Similarities Between English and French

4 minute read
Similarities between English and French

English and French, both of these languages are widely spoken and have achieved global acceptance across the globe, with more than a billion speakers combined. But there are many similarities between these two languages which is evident by some recent research where linguists have found that English and French share up to 26% of their words and have noticeable similarities. In today’s blog, we will give a detailed insight into similarities between English and French and their historical, and cultural aspects, also will be extremely beneficial for you if you are planning to study abroad as both of these languages are fairly dominant in today’s world.

Reasons Why English and French Are Similar

Here are some key points why English and French both have some similarities even after being two different languages:

  • Shared Latin Roots– These two languages have a significant number of words that originate from Latin, which is the root of many modern European languages.
  • Pronunciation Similarities-Although there are differences in pronunciation, there are also many similarities between English and French sounds, such as the “r” sound and the “th” sound.
  • Similar Grammer- Both English and French have similar sentence structures and use similar parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
  • Shared History– English and French had a past historic event where French became the official language of England for many centuries during the invasion of a Norman King, we will discuss it in detail as it was the main reason for the cultural exchange between the two languages
  • Linguistic Similarities– The most obvious similarity between English and French is their vocabulary. According to some research, up to 45% of words in English have a French origin, although not all of them are easily recognizable
  • Same Alphabets- If you are planning to learn a new language then learning French for an English Speaker can be fairly easy as it primarily uses 26 Latin Alphabets which is used in English

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The Historical Connection Between English and French

One of the primary reasons why behind the similarities between English and French is their historical connection as both of these languages have grassroots to the Indo-European Language family. Even after the different branches of development, the most significant event that brought the English and French closer together was the Norman Conquest of 1066. William the Conqueror, a Norman king from France, invaded England and became its ruler. He brought with him his Norman French language, which became the official language of the upper class and the government for more than 300 years. During this time, many French words entered the English vocabulary, especially in domains such as law, politics, religion, art, etc. Even after the end of this ruler, during the Renaissance period, many English writers borrowed words and expressions from French literature, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, many French words related to fashion, science, technology, and philosophy were adopted by English speakers. 

English Words with Same Meaning in French

We have listed below a few words that mean exactly the same in both English and French: 

French/ English WordSimilar Meaning in Both Languages
AccidentCauses damage or injury
HospitalA place where sick or injured people are treated
IgnoranceLack of knowledge or awareness
ClassiqueThe French word “Classique” is used in English to refer to something that is classic or traditional.
ComedyAn act that is fun to watch
CompetitionContest or rivalry between individuals or groups
FerociousAn animal or person that is fierce or aggressive.
InnovationA new original idea
BalanceThe state of being in equilibrium or having equal amounts of something on both sides
ApparentObvious or visible
EnormousVery large or huge
ExactPrecise or accurate
IntentionA plan or purpose
JudgmentThe ability to make a decision

Words That Sound Similar in Both English and French Language

Here are some words that sound similar in both languages and also share the same meaning, we have listed them below so kindly have a look:

English French
Animal Animal
Table Table

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Words that Sound Similar but Have Different Meanings

Here are words that may sound similar but have different meanings in both English and French and this may cause a moment of embarrassment for you if you are planning to study in France:

  • “Envy” means a feeling of jealousy in English whereas “Envie” in French means wish or desire
  • In French, “actuel” means current or present, while in English “actual” means real or existing in fact.
  • “Library” means a place where you can borrow books but “Librairie” means where you can buy books in French
  • In French, “issue” means an exit or a way out, whereas in English “issue” means a topic or problem that is being discussed or debated
  • “Blesser” means to wound or injure someone in French, while in English “bless” means to confer or invoke divine favor upon someone


Which French words are widely spoken among English speakers?

There are many French words that are adopted and widely spoken among English speakers globally, some of the commonly used or French-derived words are Café, Déjà vu, Hôtel, Détail

Can learning French help me learn other languages?

Yes, learning French can be helpful in other languages such as Spanish Italian, and Portuguese as these all languages share many similarities with French and have similar grammatical structures.

Are French and English mutually Intelligible?

No, French and English are not mutually intelligible even though the two languages share many similarities but still, they are distinct languages with their own unique grammar and vocabulary.

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