Penser vs Reflechir

 

There are two verbs in French that can often cause a bit of confusion and are worth contracting: Penser and Réfléchir. Both verbs mean to think but their meanings are totally different. Réfléchir translates to “think over”, “ponder” or “mull”. Another translation is to “reflect”.

Penser, however, is to think on a much more superficial level. Usually penser applies to thinking of something in a yes/no manor. If want to ask somebody what they think you don’t use réfléchir. You use penser. In the audio podcast below I’ll go through a list of example sentences using both penser and réfléchir and discuss their usages. If you have the time please do listen to the audio as I offer a lot of explanations.

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Sample Sentences

A. RÉFLÉCHIR

  1. Je ne sais pas. Laisse-moi réfléchir.
    I don’t know. Let me think it over/think about it.
  2. Tu ne comprends pas? Réfléchis un peu!
    You don’t understand? Think about it a little!
  3. Je dois réfléchir avant de prendre une décision importante.
    I have to think about it before making an important decision.
  4. Réfléchis à ce que je t’ai dit. C’est très important!
    Think about what I told you. It’s very important!
  5. Il ne réfléchit pas avant de parler et il raconte n’importe quoi!
    He doesn’t think before speaking and he says nonsense!
  6. Il faut réfléchir avant d’agir.
    Think before you act. LIT: It’s necessary to think before acting.
  7. Je vais réfléchir à votre proposition.
    I’m going to think over your proposition.
  8. Je vais y réfléchir.
    I’m going to think it over.
  9. La glace réfléchit les rayons du soleil.
    The ice reflets the sun rays.

B. PENSER

  1. Qu’est-ce que tu penses de ces fleurs?
    What do you think about these flowers?
  2. Qu’est-ce que tu penses de Jean?
    What do you think about Jean?
  3. Je pense souvent à toi, ma chérie!
    Of often think about you, my dear!
  4. Il pense qu’il a raison mais il a tort!
    He thinks he’s right but he’s wrong!
  5. Je pense à lancer un nouveau projet.
    I’m thinking about starting a new project.
  6. Ça me fait penser à mes vacances en France.
    That makes me think of/reminds me of my vacation in France.
  7. Je ne suis pas certain mais je pense qu’il va arriver demain.
    I’m not sure but I think he’ll arrive tomorrow.
  8. Je pense qu’il fait froid dehors. Mets ton pull!
    I think it’s cold out! Put on your sweater!
  9. Je pense que oui/Je pense que non!
    I think so/I don’t think so.
  10. Qu’est-ce que tu penses?
    What do you think?

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