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Top French vocabulary

100 most frequently used French words


The word list below is based on a scientific study conducted by Deryle Lonsdale & Yvon Le Bras. For a much longer list of the most common 5000 French words (!), consult their book A Frequency Dictionary of French. Core Vocabulary for Learners.

See also the top 25 lists: the 25 most common French nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc.

1. le (det.) the; (pron.) him, her, it, them
2. de (det.) some, any; (prep.) of, from
3. un (det.) a, an; (adj., pron.) one
4. à (prep.) to, at, in
5. être (verb) to be; (noun [m.]) being
6. et (conj.) and
7. en (prep.) in, by; (adv., pron.)
8. avoir (verb) to have; (noun [m.]) assets
9. que (adv., pron., conj.) that, which, who, whom
10. pour (prep.) for, in order to
11. dans (prep.) in, into, from
12. ce (det., pron.) this, that
13. il (pron.) he, it
14. qui (pron.) who, whom
15. ne (adv.) not
16. sur (prep.) on, upon; (adj.) sour
17. se (pron.) oneself, himself, herself, itself, themselves
18. pas (adv.) not; (noun [m.]) footstep
19. plus (adv.) more, no more
20. pouvoir (verb) to be able to, can; (noun [m.]) power
21. par (prep.) by
22. je (pron.) I
23. avec (prep.) with
24. tout (adj., adv., pron., det.) all, very
25. faire (verb) to do, make
26. son (det.) his, her its; (noun [m.]) sound; bran
27. mettre (verb) to put, place
28. autre (det., pron.) other
29. on (pron.) one, we
30. mais (conj., adv.) but
31. nous (pron.) we, us
32. comme (conj., adv.) like, as
33. ou (conj.) or
34. si (conj.) if, whether; (adv.) so
35. leur (det., pron.) their, theirs, them
36. y (adv.) there; (pron.) it
37. dire (verb) to say; (noun [m.]) saying
38. elle (pron.) she, her
39. devoir (verb) to have to, owe; (noun [m.]) duty
40. avant (prep., adv.) before; (noun [m.]) front
41. deux (det., noun [m.]) two
42. même (adj., pron.) same; (adv.) even
43. prendre (verb) to take
44. aussi (adv.) to, also; (conj.) as
45. celui (pron.) that, the one, he, him
46. donner (verb) to give
47. bien (adv.) well; (noun [m.]) good
48. (adv., pron.) where
49. fois (noun [f.]) time(s)
50. vous (pron.) you
51. encore (adv.) again, yet
52. nouveau (adj.) new; (noun [m.]) new (thing)
53. aller (verb) to go
54. cela (pron.) that, it
55. entre (prep.) between
56. premier (det., adj.) first
57. vouloir (verb) to want; (noun [m.]) will, desire
58. déjà (adv.) already
59. grand (adj., adv.) great, big, tall
60. mon (det.) my
61. me (pron.) me, to me, myself
62. moins (adv.) less; (prep., noun [m.]) minus
63. aucun (det., adj., pron.) none, either, neither, not any
64. lui (pron.) him, her
65. temps (noun [m.]) time
66. très (adv.) very
67. savoir (verb) to know; (noun [m.]) learning, knowledge
68. falloir (verb) to take, require, need
69. voir (verb) to see
70. quelque (det., adj., adv.) some
71. sans (prep.) without
72. raison (noun [f.]) reason
73. notre (det.) our
74. dont (pron.) whose, of which
75. non (adv.) no, not
76. an (noun [m.]) year
77. monde (noun [m.]) world, people
78. jour (noun [m.]) day
79. monsieur (noun [m.]) mister, sir, gentleman
80. demander (verb) to ask for
81. alors (adv.) then, so
82. après (adv., prep.) after
83. trouver (verb) to find
84. personne (noun [f.]) person; (pron.) anyone, nobody
85. rendre (verb) to render, return, yield, give up
86. part (noun [f.]) share
87. dernier (adj). last
88. venir (verb) to come
89. pendant (adj.) during; (prep.) for; (noun [m.]) pendant
90. passer (verb) to pass
91. peu (adv.) little
92. lequel (pron.) who, whom, which
93. suite (noun [f.]) result, follow-up, rest
94. bon (adj., adv.) good; (noun [m.]) coupon, voucher
95. comprendre (verb) to understand
96. depuis (prep., adv.) since
97. point (adv.) at all; (noun [m.]) point
98. ainsi (adv.) thus
99. heure (noun [f.]) hour
100. rester (verb) to stay


Source:

A Frequency Dictionary of French. Core Vocabulary for Learners,  by Deryle Lonsdale & Yvon Le Bras, 320 p. (2009).
This provides a frequency list of the most common 5000 words in the French language based on a 23 million-word corpus of contemporary French. Each entry lists the word's rank, part of speech, its English translation, a sentence demonstrating the word's usage in context, and the number of occurrences of the word per million words of the corpus. Where relevant, the distribution of a word's use across register -- spoken, literary, or non-fiction -- is also given. There is an additional alphabetical list of the 5000 words and ordered lists of those words by parts of speech: French adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs, as well as conjunctions, determiners, interjections, prepositions, and pronouns. Of interest are also the 27 thematically organized lists interspersed throughout the book (e.g., colors, professions, sports, adjectives describing positive, neutral and negative emotions, vocabulary usage by register) that rank and provide frequencies of the included words. This is a useful book for instructors and students alike.

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