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Sentir (To Feel, To Smell) Meaning, Conjugation, Examples

Sentir (To Feel, To Smell) Meaning, Conjugation, Examples

sentirThe French verb sentir can pose a lot of issues for people learning French due to its meaning change when it becomes a pronominal verb, se sentir. The main underlying meaning of sentir is to feel, and this stretches in areas of smelling, tasting and feeling emotions. Before looking at the meanings and example sentences let’s take a look at sentir in the present tense.

  • je sens – I feel
  • tu sens – you feel
  • il, elle sent – he, she feels
  • nous sentons – we feel
  • vous sentez – you feel
  • ils, elles sentent – they feel

sentir – to smell

The verb sentir mean to smell. Here are some examples:

  • Je sens les biscuits dans la cuisine. I smell the cookies in the kitchen.
  • Je sens fleurs dans le champs. I smell the flowers in the field.
  • Les fleurs sentent tres bonnes. The flowers smell very good.
  • Ça sent bon ici! It smells good here!

sentir – to taste

Another meaning of sentir is to taste, meaning taste a specific flavor.

  • Est-ce que tu sens l’ail dans la sauce? Can you taste garlic in the sauce?

sentir – to stand

Another usage of sentir is to stand. A french synonym here would be supporter.

  • Je ne peux pas le sentir. I can’t stand him.

sentir + physical feeling

Here sentir can mean to feel a feeling in your body.

  • Je sens la fatigue. I feel fatigue.
  • Je sens une douleur. I feel a pain.

se sentir – to feel

This is where the confusion comes in. While sentir means to smell, se sentir means to feel.

  • Je me sens bien. I feel well.
  • Je me sens mal. I don’t feel well.
  • Je me sens fatigué. I feel tired.

se sentir de faire qch

Se sentir de faire qch mean to feel like doing something.

  • Je me sens de faire une randonée aujourd’hui.
    I feel like doing a hike today.

ressentir – to feel

Strongly related to sentir, ressentir mean to feel a feeling.

  • Je resens le bonheur. I feel happiness.
  • Je resens de la joie quand je vois mes amis. I feel joy when I see my friends.
  • Je resens la tristesse quand tu t’en vas. I feel sadness when you go.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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