Professions in French

Instructor: Marcy Farrell
In this lesson, you will learn the French names of many common professions. You will also learn to say what your profession is and to ask others what they do for a living.

Importance of Profession Vocabulary

At a party, Charles meets Lucie, who asks him what he does. Charles is a doctor, so he replies, 'Je suis médecin' (pronounced: zhuh swee mehd-san), meaning 'I am a doctor.' Lucie is also a doctor. She says, 'Moi aussi, je suis médecin' (pronounced : mwah oh-see zhuh swee mehd-san), meaning 'I am a doctor, too.'

Conversations like this wouldn't be possible without occupational vocabulary, or vocab terms about professions. When getting to know someone, talking about what you do for a living is common. So, you'll need this vocabulary to engage in such small talk in French. Let's explore some of the French vocabulary terms for professions.

Common Professions

Let's look at the names of some common professions:

  • médecin (pronounced : mehd-san) / doctor
  • comptable (pronounced : kon-tah-bluh) / accountant
  • architecte (pronounced : ar-shee-tekt) / architect
  • ingénieur (pronounced : an-zhehn-yur) / engineer
  • secrétaire (pronounced : seh-cray-tehr) / secretary
  • vétérinaire (pronounced : vay-tay-ree-nehr) / veterinarian
  • pilote (pronounced : pee-lot) / pilot
  • dentiste (pronounced : don-teest) / dentist
  • journaliste (pronounced zhor-nah-leest) / journalist
  • élève (pronounced : ay-lev) / pupil, student (K-12th grade)

At the party, Charles and Lucie meet many people who do different jobs. Luc says, 'Je suis comptable.' Alice says, 'Je suis dentiste.' Philippe replies, 'Moi aussi, je suis dentiste.'

Professions With Masculine and Feminine Forms

In English, there are a few professions with different masculine and feminine forms, like 'waiter/waitress' or 'actor/actress.' In French, there are several jobs with different masculine and feminine forms.

Say that Jean-Marc, a waiter, is a guest at a party. He says 'Je suis serveur' (pronounounced: zhuh swee ser-veuhr). His twin sister, Catherine, is a waitress. So, she says 'Je suis serveuse' (pronounced: zhuh swee ser-veuhz). Notice the difference in the masculine and feminine forms.

Let's look at a list of some common professions with different forms for men and women:

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