Select Page

Usually my students’ main goal is around speaking and communicating with French native speakers but it’s not always easy to know what level you are at, is it?

Certainly, if you’re following a specific course or book, it will often mention if it’s A1 or B1 for example however your speaking ability may not be the same. In fact, the majority of language learners I know will rate themselves an 7/10 for reading at a certain level but for speaking it will be closer to a 3/10.

Knowing how far you are in terms of speaking goals will help you understand how to progress further, when it’s time to review or embark onto more learning and what next goals to set. 

If your French studies are self-directed, you may be busy learning this and that but sometimes some of those things will not improve  their speaking ability and confidence to converse in French.

Table of contents

  1. Complete Beginner A0 Speaking Ability
  2. Beginner A1 Speaking Skills 
  3. Upper Beginner A2 Speaking Skills
  4. Intermediate B1 Speaking Skills

Entry Level  A0 – Complete Beginner

As a teacher, I often meet students who are just starting their French journey which is called A0 level.

You’re French is like a blank canvas, ready to be painted in bleu blanc rouge (blue white red like the French tricolour flag). At this stage, your focus is on the very basics either for the first time ever or maybe if you’ve forgotten your school French by now.

You’ll be learning how to greet someone, introduce yourself, and maybe count a bit. It’s also the time to get familiar with the pronunciation of key sounds in French. You’ll start memorising essential phrases and vocabulary for everyday items and actions. At this stage you won’t yet be creating sentences independently.

Remember, every great journey starts with a single step If it was easy to speak another language, then everybody would speak French already so keep moving forward, put aside the distractions and learn with intention.
I’m here to walk each step with you and recommend you check out my course ‘Get Started in French’ so I can help you!


French Speaking


Here’s a list of A0 French speaking skills for this level to help you recognise how far you are:


  1. Basic Greetings: I can say hello and goodbye, and use very basic polite expressions like “please” (s’il vous plaît), “thank you” (merci), and “you’re welcome” (de rien).
  2. Self-Identification: I can say my name and ask someone their name using simple phrases like “Je m’appelle…” (My name is…) and “Comment vous appelez-vous?” (What’s your name?).
  3. Yes, No, and Simple Responses: I can understand and respond to very basic questions with “yes” (oui), “no” (non), and other simple responses like “d’accord” (alright, ok).
  4. Numbers 1-10: I can count from one to ten in French and recognise these numbers when I hear them.
  5. Basic Colors: I can recognise and name a few common colours like “rouge” (red), “bleu” (blue), “vert” (green).
  6. Simple Objects and Nouns: I can identify and name a few everyday objects like “livre” (book), “chaise” (chair), “verre” (glass).
  7. Simple Courtesy Expressions: I can use basic courtesy phrases like “Excusez-moi” (Excuse me), “Bonjour” (Good day), “Bonsoir” (Good evening).
  8. Identifying and Naming Common Foods: I can recognise and name some basic foods like “pomme” (apple), “pain” (bread), “eau” (water).
  9. Basic Feelings and Conditions: I can express simple feelings or states like “fatigué” (tired), “heureux/heureuse” (happy), “soif” (thirsty).
  10. Familiar People and Places: I can identify and name familiar people (like “maman”, “papa”) and places (like “maison” – home, “école” – school).

Beginner Level  A1 – Beginner

When you reach A1, you’ve already taken your first few steps in French and by now, you’re hooked!

Well done on learning the basics, now you’ll start forming simple sentences and engaging in basic conversations.

You’ll learn how to ask and answer simple questions about yourself – like where you live, what you like, and your hobbies. The focus will be on building a solid foundation of essential vocabulary and phrases.

As your teacher, I’ll encourage you to start speaking more, even if it’s just simple phrases. If you’d like some help at this level, I encourage you to check out my 3-month program “Beyond Beginner French

It’s thrilling to begin to express yourself in French, no matter how basic it might seem! Always remember that more fluent learners were exactly where you are now 😊


French Speaking


Here’s the A1 list of French speaking skills:

