Reading time: 2 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Are you struggling to write essays in French? In this article, I have shared a list of 30 useful French words and phrases that will help you create more sophisticated written arguments for your exam (at school or for DELF exam).
If you want to learn even more, check out one of my e-books here: Improving French Vocabulary (the most complete French Vocabulary e-book available).
I also offer an extended version of this blog post, (57 French phrases instead of just 30) saved as a PDF which you can print for daily use. Click on the button below.
|à la fin||in the end|
|à mon avis / quant à moi / selon moi||in my opinion|
|autrement dit||in other words|
|avant de conclure||before concluding...|
|bien que je puisse comprendre que||although I can understand that|
|cela va sans dire que||it goes without saying that|
|d’après moi||according to me|
|d’une part, d’autre part||on one hand, on the other hand|
|en ce qui concerne...||as far as ... is concerned|
|en outre||furthermore / moreover|
|enfin||finally, at last|
|grâce à||thanks to|
|il est donc question de||it is a matter of|
|il faut bien reconnaître que||it must be recognised that|
|il semble que les avantages l'emportent sur les inconvenients||it seems that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages|
|il serait absurde de dire que||it would be absurd to say that|
|il vaut mieux||it is better to|
|je crois que||i think/ believe that|
|je soutiens donc que||I maintain that|
|je suis contre||I am against|
|je voudrais souligner que||I’d like to underline that|
|la premiere constatation qui s'impose, c'est que||the first thing to be noted is that|
|ne… ni… ni||neither… nor|
|pas forcément la faute de||not necessarily the fault of|
|pour commencer||to start with|
|selon moi||according to me|
|tout bien considéré||all things considered|
If you are hungry for more, do not hesitate to take a look at my French language e-books and audio here. One of which is the most comprehensive French vocabulary e-book available in the market.
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About the Author Frederic
Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +
I never carry an umbrella in Paris.
Sure, it rains, but you can always duck into a bar, order a Ricard (aniseed liquor), and share complaints with the assembled old drunks, comparing for example the sky to a pissing cow (see #42 below).
Whether you’d like to take part in the timeless Parisian sport of complaining about the weather, or if you’re one of those classier types who actually has a destination and wants to understand a forecast, this piece will cover the vocabulary you need.
I’ll start with the absolute basic words you’ll need (sunny, rainy, etc.), followed by intermediate vocab for inclement weather and a few fun expressions. Finally, we’ll learn to quote Balzac and complain about people who complain about the weather.
But first, a quick primer on practicing this vocabulary.
How to Practice French Weather Vocabulary with a Language Partner
If you’re a beginning student of French, you’ll probably learn a conversation like:
— Quel temps fait-il ? (What is the weather like?)
— Il fait beau. (It’s nice out.)
That’s great, but it’s a pretty short conversation. If you’ve got a language exchange partner or fellow learner, you can practice the rest of your weather vocabulary by extending your conversation to talk about different places:
— Quel temps fait-il à Montréal ? (What is the weather like in Montreal?)
— Il niege. (It’s snowing.)
Likewise for à Dakar, à New York, etc. You can use this actual information on the weather right now in different parts of the world to spark these conversations.
You can also talk about the situations that you love and hate. For example: J’adore quand il pleut (I love it when it rains) and Je déteste quandil fait trop chaud (I hate it when it’s too hot).
Google Images is also useful for getting pictures of the weather to talk about in practice conversations, use in classrooms and copy for online flashcards.
43 French Vocabulary Words and Phrases for Chatting About the Weather
Il fait… — When the sky is making things
Il fait literally means “it makes” and you’ll use it with some of the most basic weather expressions, as follows:
1. Il fait froid. — It’s cold.
2. Il fait très froid. — It’s very cold.
3. Il fait frais. — It’s cool (temperature).
4. Il fait beau. — It’s nice out (Literally: It makes beautiful).
5. Il fait chaud.— It’s hot.
6. Il fait mauvais. — The weather is bad.
7. Il fait moche. — The weather is bad (Literally: It makes ugly).
8. Il fait du vent. — It’s windy. Note: This can also be said as il y a du vent, and usage depends on region and age. Ask your French-speaking friends how they say it’s windy!
9. Il fait beaucoup de vent. — It’s very windy (Literally: It makes a lot of wind).
10. Il fait(du) soleil. — It’s sunny.
11. Il y a du brouillard. — It’s foggy. (Literally: There is fog). There’s always one that doesn’t follow the pattern…
C’est… — “This is” just how it is
You can also start your basic weather sentences with c’est (lit., this/that is), followed by an adjective:
12. C’est nuageux. — It’s cloudy.
13. C’est gelé. — It’s icy.
14. C’est glacé. — It’s icy cold.
15. C’est orageux. — It’s stormy.
16. C’est humide. — It’s humid.
Il + [verb] — It’s doing something
The verbs pleuvoir (to rain) and neiger (to snow) are used in the third-person singular:
17. Il pleut. — It’s raining.
18. Il neige. — It’s snowing.
Intermediate French vocab for extreme and other weather
The following are not quite everyday terms, but good to know for your more vexing meteorological situations:
19. foudre — (f.) lightning
L’arbre a été touché par la foudre. (The tree was struck by lightning.)
