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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bon Appetit!


Try to match these words to their meanings:

1. à la carte
2. bon appetit
3. du jour
4. hors d'oeuvre
5. prix fixe

a. "Enjoy your meal!"
b. a set meal
c. starter or appetizer
d. a daily special
e. from the menu


1. à la carte: Literally, "on the card." It refers to items on a menu aside from any set meals. "Would you like a set meal, or would you like to order a few items a la carte?" [accent on the last word: a la CART]

2. bon appetit: (also spelled [or misspelled] bon appetite, bon appettite, etc.) Literally "good appetite," it means, "Enjoy your meal." "Here is your entrée, sir; bon appetit!" [accent on the last syllable: bone a-pe-TEE or a-pe-TEET]

3. du jour: Literally "of the day"; used to describe changing menu items ("soup du jour"), and also changeable items or practices. "Ron brought his girlfriend du jour to the party." [accent on the last syllable: doo ZHUR]

4. hors d'oeuvre: A starter or appetizer served before a meal. It literally means "outside of the work," meaning not part of the main meal. Be careful in pronunciation: in English the v and the r change places! [accent on the last syllable: or DURVE]

5. prix fixe: A set meal, opposite of a la carte. Literally "fixed price," it may include choices within the set. [equally accented: pree feeks]


Many English words come from French. That is because a French king named William became king of England in the year 1066, and many French-speaking people settled in England.

So we borrowed many French words, and now think of them as English.

Also, however, we have taken some words from French and kept the French pronunciation and spelling, like the words above.

As you probably noticed, those words are often used in restaurants. Many of our English words about dining out (restaurant, café, chef, cuisine) were originally French words, too.


Which of the words above would you use in the following sentences?

1. I only enjoy ____________ meals if I can make some changes.
2. Can you tell me if there's a vegetable ____________?
3. My friend always says "____________" before we eat.
4. I often eat too many ____________ and spoil my appetite.
5. I don't like any of the sets; I'll just order ____________.


1. Do you know any other "pure French" words (with French pronunciation and spelling)? Do you know any other English words that came from French regarding restaurants, etc? Write some sentences using those words.
2. Find the meanings of these words and use them in sentences: café, chef, cuisine, entree, maitre d', sommelier.


1. e; 2. a; 3. d; 4. c; 5. b

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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