Easy Ways to Say “What” In French And Understand What They Mean!

CCube Academy
4 min readFeb 24, 2023

Learning a new language can be fun, but it can also be challenging. One of the most important aspects of learning a new language is being able to understand what people are saying to you. In this article, we’re going to teach you how to say “what” in French and help you understand the meanings of the sentences we give you. So read on and have fun!

French Verbs: What, Quoi, Comment

Verbs are always a tricky part of French language learning, as they can have so many different meanings. However, with a little practice, you’ll be able to understand what French verbs mean and use them correctly!

Here are some easy ways to say “what” in French:

1. Je sais quoi. (I know what.) This is used when you want to ask someone what they know about something. For example: Je sais quoi faire pour toi. (I know how to help you.)

2. Il n’y a pas de quoi. (There’s no need for that.) This is used when you don’t want or need something, or when you think that something is too much trouble. For example: Il n’y a pas de quoi se mettre en colère. (Don’t get angry.)

3. Comment ça va? (How are you?) This is used when someone wants to know how their friend or acquaintance is doing, or when they just want to make small talk. For example: Comment ça va? Tu as mangé? (How are you? Did you eat?)

What Does This Mean?

When speaking French, it can be hard to know what words to use when you don’t know the context. Here are a few easy ways to say what in French: Ça va? — This means “is everything okay?” Je ne comprends pas — I don’t understand
Il y a quelque chose? — There’s something wrong? Pourquoi? — Why? Pourquoi voulez-vous que je sois d’accord avec ça? — Why should I agree to that? Comment allez-vous? — How are you doing?

How to Use These French Verbs

If you want to know what someone is saying, use one of these French verbs!

1. Disparaître (to disappear)
2. Apparaître (to appear)
3. Se manifester (to manifest itself)
4. Se révéler (to reveal itself)

More Advanced French Verbs: Écouter, Dire, Faire

If you’re looking to brush up on your French verb skills, here are a few more advanced verbs you might want to know. Écouter is to listen, Dire is to say, and Faire is to do. Here’s how each one works:

Écouter: To listen

To listen, écoute means “to hear.” For example, if someone asks you to listen to them, you would respond by saying “Je t’écoute.” If you want to politely refuse an offer of listening without sounding rude, use ne pas écouter (not to hear). For example, if someone tells you a fascinating story and you really want to hear it but you don’t want them to stop talking, you could say “Je vous écoute attentivement.”

Dire: To say

Dire can be translated as “to speak” or “to tell.” For example, if someone asks what time it is and you want to answer honestly, you could reply with Je dis que cela va être après-demain (I am saying that it will be tomorrow after all). If someone asks how your day is going and you don’t feel like being chatty, simply reply with Je n’ai pas envie de dire (I don’t feel like talking).
If

Conjugating French Verbs

When speaking French, conjugating verbs can seem like a daunting task. But with a few basic rules in mind, conjugation can be easy!

To conjugate a verb in French, you first need to know the present tense and past tense forms of the verb. The different tenses are indicated by adding -e or -ait to the base form of the verb. For example, regular verbs like parler (to speak) have the following three tenses:

parle (pars) — prend (prends) — parlait (parlaient)

The present tense is indicated by adding -es, -ait, or -e: parle-t-elle (pars-ela), prends-tu (prends-tu), parle-t-il (pars-il).

In addition to the present and past tenses, French also has two other tenses known as the subjunctive mood and conditional mood. These two moods are indicated by adding either -e si or -ais if the base form of the verb ends in a consonant, and -e s’il or -aient si the base form of the verb ends in a vowel.

Summary

If you want to know what someone is saying, and you don’t speak French, there are a few easy ways to get the gist of what they’re saying. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Ask the person to repeat themselves. This will let you understand their pronunciation more clearly, and also give you a better idea of the word they’re trying to say.

2. Use context clues. Asking where something is, or who something is related to can help you figure out what a foreign word might mean. For example, if somebody says “Le chat est sur la table,” you might assume that they’re talking about a cat and look for a cat on the table. If they say “La table est dans le salon,” however, it’s likely that they mean the table is in the living room and not on the kitchen counter as in English!

3. Understand idiomatic expressions. These phrases have their own specific meanings, which can be difficult to decipher without knowing French syntax too. For example, “J’ai pris mon sac à dos en plastique” means “I took my backpack made out of plastic.” Be patient though — sometimes these expressions are easier to understand after hearing them multiple times!

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