sometimes it means pretty, sometimes lovely and sometimes beautiful. Which one should i use for words? I think that beautiful is for fille and femme. But can somebody help me please? Thank you!

September 13, 2017


'Beau' and its variants only mean 'beautiful'. We have other words in French for 'pretty', 'lovely' and 'nice'.

However, when you translate a French sentence into English, you may have to adjust the terms to the English language. This is why 'une belle voiture' can become 'a nice car', and 'une belle petite fille' can become 'a pretty little girl'.

You can find a good list of possible translations of 'beau' here:

'I think that beautiful is for fille and femme.'

If you meant that 'beau/belle' can only be used for women and girls, no, it can also be used for men.

  • Une belle femme = a beautiful woman
  • Un bel homme = a handsome man
  • Cet homme est beau = this man is handsome

Thanks Marc! This helped!

Look at the context of the sentence and how you would use it in English for choosing pretty, lovely or beautiful. Belle is used for feminine words and beau is for masculine words. Example La belle tour ou le beau maison - correction le beau bâtiment (thanks TXUR7) . The gender of french words is either feminine or masculine. There is no neutral (neuter) gender.

In English we only apply the feminine or masculine gender to people and animals. Everything else is "it", the neuter gender. We also don't change the spelling of words according to the gender, just the singular or plural number of things.

Good afternoon ! "maison" is a feminine word. you can take these two examples: "LE beau camion" (the nice truck = masculin) or "LA belle voiture" = (the nice car)

Yes, you are correct, thanks for the correction. I have edited it in my original response.

Yes, but what i'm saying is that sometimes when i get it right with pretty, i get it wrong with something else, robin anderson. anyway thanks!

Then I would stick with beautiful for the translation as that should always be correct and joli/jolie for pretty.

Good afternoon ! "belle" is an adjective for feminine words. you can use it for every feminine words you want: > belle chanson (nice song) > belle journée (nice day) for masculine word you can use: beau. > beau tracteur (nice tractor > beau chien (nice dog)

'Beau chien' means 'beautiful dog'. For people and animals, 'beau/belle' only means beautiful, good-looking, handsome. A nice dog would be 'un gentil chien'.

you are an expert in French MarcD50!

I happen to be a Frenchman. :)

If you are a frenchman, why do you do french?

I did it to be able to help people. Since I have completed the tree (by testing out of the last checkpoint, then testing out of every remaining skill, in only two days), I can redo any lesson of the French tree. If you have a problem in a lesson of the 'Spiritual' skill, for instance, I can do it and see things with my own eyes.

The French tree could also be considered as a reversed tree for me, to help me learn English, but I believe I am already fluent enough. I am not learning English on Duolingo (I have only spent ten minutes on the English tree, with a placement test). I think I could still learn a thing or two from both trees, but I am now focusing on Turkish, and also a little on German.

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