Test your French!

Test your French
Shall I confess or not?
I got 10 out of 12.
How embarrassing.

By | 2016-06-08T12:58:07+00:00 October 14th, 2005|Language|20 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. language hat October 14, 2005 at 2:13 pm

    I got 10 out of 12 too, but I consider the last question unfair, since I’ve never played British Monopoly and can’t be expected to know the French equivalents. What does that have to do with language knowledge, anyway?
    *mutter, grumble*
    [Note: I had to resubmit this comment because of “questionable content: y*hoo.com.” I substituted my gmail address, but really — your software won’t accept y*hoo addresses? Quel snobisme!]

  2. céline October 14, 2005 at 3:21 pm

    I know! Where’s Rue de la Paix anyway? Which other question did you get wrong?
    And how can you take seriously a test which thinks that the hideous “je viens de visiter ma sœur” is correct?
    Sorry about the problem with your y*hoo address; I wish I could say I’ll sort it out, but I have no idea how.

  3. Jean October 14, 2005 at 3:52 pm

    Boo! All the way to No 11 I was gloating and thinking how much I would enjoy telling you I got 12. That Monopoly question was not fair!!!

  4. céline October 14, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    Jean, you still did better than me. And you’re not French…

  5. Neij October 14, 2005 at 4:03 pm

    > And how can you take seriously a test which thinks that the hideous “je viens de visiter ma sœur” is correct?
    I raised my eyebrows at this too. What would be a better way to express it? Instinct suggested “aller voir” instead of “visiter”, but “je viens d’aller voir ma sœur” sounds odd to me because of venir being in such close proximity to aller. The speaker evidently doesn’t know whether s/he’s coming or going!
    Oh, and I didn’t know an intimate knowledge of French Monopoly was required by the National Curriculum either.
    Seriously though, Céline, do tell us which other one you got wrong 😉

  6. céline October 14, 2005 at 4:05 pm

    “Je viens d’aller voir” is fine.
    I won’t tell you, I’m too embarrassed! Off to Brussels now! “See” you all Monday x

  7. Hastiin Hoozdo October 14, 2005 at 8:44 pm

    Shouldn’t the correct form of that question be “Je viens de ‘rendre visite à’ ma sœur”? I actually guessed on that last question and it was the correct answer!! Qu’est-ce que je suis intelligent ! Non, pas vraiment… je plaisante ! (d’ailleurs je ne suis pas français).

  8. MM October 14, 2005 at 11:34 pm

    All OK except the last one, of course!

  9. Xavier Kreiss October 16, 2005 at 8:20 pm

    I agree with language Hat. The Monopoly question is unfair. It has nothing to do with knowledge of French.
    As for “visiter ma soeur”, it’s correct, but makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s ugly. What’s wrong with “rendre visite à ma soeur”?
    Er… 12 out of 12. But that’s only because I played a ot of Monopoly as a teennager, with both Englsih and French boards.

  10. mark Ase October 16, 2005 at 11:13 pm

    11…go on, take a guess which I got wrong. As someone who’s just started trying to return to languages after a year with sucky jobs elsewhere I’m interested if anyone can explain the ugliness of the “viens de visiter ma soeur” question? I ended up gettingthat one through elimination more than anything.

  11. céline October 17, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Mark, usage dictates that “visiter someone” isn’t correct. Nothing grammatical about it, it’s just wrong to a French ear.
    “Rendre visite”, on the other hand, is fine!
    Don’t you love languages?

  12. Jenny October 17, 2005 at 11:20 am

    You can use “visiter” for a place/monment but not for a person.

  13. Jez October 17, 2005 at 1:44 pm

    Yup – 11. Never played French monopoly. I presumed the Champs Elysées would be a suitably swanky address for a Mayfair equivalent.
    I think the Rue de la Paix is near the Opera somewhere – where the Cafe de la Paix is.
    I translated a menu for the Cafe de la Paix last week. That was much more difficult than this BBC quiz!

  14. Göny October 19, 2005 at 6:42 am

    I`ve scored 10 out of 12 too but the last question really messed me up… What had THAT to do with the knowledge of French language????
    I`ve had intensive studies of French for 15 years in school, but I`ve never come across this kind of info. How can that be relevant???

  15. Michael Farris October 22, 2005 at 4:28 pm

    I got 8 1/2 without the benefit of knowing any French to speak of. (I missed chomeur, enerve, the monopoly one and being a pilot, where I guess a wrong answer still gets you half a point).
    I once took a 20 question multiple choice English test used for Polish high school exit exams and missed four. One was a British/American thing (they didn’t accept ‘don’t have to’ for ‘needn’t’), the rest were like the sister question here, confusing and/or tin-eared.

  16. Sophie October 23, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    Regarding the French verb “visiter” it can be use for a person but only in one specific way.
    Effectively you can “visite” someone who is ill, the most common use is:
    “j’ai visité ma grand-mère malade”.
    It is quite a old French idiom, but it is still correct, the most recent idiom would be “rendre visite”

  17. Jim October 25, 2005 at 1:50 pm

    11/10 – the monopoly question floored me.

  18. Jim October 25, 2005 at 2:01 pm

    On the visiter/rendre visite…I’m a semilingual educated in England and I got used at school to doing tests where the French wasn’t, shall we say, idiomatic. I just ignore the infelicities and hone in on the grammatical point. For a few short days early on I tried pointing out things that just weren’t French…I soon learned not to bother and after a while I couldn’t really tell what was and wasn’t French anyway!

  19. Alistair Roycroft November 1, 2005 at 11:39 pm

    I was sucked in to your blog by a google search for “neck of the woods” and have since spent an hour or so browsing around and enjoying your enjoyment of language. A pleasant diversion for someone who spends most days at a computer writing code rather than English – and who last studied French 25 years ago. So I’m feeling quite pleased, smug even, with my 10/12 although I would have to confess to one or two educated guesses (my luck ran out with énervée and Rue de la Paix).
    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Lizzle November 8, 2005 at 9:46 am

    I got 10/12. I got the ‘viens visiter’ question wrong…I think I put it meant ‘on my way to visit’ and the French Monopoly one…everything else I didn’t guess I actually knew…I feel ok cuz I lived in France for a yr and would have felt like I wasted my time if I got anything less hahahaha…I like your blog!

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