What is a good way to ask "What is the French for this?" (while pointing at an object)

  • 3
    "Ça s'appelle comment en français, ç'truc-là ?" (How is it called, that thing-there) if you're speaking to native speakers. In formal writing, or in a class setting, "Comment appelle-t-on ceci en français". Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 16:39
  • Thanks, post that as an answer if you want some internet points!
    – callum
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 17:58
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    Your question made me think fondly of “Borat” pointing to cheese after cheese asking “What is that/what is this,” which could be translated as “C’est quoi ça?”; “Qu’est-ce que c’est?”; or even “Comment dit[-on] ça?” while pointing to the object (most contexts/settings would be so obvious that “en français” would be understood). So if you don’t mind sounding like Borat (or me), you would probably get an answer with one of those!
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 19:22
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    @PapaPoule :D haha thanks. That's exactly what I'm going for.
    – callum
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 10:22

3 Answers 3


You can express that in different ways:

  • Comment exprime-t-on ceci en français? : How do we express this in French?
  • Comment appelle-t-on ceci en français?: How do we call this in French?
  • Quel est l'équivalent français de ceci?: What's the French equivalent of this?
  • Quel est l'équivalent de ceci en français ?: What's the equivalent of this in French?
  • 2
    Ceci, cela or ça. It's also possible to omit it when it's a complement to équivalent. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 8:23
  • I agree, thank you for pointing that for further readers @StéphaneGimenez
    – user6768
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 8:26

The other answer is perfect if you need to write it, but it's a little too "formal" for a regular conversation.

You could use : "Comment appelle-t-on ça (or cela, but that's more formal) en Français". Which translates to : "How do you call [...] in French?".


You could say "Quel est l'équivalent en français de ". It means "What's the French equivalent to ". This would be a good way to ask for a "translation" of a word.

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