  1. Basic Introductions and Greetings: I can introduce myself and others, use basic greetings, and respond to simple questions about personal details (e.g., name, nationality, occupation).
  2. Numbers and Time: I can understand and use numbers, tell time, and discuss dates and days of the week.
  3. Simple Transactions: I can make simple purchases, understand basic pricing, and use common expressions in shops or markets like asking for a price “Combien ça coûte?”
  4. Food and Drink Basics: I can name common foods and drinks, place simple orders in cafes or restaurants, and express basic preferences like “Je voudrais un café” (I’d like a coffee) or “Je n’aime pas le poisson” (I don’t like fish).
  5. Directions and Locations: I can ask for and understand simple directions, name common places in a town (supermarket, park etc.), and use basic prepositions of place like “à gauche” (on the left) “à côté de” (next to)…
  6. Describing People and Objects: I can use simple adjectives to describe people, objects, and places (like colours, size, and basic characteristics).
  7. Daily Activities and Routines: I can talk about my daily routine using simple verbs in the present tense and describe basic activities.
  8. Basic Expressions of Needs and Feelings: I can express simple needs, feelings, and opinions like “J’ai faim” (I’m hungry), “Je suis contente” (I’m happy), “Je pense que…” (I think that)…
  9. Family and Basic Relationships: I can name family members and describe them simply, and talk about my relationships using basic expressions.
  10. Simple Descriptions of Weather: I can describe the weather using basic terms and expressions (e.g., “Il ne fait pas chaud”, “Il pleut”).


In terms of A1 French grammar skills, students typically acquire:

  • Present Tense of Verbs: Understanding and using the present tense forms of regular verbs in -er, -ir, and -re endings. For example, verbs like “parler” (to speak), “finir” (to finish), and “attendre” (to wait). They have also memorised irregular verbs like “avoir” (to have), “être” (to be), “faire” (to do, make). This includes forming sentences in the affirmative, negative, and interrogative.
  • Basic Nouns and Articles: Using nouns with their definite and indefinite articles. This includes understanding the gender (masculine or feminine) of known nouns and using articles like “le/la/l’/les” (the) and “un/une/des” (a/some) appropriately.
  • Essential Pronouns: Using subject pronouns (je, tu, il/elle, nous, vous, ils/elles) in basic sentences and choosing the correct one in your French sentence.
  • Simple Adjectives: Learning common adjectives and understanding adjective agreement in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) with the nouns they describe. This includes positioning rules (before or after the noun).
  • Basic Question Formation: Forming simple questions using intonation, est-ce que, and question words like “qui” (who), “qu’est-ce-que” (what), “où” (where), “quand” (when), “pourquoi” (why), and “comment” (how).

Level  A2 – Upper Beginner

Reaching A2 is a significant milestone! Now, you can handle simple, routine conversations.

You’ll start to describe your daily life, your family, and your interests in more detail.

At this level, you’ll work on expanding your vocabulary and getting you more comfortable with past and future tenses. You will discover how to ask and answer questions in familiar contexts.

You’ll begin to share your opinions and preferences, in simple terms.

As a teacher, it’s gratifying to see you gaining confidence at the A2 level as you’ll notice becoming more independent in using French.


French Speaking

Here’s an A2 list of French speaking skills to focus on:

  1. Daily Routines and Activities: I can discuss my daily routine and activities, explaining what I do each day, from morning to night.
  2. Shopping and Transactions: I can ask for specific items in a shop, understand prices, and handle basic transactions.
  3. Food and Drink: I can discuss different types of food and drink, order in a restaurant, and express my preferences or dietary restrictions.
  4. Travel and Transportation: I can ask for directions, buy travel tickets, and discuss different modes of transport and travel plans.
  5. Health and Body: I can describe symptoms and talk about health issues, and understand advice from a doctor or pharmacist.
  6. Weather and Seasons: I can discuss the weather and seasons, making comments about the climate and related activities.
  7. Housing and Accommodation: I can describe my home or accommodation, discuss household chores, and express needs related to housing.
  8. Family and Relationships: I can talk about my family and friends, describing relationships and discussing family-related activities.
  9. Work and Professions: I can discuss different professions, describe my job, and understand conversations related to the workplace.
  10. Leisure and Hobbies: I can share information about my hobbies and leisure activities, understand others’ interests, and make plans for recreational activities.


A2 level learners typically know how to apply these grammar rules when speaking:

  • Juggling Past Tenses – Le Passé Composé and L’Imparfait: Understanding and using the two main past tenses in French. Le passé composé for actions completed in the past (e.g., “J’ai mangé” – I ate/I have eaten) and l’imparfait for ongoing or repeated past actions (e.g., “Je mangeais” – I was eating/I used to eat). Memorising when to use which auxiliary verbs (avoir and être) and common irregular past participles.
  • Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns: Using these pronouns (me, te, le, la, nous, vous, les, lui, leur, y, en) to replace nouns and avoid repetition in sentences. This includes understanding the difference between direct like “Je les vois” (I see them), indirect objects like “Je ne lui parle jamais” (I never speak to him/her) or indirect pronouns like “J’en voudrais trois” (I’d like three of them) or “Nous y allons demain” (We’re going there tomorrow).
  • Simple Adverbs and Connecting Phrases: Forming, using and placing adverbs like “rapide” (quick) which becomes “rapidement” (quickly) in a sentence. Also, the use of common adverbial phrases to express time, place, and manner.
  • Comparative and Superlative Forms: Making comparisons using comparative forms (plus… que, moins… que, aussi… que, autant de … que) . Also using superlatives (le/la/les plus, le/la/les moins).
  • Using Future Tense – Le Futur Proche and Le Futur Simple: Using le futur proche (aller + infinitive) for immediate future actions (e.g., “Je vais être” – I am going to be) and le futur simple for more distant future events (e.g., “Je serai” – I will be).

