Jouer (To Play) Meaning, Usage, Example Sentences

jouerThe main meaning of the French verb jouer is to play. The verb can be used in a number of ways and has several different translations. On this page we’ll look at several of example sentences.

jouer à + game or sport

One of the most common uses of jouer is for games or sports. Here, jouer must be followed by the preposition à plus the name of the game or sport. À must be contracted with the definite article preceding the game or sport name.

par example:

  • Je joue au football. I play soccer (football).
  • Je joue aux cartes. I play cards.

jouer de + musical instruments

For musical instruments jouer must be followed by the preposition de plus the name of the instrument. In this situation the de must be contracted with the definite article preceding the instrument’s name.

par example:

  • Je joue du violin. I play the violin.
  • Je joue de la flute. I play the flute.

jouer – to play

On its own, jouer means to play. These usages are the exact same in English: to play as in to have fun or to play a role.

  • Les enfants jouent dans le jardin. The kids play in the yard.
  • Le comedien joue un rôle dans le film. The actor plays a role in the movie.

jouer qqch

Jouer quelque chose means to risk.

par example:

  • En ne pas acceptant la responsabilité, le president joue de sa réputation. By not accepting responsibility, the president risks his reputation.

jouer de qqch

Jouer de quelque chose means to exploit or play on.

  • L’homme politique joue de son authorité. The politician exploits his authority.

jouer avec qqch

Jouer avec qqch means to gamble or play with in the figurative sense.

  • En conduisant comme ça, il jouer avec les vies de ses enfants. By driving like that he’s playing with his kids’ lives.

se jouer – is played

In the pronominal form se jouer translates to “is played“. This usage could also be translate to “is performed.”

  • Ce jeu se joue avec deux joueurs. This game is played with two players.
  • Les spectacles Boardway se jouent à New York. Boardway shows are performed in New York.

se jouer de qqch

Se jouer de quelque chose translates to defy or make light of.

  • Certaines personnes se jouent de la crise. Certain people make light of the crisis.

jouer sur qqch

Jouer sur quelque chose is another way to say to play on or exploit.

Le droit joue sur la peur de la population. The right plays on the fear of the population.

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