Two things you should never say to your French boyfriend

I’ve made my share of silly mistakes in French. I’ve progressed a lot in the last few years, but (much to my chagrin), I’m still not perfect. Sometimes just accidentally adding a single consonant to a word leaves les français giggling at my expense. (The word for down jacket is “doudoune” not “doune-doune,” in case you were wondering.)

Usually, my slip-ups just leave me subject to ridicule, but sometimes they get me in trouble. Here are two ways to accidentally offend your French copain or copine.

Je t'aime beaucoup

“Je t’aime” = I love you and “beaucoup” = a lot so “Je t’aime beaucoup” must mean “I love you a lot,” right? Then why does he look so insulted?! Turns out, “Je t’aime beaucoup” is actually a horrible thing to say to someone you’re going out with. Instead of expressing the magnitude of your love, you’re actually saying “You’re nice and I like you as a friend.” Weird, non?

Je t'apprécie

It’s nice to feel appreciated, isn’t it? We use this word a lot in English, usually to be nice (“I really appreciate the beautiful flowers you brought me!”) …and sometimes to be passive aggressive (“I’d really appreciate it if you could try to be less like a caffeinated Disney princess in the morning.”) But how do you tell your chéri that you appreciate them (the nice way) in French? Not by saying “Je t’apprécie.” Apprécier is a faux ami – it means to like, rather than to appreciate. So when you say “Je t’apprécie,” you’re just saying,” I like you,” and not in the “I like like you” way. Whoops.

Want to see more stupid things I’ve said in French? Here’s asking for a condom instead of applesauce, killing the cat instead of borrowing it, and more.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what goofy language mistakes have you made?

4 thoughts on “Two things you should never say to your French boyfriend

  1. Hahah love these. I have a whole bunch… including telling my father-in-law about orgasming and not playing. I know the difference between jouer and jouir but in my haste to get the sentence out, I picked the wrong vowel sound. ;-((

    1. Haha I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes the wrong sound just comes out even though you totally know what it should be. I accidentally asked my father-in-law for a capote instead of a compote once… oops!

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