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What is a good translation for not being attentive? Examples could be:

Je n'étais pas [attentive] dans ma classe de Chimie


Si tu n'étais pas [attentive] sur la rue, tu peux être dans un accident de voiture.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Être attentif works just fine for your first example.

Je n'étais pas attentif en [cours de] Chimie.

For your second example, faire attention works better.

Si tu ne fais pas attention dans la rue, tu risques d'avoir un accident [de voiture/vélo].

Être attentif implies attention to something in the sense of concentration, thought, attention to detail, etc. Faire attention is more in the sense of having to be careful, prudent.

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You can also use the word "distrait" which is the opposite of "attentif"

J'étais distrait en cours de Chimie.

For the second example, you can use the word "vigilant" which is much stronger than "attentif".

Si tu n'es pas vigilant sur la route, tu peux avoir un accident.

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