • Écrire conseils pratiques - Writing tips and ideas
  • Le Résumé - Strategies for writing a good summary. (Note that résumé is a faux ami.)
  • Les travaux d'écriture - Writing exercises on various topics.  

Getting feedback

Writing is one thing, but in order for this exercise to have any value, you need to ask for corrections. You can use a grammar checker and/or search engine to get very basic corrections, but if you really want to improve, you need human input.

When you have specific questions about vocabulary and grammar, you can ask on Kwiziq French's QandA forum . For detailed corrections, try posting on an online forum such as Lang-8 to get help from native French speakers. Let them know you'd appreciate an in-depth proofread so that you can improve as much as possible.

Another possibility is to find a pen pal , but make sure s/he's a native French speaker. Two English speakers learning French are very likely to reinforce one another's mistakes; you need a native speaker if you're serious about improving.  


Dictées combine listening comprehension with writing skills, and are an integral part of the French educational system.

Kwiziq star

La Dictée d'Archibald - Dictées for native and non-native speakers, from TV5Monde

Ladictee.fr - More than 1,300 dictées for all ages and skill levels

Dictées Audio - from Bescherelle

Dictées Audio - from la Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie

Amélioration du français - Dictées focused on specific areas of difficulty (e.g., agreement, spelling.)  

The four basic language skills

  • Listening to French
  • Reading in French
  • Speaking French
  • Writing in French

Like speaking, writing requires knowledge of everything from grammar to vocabulary, so be sure to sign up for a Kwiziq French account to kwiz your way to better French!

Your guide to the best free online learning resources.

how to learn to write french

Writing : elegant and appropriate

how to learn to write french

Bescherelle - Practice Writing French

Bescherelle - Write from Dictations

Website language: English

Lingue - Learn Phrases With Context

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Table of Contents

Essential Tips for Improving Your French Writing Skills

  • World Languages
  • Last Updated: September 23, 2023

learn how to write in french

Learn how to write in French effectively is a valuable skill that can enhance your communication abilities, boost your confidence, and open up new opportunities. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your existing French writing skills, this guide will provide you with essential tips to help you succeed.

From expanding your vocabulary and mastering grammar to practicing regularly and seeking feedback, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence needed to express yourself effectively in French through the written word. Embrace the learn how to learn writing in French and unlock a world of linguistic creativity and expression.

Learn How to Write in French – Tips for Improving

Learn How to Write in French

Build a Strong Vocabulary

To achieve this, immerse yourself in French texts, from books and articles to newspapers. Exposure to diverse vocabulary enhances your language skills. Additionally, incorporate flashcards and vocabulary apps into your routine to reinforce your knowledge.

These tools provide interactive ways to practice and remember French words, enriching your writing capabilities. Learn how to write in French requires a strong vocabulary foundation.

Master French Grammar

It’s crucial to study verb conjugations, tenses, and sentence structures. Grammar books and online resources offer valuable tools to help you grasp these concepts.

By mastering French grammar, you can write with precision and clarity, ensuring your written expressions in languages of France are accurate and engaging. Learn how to write in French is a rewarding endeavor.

Read Widely in French

Learn how to write in French effectively involves immersing yourself in French literature, newspapers, and online content. These sources expose you to various writing styles and help you understand the nuances of the language.

Start with simpler texts tailored to your proficiency level and gradually transition to more complex materials as your skills in practicing writing in French improve. This gradual progression allows you to build confidence and expand your writing abilities while experiencing the richness of the French language through different mediums.

Practice Writing Regularly

Devote time each day to honing your writing skills in French. Begin with brief paragraphs or journal entries and progressively tackle more extensive assignments like essays and longer compositions. Explore diverse writing styles, including descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and informative writing.

This experimentation allows you to develop versatility in expressing yourself in French while Learn how to write in French enhancing your overall writing proficiency. Regular practice is the key to mastering the art of writing effectively in French and achieving fluency in this beautiful language.

Seek Feedback

Sharing your writing with native speakers or experienced learners can provide valuable feedback and insights into areas that need improvement when practicing writing in French. Joining online forums or language exchange groups can be a great way to connect with others who are interested in practicing writing in French effectively.

Seeking feedback is crucial when learn how to write in French. Share your writings with native speakers, teachers, or language exchange partners to receive valuable insights. Constructive criticism helps you identify areas for improvement and fine-tune your writing skills effectively.

Proofread and Edit

Learn how to write in French effectively involves careful proofreading and editing of your written work. Scrutinize your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

You can enhance this process by utilizing grammar-checking software or enlisting the help of native speakers to ensure your French writing is polished and error-free. Effective proofreading and editing, crucial aspects of practicing writing in French, elevate the quality of your written compositions, making them more precise and engaging for your audience.

Emulate Native Speakers

Reading works by French authors and immersing yourself in French podcasts can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own writing endeavors. By emulating the writing techniques of native speakers, you can enhance your grasp of French and develop a more authentic and fluent writing style that resonates with readers.

When learn how to write in French, it’s invaluable to observe how native French speakers write and express themselves. Pay attention to their writing style, use of idiomatic expressions, and the natural flow of the language.

Set Writing Goals

Define specific objectives, such as writing a certain number of words each day or completing a short story. Learn how to write in French effectively involves setting clear and achievable writing goals. These goals keep you motivated and focused on improving your French writing skills.

As you consistently meet your objectives, you’ll witness significant progress in your ability to express yourself effectively in the French online classes .

Use Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are excellent tools for sparking creativity and practicing different writing styles when practicing writing in French. They provide a starting point for your writing endeavors.

Many online resources offer a wide range of French writing prompts to help you get started when practicing writing in French. Learn how to write in French effectively involves utilizing writing prompts to spark creativity and practice different writing styles.

These prompts provide a starting point for your writing endeavors and can be found abundantly in online resources. Whether you seek inspiration for short stories, essays, or descriptive pieces, French writing prompts are readily available to guide and challenge you in your pursuit of mastering the art of writing effectively in French.

Stay Persistent

Persistence is key when learning how to write in French. As with any skill, improvement comes with practice and dedication. There may be moments of frustration, but staying persistent in your efforts will lead to growth.

Set aside time regularly to write in French, challenge yourself with different topics and formats, and seek feedback to refine your skills. With determination and continuous practice, you’ll gradually become a more confident and proficient French writer.

Learn how to write in French effectively is a gradual process. Don’t be discouraged by initial challenges or setbacks. Stay persistent and committed to your writing journey when practicing writing in French. Consistent practice and a positive attitude will lead to improvement over time.

