French Language Blog

More Mistakes: Thinking in English Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Grammar

Learning from des fautes (mistakes) is always useful. Les Français make many fautes when using French that can make learning the language faster and easier! En même temps (at the same time), there are many fautes that language learners make when their langue maternelle (native language) interferes.

I wrote about des fautes French speakers make when speaking English to show how the brain works in French. It’s only fair that I do the same pour les anglophones. Here are des fautes that I had to overcome while learning French. You’ll be able to see how most of them are a result of trying to fit English grammar into French.

Je suis en amour avec… – I’m in love with…
Faute: amoureux de – in love with
Prepositions change between French and English. In English you say “in love with”, but in French it’s “amoureux de”.

J’habite à Main Street – I live on Main Street
Faute: habiter – live on
Sometimes French has no preposition where English does! “I Live on Main Street” would become “J’habite rue Main” in French. Habiter often doesn’t take a preposition when you want to say “to live on…”. All the rules with habiter are a bit complex, the details of this complex verb will be tackled in a future article!

Vous/Tu – You
Faute: No tutoiement or vouvoiement in English
In English, you can call anybody you, but in French there’s tu, which is more like buddy, and vous, which is more like mister. Calling your boss buddy could make for an awkward situation!

Je te manque – I miss you
Faute: manquer à quelqu’un – to miss someone
Manquer conjugates the opposite way an English speaker would think. In French la phraseI miss you” is “Tu me manques” and is understood as “You are missing to me”.

Ma histoire – My history
Faute: ma/mon – my
If un nom féminin (feminine noun) starts with une voyelle or un h muet, then you have to use mon instead of ma even though it’s un nom féminin.

There are many more fautes that anglophones make in French, but don’t let them get you down! Learn from them and keep them in mind to take your French to the next level!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Okorie Chukwudi:

    Very useful tips. For example, I’ve once told my Ivorian girlfriend over phone conversation that “Je te manque” from my English understanding of “I miss you”. Until she had to correct me and I was like kilode.

    • John Bauer:

      @Okorie Chukwudi I’ve made the same mistake many times. It gets especially confusing when trying to think of how to say “Did you miss me?” or “We missed you!”. It’s difficult but fun having to remember how to say it correctly!