From this blog post, I know that "Je t'aime" means "I love you", and that "Je t'aime bien" and "Je t'aime beaucoup" means something less strong, such as "I really do like you" and "I like you a lot".

That site also says that "Je t'aime bien" can also be used for people who are friends who also have a sexual relationship with each other, but who don't have the real, committed kind of love for each other.

The story I am reading ends with:

Il me regardait droit dans les yeux et m'a dit pour la première fois de la journée : "Je t'aime vraiment toi...".

(At the beginning of the story, the narrator refers to this guy as "mon copain", so this is really ambiguous; I'm not sure if this guy is the narrator's boyfriend, or merely his friend. This is why I'm curious about the meaning of this sentence.).

1. Does "Je t'aime vraiment toi" mean "I truly love you", or "I truly like you"?
2. Is is true that "Je t'aime + [ANY adverb]" never means "I love you"?

1 Answer 1

  1. It can mean either. That depends on the context. In your excerpt, the fact this is said while looking straigtht in the eye strongly suggests it is about love.

  2. No. With many adverbs the meaning is almost always "to like", but there are exceptions where the meaning is context dependant, like in 1., and sometimes to love is almost the only possible meaning, e.g. :

Je t'aime aussi1

Je t'aime confusément, secrètement

Je t'aime encore

Je t'aime éperdument, infiniment, passionnément...

1 Interestingly, this sentence, like its English counterpart, "I love you too" is quite ambiguous. It can mean at least: "I love you just like you love me", "I love you just like I love someone else", "I love you just like someone else loves you" or "In addition to something else I feel about you, I love you"

  • I enjoy your edit for "I love you, too". It emphasizes to me that ambiguity exists in English, too, where (in this case) I didn't even realize it existed because the context made it so "obvious" to me.
    – silph
    Apr 8, 2018 at 21:40

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