Best French Mistakes

What is the funniest or worst you’ve done/heard?
One couple walking around a French ship and telling everyone that the canapes were delicious.
I’m not telling you what I accidentally said to the hairdressers.
People saying that products have preservatives in them.
Go on.


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Mme Slocum.

Oooh, you are awful but I like you…

[actually hated Dick Emery, but never mind]

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Introducing our English friends,as our English lovers to our local bar owner


Never met one of those!

The French would probably hardly raise an eyebrow? They’ve heard all about these English people and their ways!


Well there is always the tale of the fellow who, when asked what he needed by the camping shop sales assistant, responded that he wished to purchase a ‘matelot gonflable’.


A l’eau, c’est l’heure as they say :wink:


Is that similar to a Japanese doll ? Not that I’d know…

Can’t go camping without one. I always take mine! And no, I’m not telling you where I go camping.

I told the builders’ yard guys I wanted timber for the coyau (Chacune des pièces de charpente ajoutées aux chevrons, dans leur partie basse, pour adoucir la pente d’un versant de toit ). They fell about and were embarrassed when I demanded to know why. One explained they heard ‘couilles’ and gestured to explain what they are! Since then I’ve been determined to work on my accent…

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Accent is key, and can change all sorts of words! I have to work on my accent. Thanks for sharing that


Pronunciation is indeed key.

I got off the train at G du Nord and made a run for the WCs I knew were at the end of the platforms. I knew that I need un jeton to open a cubicle door. As I got within shouting range of the dragon guarding the entrance to the loos - it was going to be a close call - I yelled, “Un jeton! Un jeton!”

The dragon roared back, "Achton quoi!?.. Achton quoi?!"

I made it - just.

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There’s an English stand-up comic based in Paris - Paul Taylor. He is not just fluent but has a perfect FR accent which he acquired based in France when very young.

His routine [on TY called “What The Fuck, France”] includes a joke [manufactured for the routine, I’m pretty sure] making fun of his French wife’s habit of dropping an ‘h’ where it’s necessary but adding one where not, in English.

“I ham so ungry I could eat somzing…” Taylor immediately offers to make dinner. He draws this out … What she meant was " I am so angry I could hit something"

Regarding the threads re restoration, Taylor also offers “le footing” as a daft Franglish word invented to mean jogging, telling us that there is no such word in English as “footing”.

Tell that to anyone who has had any connection with walls - architect, supplier or artisan, from the humblest brickie to Sir R. Rogers.

But then, maybe his Parisian audience don’t know their footing from their corbles.

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Wonderful stuff, both posts, thanks.

I saw this discussion and had to respond. I carry this anecdote around like a badge of honour.

When I started working in France 12 years, fresh from my studies, I spoke no French apart from a 6 week crash course that I took after landing the job. This was barely enough French to survive. I worked at a research institute in Toulouse and needed a certain pH buffer urgently. I diligently wrote out a very simple email to the whole institute asking if someone had some. I got my colleague to check the email, and his reply, in his defence, was fair; my French was grammatically correct. I fired it off and waited. The pH buffer was called PIPES…

Yes, I had asked the entire institute if I could have some blowjobs! That was on week two.
When I confronted Franck, my proofreader, he said “but it is so funny when you make mistakes”.



Oh dear, that is brilliant. I bet that put a smile on everyone’s face, while Franck was probably killing himself laughing.
I guess no one offered, though?
I was dead embarrassed what I accidentally told the hairdresser, but they were laughing and so do I.

My teen is constantly cracking up when I try to say the word for felt tip pen (or texta if you are an Aussie!) as it comes out meaning something totally different. I dont’ brave writing the words as a/ they are rude (well not the pen one!) and b/ not sure the correct spellings!

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