Imagine that you’re in Paris, having fun meeting new people and enjoying yourself while discovering the city. One evening, a French artist you met at a museum invites you to a party at his house. You get really excited and accept his invitation expecting to make new friends and hoping to learn more about French culture.
As you arrive at the party, you see different people having conversations and exchanging ideas while giving their opinions and you can’t wait to start socializing. As you start introducing yourself to people, you’re surprised to find out that most of the guests don’t speak English. How can you communicate with them?
To start the conversation, after you introduce yourself, you ask a person about his name, his age, his job, his hobbies, the city where he currently is living, the city or country where he grew up, etc…
While you are getting to know a person, you try to find something you have in common with him, that way you can start the conversation.
For example, you discover that you are both fans of the same football team, what a coincidence! So now you have something to talk about, you start by asking him what did he think about their latest game, and one subject leads to another, before you know it, you got yourself a new friend in this beautiful city.
But in order to be able to make new friends, you must learn the local’s language so that you could fit in with them, you need to learn how to conduct a conversation smoothly, which can be very challenging, especially in a language that you barely know!
Asking questions can be different from one language to another. In the French language, there are different expressions for each situation.
The first thing you need to know is that there are 3 types of questions in French:
1. Les questions fermées:
These are basically yes or no questions.
Example: Avez-vous rencontré Ted?
The question is: Have you met Ted?
2. Les questions ouvertes:
We use this type of question when looking for specific information.
a) When you want to ask a question about place:
Où passez-vous les vacances? (Where are you going to spend the holidays?)
b) When you want to ask about a date:
Quand arrives-tu à Paris? (When do you arrive in Paris?)
c) When you want to ask about the reason:
Pourquoi avez-vous décidé d’apprendre l’Anglais? (Why did you decide to learn English? )
d) When you want to ask about the number of something:
Combien de jour as-tu passé à Paris? (How many days did you spend in Paris?)
3. Les questions partielles : quel/ quelle/ quels/ quelles
|Quel est ton nom ?||What’s your name?|
|Quelle est votre adresse ?||What’s your address ?|
|Quelle est ta nationalité ?||What is your nationality?|
|Quelle est ta profession ?||What’s your job?|
|Quel âge as-tu ?||What’s your age ?|
|Quelle est votre couleur préférée ?||What is your favourite colour?|
To answer the last question, you say: Le rouge est ma couleur préférée (Red is my favourite colour.)
Now that we say the three types of questions you could use in a conversation, let’s move to the second part of a discussion, which is asking for and giving an opinion.
Let’s say you want to ask someone about their opinion regarding a particular subject? For example, you’re in an art gallery, and you would like people to give you their opinion on a particular painting that you find interesting.
In this case, you tell them:
“Que pensez-vous de ce tableau? (What do you think about this painting?)
So one the other person answers your question and give their personal opinion, they use one of many expressions in French to clarify that this is their personal opinion and not fact, and they’ll start the sentence by saying: “À mon avis” which means “in my opinion” or they can use the word “personnellement” and that means “personally”
To express your opinion in French, you use different sentences at the beginning of the sentence.
Here is a list of common expressions that we can use:
|Expressions en Français||Expressions in English|
|A mon avis…||in my opinion|
|D’après moi…ou Selon moi…||According to me|
|J’ai le sentiment que…||I feel that|
|J’ai l’impression que…||I have the impression that|
|Il me semble que||It seems to me that|
|Je pense que…||I think that|
|Je crois que…||I believe that|
|Je trouve que…||I find that|
|J’imagine que…||I imagine that|
When you want to give your opinion, you can use one of these adjectives to say what you think of something:
Now that you know the keywords that you need to make a sentence expressing your opinion, let’s see some samples of sentences that you can use the next time you find yourself having a conversation with people who speak French :
- Personnellement, je la trouve très jolie. (Personally, I find it very pretty .)
- Je trouve que ce livre est très intéressant (I find this book very interesting.)
When you share someone’s opinion, you can say
- Je suis d’accord avec Emily. (I agree with Emily)
- Je suis tout à fait d’accord avec vous. (I completely agree with you)
- Absolument ! ( Absolutely !)
And there you have it! The next time you find yourself with a group of people speaking French, you can talk to them about anything you want, ask different kinds of questions and give your opinion on whatever subject.