Essential Tips for Improving Your French Writing Skills

In conclusion, Improving your skills in practicing writing in French is a rewarding endeavor that offers both personal and professional benefits. By following these essential tips and maintaining a dedicated writing practice when practicing writing in French, you can enhance your proficiency in French and speak French fluency express yourself in this beautiful language.

Check out Speak French fluency .

Frequently Asked Questions

When learning how to write in French, common challenges include mastering the intricate verb conjugations, comprehending the nuances of French punctuation rules, and accurately constructing complex sentences. Overcoming these hurdles requires dedicated practice and a solid understanding of French grammar and syntax.

Expanding your French vocabulary is essential for effective writing. Engage with French literature, newspapers, and online content to encounter diverse words and expressions. Additionally, utilize vocabulary-building apps and flashcards to reinforce your word knowledge systematically. A robust vocabulary enhances your ability to convey ideas accurately and creatively in written French.

Overcoming writer’s block while writing in French can be achieved by implementing various strategies. Altering your writing environment, taking brief breaks to rejuvenate your creativity, and employing writing prompts or outlines can effectively break through the mental barriers that hinder your writing process. These techniques can help maintain a steady flow of ideas and inspiration.

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The Best Way to Learn French : A guide

Improving your french writing and speaking.

Quick story: When I was learning Italian, many years ago, I got pretty good at reading Italian. I could even stand in line at the train station and eavesdrop on people behind me — and I understood most of what they were saying.

But when I tried to speak to my friend's (Italian) mother, she could not understand anything I said. She sat next to me in the car and wailed, "I didn't understand anything!" (And guess what? I understood her perfectly. )

how to learn to write french

I was the two legged cat above. I had been reading textbooks and listening to everyone around me, but I had no practice spontaneously producing intelligible language from my own mouth. I couldn't find the right words to use, and I couldn't pronounce the words I did find.

So, even though you might find reading and listening to be a lot easier to work on, especially when you're studying independently, don't neglect practicing your speaking and writing skills as well.

You may think that being able to write in French is just about getting the spelling right, and figuring out how to use those different accent characters .

Spelling and funny characters are only part of the writing puzzle. They can all be practiced with flashcards and a whole lot of repetition. There's no great mystery to learning this — it's all about memory and practice.

how to learn to write french

The harder part of the equation is the production part.

When you're writing you need to be able to pull the words from your brain, and put them together in a way that makes sense. It's a productive skill, rather than a comprehension skill like reading or listening.

Being unable to produce language is a problem: 

  • It's that feeling of going "blank", and not being able to find the words.
  • It's recognizing the words and grammar if you see it, but not being able to create it yourself.

To stop that happening, you need practice.

Practicing production through writing is a good place to start because you have time to stop and think about what you're going to write. You can look up new words, or research the best way to say something — this isn't cheating. (You'll likely remember this stuff much better for the effort you've put in!)

But for some people writing can also feel difficult or intimidating because you're not getting any immediate feedback, like you'd get if you were speaking to someone.

Some ideas for practicing your writing production:  ‍

When you're just getting started:

  • Flashcards are your friend here. Start with words in your language, and try to recall and write the words in French.
  • Move up to whole sentences: See the sentence in your language, and try to write the French translation.

Many French courses will have these kinds of challenges built into the software, so you'll be able to get instant feedback. (But you'll also get instant feedback with a plain old piece of paper flashcard too!) ‍

When you're more advanced:

  • Write a diary about what you did today. Practice those past tenses! You could also include what you're doing right now, and what you're going to do tomorrow.
  • Write about your favorite subjects, or your opinions.
  • Write letters (don't send them, of course!). Try writing to people who you'd use a different register with. E.g., a sibling or friend, vs your old high school teacher.
  • Write role-plays. Create dialogues between characters. Try creating conversations between different kinds of people where a different register would be used. E.g., imagine a doctor with a patient; a parent with a child; high school buddies; a husband and wife; a homeowner and a burglar; you and your childhood hero, etc. Ask your tutor or language partner if they sound realistic. What would people normally say here? 
  • Read an article or story and summarise it in your own words.
  • Recall a scene from your favorite movie and rewrite the dialogue in French. If you're stuck for ideas, you could try this scene from The Princess Bride (and learn how to represent English modal verbs in French, which does not have them .)

It's best to do all these challenges with a good dictionary or translator in hand, otherwise it could be too difficult. Use the English to French option, and take the opportunity to learn some new vocabulary.

Important: Make sure you get feedback!

Your ability to practice your writing/spelling really depends on your ability to get reliable feedback and corrections. A software or AI can only do so much — once you're beyond the phrases in your French course or flash cards, you really need a human to check and correct your writing.

You could use a tutor, a conversation exchange buddy, or you may be able to find forums or groups where you can get fluent speakers to critique your work.

Our second productive skill also comes in two parts: The first part is similar to writing above : being able to pull the language from your memory and put it together in a way that makes sense. The key difference with speaking is that you have to do it much faster than with writing, and you don't have time to pause to look things up!

The second part of this skill is pronunciation : being able to speak the words so that people will understand you.

how to learn to write french

Improving your speaking production

The goal here is to be able to find the words to express yourself verbally in French, so many of the things you practice for writing production (above) will work here too. (Just say them out loud.)  ‍

  • Use your flashcards (or the equivalent tool in your French course). Look at a word or sentence in your own language, and try to say it in French.

how to learn to write french

  • Try recording a short audio or video diary. (This will be very interesting to look back on later!)
  • Try speaking for a minute or two on a topic that interests you. (Record it to show to your tutor or language exchange partner)
  • Find a real human to speak to . This is usually the best option. Either a tutor or a language exchange partner will help. Your conversations can be spontaneous, unscripted, and you'll get instant feedback on what you're doing right or wrong.

Improving your speaking pronunciation

Making the right sounds.

When we say pronunciation, you're probably thinking about your ability to morph your mouth into the right shape to make those French sounds. (And your ability to get over your self-consciousness to do it!)

The first step is knowing and being able to hear the sounds you're trying to imitate. Learn French With Alexa has an entertaining French pronunciation playlist that might help.

Rhythm and intonation

Pronunciation is a big part of the equation, but there are also a couple of other things in play when you're trying to make yourself understood by French speakers.

  • Rhythm : Which words are emphasised in a sentence? Which words seem to be grouped together? Where does the speaker pause? 
  • Intonation : Where does the speaker's voice rise and fall in a sentence? This can carry a lot of meaning in French (especially when asking questions).

The best way to get better at these is simply to practice — listen and repeat.

