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Really in French

How do you say “really” in French

In French there are two main ways of saying really: vraiment (vʀɛmɑ̃) and ah bon. This page will explain how to use both ways of saying “really” in example sentences.

Explanation of how to say "really" in French.

Vraiment pronunciation

The pronunciation of vraiment sounds like “vray-muhn”. This page on Forvo gives several good audio samples. The following video by YouTube French teacher Vincent also demonstrates the pronunciation.

Sample sentences

The first usage of variment is to express “truly” or “in fact”. A synonym to vraiment here is réellement. For example:

  • La nouvelle voiture m’a vraiment (or réellement) surprise. The new car really surprised me.

The second usage of vraiment is to mean “really” in the context of “very”. For example:

  • Ma nouvelle maison est vraiment (très) grande. My new house is really (very) big.

The third usage of vraiment is to express indignation. For example:

  • Non mais vaiment! Il est ridicule! Really! He’s ridiculous!

Ah bon is used to express “really” in the context of “I didn’t know”. For example:

  • Ah bon ? Je ne savais pas qu’il ne venait pas. Really? I didn’t know he’s not coming.
  • Vous avez gagné à la loterie ? Ah bon? You won the lottery? Really?

C’est vrai can also be used to express “really” in this context. For example:

  • Vous avez vendu la maison ? C’est vrai ? You sold the house? Really?

To express “not really” in French, say pas vraiment. For example:

  • Aimez-vous ce fromage ? – Pas vraiment. Do you like this cheese? – Not really.

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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 FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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