Think Twice Before Asking People To Correct Your French

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Many French students practice their French with friends. And it’s tempting to ask them to correct your mistakes. Here is why it may not be such a good idea.

So you have some French friends, and you think it would be great to practice your French with them, and naturally, you ask them to correct your mistakes.

Although this may sound like a good idea, it often turns into a nightmare both for you and for them. Here is why.

1 – Too Many Corrections When you are Learning May Destroy Your Confidence

Learning French can be tough. And it takes time. You cannot be perfect right away: it’s likely that you’ll make mistakes. Many mistakes.

If the most important ones should be corrected, it’s a rare skill to know which mistake is bad, and which one can fly.

And most people are very bad at making this distinction – especially French people.

2 – Why do French People Always Correct Mistakes?

The French are quick to correct foreigners learning French because we are accustomed to correct our children all the time.

Until a pretty old age, French grammar is a mystery for French kids. They learn the language through constant corrections and repetitions. We constantly correct their pronouns, their French verb conjugations

So it’s almost a reflex for a French person to correct a mistake… the corrections leaves our mouth before we even think about it.

And it’s often really badly seen by foreigners. So think twice before encouraging us!

3 – Why You Shouldn’t Ask Your Friends to Correct Your French

Furthermore, your acquaintances are your friends, not your teachers. You want to relax with them, not be in “classroom mode”.

Actually, asking a friend to correct you might put you both in an uncomfortable place:

  1. you being constantly reminded of your mistakes, and feeling stupid,
  2. and them being embarrassed because they can’t explain why it is a mistake…

Because, unless they are teachers, they won’t be able to explain most of the mistakes you make. And this is frustrating for both parties.

Worse – I’ve seen many French people inventing rules on the spot: the explanation is then more or less correct, but in any case never clear.

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4 – Who Should You Practice Your French With Then?

Believe me, if you want to practice your French with friends, go ahead, but tell them NOT to correct you unless you are saying something really embarrassing.

They don’t need the hassle of correcting you, nor do you need the constant embarrassment.

And if you want someone to correct you in a constructive way, then take phone or Skype French lessons with a certified French teacher, who actually knows the rules, will tailor a structured program to fit your needs, and mostly, will gently correct you but mostly constantly encourage you, because they know that building your self-confidence in French is essential.

The best way to learn French is to learn French in context: check out French Today’s downloadable French audiobooks: French Today’s bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided pronunciation. 

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 25+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Come to Paimpol and enjoy an exclusive French immersion homestay with me in Brittany.

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