Mastering the Art of Expressing Shock in French: Essential Phrases

CCube Academy
5 min readMay 23, 2023

Are you planning to visit France anytime soon? Or do you simply want to impress your French-speaking friends with your language skills? Either way, mastering the art of expressing shock in French is a key skill that you need to have. Knowing the right phrases can help you communicate effectively and express your emotions accurately. From “Oh la la!” to “Mon Dieu!”, this blog post will teach you essential phrases for expressing shock in French like a pro. So buckle up and get ready to elevate your French language game!

Definition of Shock and Surprise

When you’re shocked, you feel a sense of sudden and extreme surprise. You might also have an emotional reaction, such as feeling scared or angry. In French, there are a few different ways to express shock.

One way to say “I’m shocked” in French is “je suis choqué(e)”. This phrase can be used for both mild and strong reactions. For example, if you find out that a friend has been cheating on their partner, you might say “Je suis choqué(e)! I can’t believe they would do that!” If you witness a car accident, on the other hand, your reaction might be much stronger: “Oh mon Dieu! Je suis tellement choqué(e)! (Oh my God! I’m so shocked!)”

Another common phrase used to express shock in French is “c’est incroyable!”. This one is similar to “je suis choqué(e)”, but it’s more often used for stronger reactions. For example, if you see someone get hit by a car, you might exclaim “C’est incroyable! (That’s incredible!)”

If you want to really emphasize how surprised you are, you can say “j’en reviens pas!” This phrase literally means “I can’t believe it”, and it’s often used interchangeably with “c’est incroyable!”. For example, if your

Common French Expressions for Shock and Surprise

When you’re surprised or shocked, you may not always have the words to express yourself. This is especially true if you’re learning a foreign language.

Fortunately, there are some common French expressions for shock and surprise that can help you communicate what you’re feeling. Here are a few of the most essential:

Mon Dieu! — My God!

C’est incroyable! — That’s incredible!

Je n’en crois pas mes yeux! — I can’t believe my eyes!

Tu m’as flanqué une de ces frousses! — You gave me such a fright!

Examples of Using Expressions in Conversations

When you’re feeling surprised, it can be difficult to know what to say. In French, there are many different expressions that you can use to express shock. Here are a few examples:

“Quoi?” — This is the simplest way to express shock in French. It can be used in response to something that you’ve just heard or seen.

“Non!” — This is another simple expression of shock. You can use it on its own or as part of a longer phrase, such as “Non, ce n’est pas possible!”

“Tu es sérieux?” — This is a way of asking if someone is serious about what they’re saying. If you’re not sure whether to believe someone, you can ask them this question.

“C’est pas vrai!” — This phrase means “That’s not true!” and can be used when you hear something that you find hard to believe.

“Incroyable!” — This word means “incredible” and can be used to express both positive and negative emotions. If you’re shocked by something bad that has happened, you might say “C’est incroyable!” Alternatively, if you’re amazed by something good, you could say “C’est incroyable!”

Tips for Remembering the Expressions

When you’re feeling shocked, it can be difficult to remember the right thing to say. Here are some tips for mastering the art of expressing shock in French:

1. Make sure you know the basic phrases for expressing shock. These include: “Oh mon Dieu!” (“Oh my God!”), “Quelle horreur!” (“What horror!”), and “Je n’en reviens pas!” (“I can’t believe it!”).

2. Pay attention to context clues. If someone has just told you a shocking story, they may use words like “incroyable” (incredible) or “choquant” (shocking). These can give you a clue as to how strong your reaction should be.

3. Be aware of your tone of voice. Expressing shock is often more about how you say something than what you actually say. So make sure your tone conveys the appropriate level of surprise or disbelief.

4. Use facial expressions to emphasize your point. A shocked face can go a long way in conveying the intensity of your reaction.

5. Practice! The more you practice expressing shock in French, the better you’ll get at it. So don’t be afraid to let loose and really exaggerate your reactions when you’re first starting out.

How to Respond to a Shock or Surprise

It’s not always easy to know how to respond when you’re caught off guard. In French, there are a few different ways to express shock or surprise. Here are some essential phrases to help you out in those situations:

- Oh là là !: This is a classic exclamation of surprise. It can be used in a variety of situations, from seeing something unexpected to hearing news that shocks you.

- Quelle horreur !: This phrase is used to express horror or revulsion. For example, if you witness a car accident, you might say “Quelle horreur !”

- C’est incroyable !: This phrase means “It’s incredible!” and can be used when you’re shocked by something that’s happened.

- Je n’en reviens pas !: This phrase translates to “I can’t believe it!” and is perfect for expressing disbelief at something you’ve just heard or seen.

Alternatives to Expressing Shock or Surprise in French

When it comes to expressing shock or surprise in French, there are a few different ways to go about it. For instance, you could simply use the word “incroyable” (incredible) to describe how you’re feeling. Alternatively, you could opt for a more descriptive phrase like “je n’en reviens pas” (I can’t believe it).

If you want to really emphasize just how shocked or surprised you are, then you could use an exclamation like “mon dieu” (my god) or “saint ciel” (heavens). Of course, these should be used sparingly and only in situations where you genuinely feel overwhelmed by what’s happened.


Expressing shock in French is an essential part of the language and can be difficult to master. With practice, however, you will soon find yourself able to use these phrases confidently and accurately. We hope our guide has provided some useful tips for mastering this important skill. Remember that when it comes to learning a language — particularly one as diverse as French — it’s always best to practice with native speakers if possible. Bonne chance!



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