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Family at a Beach

Family members in French : les membres de la famille

In this lesson, You will be learning the basic vocabulary of the family in French. You will learn for instance how to say words like mother and father, brother and sister, and more family members in French language.

1. Essential French Words to know about the family

The french word for family is la famille. Un membre de la famille is a family member in French.

Un arbre généalogique is the French equivalent of the English family tree.

In a regular family, we can have the following members.

  • le père: father

  • la mère: mother

  • les parents : parents/relatives

  • le frère : brother

  • la soeur : sister

  • le bébé : baby

  • les enfants : children

  • le grand-père : grandfather

  • la grand-mère: grandmother

  • les grands-parents: grand parents

  • l'oncle: uncle

  • la tante: aunt

  • le cousin : cousin (male)

  • la cousine (female)

  • la nièce : niece

  • le neveu : nephew

  • le fils : son

  • la fille : daughter

  • le petit-fils : grandson

  • la petite-fille : grand daughter

  • les petits-enfants: grandchildren

  • l'arrière-grand-mère: great grandmother

  • l'arrière-grand-père: great grandfather

  • les arrières-grands-parents: great grandparents

This list is not exhaustive. We will see soon la belle famille (the inlaws and the stepfamily) in another section.

Note that the French word parent means a parent (father or  mother) but it can also be used for the English word "relative".

Family members in French La famille.jpg

2. Hierarchy in the family


When talking about hierarchy in the family members, we can use the vocabulary below 

  • un aîné/une aînée : first born son/daughter of the family. It can also mean any elder brother/sister or the eldest brother/sister.

     Example :

     Katy est ma fille aînée. (Katy is my eldest daughter).

     Alice était ma soeur aînée. (Alice was my eldest sister).

  • un cadet/une cadette : the younger brother/sister or the second-born son/daughter of a family

  • le benjamin/la benjamine : the youngest child

  • les aïeuls/ aïeules : refer to the grandparents. We talk about aïeuls maternelsparternels.

  • les aïeux :  ancestors.

3. How to use this vocabulary to talk about your family members

You can use the family vocabulary with the verb  Être (to be) if you want to talk about the personality, feelings, health, ... of one of your family members.

Example :

  •       Mon père est malade. => My father is sick.

  •       La soeur de Martin est gentille. => Martin's sister is kind.

You can use the verb avoir to say how many relatives you have.


  • J'ai un frère et deux soeurs. => I have one brother and two sisters.

  • Je n'ai pas de soeur. => I don't have a sister.

You can also use it with " Il y a" which means there is/there are, to tell the number of people that are in your family or household.


  • Il y a trois personnes dans  ma famille. => There are three people in my family.

4. Test your knowledge about family members in French

Here is a short exercise for you to practice the vocabulary of the family in French you have just learned. Click on the box below to start the quiz.

Happy learning !

If you want to take your learning further and take live online classes with native speakers, in a structured way (CEFR standards), we recommend Lingoda, an online language school with affordable and effective live group classes and private classes. You can access the free trial here. This will give you the opportunity to try up to 3 group classes or 1 private lessons. 

Lingoda is currently offering a 50% discount on the first month of your monthly plan until December 5th, 2022. To benefit from it, use our link with the special code BLACKFRIDAY2022. 

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