Learn Quebec French : 5 Must-Know Words

You are learning French and are interested in the language as we speak it in Québec? Here are 5 words that you MUST know when you learn Quebec French!

1. Allô

You might have learned that the word « allô » is used exclusively when answering the phone. Well, in Quebec, that is not true!

« Allô » is a common way of greeting people. In fact, it is often one of the first words little Quebecers learn while acquiring the language. I can’t remember the number of times when I was in a public space, for example a grocery store, and a kid in the cart said « allô », waving at me.

That’s quite informal, but you might even come across it in written form. In a text message or an email to a friend, for example.

2. C’est correct

Literally, « correct » means that something is true, accurate or complies with a standard.

  • La réponse correcte est B. / B is the correct answer.
  • Veillez à utiliser un langage correct en présence d’enfants. / Make sure to use correct language around children.

But in Quebec, « c’est correct » has a way broader meaning. It is used to say that something is okay, acceptable, que ça convient, that it is suitable.

  • – On part à 8h demain? – C’est correct! / – We leave at 8 tomorrow? – That’s fine!

(Note that the last T is rarely pronounced. One of the key traits of the Quebec accent is the simplification of multiple-consonnant sounds at the end of words. I have a lesson and exercices about that distinctive feature in my online course Comprendre les Québécois.)

  • C’est-tu correc’ si je mets de la musique? / Is it okay with you if I put on some music?
  • Onh, t’es tombé! Tu t’es pas fait mal? T’es-tu correc’? – Non, non, chu correc’. / You fell off. Are you alright? I’m okay, I’m fine

« Correct » is literally one of the most used words, you will most hear it all the time if you decide to learn Quebec French.

3. Tantôt

The adverb « tantôt » is not used in all regions of France, but they use it in Belgium and Switzerland.

It can be used to reference past or future time and means « a short while ago » or « in a short while ». But always in the same day!

  • Mon père, il est passé tantôt, il te fait dire allô. / My dad stopped by a short while ago. He says hi.
  • Faut que j’aille au dép. tantôt, as-tu besoin de quoi? / I have to go to the dep. in a while, do you need anything?

(And if you want to know more about French Words in Canadian English, like dépanneur (convenience store), don’t miss this video with English subtitles.)

Summerizing, « tantôt » can be used in past or future sentences :

J’ai fait ça tantôt / Je vais faire ça tantôt : I did this a while ago / I will do this in a while

There is also the expression « à tantôt! », meaning « see you in a while » (the same day).

4. Pantoute

Another beautiful French Canadian word used by francophones from coast to coast. Even the Acadians in the Maritimes, which have a different stem of French, use the word pantoute.

« Pantoute » is the contraction of « pas en tout » and means « pas du tout ».

  • – As-tu faim? –Pantoute! / – Are you hungry? – Not at all!

But you will most often hear it coupled with another negative adverb, in a quite redundant way : pas pantoute / rien pantoute / plus pantoute.

  • Ouvre la lumière, je vois rien pantoute! / Turn on the light, I can’t see a thing
  • Mais on se voit pu, on s’voit pu pantoute / We don’t see each other at all anymore

Before I teach you the last word, a warm Thank you to my Patrons, which I affectionately call les Déneigeurs, without whom I wouldn’t be able to create free content every other week. Check out the advantages and ressources offered on my Patreon!

OK last pair of words :

5. Embarquer/débarquer

« Embarquer » and « débarquer » are the verbs we use when we get on/off a vehicule.

  • J’embarque dans l’autobus / I get on the bus
  • T’arrêtes tout de suite ou tu débarques! / You stop it right now or you get off!

Interesting to note that this word is part of a maritime lexicon that the settlers left us with! To come to New France, people had to spend several weeks on ships, so they acquired some navigation terms and vocabulary.

In France, embarquer et débarquer are used exclusively to get on/off a boat or a water vehicule at least. But here,it is very generic.

On peut embarquer :

  • dans un char (get in a car),
  • sur un cheval (get on a horse),
  • dans un manège (get in/on a ride),
  • sur les épaules de papa (get on daddy’s shoulders)!

So there you are! The five must-know words you need when you decide to learn Quebec French.

Livres et cours

Étudier avec maprofdefrançais
**Notez que Geneviève ne donne pas de leçons individuelles ni de cours de groupe. Voici les options qui s’offrent à vous.**

Formation Comprendre
les Québécois

Cours de compréhension orale


Formation Améliorez
votre prononciation
en français québécois

Cours de prononciation


Exercices pratiques
sur Patreon

Ressources disponibles en abonnement mensuel


Abonnez-vous aux actualités !

Restez au courant de tout grâce à notre infolettre.

Réseaux sociaux

Suivez-nous !