5 English words misused in French

Today, I wanted to write about English as it is spoken in France, and how it can be misused. Obviously, I do not think you need me to teach you guys English, but I think it can be really fun for you, as English speakers. As you must know, a lot of French words and expressions are used in English, but also a lot of English words are used in French. However, some of those words are misused and do not mean anything in proper English.

1. Le pressing

In France, we usually go to “the pressing” in order to clean our clothes, our sheets, etc. by a professional. As I was saying, I know that the verb to press can be used when you press your clothes, but this word in French is still not well interpreted. By "going to the pressing", we mean going to a dry-cleaner’s.

Do not ask me how the French language works, I do not even know. Since forever, we have a bad habit to translate English words into other English words, that would not have any meaning for you. What I like about the English language is that it goes straight to the point and you do come up with some weird expressions.

French is more like: why make things simple when they can be complicated?

2. Le footing/jogging

These words are used a lot in daily life in French. You are thinking that these words exist in proper English. Yes, they do, but *surprise*, we do not use them for the same things it means to you. Plus, as a French speaker going to the UK or any other country, we would be really proud as we think we know some English words. Error 404

Faire du footing in French refers to go jogging. I guess that, at the French Academy, they would be like “oh, we know what a foot means, so why not creating a new saying?”. However, thanks to social networks and fitness influencers, people start to use jogging or running like a proper English speaker.

Porter un jogging in French means to wear a tracksuit. I have not got much to say about it, it is just the way it is. Also, I was explaining, in French, that joggers can be used in English but when people want to chill in their house.

3. Les baskets/tennis

If you use these words in French, you would refer to trainers or sneakers. French speakers would say je vais acheter des baskets/tennis, which would literally mean I’m going to buy baskets/tennis. I think they might get influenced by the two sports that are basketball and tennis, but I still do not get it.

4. Le brushing

If you have a French girlfriend, she can talk about how it takes a long time to wash her hair and faire le brushing ; or even if you go to the hairdresser. She is then talking about having a blow-dry.

I know a brush and to brush exist in English, but the common name a brushing (???) – no way. Just for you to know we would say une brosse for a brush and brosser for to brush.

5. Un smoking

This one is one of my favourites. I guess you must think, why is she talking about smoking on her blog? That is the thing, I am not.

Un smoking in French means a tuxedo. I was thinking about it and tried to find the reason why, and I guess it may be because of this English expression she/he is smoking-hot? I cannot think about anything else.

These 5 words are not the only ones that are misused in French. If you want to learn more about them, do not hesitate to ask and I will probably do a Part II in the future. I love French for being such a diverse language but I have to admit that English is way more simple. Plus, it can be fun for you guys and you can learn some French at the same time!


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