How Do You Say “Mistake” In French?

Learning a new language is an exciting and challenging experience. Whether you’re a student, a traveler, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of different cultures, studying a foreign language can be a rewarding endeavor. French, in particular, is a language that has captivated people around the world with its rich history, elegant pronunciation, and romantic flair.

One of the most important aspects of learning a language is mastering its vocabulary. After all, we use words to communicate our thoughts, feelings, and ideas. When it comes to French, there are countless words to learn – from basic greetings to complex technical terms. And one word that you’ll definitely want to add to your French vocabulary is “mistake”.

The French translation of “mistake” is “erreur”. This simple word can be incredibly useful in a variety of contexts, whether you’re apologizing for an error you made, correcting someone else’s mistake, or simply acknowledging that something went wrong.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “Mistake”?

Learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language can be a challenge, but it’s an essential skill to have if you want to communicate effectively. If you’re looking to learn how to say “mistake” in French, it’s important to understand the correct pronunciation so that you can be understood by native speakers.

Phonetic Breakdown Of The Word

The French word for “mistake” is “erreur”. Here’s the phonetic breakdown of the word:

French Word Phonetic Spelling
Erreur eh-rur

Tips For Pronunciation

Here are some tips to help you pronounce “erreur” correctly:

  • Focus on the vowel sounds: The “e” sound in “erreur” is pronounced like the “e” in “bet”, while the “u” sound is pronounced like the “oo” in “boot”.
  • Pay attention to the French “r”: The French “r” is pronounced differently than the English “r”. To make the sound, place the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and create a vibration.
  • Practice makes perfect: The more you practice pronouncing “erreur”, the easier it will become. Listen to native French speakers say the word and repeat it until you feel comfortable with the pronunciation.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “Mistake”

Grammar is an essential component of any language, and French is no exception. Proper use of the French word for “mistake” requires knowledge of grammar rules and syntax. Incorrect usage can lead to confusion or misinterpretation of the intended message. In this section, we will discuss the proper grammatical use of the French word for “mistake.”

Placement In Sentences

The French word for “mistake” is “erreur.” It is typically placed before the verb in a sentence, such as “J’ai fait une erreur” (I made a mistake). However, in some cases, it can also be placed after the verb, such as “Je regrette mon erreur” (I regret my mistake).

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

The verb “faire” (to make) is commonly used with the French word for “mistake.” Therefore, it is important to know the proper conjugation of this verb in various tenses. For example:

  • Present tense: Je fais une erreur (I make a mistake)
  • Passé composé: J’ai fait une erreur (I made a mistake)
  • Imparfait: Je faisais une erreur (I was making a mistake)

Agreement With Gender And Number

The French language requires agreement of adjectives and articles with the gender and number of the noun they modify. The word “erreur” is feminine, so any adjectives or articles used with it must also be feminine. For example:

  • Une grosse erreur (a big mistake)
  • La dernière erreur (the last mistake)

Common Exceptions

There are a few common exceptions to the grammatical rules surrounding the French word for “mistake.” For example, in the expression “faire une erreur de jugement” (to make a judgment error), the article “de” is used instead of “une” before the word “jugement.” Additionally, the expression “faire une erreur de débutant” (to make a beginner’s mistake) uses the word “débutant” instead of “débutante” even if referring to a female beginner.

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “Mistake”

French is a beautiful language that has many unique words and phrases. One of these words is “erreur,” which means “mistake” in English. Below are some common phrases that use this word and examples of how to use them in sentences.

Common Phrases:

  • Faire une erreur – to make a mistake
  • Communiquer une erreur – to communicate a mistake
  • Corriger une erreur – to correct a mistake
  • Admettre une erreur – to admit a mistake
  • Éviter les erreurs – to avoid mistakes

Now let’s take a closer look at how to use these phrases in sentences:

  • J’ai fait une erreur dans mon calcul. – I made a mistake in my calculation.
  • Il a communiqué une erreur dans le rapport. – He communicated a mistake in the report.
  • J’ai dû corriger une erreur dans mon texte. – I had to correct a mistake in my text.
  • Elle a admis son erreur et a présenté ses excuses. – She admitted her mistake and apologized.
  • Il est important d’éviter les erreurs lors de la rédaction d’un contrat. – It is important to avoid mistakes when writing a contract.

