Talking about food in French

Giving your opinions of food and drink

To ask someone what they like or don’t like eating and drinking, you can use the ‎following questions:‎

  • Qu'est-ce que tu aimes manger/boire? - What do you like to eat/drink?‎
  • Qu'est-ce que tu n'aimes pas manger/boire? - What don’t you like to eat/drink?‎

For many food items, you need to use a plural when you are giving your opinion of them, ‎as you would in English. For example, you would say ‘I like carrots’ or ‘I don’t like ‎hamburgers’.‎

To form a plural in French, you usually (but not always) add an ‘s’, like you would do in ‎English. For example, carrot is carotte and carrots is carottes in French.‎

  • J’aime les carottes - I like carrots.‎
  • Je n’aime pas les hamburgers - I don’t like hamburgers.‎

To reply, you can use j’aime (I like) or je n’aime pas (I don’t like), followed by the food ‎item.

After j’aime or je n’aime pas, you need to have a definite article (le, la or les).‎

  • J’aime le poulet - I like chicken.‎
  • Je n’aime pas la limonade - I don’t like lemonade.‎

Extending your opinions with reasons

You can add more information about why you like or dislike different food and drink ‎items by using parce que (because).‎

To give a reason why you like or dislike a food or drink item, such as chocolate or orange ‎juice, say parce que c’est (because it is) followed by the masculine form of the adjective.‎

Drinks and meat tend to be singular.‎

  • J’aime le poulet parce que c’est délicieux - I like chicken because it’s delicious.‎
  • Je n’aime pas la limonade parce que c’est trop sucré - I don’t like lemonade ‎because it is too sweet.‎
  • J’aime les légumes parce que c’est bon pour la santé - I like vegetables because ‎they’re healthy.‎

For more opinion phrases, food and drink items and reasons why you might ‎like or dislike them, click on the downloadable phrase builder below:

Food and drink phrase builder
document

Explaining dietary requirements

Sometimes, it is important to explain that you can’t eat certain foods.
Here are some useful phrases to help you talk about allergies and dietary requirements:‎

FrenchEnglish
Je suis végétarien (male) / Je ‎suis végétarienne (female)‎I am (a) vegetarian
Je suis végétalien / je suis ‎végan (male) / Je suis ‎végétalienne / végane ‎‎(female) ‎I am (a) vegan
Je suis allergique aux noix / ‎J’ai une allergie aux noixI am allergic to nuts
J’ai une intolérance au lactoseI am lactose intolerant
J’ai une intolérance au glutenI have gluten intolerance
J’ai la maladie cœliaqueI have coeliac disease

Saying what you eat for different meals

To talk about what you eat for different meals, you can use the following expressions:‎

  • Au petit déjeuner, je mange des céréales et je bois du thé - For breakfast, I eat ‎cereal and I drink tea.‎
  • À midi, j’aime manger des sandwichs - For lunch, I like eating sandwiches.‎
  • Le soir, je préfère manger une salade - For dinner, I prefer eating a salad.‎

Talking about meals in different tenses

Present tense

To say what you usually eat and drink, or what you are eating and drinking right now, use ‎the present tense of the verbs manger (to eat) and boire (to drink):‎

FrenchEnglish
je mangeI eat
tu mangesyou eat
il / elle mangehe / she eats‎
FrenchEnglish
je boisI drink
tu boisyou drink
il / elle boithe / she drinks
  • Normalement, à midi, je mange un hamburger et je bois de l’eau - Normally, for ‎lunch, I eat a hamburger and I drink some water.‎
  • Aujourd’hui, ma mère mange des céréales au petit déjeuner - My mum is eating ‎cereal for breakfast.‎

Past tense

To talk about what you ate in the past, you need to use the passé composé (perfect ‎tense) of the verbs manger (to eat) and boire (to drink):‎

FrenchEnglish
j'ai mangéI ate
tu as mangéyou ate
il / elle a mangéhe / she ate‎
FrenchEnglish
j'ai buI drank
tu as buyou drank
il / elle a buhe / she drank‎
  • Hier, j'ai mangé du poisson et j'ai bu de l'eau - Yesterday, I ate fish and I drank ‎water. ‎
  • Samedi dernier, mon copain a mangé du gâteau et il a bu du coca parce que ‎c'était son anniversaire - Last Saturday, my friend ate cake and drank cola ‎because it was his birthday.‎

Future tense

If you want to say what you are going to eat in the future, you use the correct form of ‎aller (to go) and the infinitives manger (to eat) and boire (to drink):‎

FrenchEnglish
je vais mangerI am going to eat
tu vas mangeryou are going to eat
il / elle va mangerhe / she is going to eat
FrenchEnglish
je vais boireI am going to drink
tu vas boireyou are going to drink
il / elle va boirehe / she is going to drink
  • Ce soir, je vais manger une pomme et je vais boire du jus d'orange parce que c'est ‎bon pour la santé - This evening, I'm going to eat an apple and I'm going to drink ‎some orange juice because it is healthy.‎
  • Demain, mon père va boire du café au petit déjeuner - Tomorrow, my dad is going ‎to drink some coffee at breakfast.‎

Quiz

Watch the video and find out how much you know about food in French with this short quiz.

Where next?

Discover more from around Bitesize.

The present tense: How to talk about what you do in French
Gender and articles in French
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