Dear John,
Is it easier to learn French from English or English from French?

In my French class, I always wonder what it is like to learn English if you only knew French. It seems easier, without all of the different conjugations, but then again, how would I know!

I have taught and tutored French individuals both in a classroom setting and in a one-on-one environment. I also communicate with my family from France: one or two of my cousins speak perfect English while others can’t say anything meaningful.

I learned French as a second language since 2004.

Dont fall for this trap. French learners of English have an equivalently hard time learning – they just might not fumble on the same topics or concepts as we do. Both French and English have new vocab and expressions to tackle as well as pronunciation. Both sets of students even try (foolishly) to use Google translate on assignments!

You are learning a NEW language!

But don’t just take my word for it… look at this example of a French student’s work I found on the internet:


It’s not pretty. This particular student put a ton of French into their English assignment, which makes it hard to follow.

But I’m not just talking about writing…

Early on, French people fumble with English pronunciation. Not everybody, but some people. I evaluated students and have hours of recorded dialogue from them. Their English skills vary.

I think that English lends itself to beginners, but it’s still hard to master.

This may lead to your current perception that the grass is always greener on the other side. Granted, I’m not here to debate the difficulty of English… there are other places for that.

But for every star student that I had, there were many French students still struggling to learn English.

French students of English also have immense pressure to succeed because French society places a higher influence on being bilingual. In France, English is the hip, cool language of business and new technology. English allows you to advance your career and possible opportunities.

John Elkhoury

Founder, FrenchCrazy

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