A more advanced strategy that may help you adjust to the rhythm of spoken French is shadowing : This is where you listen to a piece of audio and try to copy the pronunciation, rhythm and intonation — all immediately after the speaker . (Don't wait until they finish speaking — you should both be speaking at the same time!)

The idea is that this can force you to speak at the same speed as the speaker, with the same pauses, emphasis and intonation. You'll be developing your "muscle memory" for the rhythm of the language.

If this is something you enjoy doing, and it gets you speaking French out loud — fantastic. Go for it. You may want to start with slower pieces of audio, like our French children's stories before moving up to native speed audio.

If you find it too difficult, too stressful, or you just don't feel like it's helping... that's also perfectly fine. Opinion is divided on whether it's an effective technique. Olly from StoryLearning has a good (if potentially selective) summary of the concept in this video.

How to practice pronunciation? (Hint: You need feedback)

Practicing your pronunciation when studying independently is a tricky thing, because what you really need is feedback . You need to be able to say a word or sentence, and then be told how well you did.

  • Did you make the sounds correctly? 
  • Did you raise your voice at the right time? 
  • Did you emphasise the right words in the sentence, and pause in natural places? 

Without that feedback, there's a chance you'll learn bad habits in your pronunciation — and these can be hard to unlearn.

You've got three main options for getting feedback and corrections on your pronunciation: 

Feedback option #1: Software "pronunciation checkers"

Some French courses come with "pronunciation checkers" — where you record your voice, and the software checks your pronunciation. You can also use Google Translate with the voice input selected, and speak to your computer or device. See if Google can recognise what you're saying in French.

how to learn to write french

Sounds fun, right?

I actually have mixed feelings about this technology. On one hand, I frequently have a hard time getting Siri / Google / Alexa to understand me when speaking my own first language . So I don't really trust a voice recognition AI to tell me when my French is hitting the mark.

But on the other hand, if this is what encourages you to start speaking your French out loud in the beginning... then that's fantastic. Give it a whirl! Just don't place too much stock in the software's opinion — I've found them to be both overly generous ( Rosetta Stone ) and incredibly picky ( Rocket French ).

Feedback option #2: Recording yourself and checking your own pronunciation

A less high-tech (but potentially more reliable) trick is to listen to a short recording from a French speaker, and then record yourself speaking the same material.

Then compare your pronunciation with the source recording. Use your own ears to figure out if you've nailed the pronunciation or not.

Some courses have this built into their audio examples, but you can also do it with any piece of audio and a recording device. (You could record yourself imitating the pronunciation of a YouTube video, for instance.)

Your success with this method depends on your ability actually hear when your pronunciation is good or bad — so it's important that you've learned to recognize those French sounds first.

Feedback option #3: Using a tutor or conversation partner

This is the best way to work on your pronunciation, especially once you move beyond the examples in your French course to start creating your own spontaneous speech.

A tutor will be able to show you the shapes you need to make with your mouth to achieve those more interesting sounds, and both a tutor and a conversation partner can tell you when you're getting things right or wrong.

How do you find a tutor? How else can a tutor be helpful? We'll look at that in the next chapter!

The best way to learn French

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How to Write Letters and emails in French For Any Occasion

By: Author Calli Zarpas

Posted on Published: July 11, 2022  - Last updated: August 3, 2023

How to Write Letters and emails in French For Any Occasion

Guide to writing letters and emails in French

If you’re looking to learn how to write letters and emails in French, you’ll need to learn a few key components: a proper salutation, a polite introduction, and a formal closing sentence. Everything else in your letter will depend on the reason you’re writing it.

How to write letters and emails in French

And if you’re wondering if the French are really writing letters anymore. They are! Even though you might be looking to learn cool slang words or how to order a delicious French meal as a new French learner, you’ll be surprised by how much learning how to write letters and emails in French will come in handy–especially if you plan to live here.  

Why to Learn How to Write Letters and Emails in French

For a quick example, I’m currently in the process of applying for a new visa here in France. When I was applying from the United States for past visas, the visa department had a phone helpline, an email address, and an easy online messaging system for questions and concerns. 

But here in France, things are a little bit more complicated. When I was applying last month, there was no phone number (or even email!) so I had to physically go into the office to ask a question and apply for my visa. When I got to the prefecture they told me I couldn’t turn in my application there, but I instead had to mail it to them.

I didn’t understand why I had to physically mail them my application when I could’ve quite literally reached my hand across the table and given it right to them at my appointment. But, I digress. 

But it’s not just the French government that loves letters. When canceling a French phone line, you have to mail a letter to the phone carrier. When you want to move out of your apartment, you have to mail a letter to your landlord. And when you close a bank account, you have to send your bank a letter in order to do so. 

In the United States, all of these things could be done with either a quick trip to the physical location or just with a phone call. Here in France, it’s letters only. Hopefully, now you’re convinced of the importance of learning letter (and occasionally email) writing in France so let’s dive into exactly how to do it. 

Letter Writing Pen

Writing a French Letterhead

If you’ve ever written a formal letter, it’s likely you’ve included a letterhead ( un en-tête in French) in the top left corner. A letterhead usually includes important details like where and when the letter was written. 

In French, there are a few different formatting options, but usually, you’ll write your name and address on the top left and then the name of your recipient underneath it on the right like this:

Your name Your address Your phone number/email

Recipient’s name Recipient’s address

For an email, you don’t have to worry about this since the time and destination are known automatically. 

Learning How to write letters and emails in French: A Proper Salutation

As you know, when writing any letter or email, it’s important to start off with who you’re addressing. In English, we almost exclusively say “dear” before the name of whoever we’re writing to, but in French you’ll usually only use “dear” or “very dear” for people you know.

  • Cher (m.) / Chère (f.) = Dear
  • Très cher (m.) / Très chère (f.) = Very dear

If you’re writing to somewhere you don’t know, you’ll usually just start off with their title like Madame (Mrs.), Monsieur (Mr.), Docteur (Dr.), etc. When I received a letter back from the French visa office saying I was missing a few papers for my application they simply addressed the letter, “ Madame .” 

Learning How to write letters and emails in French: A Polite Introduction

Now that you’ve chosen the right salutation, it’s time to start off with a polite introduction. You don’t want to dive into the letter without introducing the subject first, so here are a few ways to do so.

Je vous contacte pour = I’m contacting you to…

Le but de cette lettre est de = The goal of this letter is to…

Je vous informe par la présente que = I hereby let you know.. 

