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Someone loves xxx versus someone likes xxx

Karla

Kwiziq community member

1 May 2017

2 replies

Someone loves xxx versus someone likes xxx

Salut! Je me demande si on doit utiliser "bien" avec "aimer" pour signifier "love" vs "like" If you want to say someone loves something, as opposed to liking it, do you add "bien"? : Il aime bien sa copine. He loves his girlfriend. Il aime tes chaussures. He likes your shoes. I thought I remembered this distinction, but I'd appreciate someone discussing this! Thanks, Karla B

Ron

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2017

4/05/17

Salut Karla,
So I found an explanation online:
The verb Aimer means a lot of things in French; to like, to enjoy, to love, as well as to be in love. It is very important that you know how to use it correctly so you avoid embarrassing mistakes.
1 – To Say to Like or Enjoy, use the Verb Aimer With an Adverb.
Let’s see how to talk about feelings from total dislike to great friendship, keeping it all on a friendship level.
We are talking about friends here, not being in love.
•Je déteste Paul – I hate Paul
•Je n’aime pas Paul – I don’t like Paul
•Je n’aime pas beaucoup Paul – I don’t like Paul much
•J’aime assez Paul – I kind of like Paul – he is Ok with me – it’s rather positive
•J’aime bien Paul – I like Paul – this is the one you need to memorize to say “like” for friendship
•J’aime beaucoup Paul – I really like Paul, I’m fond of him – as a friend.
•J’adore Paul – I loooooove Paul (but still as a friend)

2 – How to Say “to be in Love” in French?
When you use the construction Aimer + person’s name, without any adverb, it means that you are in love with that person.
Compare :
1.J’aime Paul – I am in love with Paul (love)
2.J’aime beaucoup Paul – I like Paul a lot (friend)
So I know this is a bit weird: no adverb at all will end up being a stronger feeling, being in love, than a construction with “beaucoup” which stays on a friendship level….
Many French love songs and movies have a dialogue along these lines:
•Est-ce que tu m’aimes ? Are you in love with me ?
•Euh…. je t’aime beaucoup… Well…I like you a lot…
Or to quote the song from Zazie, “Chanson d’ami” from the album “Made in Love”:
“Je ne t’aime pas: je t’aime bien”- “I am not in love with you: I like you”
3 – Exceptions About the Verb Aimer:
You can use aimer without an adverb with your immediate family (parents, siblings, children, pets) to say that you love them (not that you are in love with them), but NEVER with your friends.
People would understand if you said “j’aime mon frère” that you love your brother, but are not in love with him. However, if you said of your friend Paul “j’aime Paul”, they would think that you are in love with him. Use “j’adore Paul, j’aime beaucoup Paul”.
Note that if you really wanted to be clear, you could use the expression “être amoureux/amoureuse de” (careful, not “être en amour” which they use in Canada, but not in France).
“J’aime beaucoup Paul, mais je ne suis pas amoureuse de lui.” It’s a bit redundant, but it’s very clear :-)

Here is a link to the site for a more complete explanation:
https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/aimer-to-like-to-enjoy-to-love-and-to-be-in-love
I, too, struggle with this because it is not clear, but to me this does help somewhat.

Meilleures salutations,
Ron

Karla

Kwiziq community member

12 May 2017

12/05/17

Thank you very much! I remembered there was a distinction, but had it completely opposite. O_o I think this makes sense, in a way - if it's qualified, it waters it down a bit, maybe?

I know this is a fine distinction, but I think it's a good thing to know once one progresses from the basics.

Thank you for taking time to research this!

Karla

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