French › Level two lessons › Dining · Dîner

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Dialogue [edit]

Culture · Dining in France [edit]

Vocabulary [edit]

la cuisine About this sound /kɥi.zin/ kitchen Béatrice est dans la cuisine. Béatrice is in the kitchen.
la salle à manger About this sound [[:Media:Fr-us-salle-a_manger.ogg|]] dining room
le restaurant About this sound /ʁɛʁɑ̃/ restaurant
le repas About this sound /ʀəpɑ/ meal
le petit déjeuner About this sound /pəʒœ.ne/ breakfast
le déjeuner About this sound /de.ʒœ.ne/ lunch
le dîner About this sound / dinner
le goûter About this sound /ɡu.te/ snack
Food stores
la boucherie About this sound /buʃ.ʁi/ butcher shop1
la boulangerie About this sound /bu.lɑ̃ʒ.ʁi/ bakery2
le dépôt de pain a place that sells bread2
la charcuterie About this sound /ʃaʁkytəˈʁi/ delicatessen3
l'épicerie (f) About this sound /e.pi.sʁi/ grocery4
la crémerie About this sound /kʁɛm.ʁi/ dairy store
la poissonnerie About this sound /pwa.sɔn.ʁi/ seafood store
le marché About this sound /maʁ.ʃe/ outdoor market
la pâtisserie About this sound /pɑ.ti.sʁi/ pastry shop Je vais goûter dans une pâtisserie. I'm going to snack in a pastry shop.
Actions and feelings
avoir faim to be hungry
avoir soif to be thirsty
manger About this sound /mɑ̃ʒe/ to eat On mange au restaurant. We are eating at the restaurant.
boire About this sound [bwɑʁ] to drink
prendre About this sound /pʁɑ̃dʁ/ to take, to eat, to drink
vouloir About this sound /vu.lwaʁ/ to want
mettre le couvert to set the table Le couvert est mis pour deux. The table is set for two.
préparer un repas to prepare a meal

Canadian and Belgian French has an off-by-one behavior with meals : breakfast is called déjeuner, lunch is called dîner and dinner is souper.

  1. French butchers do not sell pork, pork products, nor horsemeat. For these products, go to a charcuterie.
  2. In France, bakeries only sell fresh bread. Places where they sell bread that is not fresh are called dépôt de pain.
  3. 'Charcuteries' sell things besides pork products, including pâte, salami, cold meats, salads, quiches and pizzas.
  4. An alternative to an 'épicerie' is an alimentation générale (a general foodstore).

Grammar · To want and to be able to · Vouloir et pouvoir[edit]


The verb vouloir, meaning to want, is irregularly conjugated (it is not a regular -ir verb).

vouloir Listen /vu.lwaʁ/ (voo-lwahr) to want
je veux /vø/ (vew) I want
tu veux /vø/ (vew) you want
il veut /vø/ (vew) he wants
nous voulons /vu.lɔ̃/ (voo-loh(n)) we want
vous voulez /vu.le/ (voo-lay) you want
ils veulent /vøl/ (vewl) they want
voulu / (voo-lew) wanted

The related phrase vouloir dire /vu.lwaʁ diʁ/ means to mean. The idiom en vouloir /ɑ̃ vu.lwaʁ/ means to be angry (with) .


Pouvoir, meaning to be able to, is conjugated similarly to vouloir.

pouvoir Listen /pu.vwaʁ/ (poo-vwahr) to be able to
je peux /pø/ (pew) I am able to
tu peux /pø/ (pew) you are able to
il peut /pø/ (pew) he is able to
nous pouvons pu.vɔ̃/ (poo-voh(n)) we are able to
vous pouvez / (poo-vay) you are able to
ils peuvent /pøv/ (pewv) they are able to
pu /py/ (pew) been able to

The noun le pouvoir means power or authority, and the term au pouvoir means in power. The adverb peut-être /pø.tɛtʁ/, literally translated as could be, means maybe or perhaps.


