10 Common expressions in French

10 Common expressions in French 

Idiomatic expressions are a very important part of a language. If you have been learning French for a while, then it is high time you learned some of the french expressions. Here are 10 of the common expressions in French. You might even come across some of them along your learning process. 

  1. Voir la vie en rose 
La vie en rose

This sentence is literally translated to “to see life in pink”. Pink is definitely a happy color. So, whenever you are happy or feeling good, you can say that you are seeing life in pink – je vois la vie en rose would be the sentence to use. 

  1. Avoir une nuit blanche 
Une ‘nuit blanche’ © iStock

It means to have a white night. Is the night white? Of course not. Therefore, if you did not rest nor did you sleep at night, you can say that you had une nuit blanche. It means you spent the whole night awake and did not sleep at all

  1. Avoir la main verte 

“To have a green hand” is an expression used to describe someone who can and know how to take care of plants. 

  1. Avoir la chair de poule

Literally, avoir la chair de poule would be to have a chicken’s skin. We know, such a strange expression. Idiomatically, on the other hand, it means to have goosebumps. Does it make more sense now? We hope it does.

5. Ce n’est pas la mer à boire 

“It is not the sea to drink”. In other words, it is not that difficult, it is not a big deal. It is not like you are going to drink the sea. 

  1. Tomber dans les pommes 

Tomber is to fall. Les pommes is apples. “To fall into apples” is a sentence used to say that someone fainted. Elle est tombée dans les pommes – She fainted

  1. Avoir un poil dans la main 

Avoir un poil dans la main is “to have a hair in one’s hand”. Metaphorically, this sentence means “to be lazy” – so lazy that you have let a hair grow out of your palm!

  1. Avoir le cafard 

Le cafard is the cockroach. Avoir le cafard means “to have the cockroach”, which in its turn means to be very sad, disappointed, depressed – all the negative feelings you might have when you see a cockroach. 

  1. Les doigts dans le nez 

When things are pretty easy, one can say they can do them with their eyes closed in english. In french, it is a bit different. One would say that they can do them with their fingers in their nose. 

  1. L’habit ne fait pas le moine 
L’habit ne fait pas le moine @canva

L’habit ne fait pas le moine is the english expression for “do not judge a book by its cover means”. Literally, the expression means “the clothing does not make the monk”. In fact, just because someone is dressed in a monk’s robes, that doesn’t mean that they are actually a monk. So do not judge things based on their appearance. 

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