All posts by Grace Bezanson

The 10 Funniest False Friends in French and Spanish

We all want to sound intelligent speaking another language, but even if you’re pretty familiar with a foreign language, you can still make mistakes. Take for example my friend who grew up with Canadian French as a second language, who, during her first year living abroad in France with her French fiancée, would announce at the end of every family meal, “Je suis plein,” literally, “I am full.” But what she was really announcing to her future in-laws was, “I’m pregnant!” And it’s even a vulgar way to say it (it’s used to talk about pregnant animals)! The future in-laws thought it was so funny they let her “get away with it” for over a year before she got corrected.

So while “Je suis plein,” to mean you’re full is perfectly acceptable to French Canadians, learn to say ” J’ai trop mangé, ” or “Je suis rassasié,” in France instead.

English to French Translation

Moral of the story? You can’t always rely on direct translations. But what are even trickier to navigate are false friends.

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