Translating aimer

Why is it not accepted to translate aimer as love in sentences like J'aime les pommes? In my understanding both languages work the same here, so why is only like accepted as an answer? Isn't it quite normal to love things and foods in English?

I've learned French in school for years and I'm here to relearn it, so I'm not a beginner. My native language Finnish does make a lot clearer distinction between like and love than either French or English. So I'm confused, why don't the two expressions correspond to each other.

September 2, 2015


Here is the trick : when you talk about liking stuff, food for example, you say "aimer" for "to like" and "adorer" for "to love". When you talk about people, you say "aimer" for "to love" and "aimer bien" for "to like". You can also say "adorer" for people like your good friends.

  • j'aime les pommes : i like apples
  • j'adore les pommes : i love apples
  • je t'aime : i love you
  • j'adore cette fille, elle est vraiment drôle : i really like this girl, she is really fun
  • j'aime bien cette fille : i like this girl

Maybe other people would have other points of view on this, at least it's how it is used in France :)

September 2, 2015

Would you ever say "J'aime bien" for a thing such as a website. Would that be a ridiculous thing to say? Does bien sometimes minimize "j'aime bien + person" and at other times intensify "J'aime bien + a thing."

September 2, 2015

Yes you can :) "J'aime bien le site Duolingo" sounds all right ! And about objects, "aimer" and "aimer bien" have the same level of intensity and I can't find any example for now for which "j'aime bien" is inappropriate.

About persons, "J'aime bien" can be used either for friendship or for love (at the begining of a romance for example). For example you meet somebody, you don't know him/her very well but you feel that you could be friends/lovers, you can say "j'aime bien". Then when it reaches a deeper level, you'll say "j'adore" for friends and "j'aime" for love (or family, or reaaaaaally good friends).

September 2, 2015

    This matches Duolingo's official stance on this issue.

    September 2, 2015

    Thanks, at least now I understand why I'm confused :D It'll take time to sort this out in practice.

    September 2, 2015

    Enchanté =D Thank you for asking as I also mistakenly thought one can use both words fully interchangeably Guess not.

    Anyway, the lass in this song also sounds as if she is in love rather than just liking the guy

    In case you are a karaoke folk, you may sing along also

    September 2, 2015

    Haha, I had the same problem as you and had to ask my coworkers two days ago. She told me nouns are a person, place, thing, or idea. Aimer plus a person means love. Aimer plus a place, thing, or idea means like. Hope I helped.

    September 2, 2015

    There is indeed only one word which conveys both like and love in French: aimer. This is an example of one of the several issues with automated translation.

    September 2, 2015

    I just stumbled on another thread about this (although I did a search and couldn't find one) Still a bit confused about how different words correspond ti each other in French and English, but I feel confident I understand the difference in Finnish now.

    September 2, 2015
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