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7 French Vocabulary Builders to Improve Comprehension and Speaking Skills

If you don’t learn enough French words, nothing else matters.

Building your vocabulary can actually mark the difference between remaining a stammering speaker and blossoming into a fluent conversationalist.

That’s why we’re about to take a look at the very best resources for doing just that.

If you want to flourish in French, it pays to use your words well!


“Instant French Vocabulary Builder”

Instant French: Vocabulary Builder (Hippocrene Instant Vocabulary Builder) (English and French Edition)

Vocabulary books are often a good place to start out when you’re just beginning, and at any stage of French they can really help you brush up on things. “Instant French Vocabulary Builder” is a great book to have in your arsenal.

  • Teaches common word ending patterns

This book looks into 23 of the most common word endings. There are certain word endings in French that you’ll see repeated time and again, and this book will help you master them.

  • Comes with a pronunciation CD

Of course, learning French vocabulary is all well and good, but if you don’t know how to pronounce words, you’re going to get a little stuck when you try to speak the language. “Instant French” arms you with a pronunciation CD of some of the most common words, making retention a whole lot easier. Hearing the words spoken aloud will increase your ability to remember them and help you impress natives with your incredible language skills!

  • Is designed for self-studying French

If you’re busy or just starting out, then chances are you’ll be doing a significant portion of your learning on your own. If that’s the case, you want to be sure that the content you’re using is really accurate and simple. “Instant French” is structured with the self-studier in mind, containing easy-to-follow vocabulary lists and accessible explanations.

“The Oxford French Cartoon-strip Vocabulary Builder”

The Oxford French Cartoon-strip Vocabulary Builder

For those past the beginning stages or who prefer more authentic learning, traditional learning methods can often seem a little tiresome. “The Oxford French Cartoon-strip Vocabulary Builder” is perfect for those who really want to challenge themselves by learning vocabulary in the context of everyday, idiomatic speech.

  • Includes visually-based vocabulary lessons

Each vocabulary topic is accompanied by a cartoon strip, designed to increase your memory skills. If you think you might benefit from a more diverse teaching method, this book has you well covered.

  • Focuses on real French life

While many French vocabulary books are more focused on basics, this book works a little outside the lines, focusing more on vocabulary used in everyday French. If you’re looking to take your learning a step further and to begin to pick up some native speaking points, this is a good resource for doing that. You’ll soon be speaking like a local!

  • Contains a glossary and vocab lists

Of course, reading great cartoon strips won’t teach you everything, and from time to time, you do need to take a look at the technical side of the French language in order to really progress. This book also takes a formulaic and supportive approach by providing a glossary and useful words in lists, which make learning and using your new vocabulary much easier!

French Your Way


Podcasts are a great avenue to take when brushing up on your vocabulary skills, and there are a huge number of different series out there! French Your Way is one of the very best and contains lessons specifically focused on vocabulary. As they can be downloaded onto your portable devices, the podcasts can be repeated as and when you need to, making review incredibly simple.

  • Is presented by a native speaker

Getting your accent right when speaking in French is incredibly important, especially as many French words sound deceptively similar! Presented by a native speaker, French Your Way helps ensure that you communicate your new vocabulary in the correct way, and will be able to hold an in-depth conversation with a local.

  • Focuses on potential errors and pitfalls in French

Learning new vocabulary is an incredible thing, but if you don’t take care with certain words, it’s very easy to make a mistake. Using the wrong word in a certain context is the most common pitfall, and luckily, this podcast has you well covered in that area. The presenter gives new language information alongside important vocabulary dangers to be aware of. So you can rest assured that you’ll use your new words in the right scenario.

Language Guide

Language Guide

There are a ton of great websites out there for learning French vocabulary and Language Guide is among the very best.

  • Contains all of the essential vocabulary

Separated into different language sections, it enables you to focus on any type of French you want to. The vocabulary section is particularly well-stocked, containing every type of learning context you need in order to flourish in French!

  • Gives you access to pronunciation guides

If you really want to get on top of French vocabulary, then it’s worth accessing a really great pronunciation guide. Language Guide contains audio files of all new vocabulary, enabling you to both read and hear new words at the same time.

  • Includes listening and speaking challenges

It’s all well and good to read vocabulary lists, but in order to really make sure you’re retaining new information, you need to test yourself. After vocabulary sets, the website links to listening and speaking challenges, which have you match up new words with words and symbols on the screen. Going through each challenge a few times will cement the new words much more firmly in your mind.

French Games

If you’re on the search for a really interactive way to improve your vocabulary, the website French Games is the perfect place to begin. Formatted around vocabulary lists and interactive learning games, the website uses many different formats to test what you’ve already learned. Often, the best way to get to grips with new information is to mix up the ways in which you approach it, and with French Games, you’re able to try a number of different approaches.

  • Offers tutorials, games and tests

French lessons aren’t always all fun and games, unfortunately, and along the way, it’s important to sometimes simply focus on new information as you would during a tutorial. The website’s structure progresses from tutorials to games and tests, giving you the opportunity to really try out the vocabulary you’ve learned.

Alternating between different learning styles will require you to think about the new information in various ways and make it stick in your mind. At the end of each round, you might be surprised by just how much you’ve learned.

  • Includes level-specific vocabulary

One of the best things about this website is that you can access French vocabulary suitable for your level of comprehension. If you find yourself whipping through the content at a rapid rate, you can take the option to move up to a higher level, where your skills will be tested in a similarly diverse way.

Barron’s “Mastering French Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach”

Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3 (Barron's Vocabulary)

“Mastering French Vocabulary” is a really comprehensive option for a vocabulary book. It’s actually one of the most in-depth vocabulary guides out there. Better yet, having access to the book means that a huge amount of French words will always be at your fingertips—you can always learn something new!

  • Divides vocabulary sections into themes

Often, the easiest way to learn new vocabulary is to organize it according to theme, and often the best vocab lessons are those that run thoroughly through a new topic before moving on to something new. This book works with that approach, dividing vocabulary into specific themes and contexts. Finding new words is much easier when they’re arranged in this way, and that removes some of the stress of learning.

  • Includes MP3 files

Like other great guides, this book comes equipped with a number of audio files that you can download to your portable device. Taking new words with you wherever you go will enable you to learn French vocabulary at a much faster rate while improving your ability to pronounce at the same time!


If you make vocabulary study a part of your regular learning routine using some of the resources above, you’ll have absorbed a huge amount before you even realize it.

And one more thing...

If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.

FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.


For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:


Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."


All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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