Learn How to Say “I Read” in French: Formal and Informal Ways

French, a beautiful and widely spoken language, has various ways to express the action of reading. Whether you want to convey this message formally or informally, there are specific phrases and expressions that can help you navigate this linguistic terrain. In this guide, we will explore different ways to say “I read” in French, providing you with a range of tips, examples, and even some cultural insights along the way. So, let’s dive into the wonderful world of French vocabulary!

1. Formal Ways to Say “I Read” in French

When addressing someone formally or in a professional setting, it’s essential to use the appropriate language. Here are a few phrases you can employ:

a) Je lis

The most basic and direct way to say “I read” in French is “Je lis.” This phrase is suitable for both written and spoken contexts.

Example: Au cours de ma formation, je lis beaucoup de livres.

Translation: During my training, I read many books.

b) Je suis en train de lire

To emphasize that you are currently engaged in the act of reading, you can say “Je suis en train de lire.” This construction indicates an ongoing action.

Example: Excusez-moi, je suis en train de lire ce document important.

Translation: Excuse me, I am reading this important document.

c) J’ai lu

To express that you have read something in the past, you can use the phrase “J’ai lu.” This form uses the past tense.

Example: J’ai lu ce livre passionnant la semaine dernière.

Translation: I read this fascinating book last week.

2. Informal Ways to Say “I Read” in French

When communicating with friends, family, or in casual situations, you can use these more informal expressions:

a) Je bouquine

“Je bouquine” is an informal way of saying “I read” in French. It implies a relaxed reading, often done for pleasure.

Example: Le dimanche, je ne fais rien d’autre que bouquiner.

Translation: On Sundays, I do nothing but read.

b) Je dévore

A slightly more enthusiastic way to say “I read” is by using the phrase “Je dévore.” It conveys the idea of devouring a book due to great interest or enthusiasm.

Example: Dès que le dernier tome de cette série est sorti, je l’ai dévoré.

Translation: As soon as the last volume of this series was released, I devoured it.

c) Je feuillette

When you want to express a casual way of reading, such as flipping through a magazine or browsing a book without necessarily reading it cover to cover, you can use “Je feuillette.”

Example: Je feuillette ce magazine pour trouver des idées de décoration.

Translation: I’m flipping through this magazine to find some decoration ideas.

3. Regional Variations

Generally, throughout the French-speaking world, the phrases mentioned above are widely understood and used. However, it’s important to note that there may be some regional variations in different French-speaking countries or areas. These variations can mostly manifest in pronunciation or usage of certain idioms or colloquial expressions. Despite these differences, the core phrases discussed here will be universally understood.

4. Additional Tips

a) Read French literature

One of the best ways to become familiar with the French language and improve your reading skills is by delving into French literature. Reading books by French authors enhances your vocabulary and comprehension of the language. Choose books suited to your level and gradually challenge yourself with more complex texts.

b) Practice with newspapers and online articles

Reading French newspapers or online articles is an excellent way to improve your reading skills while staying up to date with current affairs. Many French newspapers have online versions, allowing you to access a variety of topics and styles of writing.

c) Join language exchange groups

Participating in language exchange groups or online forums can provide opportunities for practicing reading comprehension and communication skills. Interacting with native French speakers or fellow learners allows you to discuss books, share recommendations, and receive feedback on your writing.


Understanding how to say “I read” in French, both formally and informally, opens up a world of communication possibilities. Whether you’re engaged in professional conversations or casual exchanges, using the appropriate phrases will help you express yourself clearly in French. Remember to practice your reading skills regularly and immerse yourself in French literature and materials to further enhance your language acquisition. Enjoy the journey as you explore the vast and fascinating world of French language and culture!

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