If you’re sending you letter after a specific event you can also start your letter with some context like this:

Suite à notre conversation téléphonique du = After our phone conversation…

À la suite de notre dernière rencontre … = After our last meeting…

Je vous remercie de votre courrier du … = Thank you for your letter…

Writing Letters

Learning How to Write Letters and Emails in French: A Formal Conclusion 

Once you’ve added your en-tête , written your polite introduction, and explained why you’re writing your letter or email, it’s time to start writing. The content of this part of the letter/email will be totally dependent on your subject and there aren’t any specific rules to be aware of (besides using formal language if you’re writing to someone you don’t know). 

But, there are a few rules when it comes to the conclusion. The difficult thing about choosing a concluding sentence is that depending on where you fall in the hierarchy of the relationship and the customs of the organization/business, the conclusion might differ.

If I’m responding to a letter or email, I’ll usually just use the same conclusion they use since that’s usually the safest choice. But here I’ll list a few formal conclusions, which will always be the last sentence of your letter, from most formal to least formal. 

Very Formal:

Veuillez recevoir, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma considération distinguée. 

Please accept, Sir, the assurance of my distinguished consideration. 

Je vous prie de croire, Madame, en l’assurance de mes sentiments les meilleurs.

Please believe, Madame, the guarantee of my best intentions. 

Veuillez recevoir, Madame/Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.

Please accept, Madame/Sir, the exprespression of my distinguished intentions. 

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l’assurance de mes sentiments respectueux.

Please accept, Sir, the assurance of my respectful intentions. 

Croyez, chère Madame, à mes sentiments les meilleurs.

Believe, dear madam, my best intentions. 

Least Formal:


Bien amicalement.


Bien à vous.

Sincères salutations.


Bien sincèrement.


Bien cordialement.

These can all be used to replace “Yours,” “Best wishes,” “Kind regards,” “Regards,” and “Best,”. 

Now that your letter is complete you can sign your name. For really formal emails and letters, especially those used for administrative purposes, you can add the date and the place you wrote the letter/email underneath your name like this:


Fait le [date] à [location]

And that’s it! You’ve learned all of the basics of writing a French letter. Happy writing!

Become an expert in French letter writing! Our good friend, Camille, at Frenchtoday.com and the creator of the À Moi Paris audio course, does also excellent job teaching how to write letters in French. This post on her site offers is a wonderful compliment to this page !

More articles by Calli:

  • Drinking Age In France
  • C’est La Vie Meaning
  • Voilà Meaning
  • Oh là là Meaning
  • Ways of saying “Yes” in French

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Calli Zarpas

Calli Zarpas, blogger, producer, and content creator, is a lover of all things travel, wellness, and French. Having begun traveling in her teens, Calli visited 30 countries before settling down in France post-college. When she's not writing French-language content for French Learner or traveling the world, you can find Calli creating content for herself and others on  Instagram ,  Tiktok , and her blog,  Wooish .

See all posts by Calli Zarpas

French Grammar

Get to grips with french grammar.

Like it or not, grammar is an essential (and unavoidable!) part of learning a language: it gives you the building blocks to express yourself confidently and accurately in your target language.

Our French grammar section covers all major topics and includes plenty of examples, and—most importantly—plenty of interactive exercises where you can practise every grammar point in detail.

Click on a topic to get started!

Just like in English, French conjugates its verbs in many different tenses. Some of the French tenses are quite similar, though, and we have to be careful not to mix them up.

Here you’ll find information about gerunds, participles, modal verbs, reflexive verbs, the conditional, the passive, the imperative and the subjunctive. The tenses are explained in the section called “Tenses”.

Nouns are naming words. In French, all nouns are either masculine or feminine (e.g. le journal, la idée ) and can be singular or plural.

Articles are the small words that come before a noun. They agree with the noun in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural). Articles can be definite (le/la/les) or indefinite (un/une/des) .

Pronouns replace nouns ( la femme → elle ). The different kinds of pronouns include personal, possessive, reflexive, relative, interrogative, demonstrative, and indefinite pronouns.

Adjectives are descriptive words. They indicate how something or someone is (e.g. good, fast ). Adjectives have comparative forms, and in French they agree with the grammatical gender of the noun they are describing.

Adverbs are words which don’t change their form (e.g. ici, hier, seulement, certainement ) and which we use to give information about place, time, reason or manner. Some adverbs have comparative forms as well.


Prepositions are small words (e.g. avant, dans ) that are used with nouns or pronouns. Prepositions are tricky words, because they often can’t be translated directly.

Sentence Structure

Here we’ll explain word order in French sentences. In particular, we’ll look at relative clauses, conditional clauses, and indirect speech.

How good is your French?

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Home » Articles » How to Speak French: The Faster Way to Learn French

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written by Benny Lewis

Language: French

Reading time: 11 minutes

Published: Mar 22, 2021

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

How to Speak French: The Faster Way to Learn French

So you want to learn how to speak French? Très bien!! I’m going to show you how to learn French, the fast way.

Millions of language learners around the world are already learning the French language, so you're in great company.

Plus, there are quite a few French-speaking countries (29 to be exact!) where you can practice speaking in Français . Francophone countries like Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Haiti, Monaco, and many African countries.

So you can learn to speak French faster than you think. In fact, my speak from day one method is the best way to learn French if you want to speak the language.

Yes, some aspects of French can be difficult, like with any language. But for the most part, French is an easy language to learn .

Follow these steps, and you'll be speaking French before you know it.

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • How to find your reason and passion for learning French
  • How to speak French and immerse yourself without leaving your home
  • Creating your own French phrasebook that’s relevant to your life
  • Using language hacks to make “difficult” French turn into easy French
  • Learn how to have real conversations with native French speakers
  • Learning conversational connectors in French to ease into speaking naturally
  • How to learn French by focusing on the easy parts

If you'd prefer to listen rather than read, here's a video I made to go along with this article:

Step 1: Fall in Love with French

Lesson: Ask “Why” First – NOT “How/What”

What's the key to speaking French? Passion.

French is the language of love. And to speak any language, you've got to fall in love with it. Or at least find a really good reason to stick with it, even when the going gets tough.

Your big why for learning French will keep you motivated through the ups and downs of learning a new language. It will be something to hold onto whenever you feel frustrated with learning French and start to wonder “What was I thinking?”

Everyone has their own big why for speaking French.

Here are some really good reasons to fall in love with French:

  • To travel the world. French is an official language in over 25 countries, and is widely spoken in many more.
  • To have conversations with French-speaking family members.
  • To read French literary classics (think Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Alexandre Dumas and Gustave Flaubert).
  • To connect with French native speakers.
  • To get an inside view of French culture.

Why do you want to learn French? Find your own personal, meaningful reason to study French, and use it to keep you on track throughout your language journey.

