The Verb To Miss in French

The sentences using to miss in French are a bit tricky as they sounds upside down!

The reason is there are two verbs in French to translate “to miss”:
1- to miss (because you were not on time): manquer
2- to miss (because it creates a lack in your life): manquer à

And this little “à” is going to make a big difference
Here is the video:

1- Miss: you are not on time

I miss the train: Je manque le train
I missed the train: J’ai manqué le train
Here, the structure is the same in French and in English

  • There are other verbs to say that in French: rater, louper:
    Je rate le train, je loupe le train.
    J’ai raté le train, j’ai loupé le train.

2- Miss: it creates a lack

In English, we say for example: I miss Charlotte, but in French we will say: Charlotte is missing to me.
So any time you have to translate in French such a sentence, you need first to change the sentence to get “miss to” then you can translate it.

Present Tense:

I miss Charlotte becomes
 Charlotte is missing to me, becomes in French
 Charlotte manque à moi, but rather than “à moi” we say “me”:
Charlotte me manque

This sentence looks upside down because the word “à” or “to” in English disappeared with the new word “me” , but it is the way to say it in French.

I miss my sister: My sister is missing to me = Ma soeur me manque

Past Tense:

You missed me: Je t’ai manqué (or je vous ai manqué)
I missed you: Tu m’as manqué (or vous m’avez manqué)
Have a look at the video to see more examples.

Go further:

If you say in French J’ai manqué Charlotte, the meaning is not Charlotte missed me but I missed Charlotte with the meaning that you missed the meeting you had with Charlotte because you were not there.
But if you say, J’ai manqué à Charlotte, you mean that Charlotte missed you because she would like to be with you.
The verb “manquer” has more meanings:

To lack something= manquer de
le café manque de sucre: the coffee lacks sugar
Elle a manqué d’avoir un accident: she almost had an accident or she nearly had an accident

Expressions with the verb ‘manquer”:

Je ne manquerai pas de lui dire: I’ll be sure to tell him

Dites-lui merci de ma part. Je n’y manquerai pas
Tell him thank you from me. I won’t forget

Il ne manquerait plus que ça: that would be the end

You missed the point: tu ne comprends pas!



Pascal Dherve

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Pascal Dherve

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