The Ultimate Guide to Talking About Your Family in French

It probably doesn’t sound that difficult to converse without mentioning family.

Think about it, though. How often in a conversation do you say something like, “Sorry, my dad keeps texting me.”

“Oh, you like my sweater? Thanks! My husband gave it to me for Christmas.”

The list of ways our family members come up in conversation is endless, so we’ve put together this post to help you out. Ready to start talking about family in French?


French Vocabulary Related to Family

Before we get into situations and phrases, let’s start with the basics. What is the French translation for terms related to family members?

Your Immediate Family

family in french

That’s right, there’s no word for “siblings.” You just have to say “brothers and sisters.”

The “in-laws” literally translate to “beautiful mother,” “handsome father,” etc. This translation really removes the negative stigma typically associated with in-laws!

You’ll notice that the “in-laws” and “steps” both translate to the same word. Confusing, isn’t it?

Your Extended Family

family in french

Introducing Family Members in French

These are the phrases you would whip out at those work and social events, when having people over to your family’s home or if you run into someone you know on the street while out with a family member.

Formal Introductions

You would use these phrases when introducing family members at an event, or to elders and people you respect.

Remember to use vous to talk to people who are older or in a position of authority. For example, you might use this phrase when you introduce a family member to your boss or to a friend’s parent.

Monsieur, je vous présente mon mari, Daniel. (Sir, I present to you my husband, Daniel.)

Bonjour, Madame Thierry! Je vous présente ma mère. (Hello, Mrs. Thierry! I present to you my mother.)

Use the tu form when speaking to a friend, an equal or someone younger than yourself. In this case, you are introducing a family member to someone who fits this profile, but while using a more formal structure:

Salut, Brigitte! Je te présente mon beau-frère, Charles. Charles, Brigitte est ma camarade de classe. (Hi, Brigitte! I present to you my brother, Charles. Charles, Brigitte is my classmate.)

Je te présente mon oncle. Il s’appelle Nico. (I present to you my uncle. His name is Nico.)

Bonjour, madame. Je vous présente ma tante. Elle s’appelle Esther. (Hello, ma’am. I present to you my aunt. Her name is Esther.)

Informal Introductions

You would use these informal introductions with your close pals. Sometimes people use these terms as quick introductions if they are in a hurry or distracted. Let’s say your mom randomly walks into the room while you guys are playing video games. You don’t have time for formalities, you’ve got dragons to kill!

C’est is a casual way to say, “This is.”

Salut! C’est mon cousin. (Hi! This is my cousin.)

This would be used in a situation when you are surprised to see someone. For example, if you weren’t expecting a family member to walk in at that moment, you use voilà as a quick announcement of their arrival.

Oh, voilà ma femme! (Oh, here is my wife!)

Practice Talking About Family in French

I bet you didn’t even think about how many family members existed until you saw that list. But don’t be overwhelmed! There are plenty of free online learning tools where you can practice memorizing all this vocabulary. Check out these simple exercises on The French Experiment

Even watching videos in French can help you get used to new vocabulary. There are limitless videos to be found on YouTube, or if you feel like you need a little extra learning support, FluentU is worth a try. 

The language learning program has a ton of authentic French videos—covering everything from movie trailers to news reports to inspiring talks—in its curated library. Because the videos are made by and for native speakers, you’ll get to hear plenty of family-related vocab and other aspects of French in context, the way it’s spoken in real life.

Each one comes with interactive subtitles which let you check the meaning of any word right from the video player. Plus, you can add words to flashcard decks to practice later with personalized quizzes.  

The program is also available as an iOS and Android app, to make for easy learning when you’re on the go.


Of course, you can talk in-depth about your family for hours.

But hopefully these basics will get you started!

This way, when a date or coworker asks you about your family, you won’t have to go hide out in the bathroom to avoid the conversation.

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