Easy French Lesson 1: Easiest French

Easy French Lesson 1: Easiest French is the Easiest Way to Begin Learning French.


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The comedian Steve Martin in joking about his first visit to Paris once said:

"The French are amazing — they have a different word for everything." But he was mistaken, as you will see in these lessons.

Many French words are similar to English. Some French words are spelled exactly like English. Other French words are spelled slightly different than English, but look related. These French words similar to English can be called Easy French.


Humor of Two Types of French spoken by Americans is adapted from the book Me Talk Pretty One Day about struggling to learn French, by David Sedaris:

There are, I have noticed, two basic types of French spoken by Americans vacationing in Paris: the Hard Kind and the Easy Kind.

The Hard Kind involves the conjugation of wily verbs and the science of placing them alongside various other words in order to form such sentences (in French) as

“I go him say good afternoon,” and

“No, not to him I no go it him say now.”

The second, less complicated form of French amounts to screaming English at the top of your lungs, much the same way you’d shout at a deaf person or the dog you thought you could train to stay off your sofa.

The speaker carries no pocket dictionary and never suffers the humiliation that inevitably comes with pointing to the menu and ordering the day of the week.

With Easy French, eating out involves a simple

“Bring Me A Steak.”



This Easy French offers you the easy way to prepare for a trip to France, or begin learning French, by concentrating on the similarities between French and English. This will reveal what you already know about French— just because you know English. So the easy way to get ready to travel is with this Easy French. Also, the easy way to begin to study French, on your own or in school, is to begin by reading Easy French first.


This Easy French will show you how to begin learning French as easily and enjoyably as possible. It reveals that French is not difficult for beginners, because so many French words are similar to English.

Easy French has more than 3,000 French words similar to English called cognates. 1,000 French words similar to English are easier to remember than 10 totally unfamiliar French words unrelated to English, like “framboises.”

Gradually this new approach will lead you comfortably from identical to similar words that are slightly different in spelling than familiar English words.

Let this Easy French show you the similarities between French and English. This introduction to French has been designed to be as effortless as possible for you. This will give you the gift of understanding some French without the hard work of studying.

Enjoy it!


This is the easy way to help you get ready to cope with the French language when traveling to France or French-speaking countries—by focusing on French words similar to English. Easy French will make it much easier to prepare to travel because you already know or partially know all the Easy French Travel Words similar to English.

Easy French is designed to provide the easiest maximum preparation when glanced over quickly before leaving to travel.

So you will have an instant French vocabulary to use on your trip.

Easy French reveals more than 1,000 Travel Words similar to English.

1,000 Travel Words is a substantial amount considering that the number of words needed in every language total 800 for 80% of everyday use.

So you will instantly get the French names for many things you’ll see on your trip.

1,000 French words similar to English are easier to remember when traveling than 10 totally unfamiliar French words unrelated to English, as in traditional Phrase Books.

(Everyone who has traveled to countries with difficult languages, like Japan or China, knows how hard it is to learn and remember even a few foreign travel words unrelated to English.)


This Easy French will make it much easier to prepare to travel than trying to get ready by learning everything in a traditional Phrase Book that contains several thousand totally unfamiliar French words.

Unlike Phrase Books, Easy French features words similar to English, making these Travel Words easy to remember.

Rather than trying to prepare in advance with a difficult Phrase Book, you can use these Easy French lessons as quick and easy preparation at home prior to the optional use of a Phrase Book on the trip itself. Preparing to travel by quickly reading Easy French first will then make it easier to use a traditional Phrase Book while traveling. This will make a Phrase Book with its unfamiliar French words less difficult for you as a second step.

Since the Easy French is limited to words related to English, it does not cover all the words you might need when traveling—but then neither do traditional Phrase Books cover all possibilities. This limitation of Easy French is more than offset by being the easiest and quickest way for you to prepare for the French words you will encounter as a traveler.

EASY TIP: Before attempting foreign phrases, it is easier to communicate with single words and gestures—as anyone who travels knows.


This Easy French with its Easy Travel Words is also much easier than the alternative of listening to travel CD’s or traditional tapes to try to learn to speak French for traveling.

Listening is more difficult than reading because the sounds of French differ greatly from English.

Speaking French is much more difficult than passively reading or listening because you must actively try to pronounce French words that are different than the words you already know how to say in English.

So while traveling, reading French words similar to English at your own pace is much easier than being forced to keep up when trying to listen to French, or being forced to come up with French words when trying to speak French.

EASY TIP: Read through this Easy French first, before trying to listen to audio of tourist phrases in French, because most of the similarities between English and French are in written form. In the spoken form, few French cognates sound identical to their English counterparts.


