How Do You Say “As A Child” In French?

Bonjour! If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re interested in learning French. Perhaps you’ve always been enamored with the language, or maybe you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking country and want to brush up on your skills. Whatever your reason, learning a new language can be a challenging but rewarding experience. In this article, we’ll explore how to say “as a child” in French and provide some tips for mastering the language.

The French translation for “as a child” is “comme un enfant”. This phrase is useful when discussing childhood memories or comparing experiences to those you had as a child. It can also be used in more formal contexts, such as academic writing or professional correspondence.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “As A Child”?

Learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language can be a challenging but rewarding experience. If you’re interested in learning how to say “as a child” in French, it’s important to understand the pronunciation rules for the language.

The French word for “as a child” is “comme un enfant.” To properly pronounce this phrase, it’s important to break it down phonetically. Here is a breakdown of the word or phrase:

– “Comme” is pronounced “kohm” with a short “o” sound, followed by a soft “m” sound.
– “Un” is pronounced “uhn” with a short “u” sound, followed by a soft “n” sound.
– “Enfant” is pronounced “ahn-fahn” with a silent “t” at the end.

To ensure proper pronunciation of “comme un enfant,” here are some tips to keep in mind:

– Practice the individual sounds of each word separately before putting them together.
– Pay attention to the accent marks in French, as they can change the pronunciation of a word.
– Use online resources or language learning apps to hear native speakers pronounce the phrase.
– Don’t be afraid to ask a French speaker or language teacher for feedback on your pronunciation.

With practice and patience, you can learn to pronounce “comme un enfant” like a native French speaker. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to mastering the French language.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “As A Child”

Proper grammar is essential when using the French word for “as a child” to ensure clear and accurate communication. The French language has specific rules for placement, verb conjugations or tenses, agreement with gender and number, and common exceptions, all of which must be considered when using this phrase.

Placement Of The French Word For “As A Child” In Sentences

The French word for “as a child” is “comme enfant.” It is important to place this phrase correctly in the sentence to convey the intended meaning. In French, the subject usually comes before the verb, and the object follows the verb. Therefore, “comme enfant” should come after the verb it modifies. For example:

  • “Je jouais comme enfant” (I played as a child)
  • “Elle chantait comme enfant” (She sang as a child)

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

The verb conjugations or tenses used with “comme enfant” depend on the context of the sentence. For example, if the sentence is in the past tense, the verb should be conjugated in the appropriate past tense. If the sentence is in the present tense, the verb should be in the present tense. Here are some examples:

  • “Je jouais comme enfant” (I played as a child) – past tense
  • “Je joue comme enfant” (I play as a child) – present tense

Agreement With Gender And Number

Like many French words, “comme enfant” must agree with the gender and number of the subject it modifies. If the subject is feminine, the word “enfant” becomes “enfantE.” If the subject is plural, the word “enfant” becomes “enfantS.” Here are some examples:

  • “Il jouait comme enfant” (He played as a child) – masculine singular
  • “Elle jouait comme enfantE” (She played as a child) – feminine singular
  • “Ils jouaient comme enfantS” (They played as children) – masculine plural
  • “Elles jouaient comme enfantES” (They played as children) – feminine plural

Common Exceptions

There are some common exceptions to the rules for using “comme enfant.” For example, in certain idiomatic expressions, the word order may be different, or the verb conjugation may not follow the usual pattern. Here are some examples:

  • “Enfant, je rêvais de devenir pilote” (As a child, I dreamed of becoming a pilot) – idiomatic expression with different word order
  • “Il est toujours aussi joueur qu’avant” (He’s still as playful as before) – different verb conjugation

It is important to be aware of these exceptions and use them appropriately to ensure clear communication in French.

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “As A Child”

French language is rich with phrases and idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations. One such phrase is “as a child,” which can be translated to “comme un enfant” in French. Here are some examples of phrases that include the French word for “as a child”:

Examples And Explanation

  • “Je me souviens de quand j’étais enfant” – This translates to “I remember when I was a child.” It is a common phrase used to reminisce about one’s childhood.
  • “Il est toujours aussi enfantin” – This translates to “He is still as childish.” It is used to describe someone who behaves immaturely.
  • “Elle est très douée pour travailler avec les enfants” – This translates to “She is very good at working with children.” It is a phrase commonly used to describe someone who is good with kids.
  • “J’ai fait cette erreur quand j’étais encore un enfant” – This translates to “I made this mistake when I was still a child.” It is a phrase used to explain a mistake made in the past.