Voulez-vous un sandwich ? Do you want a sandwich?
Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire ? What does this mean?
Que veut dire ce mot ? What does this word mean?
Je peux venir ce soir. I can come this evening.
Veux-tu venir avec moi demain ?
Do you want to come with me tomorrow?
Elle peut parler cinq langues couramment. She can speak five languages fluently.
Tu peux fumer si tu le souhaites. You can smoke if you wish.
Je peux appeler un médecin si tu ne te sens pas bien. I can call a doctor if you do not feel well.
Ne comptez pas sur lui, il peut partir du jour au lendemain. Do not count on him, he can leave overnight.
À cette époque, il peut pleuvoir plusieurs fois par jours. At that time, it can rain several times a day.
Ne t'impatiente pas ! Elle a pu être prise dans les embouteillages. Don't be impatient! She could have been caught in traffic jams.
Peux-tu m'ouvrir ce bocal s'il te plait ?
Oui, je veux bien essayer.
Can you open this jar for me please?
Yes, I want to try.

Supplementary usage notes · Pouvoir [edit]

Pouvoir is not used with verbs relating to the five senses:

I can see you. - Je te vois. (not Je peux te voir., which is I can meet you.)

Pouvoir is not used to mean can in the sense of to know how to. Use savoir instead.

I can swim. - Je sais nager. (not Je peux nager.)

In Belgian French, pouvoir is additionally not used to say someone is capable of something, savoir is also used for that.

Je ne sais pas dormir. - I am not able to sleep. to a Belgian, I do not know how to sleep. to a Frenchman.
Je ne peux pas dormir. - I am not allowed to sleep. to a Belgian, I am not able to sleep. to a Frenchman.

Puis is the first person present indicative form used in inversion and as an archaic variant.

Vocabulary · Dining at a restaurant [edit]

arriver About this sound /a.ʁ to arrive On est arrivés au restaurant vers 9 heures. We arrived at the restaurant around 9 o'clock.
la table occupée
la table libre
an occupied table
a free table
trouver About this sound /tʁ to find
se trouver to be found La boulangerie se trouve en face du cinéma. The bakery is (found) opposite the cinema.
commander About this sound [kɔ.mɑ̃.de] to order Il a commandé un sandwich. He ordered a sandwich.
le déjeuner
About this sound /de.ʒœ.ne/ lunch
to eat lunch
le petit déjeuner About this sound /pəʒœ.ne/ breakfast
le dîner
About this sound / dinner
to dine, to eat dinner
désirer About this sound /de.zi.ʁe/ to desire
le serveur
la serveuse
About this sound /sɛʁ.vœʁ/
About this sound /sɛʁ.vøz/
la carte About this sound /kaʁt/ menu
l'addition (f) About this sound /a.di.sjɔ̃/ check
le pourboire About this sound /puʁ.bwaʁ/ tip
laisser About this sound /lese/ to leave
je voudrais… I would like… Je voudrais un peu de beurre avec mon croissant, s'il vous plait. I would like a bit of butter with my croissant, please.

Grammar · To serve · Servir[edit]

Servir, meaning to serve (to bring a meal to someone), is conjugated similarly to sortir, partir, and dormir.


servir Listen /sɛʁ.viʁ/ (sehr-veer) to serve
je sers /sɛʁ/ (sehr) I serve
tu sers /sɛʁ/ (sehr) you serve
il sert /sɛʁ/ (sehr) he serves
nous servons /sɛʁ.vɔ̃/ (sehr-voh(n)) we serve
vous servez /sɛʁ.ve/ (sehr-vay) you serve
ils servent /sɛʁv/ (sehrv) they serve
servi /sɛʁ.vi/ (sehr-vee) served

The verbs desservir /de.sɛʁ.viʁ/, meaning to clear (a table) or to clear away, and resservir /ʁə.sɛʁ.viʁ/, meaning to serve again, are conjugated in the same way as servir.


