How to Say “Anglais” in French: Formal and Informal Ways

In French, the word “Anglais” refers to the English language and can also denote someone from England or something related to England. This guide will provide you with various ways to express this term formally and informally, allowing you to use it appropriately in different contexts. Additionally, we will offer tips, examples, and explore any regional variations that might exist.

Formal Ways to Say “Anglais” in French

If you are in a formal setting or using a more polite tone, here are several acceptable ways to say “Anglais” in French:

  1. “La langue anglaise” – This is the most formal and straightforward translation for the English language. It’s commonly used when referring to English in official or academic settings. For example: “Je souhaite apprendre la langue anglaise.” (I want to learn the English language.)
  2. “La langue de Shakespeare” – This expression, meaning “the language of Shakespeare,” is a poetic and formal way to refer to English. It showcases the cultural significance of English literature. For instance: “J’adore lire des romans dans la langue de Shakespeare.” (I love reading novels in the language of Shakespeare.)
  3. “La langue d’outre-Manche” – This phrase, translating to “the language from beyond the Channel,” denotes English as spoken in England. It’s formal and emphasizes the geographical origin of the language. For example: “Mon frère parle la langue d’outre-Manche couramment.” (My brother speaks the language from beyond the Channel fluently.)
  4. “La langue anglaise britannique” – This formal phrase specifies the British variation of English. It highlights the distinction between British English and other English dialects. For instance: “La langue anglaise britannique est différente de l’anglais américain.” (British English is different from American English.)

Informal Ways to Say “Anglais” in French

In informal or casual settings, you can use the following expressions to say “Anglais” in French:

  1. “L’anglais” – This is the standard and widely accepted way to refer to the English language in informal conversations. It’s simple, direct, and commonly used in everyday speech. For example: “J’adore regarder des films en anglais.” (I love watching movies in English.)
  2. “La langue anglaise” – While this expression was mentioned earlier as a formal option, it can also be used colloquially. It adds a touch of formality or emphasis to the conversation, depending on the context. For instance: “Je ne comprends pas la langue anglaise, elle est difficile.” (I don’t understand the English language; it’s difficult.)
  3. “L’angluche” – This informal blend of “anglais” and “français” is a playful term used to refer to a mix of English and French. It highlights code-switching or the use of both languages in a conversation. For example: “Nous avons eu une discussion en angluche, c’était amusant.” (We had a conversation in a mix of English and French; it was fun.)
  4. “La langue de Shakespeare” – While primarily considered formal, this expression can also be used informally in certain contexts, particularly when discussing literature or the arts. It adds a touch of flair to the conversation. For example: “Ah, la langue de Shakespeare, si riche et expressive.” (Ah, the language of Shakespeare, so rich and expressive.)

Tips and Examples

Here are some additional tips and examples to help you use the term “Anglais” effectively:


  • Consider the level of formality required in each situation and choose the appropriate phrase accordingly.
  • Pay attention to the context and the people involved to ensure you use the most suitable expression.
  • When in doubt, using “L’anglais” is generally a safe and versatile option in most informal situations.


  • Est-ce que tu parles l’anglais ?” – Do you speak English? (informal)
  • Pourriez-vous m’indiquer où je peux prendre des cours de la langue anglaise ?” – Could you please tell me where I can take English language classes? (formal)
  • J’ai regardé un film en anglais hier soir, c’était fantastique !” – I watched a movie in English last night; it was fantastic! (informal)
  • Notre entreprise souhaite développer des partenariats avec des entreprises de langue anglaise britannique.” – Our company aims to develop partnerships with British English-speaking companies. (formal)

Regional Variations

Regarding regional variations, French speakers across different regions generally use the same expressions to say “Anglais.” However, it’s worth noting that certain regional accents, dialects, or slangs may influence pronunciation or usage. This variation typically occurs informally and does not significantly affect understanding. It’s essential to be aware of local nuances when interacting with native speakers but not a crucial aspect when discussing the term “Anglais.”

Remember, the focus should primarily be on choosing between formal and informal expressions, as described earlier, rather than regional variations.

By utilizing the formal and informal ways listed above, along with the provided tips and examples, you can confidently express “Anglais” in French, adapting your language to diverse contexts and effectively communicating your intentions.

Written by Jeremy Willie

Bonjour! I'm Jeremy - a relentless Francophile with a passion for writing, learning, and languages. I spend my time diving deep into French culture, mastering the art of language translation, and crafting comprehensive guides to help you express a myriad of things— from "Anglais" to "Zoo" in French. When I'm not delighting in linguistic complexities, you'll find me indulging in some gastronomie française, obsessing over rare geckos, or whipping up a mean bean bag toss game. Stick around, and together, we'll embody the phrasing, 'Parlez-vous français?’ Soyez prêts pour l'aventure!

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