If you thought you’d be on safe ground using the expression ‘yum!’ in a café to express your appreciation of the fine French croissant you’ve been presented with… you thought wrong. Sorry to break it to you, but even the little words you may have previously thought were universal at expressing emotion turn out to be just as different as the rest of the puzzle that is the French language.
However, all is not lost; learn the following French interjections now, and you’ll be able to pop them into most situations and give off the impression you totally know what you’re doing, whether you speak any actual French or not.
Aïe ! – Interjection used to express pain or discomfort.
E.g. Aïe, aïe, aïe ! I just hit my head on my very low, very Parisian ceiling.
Mince ! – Injection used to express frustration and/or annoyance.
E.g. Mince ! I can’t believe I forgot my keys, again! Now I’ll have to climb back up the hundreds of steps to my lift-less Parisian apartment.
Ouf ! – Interjection used to express relief.
E.g. Ouf ! Thank goodness I brought my umbrella to prevent my very Parisian-chic hairdo from getting ruined in this atrocious weather!
Miam Miam ! – Interjection to express the deliciousness of something.
E.g. Miam Miam ! This croissant is possibly one of the most delicately delicious taste-sensations I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Bof ! – Interjection to express the poor/below satisfactory quality of something.
E.g. Have you connected to the Wifi? What’s the signal like?
– Bof !
Oups ! – Interjection used to acknowledge a mistake/error.
E.g. Oups ! I can’t believe I forgot to water the terrace plants this morning!
Chut ! – Interjection used to request silence/quietness.
E.g Chut ! This is a library not a night club! Put your headphones on please!
Beurk ! – Interjection used to express dislike/disgust.
E.g. Valentines Day? Beurk ! All that soppiness makes me feel ill!
Zut ! – Interjection used to acknowledge a mistake/error.
E.g. Zut ! I can’t believe I forgot to set my alarm again; here’s hoping the Métro is quick today!
Hein ? – Interjection to show that one has not understood/to express disbelief.
E.g. Hein ? – What do you mean it’s only Wednesday? But I’m ready for the weekend!