Here are some example French dialogues using the word “erreur”:

French Dialogue English Translation
Julie: J’ai fait une erreur dans mon travail.
Pierre: Ce n’est pas grave, tu peux la corriger facilement.
Julie: I made a mistake in my work.
Pierre: It’s not a big deal, you can easily correct it.
Marie: J’ai admis mon erreur à mon patron.
Luc: C’est bien, il appréciera ton honnêteté.
Marie: I admitted my mistake to my boss.
Luc: That’s good, he will appreciate your honesty.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “Mistake”

In addition to its basic meaning, the French word for “mistake” (erreur) has a variety of contextual uses. Understanding these uses can help you communicate more effectively in French, whether you’re speaking formally or informally.

Formal Usage

Formal usage of the word “mistake” in French typically involves situations where precision and accuracy are of the utmost importance. For example, in legal or academic contexts, the word erreur might be used to describe an error in a document or a mistake in a calculation.

When speaking formally, it’s important to use the correct verb form to indicate whether the mistake was made by oneself or someone else. For example, if you were translating a document and discovered an error, you might say “j’ai trouvé une erreur” (I found a mistake). On the other hand, if you were informing someone else of a mistake they had made, you might say “vous avez commis une erreur” (you made a mistake).

Informal Usage

Informal usage of the word “mistake” in French is more likely to involve everyday situations where accuracy is less critical. For example, you might use the word erreur to describe a minor mistake you made while cooking or a typo in a text message.

When speaking informally, the verb form is less important, and you can use the same phrase to describe mistakes made by yourself or others. For example, you might say “j’ai fait une erreur” (I made a mistake) or “il a fait une erreur” (he made a mistake).

Other Contexts

In addition to formal and informal usage, the word “mistake” in French can also be used in a variety of other contexts. For example, there are many idiomatic expressions that use the word erreur, such as “faire erreur” (to be mistaken) or “une erreur de jeunesse” (a youthful mistake).

There are also cultural and historical uses of the word. For example, during the French Revolution, the word erreur was used to describe mistakes made by the monarchy or the government. Today, the word is sometimes used in a similar way to criticize politicians or other public figures.

Popular Cultural Usage

One popular cultural usage of the word “mistake” in French is in the title of the popular book and movie “La La Land”. The French title of the movie is “La La Land: Une erreur de la vie” (La La Land: A mistake in life), which suggests that the characters’ pursuit of fame and success ultimately leads to disappointment and regret.

Overall, understanding the various contextual uses of the French word for “mistake” can help you communicate more effectively in a variety of situations.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “Mistake”

French is spoken in many countries around the world, and as with any language, there are regional variations in vocabulary, pronunciation, and even grammar. This is also true for the word “mistake” in French. Although the word for “mistake” is generally the same in all French-speaking countries, there are some regional variations in the way it is used and pronounced.

Usage Of “Mistake” In Different French-speaking Countries

The French word for “mistake” is “erreur”, and it is used in the same way in all French-speaking countries. However, there are some regional variations in the usage of this word. For example, in Quebec, Canada, the word “faute” is sometimes used instead of “erreur”.

Additionally, there are some idiomatic expressions related to “mistake” that are specific to certain regions. For example, in France, the expression “faire une gaffe” is commonly used to mean “to make a mistake”, while in Quebec, the expression “faire une erreur” is more common.

Regional Pronunciations Of “Mistake”

While the word for “mistake” is generally pronounced the same way in all French-speaking countries, there are some regional variations in the way it is pronounced.

In France, the word “erreur” is pronounced with a silent “r”, so it sounds like “uh-ruh”. In Quebec, on the other hand, the “r” is pronounced, so the word sounds more like “eh-ruh”.

It’s worth noting that there are also other regional variations in French pronunciation that can affect the way “mistake” is pronounced. For example, in some parts of France, the “e” sound at the end of a word is pronounced more like “uh”, while in other parts of France, it is pronounced more like “ay”. These regional variations can affect the way “erreur” is pronounced in different parts of the country.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “Mistake” In Speaking & Writing

While the French word for “mistake” is generally translated as “erreur,” it can have different meanings depending on context. In some cases, it may refer to a simple error, while in others, it may indicate a more serious blunder or fault. Here are some of the other uses of the French word for “mistake” in speaking and writing, and how to distinguish between them:

1. A Simple Error

One of the most common uses of the French word for “mistake” is to refer to a simple error or mistake. This could be a mistake in spelling, grammar, or pronunciation. For example:

  • J’ai fait une erreur dans mon devoir. (I made a mistake in my homework.)
  • Je me suis trompé de route. (I took the wrong road.)

