In France, there are not many subjects that are considered taboo, and the French will frequently speak their mind without holding back. At a dinner party in France, you might be asked to share your opinion on your political beliefs, relationships, spiritual tendencies, the environment, immigration, etc. In discussions, there is one topic that many avoid which is people’s finances or salaries.
You will rarely hear someone asking you how much you make at your job. However, they will willingly let you know what they think about the cost of living. The French thrive on a good debate and it is difficult for them to stay neutral. I’m writing this article from my home in California, and I ran into a French friend a few weeks ago who was telling me that she was no longer getting involved in the heated conversations taking place on Facebook related to politics and the pandemic. She had decided that she wanted to stay neutral. I responded by laughing and saying to her that it must be quite difficult to be French and not give an opinion. With a big smile she responded: En fait, c’est impossible (Actually, it’s impossible)!
In this article, I would like to give you some of the most popular phrases and words that the French use to express their opinions whether they’re “for” or “against” something, they agree or not, or they’re unsure.
First, have a look at these short words that are frequently used to emphasize a personal opinion:
1. Perso and moi, je / toi, tu
These words are used to open a discussion when sharing an opinion. Perso is short for personnellement (personally).
– Perso, je pense que c’est une bonne idée. = Personally, I think that it’s a good idea.
Another word that you will hear a lot which emphasizes one’s position when sharing an opinion is by adding a pronoun such as moi in front of je. This also happens with the other subjects:
toi with tu, vous with vous, lui with il, elle with elle, eux with ils, elles with elles. You can interpret it as: “As for me” or “as for you.”
– Moi, je pense que c’est une bonne idée.
– Vous, vous pensez quoi ?
– Lui, il pense que c’est une mauvaise idée.
– Et eux, ils pensent que l’idée est bonne ?
– Et elles, elles aiment bien aussi cette idée ?
Again, you will often hear the French start with either one, so don’t hesitate to use these to position your thoughts.