Once you know your why , it's easier to stick with the following steps in how to learn French.

Related resources: Flex your French writing muscles , how I learned French on the toilet in 6 months , 121 French words and phrases to talk about your job

Step 2: Create a Mini-France in Your Home

Lesson: Creating an Immersion Environment for Home, Work, or Play (Helpful for all languages!)

It's easier to speak French when you're surrounded by French. But you don't need to live in France to immerse yourself in the language. In fact, you can surround yourself with French wherever you live.

Here are some of my favourite tips you can use to immerse yourself in French.

  • Turn your smartphone into a French speaker . Switch the language settings on your phone to French. You can do the same with your computer.
  • Look for French speakers in your city. Most cities around the world, big or small, will have a community of French speakers. Chances are, there's one near you.
  • Watch French TV and movies. Switch on the subtitles to speed up your learning.
  • Read articles and books in French. LingQ is a helpful tool for doing this.
  • Listen to French radio and podcasts (my favourite is FrenchPod101 ). You can learn a lot of French by listening to French songs .

Want to learn more about the immersion from home approach? Then check out how I learned Japanese while living in Spain and Egyptian Arabic while living in Brazil .

Related resources: French YouTube channels to level up your skill , how to learn French with Instagram

Step 3: Write Your Own French Phrasebook

Lesson: Conversational French: 25 Ways to Start a French Conversation

You'll learn French much faster if you focus on words and phrases that are relevant to your life.

Plus, when you have real conversations in French (I'll come to that in a moment), you'll be able to talk about yourself.

That's why I recommend creating a personalised French phrasebook . This is a collection of words and phrases that are relevant to you.

I suggest starting your personal phrasebook with:

  • Bonjour! Je m’appelle [name]. Ça va? – “Hello! My name is [name]. How are you?”
  • Et toi? – “And you?”
  • Parle-moi de toi – “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Je viens de [your home country] – “I'm from [your home country].”
  • Dans mon temps libre, j'aime [your favourite activities] – “In my spare time, I like [your favourite activities].”
  • Je veux apprendre le français parce que [your reasons for learning French] – “I want to learn French because [your reasons for learning French].”
  • Je suis [occupation] – “I'm a [your occupation].”
  • Qu’est-ce que tu aimes? – “What do you like?”
  • J’aime… – “I like…”
  • J’adore… – “I love…”
  • Je déteste… – “I dislike…”
  • Je pense que… – “I think that…”
  • Any other interesting information about yourself (Have you learned any other languages? Travelled to unusual places?)

And of course, it’s a good idea to learn some key questions to ask to keep the conversation flowing. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Est-ce que tu aimes… – “Do you like…”
  • Parlez-vous français? – “Do you speak French?”
  • Tu parles d’autres langues? – “Do you speak other languages?”
  • Comment tu t’appelles? – “What’s your name?”
  • Tu es où? – “Where are you?”
  • Qu’est-ce que tu vas faire? – “What are you going to do?”
  • Je peux t’accompagner? – “Can I join you?”
  • Tu voyages beaucoup? – “Do you travel a lot?”
  • Tu peux répéter ça? – “Can you repeat that?
  • Comment dire…? – “How do you say…?”
  • Quoi de neuf? – “What’s new?”

Related resources: French phrases for travelers and tourists , 10 ways to say “How are you?” in French and 10 ways to respond

Step 4: Accept that You're Going to Sound Funny at First When You Speak French

Lesson: French Pronunciation Guide: How to Sound More Like a Native French Speaker

If you've never spoken out loud in a foreign language, it can feel awkward.

This is especially true with speaking French.

French includes sounds that don't even exist in English. When you've only ever spoken one language, forming your lips and tongue into new shapes to make unfamiliar sounds can feel jarring, like hearing a wrong note in a well-known song.

Some language learners let this hold them back. They feel embarrassed about saying things wrong and making mistakes.

Push through this fear by speaking French even when you feel silly. You'll learn French much faster that way.

And trust me, no one's going to laugh at you.

Related resources: 35 free online French language classes and resources , the French alphabet: why it’s easier than you think , French exercises online: 12+ exercises to improve your French language skills

Step 5: Fast-Track Your French with Language Hacks

Lesson: Language Hacking French: How to Learn French, the Faster Way

Language hacks are shortcuts that help you learn a language faster. They're ideal if you want to learn to speak French.

Here are a few of my favourite language hacks that can speed up your French learning:

  • Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS). SRS is a great method for memorising vocabulary and phrases using virtual flashcards. My favourite SRS tool, Anki, is free and allows you to create your own flashcards, so you can build a deck from your personalised French phrasebook.
  • Mnemonics. A memory palace is an effective way to burn French words onto your brain.
  • The Pomodoro Technique . Break up your study sessions into 25 minute chunks. This gives you better focus, so you learn more in a shorter time.

Related resources: How to use social media for instant French immersion , Listen to French: 50+ incredible French listening resources

Step 6: Have Real Conversations with Native French Speakers

Lesson: Speak from Day One

The most effective way to learn a language is to speak from day one . This is especially true if you want to have conversations with native French speakers .

Where can you find native French speakers to practise with? It's actually really simple.

No matter where you live you can still find people, either online or offline, to speak with in French. I like to search for native French speakers on:

  • Preply (our review is here ). This is the first place I go to find French tutors and pay for one-on-one lessons (reasonably priced).
  • Meetup.com . Most major cities have a Meetup for French speakers or French learners. CouchSurfing is another of my favourite ways to meet French speakers.
  • HelloTalk . This free mobile app helps you find French speakers who are learning your native language.

You may also like to join my Speak in a Week crash course to give yourself a huge confidence boost in your French speaking skills after just seven days. It's free.

The best way to begin speaking from day one is to simply learn how to say “hi”! A few German greetings you can use:

  • “Hello” – Bonjour or Salut
  • “Hey!” – Coucou
  • “How are you?” – Ça va?

Related resources: French greetings , 10 ways to say “goodbye” in French

Step 7: Use Conversational Connectors for More Natural Conversations

Lesson: Conversational Connectors: How to Fake Having a Conversation Just After Starting to Learn a Language

Conversations involve a lot more than simply exchanging bare facts. They would be awfully dull if they did. In a world like that, a conversation with a work colleague might go something like this:

You: “How was your weekend?” Them: “It was fine.” You: “Mine wasn't.” Them: “Oh.”

Boring, right?

I bet you don't talk like this in your native language. The same conversation, spoken more naturally, might sound more like this:

You: “So, how was your weekend?” Them: “It wasn't bad, thanks for asking. How about yours?” You: “Actually, it wasn't that great, to be honest.” Them: “Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. What happened?”