You will find this new type of introduction to French to be a much easier way to begin French than any of the traditional first steps—such as with textbooks in French courses.

Instead, this Easy French will make those less difficult for you as a second step—because you will bring to them an awareness of this mass of information about French you already know from English.

This Easy French will reveal a large core of knowledge about French that you already know from English. It will be almost effortless to transfer this knowledge you already have from English to the new language.

This will be much less difficult than immediately trying to learn totally new words, new pronunciations, and new grammar of French. Those you will be able to acquire more readily after this easy introduction.

By the time you finish these Easy French lessons, you will be aware of the main similarities between the two languages.

With all this familiar knowledge as a base, you will be then well prepared, and hopefully inspired, to go on to tackle all the unfamiliar new French words and pronunciations and grammar in a traditional course.

This easy possible beginning may encourage you to want to learn more French.


To understand why Easy French is so helpful, consider all the totally new things that must be learned about a foreign language like French. Some people get discouraged trying to learn all the new French words, new French sounds, and new French grammar.

New words come with new spellings and new meanings.

Listening to a new language requires recognizing and remembering new sound patterns.

Speaking a new language involves new pronunciations and new stress patterns.

New grammar requires learning different word order and memorizing verb endings called inflections.

Learning a foreign language such as French can be overwhelming, to the point of discouraging many beginners after initial difficulties or failure—without the help of Easy French.

With foreign languages like French, there are good reasons to reduce the initial learning overload. This Easy French is the first way to reduce the foreign language learning overload of French as much as possible. This way you as a beginner do not have to start out learning totally new French words and French grammar.

So this new Easy French approach postpones many of the obstacles to be overcome in this foreign language—until after you discover how much you already know about French just because you know English—and until you are better prepared after this easy introduction to French through words that are similar to English.

Through this progressive approach that reduces the initial learning overload as much as possible, you will realize learning French with cognates can be a pleasure.

Hopefully, this Easy method could make you eager to learn more later in a traditional course or on your own.


When you try to choose the best foreign language to study, in school or on your own, this is the easy way for you to see if you might enjoy French. Easy French has thousands of words similar to English that you can glance over in an evening. After deciding if French is the best foreign language for you to study, you can get an easy head start on French by reading this Easy French first.


Before beginning any other French course, it will help you to quickly glance through this Easy French first—whether you are an adult trying to learn on your own—or a student about to take a Beginning French course in school. You can get ready for any other French course quickly and easily with these French words similar to English. It makes sense for you to first find out how much you know about French from English—before starting in on a traditional course. Discover how much you know about French just because you know English. You will recognize more French words than you realize.

You can read these easy French words related to English at your own pace, unlike being forced to keep up when trying to listen to a teacher speak French in class. This will make it easier when you begin any other French language course. After skimming through this Easy French first, you will find that any other Beginner French course will be much easier for you. Easy French will smooth the path and speed you along your way.

If you are going to take a Beginning French course in school, it will be much easier if you read Easy French first. This will give you a great advantage over other students—and also enable you to get higher grades in French class. This Easy French will effortlessly give you a huge head start that will make French classes much easier for you. So if you want to get an easy head start in French, take a little time to glance through these Easy French lessons before beginning any other French course. The Easy French in these lessons is the very easy way for you to begin French.


In traditional textbooks, any French cognates similar to English usually appear mostly near the start to make beginning easier—but interspersed with more difficult unfamiliar French words. So a few aspects of this Easy French approach make a very brief appearance in a few traditional French textbooks, which then abruptly plunge you into more difficult parts of French.

This makes Easy French the perfect beginning in French for you, because its focus on cognates continues over into these traditional textbooks for beginners.


This Easy French is not intended to contain instruction to the extent that traditional textbooks do. Instead, this is intended to be a quick and easy overview of all the things you already know about French because you know English.

In effect, Easy French is a quick Review of English that is an easy Preview of French.


As a child, you learned your native language in a natural sequence. First listening (to parents' words)—second speaking—third reading (in grade school)—and last writing (in the middle grades).

However, the learning sequence differs when you are an adult beginning to learn this French foreign language:

First: Reading. Because English and French share many words that look similar in print, the easy ability for you to develop will be reading some French.

Second: Listening. Listening to understand spoken French is more difficult than reading and will develop much more slowly, because the sounds of the two languages differ greatly, and French foreigners seem to speak so fast.

Third: Speaking. Speaking French, especially speaking it correctly, is more difficult to learn than reading or listening. The pronunciation patterns are different than the ones you are used to in English. Even most of the French words spelled identically to English are pronounced differently.

Fourth: Writing. Writing, the most complex skill, would develop last, as it does in your native language.