La maison a été frappée par la foudre. (The house was hit by lightning.)
20. tonnerre— (m.) This means thunder, and a “thunder clap” is un coup de tonnerre. The verbs for “to thunder” are tonner and gronder. Tonner can be used with people too, as in: Le politicien tonne contre l’indépendence (The politician thunders/protests against independence).
21. tornade — (f.) tornado. The tornado looms big in French imaginations; as a Midwestern guy in France, I was quite often asked about this.
22. ouragan — (m.) hurricane. While hurricanes are tropical storms that don’t usually come to Europe, the following phrases will be especially handy on French-speaking Caribbean islands. Note that this word can also be used figuratively:
Son annonce a provoqué un ouragan. (His announcement caused a storm.)
23. a été frappé par un ouragan — was hit by a hurricane
24. saison des ouragans — (f.) hurricane season
25. avis d’ouragan — (m.) hurricane warning
26. inondation — (f.) flood
27. être inondé — to be flooded
La maison a été inondée. — The house was flooded.
28. grêle — (f.) hail (noun)
29. grêler — to hail (hailstones falling); to cause damage by hail
L’orage a grêlé la voiture. (The hail storm damaged on the car.)
30. degré— (m.) degree
31. Il fait vingt degrés. — It’s 20 degrees. (And remember that the French use Celsius, of course!) To get the equivalent in Fahrenheit, multiply by nine, divide by five and add 32. But yeah, I know, now you can just ask your smartphone.
32. Le ciel est clair. — The sky is clear.
33. arc-en-ciel — (m.) rainbow.
Le drapeau arc-en-ciel est utilisé par la communauté LGBT. (The rainbow flag is used by the LGBT community.)
34. canicule — (f.) heat wave.
On a passé une période de canicule. (We went through a heat wave.)
35. pluie verglaçante— (f.) freezing rain
36. goutte de pluie — (f.) raindrop
37. givre — (m.) frost.
Il y a du givre sur mon vélo. (There’s frost on my bicycle.)
38. flocon de neige — (m.) snowflake.
C’est beau à Paris quand il neige à gros flocons. (It’s beautiful in Paris when large flakes of snow are falling.)
39. tempête de neige — (f.) blizzard; snowstorm.
Je suis sorti dans la tempête de neige. (I went out in the blizzard.)
Intermediate weather expressions
40. Il est trempé jusqu’aux os. — He’s soaked to the bone.
41. Il pleut à seaux. — It’s raining buckets.
42. Il pleut comme vache qui pisse. — It’s raining like a pissing cow.
43. On crève de chaud.— The heat is killing us!
Advanced: Getting philosophical in French about the weather
Finally, here are a few advanced French sayings and quotes about the weather.
Orage de nuit: peu de mal, mais bien du bruit.
(A storm at night doesn’t do a lot of damage, but makes a lot of noise.)
This common saying is a way of calming children or others who may be concerned by the horrors booming away outside. It’s like saying, “Don’t worry, it will all be okay in the morning.”
Le soleil du matin ne dure pas tout le jour.
(The morning sun doesn’t last all day long.)
This proverb can be taken literally, but also to mean that a project that starts well can sometimes end in disaster.
The following dialogue was written by Raymond Queneau:
LA PASSANTE : Vous vous intéressez à la météorologie, Monsieur ?
ETIENNE : Un peu. Je possède un parapluie.
(PASSERBY: Are you interested in meteorology, sir?
ETIENNE: A little. I own an umbrella.)
Etienne’s quip illustrates the silliness of weather as a subject of passionate interest and conversation.
Honoré de Balzac takes a similar criticism in a more metaphorical direction:
Il est dans le caractère français de s’enthousiasmer, de se colérer, de se passionner pour le météore du moment, pour les bâtons flottants de l’actualité. Les êtres collectifs, les peuples seraient-ils donc sans mémoire?
(It’s part of the French character to get excited, upset and passionate for passing weather patterns, for the floating sticks that are the news. The collective bodies, the peoples, will they therefore be without memories?)
Note that météore can be a meteor, but also any phenomenon observed in the atmosphere.
Balzac probably wouldn’t have liked Twitter; I can definitely imagine him as one of the old men grousing with me in a bar over a Ricard.
When not in a Parisian dive bar, Mose Hayward registers his complaints about French culture, romance, cocktails and more at TipsyPilgrim.com.
And One More Thing…
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One quick look will give you an idea of the diverse content found on FluentU:
Love the thought of learning French with native materials but afraid you won’t understand what’s being said? FluentU brings authentic French videos within reach of any learner. Interactive captions will guide you along the way, so you’ll never miss a word.
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Don’t stop there, though. Use FluentU’s learn mode to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video with vocabulary lists, flashcards, quizzes and fun activities like “fill in the blank.”
As you continue advancing in your French studies, FluentU keeps track of all the grammar and vocabulary that you’ve been learning. It uses your viewed videos and mastered language lessons to recommend more useful videos and give you a 100% personalized experience. Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.
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