When you learn a language, it is normal to make mistakes as you do not know all the rules to build sentences, especially for French language which has plenty of rules, or constructions types. It might be a bit difficult at the beginning to speak French without making mistakes.
However, I personally consider a mistake as an opportunity to do things better and not as a failure as some may think. Learning from your mistakes is one of the best ways of improving your French language skills. Today, I’ll be sharing with you 10 common mistakes that French learners make without even knowing they should say things differently. After reading this, you'll not make them again.
A great way to get naturally used to common phrases used by French native speakers is to get regularly exposed to the language. Watching TV is a great way. You can watch Netflix in your target language, or better get a subscription to Lingopie, which is specially designed for language learners. You can watch Your favorite TV show or movies with subtitles with the possibility on clicking on the words to learn their meaning. And with their flashcard feature, you can review the new words later, and improve your vocabulary.
You can also listen to podcasts on topics of interest while driving, shopping, or doing your jogging. That will be really helpful to naturally acquire the construction of these common phrases, and avoid making mistakes.
# Common Mistake n°1 : Je suis bien
To the question "Comment vas-tu?" We often hear French learners say “je suis bien”. Instead of saying that, you should just say “Je vais bien”, which literally means I am going well but in fact “I am well”.
# Common Mistake n°2 : C’est moi qui a fait
I can understand that this sentence structure can be a little bit confusing with the use of two pronouns "moi" and "qui". But you have to keep in mind that the subject of the verb faire in this sentence is "moi", which is the same as "je". So instead of saying C’est moi qui a fait, you should say “C’est moi qui ai fait”.
# Common Mistake n°3 : Je l’ai dit
Even from French natives, it happens that we hear this mistake. When some People want to say I told him/her, they often make a confusion between the direct pronoun le/la and the indirect pronoun lui. The verb Dire is an indirect transitive verb. So the question you should ask is "j’ai dit à qui? " Every time you can say à qui/ à quoi, then you have to use an indirect pronoun. The best way would be "je lui ai dit".
Note that "Je l'ai dit" can also be translated as "I said it". If that is what you mean, then, there is no mistake in this current context.
# Common Mistake n°4: Ma amie
It’s true that when you were learning possessive adjectives, you were told that the use of ma/mon/mes depends on the gender of the noun following it. But the fact is that here, the possessive Ma ends with a vowel. The word amie starts with a vowel. That makes it sound weird to say Ma amie. In that case, even if amie is a feminine word, you should use the possessive "mon". The correct way would be : Mon amie. The same applies when we use ton or son with a word starting with a vowel. We'll say ton amie /son amie.
# Common Mistake n°5 : J’ai visité mes amis
Saying this is a common mistake. In French, we visit a place. For instance, Je visite un musée => I visit a museum. But we rarely say "je visite mes amis". When speaking about visiting someone we use the verb Rendre visite à quelqu'un. In that case, We should "J'ai rendu visite à mes amis".
Note that in some contexts, we can say I visit a person in French, especially when talking about a sick person or a prisoner. Example : Je visite un malade.
# Common Mistake n°6 : Je peux demander une question?
Even if "to ask" can be translated as "demander" in French, you have to be careful when using it. In French, words should be used depending on their context. In this case, we would use the verb "poser" to refer to asking questions. The correct way should be : Je peux poser une question?
# Common Mistake n°7 : J'ai beaucoup des amis
The mistake here is to put "des" after beaucoup. Keep in mind once and for all that beaucoup is always followed with "de" when meaning a lot of. The correct way is : J’ai beaucoup d’amis.
# Common Mistake n°8 : J’ai travaillé pour trois ans dans cette entreprise
Be aware of the use of time markers pour and pendant. in general, pour is used to express a future duration. Eg. : je vais en France pour deux semaines = > I am going to France for two weeks. When you want to talk about terminated past duration, you have to use pendant. The correct way should be : J’ai travaillé pendant trois ans dans cette entreprise. => I've worked for 3 years in this enterprise.
# Common Mistake n°9 : je vais à le cinéma /Je fais de le judo
Here, the problem is related to the articles. Write down this special note in your diary!
When à and de are followed with le or les, then contracted articles are required. We never say à le or de le. À+le=au, à+les =aux, de+le=du and de+les =des. The correct sentence should be : Je vais au cinéma /je fais du judo.
# Common Mistake n°10 : Merci pour m’aider
Guys, in English you would say thanks for helping me but in French let’s say Merci pour votre aide, merci de m’aider or merci de m’avoir aidé(e). Merci is in general followed by pour + a noun or by pour + a verb. Merci de m'aider can be used in the context of thanking someone who is proposing to help. Merci de m'avoir aidé (e) can be used if the person already helped you and You thank him/her to show your gratitude.
# Common Mistake n°11 : Je vais au docteur
The problem here is a misuse of the preposition<