See how much better the conversation flows?

Both conversations communicate essentially the same information, but the second one uses conversational connectors . These are short phrases that serve to make the conversation sound more natural, and less jarring and “staccato”.

Here are a few examples in French:

  • “To tell you the truth” – à vrai dire
  • “In my opinion” – à mon avis
  • “By the way” – à propos
  • “On the other hand…” d'autre part…
  • “That is to say…” – c'est-à-dire…

Related resources: 111 core French words , French slang

Step 8: Focus on the Easy Aspects of French

Lesson: Why French is Easy: How to Understand Spoken French

French really isn't easier or harder to learn than any other language, but you can quickly forget this if you only focus on the difficult aspects of French.

Whenever you get discouraged, think about all of the ways that French is actually an easy language to learn :

French is an easy language because it:

  • Has no cases (nominative, accusative, etc), unlike Russian .
  • Is not a tonal language , unlike many African and Asian languages.
  • Shares a lot of vocabulary with English due to their intertwined histories.
  • Uses the Latin alphabet.
  • Only has two noun genders, unlike German, which has three.

Remember these facts when you're learning how to speak French, and the tougher aspects of the language suddenly won't seem so bad!

Related resources: Learning French after 10 language fails , 10 good reasons to learn French

You Can Do It!

Everyone who has ever learned to speak French (even native speakers, who learned when they were kids) was once a beginner in the language. They all managed to learn to speak French fluently, and so can you.

You just need to use your French as much as you can. Spend as much time immersed in French as you can. And, most importantly, believe in yourself .

Just remember these important steps:

  • Find your “Big Why” for learning French
  • Immerse yourself in the French language by creating a Mini-France in your home
  • Make smart use of language hacks
  • Use conversational connectors to sound more natural
  • Speak from day one – especially with native speakers
  • Realise that French is much easier than you think

Finally, if you're looking for a structured French course, one of my favourite ways to learn French is with the FrenchPod101 podcast. Check it out here:


Bon courage !

How to Speak French: The Faster Way to Learn French

Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one .

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

Have a 15-minute conversation in your new language after 90 days

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Reading in French: 19 Resources and 17 Tips for Aspiring Bookworms

If you want to read a 300-word French novel, you’ll need to know the alphabet.

Okay, so you may be more advanced than that if you’re reading this.

But if you want to improve your prowess at reading in French, there are tons of resources designed to help, no matter what level you’re starting from.

We’ll show you 19 of the best, from easy French books to fun reading comprehension exercises , that’ll help you improve your French reading skills—without getting overwhelmed or lost in a difficult text.

Plus, learn 17 valuable tips you can follow if your goal is to get lost in a good book while greatly improving your French.

19 Resources for Reading in French

“french reading practice for absolute beginners”, “100 most common french words in context”, “super easy french”, kindle vocabulary builder, wordreference, duolingo stories, beelinguapp, the french experiment, the fable cottage, clozemaster, bilingual reader articles, languageguide.org, french texts for beginners and intermediates, easy french practice, bookbox french, “déjà vu” (a bilingual play), 17 tips for reading in french, choose material suitable for your level, build your vocabulary, use books designed for french learners, read about subjects that interest you, surf the internet in french, explore all your options, follow along with recordings, read out loud, read every day, read the french news, read books you already know, don’t look up every word you don’t know, aim to understand the gist, not grammar details, make notes as you read, stay relaxed and avoid frustration, regularly review what you’ve read, do follow-up activities after finishing each book, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

This short YouTube playlist from Innovative Language drops you right into the world of practical French reading skills, with a special focus on train tickets.

These videos are more about learning French reading in an immersive setting than about learning whole language concepts. This means they contain some grammar that you might not run across until further into a beginner textbook, like the future tense. So while this playlist is meant for “absolute beginners,” it could also be useful for anyone hovering around the beginner level.

If you enjoy this practical learning, you can get a lot more from the same Innovative Language team at FrenchPod101 and the accompanying YouTube channel.

This video delivers just what it claims—some of the most common words in French. The words are written in French along with a pronunciation and English translation. Then you get an example sentence that uses the word, also written out and spoken.

By building up a core of common French knowledge, you’ll be equipped to understand a large portion of written language you come across.

You’ll also be exposed to some grammar without explanation, this time in the form of the example sentences. The idea here is simply getting the vocabulary down. Learning it now will help you start reading more French texts sooner.

The host of this longer playlist, Tony, takes viewers through a variety of different situations —from eating breakfast, to walking the streets of different cities, to making a quiche.

There’s even a video specifically focused on reading, which goes over some French-language books that may spark your interest.

Fortunately, bilingual subtitles make all the videos relevant to reading in French.

This is another playlist for “absolute beginners.” The speech is clear, slow and accompanied by helpful visuals. Be warned, though, if you really are an absolute beginner, these videos will begin to strain your comprehension abilities quickly. Therefore, it’s probably best to work your way through the list slowly.

If you have a Kindle Paperwhite, you can use the Vocabulary Builder feature to create flashcards from words you don’t know.

Once you’ve set up a French dictionary on your Kindle , you’ll be able to place your finger on any word for a quick definition.

You can then use the Vocabulary Builder to review the words you’ve looked up . If you already do a lot of reading on your Kindle, this is a really easy way to incorporate French reading into your routine.

But what should you read? If you’re tight on cash, there are plenty of  low-cost e-books for French learners . Keep your wallet happy with these free and cheap Kindle books in French . There are also some good public domain texts you can download completely for free. Admittedly, most of these are beyond beginner level, but they’re free , so there’s no reason to not just go ahead and add them to your library now.


Linguee is a resource you can use when your French dictionary lets you down. The program allows you to see how certain vocabulary is actually being used by real people. When you enter a word or a phrase and select your desired languages, you’re able to see side-by-side usages from written online material.

In the case of French-English translations, you’ll often be presented with snippets from matching French and English versions of Canadian websites. You have to take context into consideration, of course, but seeing multiple usages will help you do exactly that.


Head to the WordReference forums to connect with other learners and native speakers who’ll probably not only answer all your more complicated questions that other resources can’t help you with. As a beginner, you’ll want to make use of the French/English vocabulary or grammar forum, depending on your question. Be sure to read all the forum guidelines before posting.

The French-English dictionary on WordReference (which can be accessed on the app) is also a great default place to look things up, whether you’re reading a physical book or online content.


You may already be using or planning on using the popular language app Duolingo. But make sure to check out the Stories part of the website, which uses interactive “mini-stories” to teach you reading and listening. It works sort of like the regular Duolingo “tree,” as you can unlock higher levels the more you practice.