 If you can do most of the above you’re ready for the next level!

Welcome to the world of Intermediate French.

Level  B1 – Intermediate

As an intermediate B1 student, you’re ready to dive deeper into the French language, deeper conversations await!

You can already understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters. Now you’ll learn to handle most situations that arise while traveling in a French-speaking countries.

At this level, our focus is on enhancing your French speaking fluency and spontaneity, so your conversing becomes like second nature with less hesitation and more nuances. It’s time to produce connected text on topics of personal interest and describe experiences, dreams, and ambitions.

As your teacher, I find it immensely rewarding to see you articulate your thoughts and opinions more confidently and listen to you narrate stories and experiences in French including using idioms.

This level really opens up a new world of communication and it feels easier to express yourself without simplifying everything you say, what a feeling!

If you’d like a helping hand to regularly practice your Intermediate French, consider joining us for “The Art of French Conversation: Intermediate Series”.


French Speaking


B1 level speakers can converse on all the above topics:

  1. Varied Unfamiliar Topics: I’m equipped to handle conversations on the earlier topics as well as unfamiliar topics, asking questions to clarify your understanding and using my existing French to infer meaning and contribute to the discussion.
  2. More Detailed Communication: I can confidently engage in conversations about daily life, including detailed descriptions of routines, experiences, and events. I’m  able to narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film, and describe my reactions.
  3. Expressing Opinions and Plans: I’m capable of expressing opinions, plans, and ambitions. This includes discussing future plans, giving reasons and explanations for opinions, and discussing what I would do in certain situations.
  4. Travel and Cultural Experiences: I can discuss travel experiences, including describing places I’ve visited, sharing anecdotes from trips, and making comparisons with other places. I’m also able to talk about cultural experiences, like festivals, holidays, and traditional customs.
  5. Emotions and Reactions: I can express feelings, emotions, and reactions in a variety of situations. This ability extends to discussing books, movies, or events, explaining why I felt a certain way.
  6. Problem Solving: I can discuss solutions to everyday problems, offer and justify opinions, and negotiate solutions with others. This includes dealing with situations like a misunderstanding, a complaint, or questioning how something works.
  7. Talking about Big Issues: I can engage in conversations about current affairs, social issues, and global topics, though perhaps with some limitations in vocabulary. I’m able to understand the main points and contribute my views.
  8. Nuances and Idioms: I’m starting to understand and use some common idiomatic expressions and can appreciate cultural nuances in conversation. This helps in making my French sound more natural and fluent.


As for grammar when speaking at B1 level, you have:


  • Use of Complex Tenses: Confident use of advanced tenses and moods, including compound past tenses (plus-que-parfait), passif (passive), and conditional mood, to express nuanced time frames and hypothetical situations.
  • Accurate Pronoun and Adverb Usage: Refined use of direct and indirect pronouns, including relative pronouns and connectors. Effective use of adverbs (frequency, degree, and manner…) and connecting phrases to link ideas and add nuance to conversations.
  • Usage of Comparative and Superlative Forms: Making detailed comparisons and expressing extremes using more complex structures, including comparisons with adverbs and using superlatives in varied contexts.
  • Nuanced Use of Connectors: Using connectors in varied contexts to express cause, consequence, concession, hypothesis or opposition…
  • Subjunctive Mood: Emerging use of the subjunctive mood to express wishes, doubts, emotions, and necessity, particularly in subordinate clauses.


I hope you can self-reflect and see how much you can express yourself in conversations and discover how far you are at in French in terms of speaking skills.

These levels vary significantly from being introduced to French – think French 101- and moves towards greater independence and fluency in French conversations.

Please note that for the more advanced levels, these skills get even more refined, more natural and the topics more intellectual and even philosophical at times. It also brings in a lot of nuances in vocabulary and allows you to be very formal for professional or official settings and learn to understand very informal and even French slang.

Here I wanted to breakdown the levels that sometimes confuse learners as the speaking ability can often vary greatly from the other skills like reading or understanding.

Remember that learning French is not just about acquiring a set of skills, but it’s an ongoing, evolving and enjoyable journey. Bonne continuation!