If "une phrase" is, in French, what the English would call "a sentence" then what is the word in French for what in English we would call "a phrase"? I hope that makes sense.

Thanks for your help, from a somewhat lost traveller and student. Merci beaucoup!

  • 1
    Une expression is what I would use.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


If you are looking for the translation of "phrase" in the sense of "a word or group of words that functions as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence, usually consisting of a head, or central word, and elaborating words" (definition taken from wiktionary), then it would be commonly called a "groupe", but as it is a fairly vague term, it is often used with a more precise adjective or noun, eg "groupe sujet", "groupe nominal", "groupe verbal", "groupe complément", etc. A more precise term would be "syntagme", but its usage would be limited to scholars and linguists (I cannot imagine it would be used in a classroom of a school).

  • Depending on your needs, the technical term is « syntagme » in linguistics but in primary and secondary schools, the translation proposed here, « groupe », is standard.
    – GAM PUB
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 19:09
  • It was the linguistic term I was hoping for, but that's all great information. Thankyou.
    – tjm
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 8:46

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