The first stories are pretty basic, so you can start using Duolingo Stories early on. You’ll begin with a story called “Good Morning!” and join characters Marion and Jean for a sleepy-headed cup of coffee. (Hilarity ensues.)


Beelinguapp allows you to practice reading through texts with audio and translations. The texts come in a variety of levels, ranging from translations of classics to material created for learners.

Beelinguapp highlights the text for you as the recording plays, so you can easily follow along. This is a solid, reliable resource for general reading practice and working on reading speed.


The French Experiment is like a carefully curated multimedia library for early Frenchlearners.

The children’s stories on this website are a pleasure to experience. You can read them with or without audio. You can read them with continuous translations, translations you reveal when you’re ready or no translations at all.

Illustrations are interspersed throughout the text and the creators have begun to add video as well ( check out the one for “Petit Poulet,” or “Chicken Little”).


This site is from the same crew behind The French Experiment, with the same idea and a bit of overlap. The Fable Cottage brings more of a classic fairy tale focus your way.

Here, you’ll find stories such as “Cendrillon” (“Cinderella”), “Jack et les Haricots Magiques” (“Jack and the Magic Beanstalk”) and “Hansel et Gretel” (“Hansel and Gretel,” though you probably figured that one out).


Don’t have time to focus on a whole article, or even a whole paragraph? Clozemaster will let you practice your reading through single sentences. This app is appropriate for anyone who already has a little French under their belt.

Clozemaster is basically a flashcard app that works with full sentences through fill-in-the-blank quizzes. It’ll help build your vocabulary and strengthen your reading comprehension at the same time.


Kwiziq gives you a collection of texts with accompanying audio recordings , including a French version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The texts are divided into levels. These will probably work best if you start with the A1 level once you already have a bit of French knowledge down.

The texts have a pretty intuitive “hover and click” feature that gives you phrase-by-phrase translations as you read.


This site includes a handful of readings for French beginners that are fully equipped with interactive translations, definitions and audio that can be stopped and started from any point. The readings are mercifully short, and a little more entertaining and edgy than you might expect.

To pique your curiosity, I’ll just say this: clowns and art fraud.


Sometimes you just want to practice your reading without any extra noise. That’s exactly what you can do here.

Lingua.com gives you texts created by professional French teachers for early beginners, upper-beginners and intermediates. It has a more basic approach than other sites, in that all you get is the text and a few questions. However, it’s well organized and easy to use.


“Easy” here doesn’t mean “beginner,” but these texts are a treat for beginners to enjoy and aspire to. They cover a variety of pleasant travel- and culture-based topics like baking bread , talking about wine and the gorgeous Montagne Sainte-Victoire .

Each text comes with English translations that you can hit a button to hide or reveal. This makes them accessible to all learners. Even if you can’t follow the French immediately, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using these texts—and their accompanying beautiful pictures—to develop a taste for French landscapes and culture.


Once you get a handle on your French reading and are ready to try flying without a parachute (i.e., translations), this is a good place to start. 1jour1actu is a French news publication for kids . Actu is short for actualité,  or “news,” and you may already know that  jour means “day.”

1jour1actu deals with regular news subjects—everything from sports to climate change and other political news—but in simple language. You’ll even find some entertaining videos under the “1jour1question” (1day1question) tab.

This good old standby is a staple for French learners. Like some of the other resources on this list, it can get more advanced pretty quickly, but it’s still accessible to beginners. French subtitles are included in the videos, and you have the option to add English subtitles if you need them.

BookBox is a useful resource for getting used to typical story formats in French —for example, seeing how different past tenses are used together.


Originally a BBC Radio 4/ARTE co-production, this bilingual series exploring a relationship between a British woman and a French Algerian man is available in text format on the BBC Languages website. The podcast link is no longer accessible, but you still get 24 scenes with color-coded French and English text, which is perfect for beginning reading practice.

Claire is a French learner, so she and Ahmed communicate in a mixture of the two languages, creating both a realistic and practical scenario for actual learners.

Le Petit Nicolas (French Edition) (Folio)

If you start out too ambitious, you may end up frustrated and be tempted to quit. Don’t be afraid to try children’s books. The “Petit Nicolas” books by Sempé engage the kind of humor that appeals both to children and adults and is charmingly illustrated with Sempé’s famous signature cartoons.

Speaking of cartoons, there are also lots of comics for grownups available. The French are huge manga fans, and there are literally thousands of French-language comic strip books available for adults online or in bookshops.

There are also several classic works of fiction written in clear, straightforward language such as “L’Etranger” by Albert Camus. The poems of Jacques Prévert , studied by French school children from a young age, are another excellent choice for exploring the beauty of the French language at its simplest, most playful best.

For more advanced learners, the poems, plays and novels of Victor Hugo provide an overview of French history in classic, elegant language that makes him one of France’s most beloved authors.

Keep a notebook and pencil or your favorite note-taking app ready next to you while you read. When you come across new words, try to work them out from the context. If you can’t, write them down to look them up later. Take an extra moment to write down the sentence that the word appeared in —many words have multiple meanings and the context will help you figure out later which meaning was being used.

There’s a wealth of books available from publishers on both sides of the Atlantic that are specifically created for language learners. They provide extensive glossaries, pre-reading exercises and comprehension checklists. Some books have the text in French on one page and in English on the other, so you can compare words and sentences, or glance over at the English language when you get stuck.

To find a book like this, just search for French Readers on Amazon or your bookstore of choice.

Many people who choose to learn French are interested in French culture in general. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that a huge selection of books in simplified French language is available for learners to explore French history, literature, art or philosophy. However, reading in French doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to read about  France!

If the reign of Louis XIV doesn’t float your boat, be honest with yourself and admit it. Reading something in a foreign language that doesn’t truly grip your interest is going to be hard going. Choose a text about something close to your heart. Are you are a gardening aficionado? Pick up an illustrated book on gardening . Fancy yourself a talented chef? Choose a nice cookbook and start with an easy recipe.

Believe it or not, a large amount of reading happens every day without us even realizing it. Whether you’re scrolling your favorite social media website, using Google or checking your email inbox, these are golden opportunities to practice reading in French.

The easiest way to surf the internet in French is to change your language settings. This can be done by changing the interface language of your internet browser or your email inbox to French in the “Preferences” tab. You can also change social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even YouTube to use French as the interface language.

If you spend a lot of time driving or out walking the dog, audiobooks can be a great alternative . The skills that you will develop will vary from reading a traditional book—audiobooks certainly won’t help your spelling! However, if you can keep your concentration, it can be very useful in helping you advance to fluency.