These are just a few examples of how the French word for “as a child” can be used in everyday conversation. Here is an example dialogue in French that includes the phrase:

French English Translation
“Comment était-il quand il était enfant?” “What was he like when he was a child?”
“Il était très timide et réservé.” “He was very shy and reserved.”
“Ah, je vois. Il a beaucoup changé depuis.” “Ah, I see. He has changed a lot since then.”

In this example, the phrase “quand il était enfant” (when he was a child) is used to ask about someone’s past. The response includes the phrase “Il était très timide et réservé” (he was very shy and reserved) to describe the person’s behavior as a child.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “As A Child”

Understanding the different contexts in which the French word for “as a child” is used is crucial for anyone looking to communicate effectively in French. The word “enfant” is the most commonly used French word for “child,” and it can be used in both formal and informal contexts.

Formal Usage

In formal settings, such as business meetings, academic presentations, or official documents, the word “enfant” is used in its literal sense to refer to a person who is not yet an adult. For example, if you were to write a formal letter in French and wanted to mention your childhood, you might use the phrase “enfant, j’aimais…” which translates to “as a child, I liked…”

Informal Usage

In informal settings, such as conversations with friends or family, the word “enfant” can be used more broadly to refer to a person’s younger years or a time of innocence. For example, if someone asks you about your favorite childhood memories, you might say “quand j’étais enfant, j’adorais…” which translates to “when I was a child, I loved…”

Other Contexts

Aside from its literal and informal uses, the word “enfant” can also be used in slang, idiomatic expressions, or cultural/historical contexts. For instance, the phrase “enfant terrible” is a French expression used to describe a person who is unconventional or rebellious. It literally means “terrible child.” Another example is the French fairy tale “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” or “Little Red Riding Hood,” in which the main character is a child.

Popular Cultural Usage

One popular cultural usage of the word “enfant” is in the French film “The 400 Blows,” which tells the story of a young boy’s struggles growing up in 1950s Paris. The title of the film, “Les Quatre Cents Coups,” literally translates to “The 400 Blows,” but the word “coups” can also be translated as “stunts” or “pranks,” which adds a playful, childlike connotation to the title.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “As A Child”

French is spoken in different countries around the world, and each country has its own unique way of using the French language. One of the interesting aspects of the French language is the presence of regional variations. The word for “as a child” is no exception, as it has different variations depending on the region.

Usage Of The French Word For “As A Child” In Different French-speaking Countries

The French word for “as a child” is “comme un enfant.” However, in different French-speaking countries, there are variations of this word. For instance, in Canada, the word for “as a child” is “comme un enfant” or “comme un petit enfant.” In Switzerland, it is “comme un gosse” or “comme un môme.” In Belgium, the word is “comme un gamin.”

The use of these different words for “as a child” reflects the unique cultural and linguistic differences in the different French-speaking countries. It is interesting to note that these regional variations often reflect the colloquialisms and idioms of the local dialects.

Regional Pronunciations

In addition to the variations in the word for “as a child,” there are also differences in the pronunciation of this word. For example, in Canada, the word “enfant” is pronounced with an emphasis on the second syllable, while in France, the emphasis is on the first syllable. Similarly, in Switzerland, the word “gosse” is pronounced with a hard “g,” while in Belgium, the “g” is pronounced softly.

These regional pronunciations are an important aspect of the French language and contribute to the diversity and richness of the language. They also serve as a reminder that language is not static, but rather evolves and changes over time, reflecting the unique cultural and linguistic influences of the regions where it is spoken.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “As A Child” In Speaking & Writing

It is important to note that the French word for “as a child,” comme enfant, can have various meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Understanding how to distinguish between these uses is essential when communicating effectively in French.

Comme Enfant As A Time Marker

One of the primary uses of comme enfant is as a time marker to indicate that something occurred when the speaker was a child. For example:

  • Comme enfant, j’ai toujours aimé les animaux. (As a child, I always loved animals.)
  • Comme enfant, je passais mes vacances à la plage. (As a child, I spent my vacations at the beach.)

