les faux-amis

Our dear false friends (les faux-amis)

Did you know that 50% of English vocabulary comes from French? Mais oui!

That being said, common/similar words to both languages do not always mean the same thing. These are called faux amis or ”false friends”. When misused, these words could potentially get you in some very uncomfortable and unfortunate situations. Make sure to understand their meaning in both languages before using them!

Find here some of those faux amis you’re most likely to come across. 

(French) Attendre = wait

J'ai attendu une heure pour entrer.

(English) To attend = assister à, participer à 

J’ai assisté au concert de Beyoncé.

(French) Blesser = to injure

Je me suis blessé pendant le match de foot.

(English) To bless = bénir

Le prêtre bénit l’eau pour la messe.

(French) Passer un examen = to take (an exam)

J’ai passé l'examen final ce matin.

(English) To pass an exam = réussir

Je suis sûr que je réussirai l'examen.

(French) Charger = to load

Il va charger le camion pour la livraison.

(English) To charge = facturer, faire payer

Il a déjà facturé la livraison.

(French) Introduire = to insert

J’ai introduit la clé dans la serrure.

(English) To introduce = présenter, faire les présentations

Mon frère m’a présenté à sa petite copine

(French) Prétendre - to claim, to say

Il prétend être un génie. 

(English) To pretend - faire semblant

Il fait semblant d’être malade pour ne pas aller au bureau.

(French) Prévenir - to warn, to let know

Je t’avais prévenu que cela allait arriver.

(English) To prevent - empêcher, éviter

Le vaccin empêche la transmission du virus 

(French) Rester - to stay, to remain

Je suis resté dans cet hôtel pendant une semaine.

(English) To rest - se reposer

Je me suis reposé cet après-midi, je ne suis pas sorti.

(French) Résumer - to summarise, to sum up

Il m’a résumé le film en quelques mots.

(English) to resume - recommencer, relancer

Nous avons recommencé le recrutement d’une nouvelle équipe. 

As you can see, false friends can be a bit confusing at first, but with a bit of practice you will be able to recognize them and avoid silly (or embarrassing!) mistakes. If you want to learn more tricks to communicate with natives and improve your French from the comfort of your home, check out our e-courses. Have you heard about our French Toolbox? A well structured program to brush up your français, that provides access to over 80 French video lessons and fiche pratiques with the explanations, exercises, homework, and answers. The best companion for your learning journey!

Sonia - Prêt à Parler team


Foreign languages have always been an important part of Sonia’s life. After getting her degree in Arts and Graphic Design and a Master’s Degree in Education, she moved from her country, Spain, to England where she has been living for the last ten years. She has worked in international schools and companies, and in 2013 she founded her own language school.

This journey has left her with countless life lessons that she feels privileged to have learned first hand. She truly believes that learning a language can change you in ways you probably don’t imagine, and she tries to transmit this message across Prêt à Parler social media by creating powerful images and meaningful content.

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