Learning French: Expressing Love, Desire, Adoration

How to Say What You Like and Love

Saying what you like and love is important in any language. To express love in French is not difficult, but the verbs for expressing love and adoration don't collocate precisely with the English words "like" and "love." To get an idea how the following words can be used to express what you like and love, read the following phrases:

  • J'aime lire. – I like/love to read.
  • J'aime faire de sport. I like/love playing sports.
  • J'aime le chocolate. – I like/love chocolate.
  • J'aime le fromage. I like/love cheese.
  • J'aime ma mère. I love my mother.
  • J'aime beaucoup ma mère. I love my mother very much.
  • J'aime beaucoup faire de sport. I really love playing sports.

Finally, it's good to know how to express absolute all-out love and adoration, if necessary. Like the other terms of liking, these words are flexible too, and the verb adorer can refer to anything from a food you like to someone you worship. Here are a few usages:

  • J'adore le soleil. I love the sun!
  • Je t'aime. – I love you.
  • Je t'adoreI love/adore you.

How to Say What You Want

Much as in English, it is possible to say "I want," or a more polite form that is similar to "I would like." Here are some phrases giving examples of both structures:

  • Je veux un café. I want a coffee.
  • Je voudrais un café. I would like a coffee.
  • Je voudrais un café, s'il vous plaît. I would like a coffee, please. (If you're ordering at a restaurant, it's best to use this polite form of making your request)

How to Ask Someone to Marry You

There is such a thing as wanting a coffee….and then, there are desires for more important things! Suppose, for example, that you wish to propose to someone in French (that is, demander en mariage). Here are a few phrases you might find useful:

  • Tu es ma joie de vivre. – You are the joy of my life.
  • Veux-tu m'épouser ? Will you marry me?
  • Acceptes-tu de devenir ma femme ?Will you marry me? [Literally: Will you accept to become my wife?]

How to Say What You Hate and What You Don’t Want

If you hate or strongly dislike something, you can express it using the following phrase:

  • Je déteste ______________ . – I hate (strongly dislike) __________________ .
  • ex.: Je déteste les cafards. I hate cockroaches.
  • ex.: Je déteste les pâtes. I hate pasta.

For a slightly more expressive way of stating that you dislike something, you can use the following phrase:

  • J'ai horreur de ______________ . I hate [literally: have a horror of] _______________ .
  • ex.: J'ai horreur de football. I hate soccer.
  • ex.: J'ai horreur de faire le ménage. I hate doing housework.

Finally, you can express dislike by negating any of the positive statements about liking something. To make any statement negative, you simply insert the following formula around the verb: ne ___________ pas. (Note: As is common in French, the word ne becomes n' when preceding a verb that begins with a vowel).

For example, here are a few phrases that use the negation formula to express what one does not like or does not want:

  • Je n'aime pas le jazz.I don't like jazz.
  • Je n'aime pas les lapins. I don't like rabbits.
  • Je ne veux pas des raisins. I don't want any grapes.
  • Je ne voudrais pas une bière. I wouldn't like a beer.

Learn these words and phrases with the help of this list available for download and printing, and enjoy talking about your love and desire and dislikes…in French!