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Spot 80 French Words Used in English Story

Updated on July 2, 2016
Sue Adams profile image

I grew up in Paris and Amsterdam, lived and worked in Berlin, London, and currently live in Spain. I now speak 5 languages by necessity.

Spot the French Words in the Story

The following short story, Trevor and Jeanette's Coup de Foudre Encounter, contains no less than 80 French words that are commonly used in the English language. Can you spot them all? When you've finished, you can compare your score with others who have taken the test.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin...

Trevor And Jeanette’s Coup de Foudre Encounter

The aperitif her fiancé had promised to get Jeanette from the bar never materialized. He was talking to a young blonde in a far corner of the exhibition. Jeanette walked over to the buffet, helped herself to some punch, and was just about to bite into a delicious looking piece of whole grain crab baguette when a tall, well groomed young gentleman standing next to her asked, “How do you like the paintings? I myself am quite blasé about art, I attend virtually every exhibition opening in town. Being a bon vivant , I must confess, I only come to these events in search of a beautiful brunette like yourself. May I introduce myself? My name is Trevor MacCullen, delighted to meet you.” Skilfully balancing a glass and a plate full of victuals in the other, he stuck out his free hand.

“Hi, I am Jeanette with double “T” ”E”.

“Ah! I must say," Trevor replied, "I much prefer the French spelling of names like Jeanette, Claudette, and Juliette. What about a change of venue? Let us get out of this stuffy place. Would you like to come to join me for a drink at that delightful outdoor café in the park, owned by the best restaurateur in town, so we can get better acquainted?”

“Oh I don’t know, I came here with someone, you see.” Jeanette looked away only to see her enfant terrible of a fiancé still wildly flirting with the same gorgeous blonde. He was obviously in another of his ”cherchez la femme” moods.

“No problem at all Jeanette. My chauffeur will drive us and you’ll be back here before your escort even notices your absence. By the way, that is a very chic dress you are wearing.”

He did not mention but noticed her well endowed décolleté and a subtle smell of fresh eau de Cologne that blended so well with his own Cartier eau de toilette.

“OK then, I´ll join you for a little while,” Jeanette consented. Trevor put his plate down and, gently holding Jeanette’s elbow, he guided her through the crowd to the exit where his Limousine was waiting.

Modern Art or Rubbish or Garbage?
Modern Art or Rubbish or Garbage?

Janet was at an impasse. She knew very little about art. She knew her étiquette, but was more of a down to earth, outdoor sort of person, with a natural sense of joie de vivre. She preferred getting her hands dirty in the garden in lieu of having to dress up for posh cultural or social events. Although Trevor was much more at home in higher social circles, he also carried with him a laissez-faire attitude. Now he was eager to start a liaison with this beautiful woman whose thin satin lingerie strap, so delicate and sexy, had just escaped her shoulder line. On a more personal level, Trevor confessed to being a failed entrepreneur living on his family fortune.

“I am a total failure, but very lucky not to care about this fait accompli. I hope I haven’t made a faux pas by being too honest about myself but I am so strongly attracted to you Jeanette, that I would risk everything to get to know you better.”

Unused to such charming attentions, Jeanette felt a bit like a femme fatale. “Oh, come on, Trevor, there must be something you are passionate about, something you are good at.” She lowered her head. “My fiancé, is crazy about the Grand Prix and beautiful blondes to the point of neglecting me most of the time.”

“Well in that case the man is a rogue and does not deserve to be anywhere near a beautiful creature like you, Jeanette.”

Art Nouveau? No, just a child's painting.
Art Nouveau? No, just a child's painting.

Sitting outdoors in the park restaurant, away from the poseurs showing a mere façade of themselves at the exhibition, Trevor ordered an exquisite vin blanc. He picked up the à la carte menu and suggested an hors d'œuvre of pâté de foie gras.

“But I am a vegetarian,” Jeanette said. “I’ll have the salad with vinaigrette. For main courses the maître d' suggested some mange tout and sauté potatoes to go with Trevor’s entre-côte and Jeanette’s omelette . Trevor raised his glass “bon appétit”. Being a good raconteur, he told Jeanette all about the ins and outs of the art scene in the capital. He finished his monologue by saying, “The genre of Art Nouveau is all but an idée fixe propagated by art critics to bump up the prices. Anything a child draws can be called Art Nouveau, for Pete’s sake.”

John Lennon was singing “Imagine” in the background. With more white wine, the sunshine, fresh air, bird song, and the sound of laughing children far away, force majeure would have it that Jeanette fell deeply in love with Trevor.

The pièce de résistance on the menu was a desert of Crêpes Suzette. Enjoying her meal and the exceptional company, Jeanette looked out over the large open field. One area had been left wild. It was like a déja vu of the prairie adjoining her own rural holiday chalet. Trevor interrupted her rêverie.

Haute Couture Dress - Paris in the Fifties
Haute Couture Dress - Paris in the Fifties | Source

“I recently read a reportage in Vogue magazine about Dior’s next fashion show in Paris next week. Please Jeanette, do me the honor of accompanying me to the première? I’ll buy you a haute couture dress of your choice to show you my gratitude.”

“You do realize you are just about to sabotage my entire engagement.”

“ I do indeed and I don’t mind in the least being a saboteur of what could prevent you from becoming mine.”

“That is all very charming, but for now can you please take me back to the exhibition? My fiancé will be wondering where I am.”

“Only if you promise to join me for a little soirée I arranged at my house tonight. “

“I might just do that,” Jeanette smiled, “ what better way to get to know a man than by meeting his friends.”