In these cases, comme enfant is used to indicate a specific time period in the speaker’s life.

Comme Enfant As A Comparison

Another use of comme enfant is as a comparison to describe how something was done or felt in the past. For example:

  • Il joue comme enfant. (He plays like a child.)
  • Elle chante comme enfant. (She sings like a child.)

In these cases, comme enfant is used to compare the current behavior or action to how the speaker acted or felt as a child.

Comme Enfant As An Adverbial Phrase

Finally, comme enfant can also be used as an adverbial phrase to describe how something is done or felt in a childlike manner. For example:

  • Il rit comme enfant. (He laughs like a child.)
  • Elle dort comme enfant. (She sleeps like a child.)

In these cases, comme enfant is used to describe the manner in which the action is performed or felt, similar to an adverb.

Overall, understanding the various uses of comme enfant is crucial when communicating in French. By being able to distinguish between these uses, speakers can ensure that their meaning is clear and that they are effectively conveying their message.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “As A Child”

Synonyms And Related Terms

When it comes to expressing the idea of “as a child” in French, there are a few different words and phrases that can be used. Some of the most common synonyms and related terms include:

  • Quand j’étais petit(e)
  • À l’époque où j’étais enfant
  • Quand j’étais gamin(e)
  • Quand j’étais jeune
  • Pendant mon enfance

Each of these phrases essentially means “when I was a child” or “during my childhood”. However, they may be used in slightly different contexts or with different connotations.

For example, “quand j’étais petit(e)” is a very common way to say “when I was little” or “as a child” in French. It’s a straightforward and neutral phrase that can be used in a variety of situations.

“À l’époque où j’étais enfant” is a more formal way to express the same idea. It translates to “at the time when I was a child” and may be used in more serious or professional contexts.

“Quand j’étais gamin(e)” and “quand j’étais jeune” both have a slightly more informal or colloquial tone. They may be used among friends or in casual conversation.

“Pendant mon enfance” is another formal option that translates to “during my childhood”. It may be used in more academic or professional contexts.


While there aren’t necessarily direct antonyms for the phrase “as a child” in French, there are some related terms that could be considered opposites. For example:

  • En tant qu’adulte
  • Maintenant que je suis grand(e)
  • À l’âge adulte
  • Quand j’étais plus vieux/vieille

Each of these phrases expresses the idea of being an adult or older. They could be used as antonyms to “as a child” in certain contexts, such as when discussing how things have changed over time or how someone’s perspective has shifted as they’ve grown up.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “As A Child”

When learning a new language, it’s common to make mistakes. The French language is no exception. One common mistake made by non-native speakers is the incorrect use of the French word for “as a child.” This article will highlight these mistakes and provide tips to avoid them.

Common Errors

There are several common errors made by non-native speakers when using the French word for “as a child.” These include:

  • Using the word “enfant” instead of “enfantin.”
  • Using the masculine form “enfant” instead of the feminine form “enfantine.”
  • Using the wrong verb tense when talking about childhood experiences.

Tips To Avoid Mistakes

To avoid making these mistakes, follow these tips:

  1. Use the word “enfantin” instead of “enfant.” “Enfantin” is the correct adjective to describe something related to childhood.
  2. Use the feminine form “enfantine” when referring to a female child. The masculine form “enfant” is only used when referring to a male child.
  3. Use the correct verb tense when talking about childhood experiences. The imperfect tense is used to describe ongoing actions or habits in the past, while the passé composé is used to describe completed actions in the past.



In conclusion, we have explored the French phrase for “as a child” and learned about its various forms and contexts. We have discovered that the most common way to say “as a child” in French is “quand j’étais enfant” or “quand j’étais petit(e)”. We have also discussed the nuances of using different forms of the word “enfant” and how they can change the meaning of the phrase. Additionally, we have looked at some examples of how to use this phrase in real-life conversations.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to say “as a child” in French, we encourage you to practice using this phrase in your own conversations. Whether you are speaking with a French-speaking friend or practicing your language skills with a tutor, incorporating this phrase into your vocabulary will help you sound more natural and confident in your French speaking abilities.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.