False Recognition

The fact that the French language has contributed some words to the English idiom can lead us to reverse the process when learning the language, so that if we think recognize a word in French, we are tempted to give it the English meaning. However, while there is much semantic crossover between French and English, learner be wary of assuming that a French word will mean what you expect it to mean in English. An example of this problem is the French word comment which doesn't actually mean "comment," it means "how." Similarly demander doesn't mean "to demand," it actually means "to ask." Furthermore, a person who is sympathique is not sympathetic, they are "nice". These are the sorts of pitfalls our French language tutors will help you to avoid when you begin learning French with us.


As in Japanese, although not quite to such a complicated extent, the French language includes a concept of formal and informal address. This is form of honorific does not exist in English. In French then, when speaking to an elder, or someone with whom you are not particularly well acquainted, the formal vous is used to indicate them, whereas when speaking to a child, a close friend, or a relation, the informal tu is used. Tu is even used when speaking to pets! They are given an equivalent status to family members in France, and are often taken everywhere with their owners, even to restaurants. A French language course with Conversation Piece prepares you with countless insights such as these.

Grammatical Nuances

There are various little grammatical nuances that may stump an English speaker new to the French language, and which we aim to explain in our courses. In French numerals for example, decimal points are written as a comma, and vice-versa, so .75 becomes ,75 while 1,000 looks like 1.000. Furthermore the number seven is always written with a line through its middle in order to differentiate it from the number one, which is always written with a top stroke that can make it resemble the number seven.

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