Formidable French: False cognates in French and English, First Edition

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9780138007829: Formidable French: False cognates in French and English, First Edition

This handbook will address the common semantic mistakes among Anglophone learners of French as a Second Language. These “mistakes” are called false cognates–words that look alike in both languages but have very different meanings.


Formidable French consists of 50 of the most commonly mistaken false cognates in French and provides English equivalents for both items in each pair. Translations, detailed explanations and examples for each pair are followed by term reinforcement exercises. At the end of each chapter, diverse review exercises (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks, matching and crossword puzzles) enforce the learning of the material.

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From the Back Cover:

Beware false friends or false cognates! Words that look and sound alike in French and English often have different meanings, sometimes very different.


Un délai is a deadline not a delay .

Une caution is a security deposit.

Passer un examen means to take a test, not to pass it.

Un hiver rude is a harsh winter.


Un livre formidable is a fantastic book!

Here are 50 of the most commonly mistaken false and semi-false cognates in French, along with their English counterparts, with definitions for both items in each pair.


The abundance of mastery exercises makes this an indispensable book for learners in any learning or working environment. It is most suitable for Anglophone learners of French at the intermediate or advanced level, who are already familiar with basic French vocabulary and grammar but make usage errors under the influence of English.


* Be sure to take the short diagnostic test at the beginning of the book to determine your mastery level of faux amis before starting the main chapters.

About the Author:

Mounir Elazami, B.A., M.A., is a journalist and professor of French as a second language. He studied at Sorbonne University in Paris and L’institut français de presse. He has also acted as communications advisor for several corporations across the globe. He currently teaches French at Algonquin College in Ottawa, where he prepares Anglophone civil servants for their bilingualism test.


Mohammad Hashemi, B.A., M.A., is a writer, editor, translator and professor of English. He has been teaching English language and literature for the past 20 years in Asia, Europe, and North America and is currently a professor of English at La Cité collégiale, a francophone college in Ottawa. He has also taught at Carleton University and has taught and coordinated language courses at Algonquin College.

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