Il faut + infinitive in French

Il faut + infinitive in French

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Added by January 7, 2015


How to use IL FAUT to express an obligation in French

BONJOUR TOUT LE MONDE!  I gotta tell you I’ve been feeling a bit bad for challenging your new resolution to eat healthily or lose weight by talking to you about LA GALETTE DES ROIS. I wanna make up for it

As you may know it already, the French are pretty good are staying slim and slender. I mean, with our modern lifestyle, obviously we’re all getting fatter, Europeans and Americans. However, we, Frenchies, do have some good habits you may wanna look into and that may help you stay thin and happy. I’ll take this opportunity to teach you the grammatical structure that translates ONE MUST… do this or that… To express a general obligation in French we use:

IL FAUT + the INFINITIVE of the verb.

Now, hold on guys, I’m not trying to tell you what to do here. Just making suggestions and using this opportunity to teach you a new French grammatical structure, that’s all. No real obligation to do anything you don’t feel inspired to do! Having said that, let’s go through those suggestions.


First, IL FAUT FAIRE DU SPORT: one must exercise. The French walk a lot, a lot more than Americans, that’s for sure. The cities are most concentrated usually, and you can walk to a lot of different places. You don’t really need a car. When I lived in Paris, I used to spend hours just walking everywhere. Great way to relax and re-center tool.


Second, IL FAUT MANGER À DES HEURES RÉGULIÈRES: one must eat at regular hours. French nutritionists are big on that one. In America, we eat at all hours. In that sense, I’ve certainly become very American. Well, the French will usually have breakfast, LE PETIT-DÉJEUNER, lunch LE DÉJEUNER, a snack in the afternoon, LE GOÛTER, and dinner, LE DÎNER.

Third, IL FAUT MANGER ÉQUILIBRÉ: one must eat a balanced diet. No real need to explain that one. A typical French meal will include UNE ENTRÉE, an appetizer. Careful with ENTRÉE, it’s a FAUX AMI, a fake friend, it has a different meaning from the American word ENTRÉE. An appetizer can be DES CRUDITÉS, raw vegetables, for example. Then we move on to UN PLAT PRINCIPAL, a main course, which could be DU POISSON (fish), DE LA VIANDE (meat), DES OEUFS (eggs), with veggies DES LÉGUMES. ÉVITER LES FRITURES! Avoid fried foods! Then we sometimes finish with a salad DE LA SALADE, some cheese, DU FROMAGE, and maybe some fruit, UN FRUIT. All healthy! No sodas, swap it for a glass of wine if you need something other than water, DE L’EAU!


Finally, IL FAUT PRENDRE DU PLAISIR A TABLE: one must enjoy sitting down to eat. The French are known for their art of living, L’ART DE VIVRE. We take time to relax and eat, whenever we can that is. It’s an enjoyable part of our daily life. We gather with friends, we cook, we eat, we have a glass of wine, UN VERRE DE VIN, and we just chill, ON SE DÉTEND. And we have a good time, ON PASSE DU BON TEMPS!

If that all sounds good to you, try it! I don’t believe in diets personally! I believe in changing one’s habits. Let me know how it goes by emailing me at


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