In these cases, the word “erreur” is used to indicate a minor mistake that can easily be corrected.

2. A Blunder Or Fault

Another use of the French word for “mistake” is to indicate a more serious blunder or fault. This could be a mistake that has serious consequences, or one that reflects poorly on the person who made it. For example:

  • C’était une erreur de le nommer directeur. (It was a mistake to name him director.)
  • Il a commis une erreur grave en ne respectant pas les règles. (He made a serious mistake by not following the rules.)

In these cases, the word “erreur” is used to indicate a more serious mistake that may have negative consequences.

3. A Misunderstanding

Finally, the French word for “mistake” can also be used to indicate a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. This could be a mistake in understanding someone’s intentions, or a mistake in interpreting a situation. For example:

  • C’est une erreur de penser qu’il ne se soucie pas de toi. (It’s a mistake to think he doesn’t care about you.)
  • Il y a eu une erreur dans la traduction. (There was a mistake in the translation.)

In these cases, the word “erreur” is used to indicate a mistake in understanding or interpretation.

Overall, the French word for “mistake” can have different meanings depending on context. By understanding these different uses, you can better distinguish between them and use the word more effectively in your speaking and writing.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “Mistake”

When it comes to finding synonyms or related terms for the French word “erreur,” there are plenty of options available. Some of the most common ones include:


  • Faute
  • Erreur
  • Gaffe
  • Bourde
  • Méprise

While these words may all be translated as “mistake” in English, they each have slightly different connotations and uses in French. For example, “faute” is often used to describe a moral or ethical mistake, while “gaffe” refers more specifically to a social faux-pas.

Similarly, “bourde” and “méprise” both imply a more serious or significant mistake than “erreur,” which is a more general term that can refer to any kind of error or slip-up.


On the other hand, if you’re looking for words that are opposite in meaning to “erreur,” some options might include:

  • Succès
  • Perfection
  • Exactitude
  • Réussite
  • Précision

While these words may not be direct antonyms of “erreur,” they do represent some of the qualities or outcomes that would be the opposite of making a mistake.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “Mistake”

When it comes to speaking French, non-native speakers often make mistakes with the word “mistake.” These mistakes can range from mispronunciation to using the wrong gender or form of the word. Some of the most common errors include:

  • Pronouncing the word “mistake” as “mistaké” instead of “faute”
  • Using the feminine form “faute” instead of the masculine form “erreur”
  • Confusing the verb “faire” with the noun “faute”

Highlight These Mistakes And Provide Tips To Avoid Them.

To avoid making these common mistakes, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Practice the correct pronunciation of the word “faute” (fote) to avoid saying “mistaké.”
  2. Remember that “faute” is feminine, while “erreur” is masculine. Use the correct gender depending on the context.
  3. Be aware of the difference between the verb “faire” (to make/do) and the noun “faute” (mistake). It’s easy to mix them up, but paying attention to the context can help you use the correct word.

In addition to these tips, it’s always a good idea to practice speaking French with native speakers or taking classes to improve your language skills. With time and practice, you’ll be able to use the word for “mistake” correctly and with confidence.


In this blog post, we have explored the various ways to say mistake in French. We started by discussing the most commonly used word for mistake, which is “erreur.” We then delved into other words like “faute,” “gaffe,” and “bourde,” which have slightly different meanings and contexts of use.

We also discussed how to use these words in different situations, such as in formal and informal settings. We learned that “faute” is often used in formal contexts, while “gaffe” and “bourde” are more commonly used in informal settings.

Furthermore, we explored how to use these words in different tenses and how they can be used in conjunction with other French words to form phrases and expressions.

Overall, learning how to say mistake in French is an important step in mastering the language. By practicing and using these words in real-life conversations, you can improve your French language skills and communicate more effectively with French speakers.

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”.