Il va servir le dîner à huit heures. He's going to serve dinner at eight.
On nous a servi à dîner. We were served dinner.
Ils ont servi un plat de légumes. They served a vegetable dish.
Le dîner est servi, on peut se mettre à table. Dinner is served, you can sit at the table.
Il veut desservir la table. He wants to clear the table.
Vous êtes bien mal servi. You are very poorly served.

Supplementary usage notes · Servir and desservir [edit]

Servir means to serve (to bring a meal to someone):

On nous a servi à dîner. (We were served dinner.)

It can also mean to serve more generally:

Il sert son pays. (He serves his country.)
Il a servi dans l’infanterie. (He served in the infantry.)
Il aime à se faire servir. (He likes to be served.)

It can also mean to be used for or to be useful for someone:

Ce livre lui a bien servi dans son travail. (This book served him well in his work.)
Cela ne sert à rien! (That is useless!)
Cette machine ne peut plus servir. (This machine is no longer useful.) (lit: This machine no longer serves.)

In the context of sports, servir means to serve (start a point with service) or to set up (pass to, in order to give a scoring chance).

In the context of transportation, desservir, meaning to serve (of a train or bus, to stop at a particular town), is used instead:

Ce train dessert les grandes villes de la région. (This train serves the big towns in the region.)
Cet autobus dessert les boulevards. (This bus serves the boulevards.)
Ce bureau de poste dessert plusieurs communes. (This post office serves several municipalities.)

Grammar · -cer verbs [edit]

-cer verbs are regular -er verbs, but are also stem changing. The most common -cer verb is commencer, meaning to begin.


commencer Listen /kɔ.mɑ̃.se/ (koh-mah(n)-say) to begin
je commence /kɔ.mɑ̃s/ (koh-mah(n)s) I begin
tu commences /kɔ.mɑ̃s/ (koh-mah(n)s) you begin
il commence /kɔ.mɑ̃s/ (koh-mah(n)s) he begins
nous commençons /kɔ.mɑ̃.sɔ̃/ (koh-mah(n)-soh(n)) we begin
vous commencez /kɔ.mɑ̃.se/ (koh-mah(n)-say) you begin
/kɔ.mɑ̃s/ (koh-mah(n)s) they begin
commencé /kɔ.mɑ̃.se/(koh-mah(n)-say) begun

Common -cer verbs[edit]


Supplementary vocabulary · Other -cer verbs [edit]