Learning to read some French will be helpful if you plan to visit France or a French-speaking locale like Quebec or Tahiti. You will find that reading some French will help enable you to navigate your way around, because that depends so much on reading, even more than speaking and listening.


There has never been a book like this before, so this is the first way to help you in various new ways:

First way to focus on what you know about French from English.

First way to reveal that beginning French can be easy and not difficult.

First way to give you a preview of French by means of a review of English.

First way to enable you to find out all the ways French is similar to English—before you start to struggle with the differences.

First way to begin with only the easy parts of French—and postpone all the difficulties for future courses.

First way to reveal how much you already know about French pronunciation from English.

First easy way to help you cope with French when traveling to France or French-speaking countries by focusing on French word similar to English.

First way to give you confidence that you can learn this foreign language by beginning with only the easy parts of French.

First way easy enough for absolutely everyone who wants to begin French.

First way that guarantees you success in learning French.


What at first might seem to be a somewhat simplistic approach to beginning French by focusing on words similar to English, instead can be seen to be a major new development with potent benefits—and the easy opportunity for you to learn French.

With the rallying cry of “Helping More People Begin French the Easy Way,” Easy French has the power to enable you to begin French almost effortlessly.


French was the source of many English words. The Norman Conquest of England by France in 1066 resulted in a bilingual England for hundreds of years. The wealthy conquerors spoke Old French in their castles, while the conquered peasants spoke Old English in their huts. That gave England bilingual pairs of words for many aspects of life: a French word equivalent to an English word. As in any country with two languages, many people learned bits of both out of necessity. The period of greatest influence was from 1150-1300, and the resulting blend became Middle English.

Many English Synonyms Are of French Origin

These borrowed French words began a new life in England and found new niches. Over time, some of the French duplicate words gradually sank from prominence to become synonyms for their more frequently used English counterparts. Other French words, especially those for the more refined aspects of life, remained frequently used, and have become long since thought of as English words.

Since many of the adopted French words entered the English vocabulary long ago, by now many are spelled differently, and most are pronounced differently than their current French relatives are pronounced in France now.

Meanwhile, back in France, the Old French words were evolving to become the modern French of today. In the process, many French words changed in meaning and pronunciation over the centuries, as words tend to do in all languages. Spellings also changed until they became uniform in the 18th century.

All through the centuries, mutual borrowings continued. The most recent are still recognizable as French, words such as haute couture and nouvelle cuisine.


Knowing which words are similar in the two languages will primarily help you begin to learn French more easily. But this will also increase your understanding of your native language. You will see how many English words are spelled the way they are because of their French origin. You will see which French words have retained their usefulness in everyday English. You will also see which words have been relegated to being rarely used synonyms for more frequently used English words.

You will also learn more about words in English that still seem French, especially ones you may have seen or heard before but aren’t sure how to pronounce or spell. You may also find some useful new ones.

So while using these lessons about cognates as the best way to begin learning French, you will also learn more about English as a side benefit. Just as when you learned English, you were unconsciously learning quite a bit about French also.

What you learn may surprise you. For example, have you ever wondered why the traditional call that goes out from a sinking ship is "Mayday! Mayday!"?

Does it arouse your curiosity to wonder how sinking in a ship can possibly be connected with a day in May?

The answer is that the cry for help was originally French. To English ears it sounds like "Mayday!", but the original French cry is spelled "M'aidez!," meaning "Aid me" or Help!


These lessons begin explaining the Easy Way to Begin French in Lesson 1;

French is Similar to English in Lesson 2;

Words that are spelled the same in both languages are of several types:

English Words in French in Lesson 3;

French Words in English in Lesson 4;

French Spelled Like English in Lesson 5.

Similar words but with accent marks in French are in Lesson 6.

Then Easy French moves on to words with slightly different spellings than in English in Lesson 7. Gradually it will show you French words increasingly different from their English relatives, although still clearly recognizable as related.

Next, Lesson 8 will take you to another level of similarities-with-differences between the two languages—French words with different but suggestive meanings. The French word looks similar to a different English word that suggests the correct meaning. For example, "librairie" in French means bookstore.

Then Lesson 9 reveals how some treacherous French words called False Friends look like English words but have different meanings, which can be misleading.

Lesson 10 on Easy French Pronunciation, unlike preceding lessons about look-alikes, focuses on sound-alikes. Sound similarities are far fewer than spelling similarities. So this lesson will take you a step farther from the likenesses between the two languages toward the differences. It will prepare you for the logical next stages of learning: listening to French and then speaking French.

Lesson 11 adds humorous stories about trying to learn French.


