How do you say “I love you” in French?
It’s one of the first things French learners are eager to know. Je t’aime. A simple internet search will turn up multiple results with lists translating “I love you” into dozens of languages. It’s a universal part of the human experience.
No matter what our reasons are for learning a language, soon enough we all want to be able to express our most powerful, positive emotions. Whether that means being able to confess your feelings to someone new, gossip with friends, or practise a new language with someone you love, we all want to know what to say.
Love is tricky enough. When you add a foreign language or an unfamiliar culture into the mixture, it can lead to a lot of confusion. If you’re looking for a few words and a couple tips to carry you through the nuances of the language of love, you’ve come to the right place.
“Tu veux sortir avec moi?”
Let’s say you meet a French speaker and you’re very interested in getting to know them better. Perhaps it’s love at first sight (tu as le coup de foudre) or maybe you just get butterflies (tu as des papillons) after spending some time with them.
Keep in mind that, in France, an invitation to dinner isn’t necessarily a romantic outing.
Here are a few other words and phrases you might need if you plan on finding love in French:
Avoir le béguin (pour quelqu’un) – Have a crush (on someone)
Flirter – To flirt
Sortir avec quelqu’un – To go out with/ date someone
Tomber amoureux(euse) – Fall in love
Rompre (avec) – Break up
Plaquer / Larguer quelqu’un – To dump
Maybe you’ve already found someone to love and you’re learning French to connect with them. Maybe you and your significant other are learning French together.
Then again, you might just love watching a good romantic comedy. Either way, there are few words you can familiarise yourself with regarding love.
You should also know that je t’aime is only said to someone you’re in love with or to family members. If you want to talk about the love you have for your best friend, you’d use je t’aime bien or je t’aime beaucoup to mean “I like you well enough” or “I like you a lot.”
You also might need to know the following love related terms:
Un baiser* – A kiss
Embrasser – To kiss
Embrasse-moi – Kiss me
Faire une demande en marriage – Propose
Marier – Marry
*Note: Be careful not to use un baiser as a verb meaning to kiss someone. The verb form means a lot more than a kiss and isn’t appropriate in polite company.
Sooner or later, you’ll find love and want to tell someone about it or a friend might want to get to know you better. You may have heard the term petit(e) ami(e) used to describe a boyfriend or girlfriend, but the term often refers to casual relationships or teenage romances.
Instead, you can try one of these words to describe your sweetheart:
Copain / copine – Boyfriend / girlfriend
Compagnon/ compagne – Significant other (more formal or professional)
Mar i / femme – Husband / wife
Époux / épouse – Spouse
Mon chér i/ ma chérie – My darling
No matter what words you use to describe your love, just remember that emotions aren’t limited to just one language. Your love probably won’t mind if you make a mistake every now and then, so don’t be afraid to practise.