tracer About this sound /tʁ to draw or plot
placer About this sound /plase/ to place, to seat
agacer About this sound /a.ɡ to irritate, to tease
forcer About this sound /fɔʁ.se/ to force
commencer About this sound /kɔ.mɑ̃.se/ to begin
prononcer About this sound /pʁɔ.nɔ̃.se/ to say, to mention, to give (a speech)
lancer About this sound /lɑ̃.se/ to throw, to launch
effacer About this sound / to erase
acquiescer About this sound / to acquiesce
influencer to influence
sucer About this sound /syse/ to suck
pincer About this sound /pɛ̃.se/ to pince
recommencer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-recommencer.ogg|]] to restart
avancer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-avancer.ogg|]] to advance, to go forward
remplacer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-remplacer.ogg|]] to replace
annoncer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-annoncer.ogg|]] to announce, to predict
se balancer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-balancer.ogg|]] to swing
menacer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-menacer.ogg|]] to threaten, to endanger
se fiancer to get engaged
clamecer to snuff it.
froncer About this sound /fʀɔ̃se/ to scowl
épicer to spice, to add spice to
renforcer to reinforce, to strengthen
percer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-percer.ogg|]] to pierce
financer to fund
rincer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-rincer.ogg|]] to rinse
enfoncer About this sound /ɑ̃.fɔ̃.se/ to push or press something in
déplacer About this sound / to move
divorcer About this sound /di.vɔʁ.se/ to divorce
bercer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-bercer.ogg|]] to cradle
lacer About this sound / to lace, to lace up
coincer to corner
replacer to put back, to replace
manigancer About this sound /dekɔ̃tnɑ̃se/ to conspire
décontenancer to make uncomfortable
tancer About this sound /tɑ̃se/ to scold, to reprimand
relancer to throw back, to restart
dénoncer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-dénoncer.ogg|]] to denounce
grimacer About this sound /ɡʁ to grimace
concurrencer to compete with
renoncer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-renoncer.ogg|]] to resign, to quit, to renounce
immiscer About this sound /imise/ to involve
se immiscer (dans) to interfere (with)
foncer About this sound /fɔ̃.se/ to darken, to tear along
déréférencer to dereference.
exercer About this sound /ɛɡ.zɛʁ.se/ to instruct, to command, to exercise
pioncer About this sound /pjɔ̃.se/ to be sleeping
évincer About this sound /e.vɛ̃.se/ to evict
ambiancer to cause ambience
devancer to get in front of, to go past, to overtake
grincer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-grincer.ogg|]] to squeak
désamorcer to defuse
amorcer to prime, to set in motion
commercer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-commercer.ogg|]] to trade
épucer About this sound / to remove fleas
About this sound /tjeʁse/
About this sound /tɛʁ.se/
entrelacer About this sound /ɑ̃tʁlase/ to interlock, to interweave
glacer About this sound /glase/ to freeze; to turn to ice
poncer to rub down with an abrasive
policer to police
défoncer to smash in, to rip
préfacer to write a preface
exaucer About this sound [[:Media:Fr-exaucer.ogg|]] to fulfil the wish of a prayer
énoncer to enounce
cofinancer to cofinance.
condoléancer to condole

Supplementary vocabulary · Silverware and the table [edit]

le couvert About this sound /ku.vɛʁ/ cover
l'assiette (f) About this sound /a.sjɛt/ plate also: dish On a besoin d'assiettes.
C'est une bonne assiette.
We need plates.
It's a good dish.
le bol About this sound /bɔl/ bowl
la soucoupe About this sound /su.kup/ saucer
le couteau About this sound / knife
la cuillère About this sound /kɥijɛr/ spoon
la fourchette About this sound /fuʁʃɛt/ fork
la serviette About this sound /sɛʁ.vjɛt/ napkin
la nappe About this sound /nap/ tablecloth
la tasse About this sound /tas/ cup
le verre About this sound /vɛʁ/ glass On va boire un verre ? Will we drink a glass?

Supplementary usage notes · To take, to eat, to drink · Prendre[edit]

prendre Listen /pʁɑ̃dʁ/ (prah(n)dr) to take
je prends /pʁɑ̃/ (prah(n)) I take
tu prends /pʁɑ̃/ (prah(n)) you take
il prend Listen /pʁɑ̃/ (prah(n)) he takes
nous prenons Listen /pʁə.nɔ̃/ (pruh-noh(n)) we take
vous prenez Listen /pʁǝ.ne/ (pruh-nay) you take
ils prennent Listen /pʁɛn/ (prehn) they take
pris /pʁi/ taken

Supplementary vocabulary · Quantities [edit]

le gramme About this sound /ɡʁam/ gram
le kilo(gramme) About this sound /ki.lɔ/
About this sound /ki.lɔ.ɡʁam/
le litre About this sound /litʁ/ liter
la bouteille About this sound /bu.tɛj/ bottle1 Une bouteille d’eau est utile en excursion. A bottle of water is useful during trips.
la boîte About this sound /bwat/ can
la livre About this sound /livʁ/ pack, pound2
le paquet About this sound /pakɛ/ packet
le pot About this sound /po/ pot
  1. -eille is pronounced eh-yuh
  2. Do not confuse with le livre (book) .

Text [edit]

Exercises [edit]