“Exactly. You will soon discover the truth about me. That although I am no savant, nor very spiritual - I never participated in a séance - my friends are nice people, full of interesting vignettes which will both inform and entertain you. Now let us go back to the exhibition and I’ll pick you up at 8 o´clock tonight.”

Jeanette handed him her card. “Here is my address, Don’t be late. And by the way, vis-à-vis the Dior fashion show in Paris, I am not promising anything yet.”

They got up and walked back to the car park where the limo was waiting. Jeanette was pensive during the drive back to the exhibition. She might have to say adieu and bon voyage to her inattentive fiancé and swap him for this prince charming of a man. Vive la différence. Sitting here in the limo, with Trevor’s strong arm around her shoulder, Jeanette’s morale was up, she felt happy and safe, looking forward to, once again, holding the carte blanche over her future.


How did you Score?

How many of the 80 French Words did you spot in Trevor and Jeanette's Story?

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Jeanette and Trevor's story only covers the tip of the iceberg. Did you know that there are over 7,500 French words we have adopted from the French for use in English? Unfortunately (for the French) English speaking people have bastardised the pronunciation of those adopted French words to the point that French people who don't speak English often fail to recognise them. Watch the next video to learn more French words commonly used in English with their respective English/French pronunciations.

More French Words Used in English


© 2016 JULIETTE KANDO - You may link to this article, but you may Not copy it. Copied content will be reported with a DMCA notice and will be removed.



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    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 4 years ago from Andalusia

      I didn't know that Jainismus, thank you.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Interesting information.

      Here in our country India, there are many languages, but I have observed that Hindi sounds lovely language and many times it is refereed as "Pyaar Ki Bhasha', meaning the Language of Love.

      Shared with Hub followers.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

      Hi angela_michelle just read your hub on language where you make some interesting points. We could go on and on, like when I was eleven and forced to go shopping for "sauer kraut" (zuurkool in Dutch) by my 2nd Dad when we'd just moved to Holland. All the way to the shop I repeated the word "zuurkoll-zuurkool-zuurkoolzuurkoolzuur...". When I got to the vegetable shop I asked for "koolzuur" which means "oxygen"! The guy in the vegetable shop thought I was crazy and sent me home empty handed to an angry Dad.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      This is really interesting. I am currently writing a hub on human language whether it is nature versus nurture. I think people who are attracted to my hub will really enjoy yours, so I will definitely be adding a link to yours. Good job!!

    • profile image

      Kohku 7 years ago

      I love playing with languages. Did you know, for example that the moon is

      female "la lune" in French,while male "der Mohnt" in German and the sun is

      male "le soleil" in French, while female "die Sonne" in German?

      Now why on earth would that be?

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 7 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Great hub - will come back with a cup of tea to read more.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

      Magicstar, American, the language of money?

      Winsome, I read your comment with enthusiasm. I like the Greek Gods, they weren't perfect but to this day language has kept them with us it seems. Thank you for that new piece of info.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Happy hub! I like the word enthused (once had it as a license plate)because it comes from in theos or indwelled by God. If that doesn't make you enthusiastic what would? :)

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

      Thank you for sharing my mind Mike, I know the feeling of feeling silly. Perhaps we could combine the two words into one verb? Like feelsilling? It feels silly but nice.

    • MagicStarER profile image

      MagicStarER 7 years ago from Western Kentucky

      This was awesome - I, too, love to ponder the meanings and the "feelings" behind words! I loved your description of the spanish version of "enchanting" which is "encantante" or "encantador", which is indeed based on the latin for "song".

      Further, they say Spanish is the language of the heart.

      French the language of love.

      I wonder what the other languages are said to be of...

      ?? Great hub! You are a good writer and very perceptive!

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      It is interesting to ponder how language can affect us through its sounds and rhythms. I find myself noticing more frequently the comical aspects of words, particularly visually. For example, if you are more free than I am, are you freer or freeer? Are you freeest? (Of course, you are most free, but it's still fun to look at....) My analysis of words hardly compares with yours, of course, but I am trying to be a little silly at the moment.

      Thanks again, this was fun to read.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

      I'm so glad I've found a few more hubbers who appreciate languages particularities. Do you have any linguistic misunderstandings to share?

    • sannyasinman profile image

      sannyasinman 7 years ago

      Good article with keen observations :)

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 8 years ago from Andalusia

      Yes, the language of smiles. I left a comment at nytimes.

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      I thought of you today when I read this article. enjoy.


    • steffer profile image

      Stef Verheyen 8 years ago from Belgium (Europe)

      What a great article

      this is really fun to read, and oh so true, yet funny at the same time when ou think of it.

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      delightful article! I enjoyed reading it. I also love language and it always fascinates me as to why we choose some of the words we do when describing someone or something. I have taught 3-5 year olds for many years, which also influenced my love for language and letters. it's really amazing how a child learns to speak or read. thanks for a great read this morning!

    • Epsilon5 profile image

      Epsilon5 8 years ago from Eastern Pennsylvania

      Some very cool conclusions!

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 8 years ago from Andalusia

      Thank you ralwus. I know, words can be confusing sometimes.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      You almost lost me there. LOL But I have noticed when English is translated by someone, especially those dam subtitles, it takes much longer to say what we do in English. My tongue is too old now to speak my high school Spanish, the r's don't roll so easily anymore. LOL I'm of Scottish decent too. hehe Just can't do it anymore.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 8 years ago from Andalusia

      Thank you bayareagreatthing I love multilingual puns but it is difficult to find people to share them with. My brother is very good at it too but he lives across the globe now. How come you know the word "Lekker" are you Dutch?

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 8 years ago from Bay Area California

      I love to ponder words! I am kind of weird that way. Your hub just made me laugh!! It was so "lekker"!! How amazing that you know all those languages. I envy you. Fun Hub!!