E-books are also a great idea  for language learners. They’re cheaply and easily available and many e-readers have bilingual dictionary capabilities, so you can look up a word quickly. As they hold many books, you can easily flick between your bestseller and your French grammar guide, helping you learn as you read. Don’t forget that you can also highlight and add notes to pages on most e-readers , so you can check things out later if you need to.

Find recorded versions (available for the French classics and popular texts) of your book and listen as you follow the words in the book. Listen to the CD as you drive to work, then read the same passage later.

Audiobook services like Audible and Libro.fm offer pretty expansive selections of French audiobooks—or, if you’re on a budget, you can check out your local library’s offerings for free with an app like Overdrive .

Combine honing your reading skills with improving pronunciation by reading out loud. Find someone who can listen to you and give helpful feedback. You could even record yourself and play it back while reading along.

As with acquiring any new skill or talent, learning French takes discipline and practice. Set aside 15 minutes every day —in the morning when you first wake up, in bed before you go to sleep at night or, yes, during your daily commute (unless you are driving!) to read in French. Just make sure that you keep going! A little each day, and before long you’ll be a true mordure de lecture  (bookworm).

Go online and read the news in French . There are many news websites available. The advantage of reading online is that you can copy and paste words you are struggling with into an online French-English dictionary.

Choose a news story you’re already familiar with. Scan the text quickly before reading and look up any words you don’t know. Then, go back and read the entire article.

Choose a favorite story that you know inside and out and read it in French. Already knowing the storyline will allow you to sit back and enjoy the French language used.

If you’re reaching for your dictionary every third word, it’s not going to be a fun reading session. To figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word, look at the context that it appears in. Read the sentence and think of the kind of things that would fit. Try and guess, and pencil this in with a question mark next to the word. If you need to, look the word up at a later date.

If that same word crops up again while you’re reading, it’s probably best to look it up—if words are used again and again by authors, you might as well know them. If you don’t feel like dragging your dictionary around with you, try a French dictionary app .

There’s no point trying to learn every grammar structure and tense that you come across while reading if you’re only at an intermediate stage. It’ll take forever and you’ll probably get confused.

If you can get a grasp of what is going on, that’s probably enough, but make a note of any passages you struggled with so that you can look at them later. Try to let a lot of things you’re unfamiliar with go; you won’t get many benefits from poring over each page with a grammar book. As long as you’ve got the gist, you’re on your way.

You might want to keep a pack of Post-its handy if you have little room to add in notes. Some good things to make notes of are:

  • New grammar structures that you’ve studied before but want to refresh because you found them difficult.
  • Idiomatic phrases  you want to try out in real life.
  • New words that you found the meanings of. As we mentioned earlier, make sure you also write down the sentence the word appears in for context when you’re looking back on it.
  • General French culture points you want to note.
  • Locations or places mentioned that you want to look up on a map.

You can then take these notes out in a study session and do each of the actions, perhaps noting what you learned in a notebook.

If you feel yourself getting frustrated or not getting the gist of a page, put your book down . This might happen a lot as you get started, but you’ll soon get reading in French to the point where you rarely have to do this. Go with how you’re feeling and if you start to feel bored or frustrated, switch what you’re doing and come back to it later. Take small bites!

To help you get the most out of reading, review your notes after every day of reading. This way you won’t overwhelm yourself weeks down the road with a pile of notes to go through. You’ll also have a better insight and understanding as you read on.

Try making flashcards out of vocabulary you’ve learned, so if it crops up again you’ll have the meaning on hand. Now is also the time to review that grammar you thought was weird—try and understand how it works so you can cruise through next time it crops up.

You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you finish a novel in French—but don’t let the fun end there! Here are more ways to gain meaningful language practice using the same book:

  • Watch the movie version.  If your book has a movie version , it’s time to bust out the popcorn. Watching the movie of a book you’ve read can help you understand the setting and culture of the book you’ve read with more clarity.
  • Discuss the book with a native. You could ask a native about phrases that you found difficult, or when to use a certain phrase. You could even talk about parts of the culture you found unusual or bizarre. A French book club could also be a perfect way to discuss French literature with others. Look out for a group near you on Meetup or the French Alliance .

These suggestions should allow you to jumpstart your French language reading. Bonne lecture!

FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.


For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:


Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."


All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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  18. The 17 Best Ways to Learn French on Your Own (That Are ...

    The best way to learn French on your own mostly depends on your learning style. That said, these 17 practical strategies will help you learn French fast and effectively, with tools and resources to check yourself and improve your skills. ... Write the French word on one side. Then, on the other side, write the English translation and/or French ...

  19. 1 Hour to Improve Your French Writing Skills

    https://bit.ly/3uDXmUx ← Click here and get the best resources to learn in the most efficient way. ↓ More details below ↓Step 1: Go to https://bit.ly/3uDXmUx...

  20. How to Write Letters and Emails in French

    In the context of a salutation to start a French letter, "cher" means dear. cher + masculine singular noun = cher Pierre. chère + feminine masculine noun = chère Anne. chers + plural = chers Anne et Pierre. chères + plural feminine only = chères Anne et Marie. "Cher" can be followed by "Monsieur/ Madame / Mademoiselle".

  21. How to Speak French Fluently

    Tuning into French radio stations or podcasts while commuting can sharpen your listening skills, teach you everyday language, and give you insights into the French-speaking world. Moreover, the rhythm and repetition of songs can help you remember new phrases more effectively than other methods.

  22. How to Speak French: The Faster Way to Learn French

    Turn your smartphone into a French speaker. Switch the language settings on your phone to French. You can do the same with your computer. Look for French speakers in your city. Most cities around the world, big or small, will have a community of French speakers. Chances are, there's one near you.

  23. Mastering Passé Composé: Use The French Past Tense With Confidence

    The passé composé takes the place of the English simple past tense (in all spoken and most written French) and the present perfect tense. The passé composé is used to narrate completed past events, mention something that took place at a defined moment, or to say what has happened. It is formed from two parts: an auxiliary verb and a past ...

  24. GCSE French

    Develop your understanding with listening and reading activities and have a go at a writing question about being healthy. The environment in French. Get to grips with vocabulary about the ...

  25. Reading in French: 19 Resources and 17 Tips for Aspiring ...

    Reading in French is a fun way to practice and boost your language skills. Improve your reading skills with 19 resources for all levels, including teaching apps, bilingual texts, informative videos and more. Plus, find 17 effective tips to improve your French reading skills as you work your way down the resource list.