This Easy French is the easy way to begin French, by concentrating on the similarities between French and English. This will gradually lead you into French by using its similarities to English to make learning less difficult for you.

So read through this Easy French first, before trying to listen to audio of tourist phrases, because most of the similarities are in the written form. In the spoken form, few French cognates sound identical to their English counterparts. The many written resemblances between the two languages will enable you to read a little French more easily than speak it or listen to it.

While words that look like English can help you learn French, care must be taken with any differences in meaning explained in Lesson 9.

To keep the following lessons simple, all lists of French words similar to English contain the most familiar examples to demonstrate the point of each lesson. These lists are not intended to be complete, and more examples exist for each category.

This Easy French is the easy way to begin French—guaranteed or your money back. It will prepare you easily and enjoyably for your next steps in learning French.


• Planning to travel to France?

• Want to be able to pronounce French words?

• Always wanted to learn a foreign language?

• Looking for the easy foreign language to learn?

• Want the easy possible language lessons?

• Need to take a foreign language in school?

• Studied a foreign language but found it difficult?

• Think learning a new language is too much work?

• Believe you cannot learn a foreign language?


After you easily pick up these easy words of Easy French, you may decide that’s all you need to know. With more foreigners learning English as it becomes the world language, there may be less need for you to put in all the effort to study a French course. For far less time than taking a full French course, you can find out how much you already know about French just because you know English. Easy French will give you almost effortlessly a large amount of knowledge about French.

Just as you appreciate foreigners who know a little English, if you become able to communicate with foreigners using a few words of their native language you will find they are appreciative. Traveling in French cities you will find many French people speak some English, but many more do not, especially in the villages and countryside.

As Mark Twain said about trying to learn German in A Tramp Abroad: “I had learned to take it for granted that anybody in Germany who knows anything, knows English, so I had stopped afflicting people with my German.”


At the end of each lesson, and in Lesson 11, are humorous anecdotes that entertainingly reveal the many difficulties of trying to learn French in traditional ways. These further reveal that beginning French is much easier with Easy French. Many of the stories are from the book Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.


Humor of Knowing Only a Few French Words is adapted from Me Talk Pretty One Day, a humorous book partly about struggling to learn French, by David Sedaris.

I went to France knowing only the word for bottleneck. I said “bottleneck” (in French) at the airport, “bottleneck” on the train to Normandy, and “bottleneck” when confronted with the pile of stones that was Hugh’s house in the country.

The house is located in a tiny hamlet, a Hooterville of eight stone houses huddled in a knot and surrounded by rolling hills decorated with cows and sheep. There was no running water, no electricity, and nothing to buy but the pipes and wires needed if you wanted to live with plumbing and electricity. Because there was nothing decent to buy, the people greeted me with great enthusiasm. It would be the same if a French person were to visit, say, Knightdale, North Carolina.

“My goodness,” everyone said (in French), “you came all this way to see us?”

Had my vocabulary been larger, I might have said (in French),

“Well, no, not exactly.”

Times being what they were, I offered my only possible response.


“Oh, bottleneck,” everyone said. “You speak very well.”

They were nothing like the French people I had imagined. If anything, they were too kind, too generous.

I seemed to have reached my mid-thirties only to be known as ‘the guy who says bottleneck.’

I picked up a few new words, but the overall situation seemed hopeless. Neighbors would drop by while Hugh was off at the hardware store, and I’d struggle to entertain them with a pathetic series of simple nouns (in French).


“Yes,” they’d agree. “That’s an ashtray all right.”

“Hammer? Screwdriver?”

“No, that’s okay, we’ve got our own at home.”

I’d hoped the language might come on its own, the way it comes to babies, but people don’t talk to foreigners the way they talk to babies. They don’t hypnotize you with bright objects and repeat the same words over and over, handing out little treats when you finally say “potty” or “wawa.” It got to the point where I’d see a baby in the bakery or grocery store and instinctively ball up my fists, jealous over how easy he had it. I wanted to lie in a French crib and start from scratch, learning the language from the ground floor up.

I wanted to be a baby, but instead, I was an adult who talked like one, a spooky man-child demanding more than his fair share of attention.

Rather than admit defeat, I decided to change goals. I told myself that I’d never really cared about learning the language. My main priority was to get the house in shape. The verbs would come in due time, but until then I needed a comfortable place to hide.

I left promising to enroll in a French class and then forgot that promise as soon as my plane landed back in New York.

Hugh and I returned to Normandy the following summer, and I resumed my identity as the village idiot.

“See you again yesterday!” I said (in French) to the butcher.

“Ashtray! Bottleneck!”




NEXT EASY FRENCH -- LESSON 2 -- COGNATES are French Words Like English

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