French Language

My favorite impossible French words

Hi, or rather Bonjour.
I’ve been living in France for more than 25 years now.
Living and working every day with French speaking people.
My sons are both French, the youngest is 14 and the oldest has just turned 18 and is awaiting the results of the famous “Bac” exams.
We live in the countryside, in a small farming village with about 120 inhabitants. A very typical village with mainly old houses and barns, no pavements, no stop signs on the road and the street lights are turned off by the mayor before midnight.
Basically, I never speak English, as there are no English speakers in the village. I would say that my spoken French is very fluent, although I do admit that I have difficulty with the spelling and conjugation.

On a daily basis, when I’m dealing with people who do not know me, they assume that I am a French native, not that I pretend to be one. We can talk about this and that, politics, sports, gardening and many subjects.

Then suddenly… I will pronounce a word.

Destinations Education

Benefits Arising from having a Mother Living in France

My wonderful friend Ginnie has often talked about her mother’s life in France. Having just returned from a visit there, this is what she had to say:

My mother took early retirement from her teaching career in London, and moved to a beautiful, old farmhouse in South-West France’s Anglars Nozac commune (in the Lot region) about seven years ago. My first thoughts on learning of her intended relocation were:

  • a) Oh no… one grandparent less to fulfil regular babysitting duties for my then toddler son, Oscar!
  • b) Fantastic! Oscar and I will benefit from cheap and glorious holidays with a granny/mother who having always been somewhat of a Francophile, would soon be in her element; happy, relaxed, surrounded by gorgeous countryside and enjoying a language and culture she has always loved.
  • c) I must learn French!
French Language

Three words in French with different spellings but the same sound

Let’s have a quick look at three French words, with different spelling and different meanings, but to the unaccustomed ear, they sound very similar and can lead to confusion.

Toi, trois & toit

Toi which means “you” or “yourself”

Trois which is the number “three”

Toit which means “roof”

The best way to avoid confusion is to understand the context of the phrase where these words are being used. If you practice and listen to the French language, you will eventually be able to notice the difference in the pronunciation of these words.

Here are some other examples where words have the same sound but different spelling:

  • Moi and mois, which mean me and month
  • Soi and soie, self and silk
  • Pois and poids which gives peas and weight


Another example where French comprehension can but difficult is with the words Dessus and Dessous.
Dessus means on or on top of
whilst the opposite is
Dessous means under, beneath, or below

There is also very little difference in the pronunciation of both of these words; so you must really lend an ear and listen.


An excellent method in practicing your French and overcoming the problem of comprehension and vocabulary is to use “Audio-comparative” exercises. I strongly recommend using the French 4U language course, which is available on the Internet and offer such exercises as part of the language program. You can test the demo course now and learn French.

Web site French language course