Aimer = to love, like something / someone

Depending on context and whether you use it on its own, the verb aimer can mean to love something / someone, or to like something / someone.

Aimer - to love <someone> / <something>

Used on its own, aimer generally means 'to love' <someone> and 'to love or to like' (depending on intensity) <something>:

J'aime Marie
I love Marie

J'aime Paris
I love Paris

Elle aime sa nouvelle veste.
She loves her new jacket.


NOTE
 that you can also use the verb adorer to emphasise love of something or someone:

J'adore les diamants !
I love diamonds!

J'adore ce mec ! Il est trop drôle !
I love that guy! He's so funny!


-> Here note that adorer does NOT mean "to be in love with", but expresses a strong liking of someone

 


When aimer is used in a question about something, it actually means "Do you like ...?" (for someone, it still means 'love'):

Tu aimes ma sœur ?
Do you love my sister?

Elle aime les tomates ?
Does she like tomatoes?

Est-ce que tu aimes ma nouvelle voiture ?
Do you like my new car?

 

Aimer bien / beaucoup - to like <someone> / <something> (a lot)

J'aime Marie
I love Marie

J'aime beaucoup Paris
I really like Paris

J'aime bien tes chaussures, mais je préfère les miennes.
I like your shoes, but I prefer mine.

Note that when using aimer bien, it actually lessens its meaning from 'to love' to 'to like' <someone> / <something>.

J'aime beaucoup Paris
I really like Paris

Tu aimes beaucoup tes parents.
You like your parents a lot.

When you use aimer beaucoup, it means 'to like a lot' / 'to really like'.

ATTENTION: If you wanted to say "I love you very much" in French, you would use a different expression:

Je t'aime très fort.
I love you very much.

 

Ne pas aimer - to not love / like <someone> / <something>

ATTENTION: You cannot use aimer bien in a negative sentence (ne ... pas) in French. To express dislike, you will revert to using simply aimer with the negation ne ... pas, to say both "not love / not like", as such:

Elle n'aime pas Michel.
She doesn't love Michel.
She doesn't like Michel.


In this case, the context will remove ambiguity.

Laura n'aime pas ce film.
Laura doesn't like this film.

Ils n'aiment pas les concombres.
They don't like cucumbers.

You can also use ne pas aimer beaucoup to say 'not like much'.
Note that beaucoup will come after pas:  

Je n'aime pas beaucoup ce garçon.
I don't like that boy much.

Hugo n'aime pas beaucoup le chocolat.
Hugo doesn't like chocolate much.

 

See also Using "plaire" to express liking something / someone 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle aime les tomates ?
Does she like tomatoes?


Hugo n'aime pas beaucoup le chocolat.
Hugo doesn't like chocolate much.


Je t'aime très fort.
I love you very much.


J'adore ce mec ! Il est trop drôle !
I love that guy! He's so funny!


Tu aimes ma sœur ?
Do you love my sister?


Je n'aime pas beaucoup ce garçon.
I don't like that boy much.


Tu aimes beaucoup tes parents.
You like your parents a lot.


Elle aime sa nouvelle veste.
She loves her new jacket.


Ils n'aiment pas les concombres.
They don't like cucumbers.


J'aime bien tes chaussures, mais je préfère les miennes.
I like your shoes, but I prefer mine.


Laura n'aime pas ce film.
Laura doesn't like this film.


Est-ce que tu aimes ma nouvelle voiture ?
Do you like my new car?


J'adore les diamants !
I love diamonds!


Elle n'aime pas Michel.
She doesn't love Michel.
She doesn't like Michel.


aimer


J'aime bien Marie
I like Marie


J'aime Marie
I love Marie


J'aime beaucoup Paris
I really like Paris


J'aime Paris
I love Paris


Q&A

David

Kwiziq community member

21 September 2018

4 replies

Hi,

In the examples above, 'j'aime Paris' means 'I lové Paris'. If 'j'aime beaucoup Paris' means 'I like Paris a lot', them how do you say plain old 'I like Paris'?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 September 2018

21/09/18

Hi David ,


'Aimer' quelque chose is, 'to like' and 'to love' something .


Your intonation would clarify the intensity of meaning I think.


You could always use the verb 'plaire' and its unusual construction to indicate plain old 'liking  something' -


Paris me plaît.


Have a look at the following lesson if you are not familiar with the verb 'plaire'


https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/how-to-use-plaire-to-express-liking-something-someone


Hope this helps!

David

Kwiziq community member

21 September 2018

21/09/18

Thank you Cécile.I was a little puzzled, as I answered the multi-choice question as to what 'j'aime beacoup Paris' means with 'I like Paris' (which was marked incorrect, should have been 'I like Paris a lot). Seems I can user 'aimer' to express love or strong liking of Paris, but not a straightforward 'like'.

Regards


David


Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

22 September 2018

22/09/18

With 'things' you need to add an adverb to 'aimer' to convey a higher intensity of feeling:


"J'aime beaucoup Paris" is stronger than for example, 


"j'aime Paris au printemps" ( I like Paris in the Spring)...

David

Kwiziq community member

22 September 2018

22/09/18

Thank you Cécile, that makes sense.

Mary

Kwiziq community member

18 September 2018

3 replies

Is j'aime for romantic love or is it appropriate for me to say it to my daughter?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2018

19/09/18

Hi Mary,


"Je t'aime" is much more a fixed idiomatic formula to express romantic love than it is in English. Particularly in American English you the phrase "I love you" is almost in inflationary use in many different situation. Not so in French.


That said, it is apparently OK to say "Je t'aime" to one's child, too. I have this on the authority of a Belgian mother. Though that might be different in some other French speaking parts of the world.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Mary

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2018

19/09/18

Thanks very much 

Mary

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2018

19/09/18

Thanks very much 

David

Kwiziq community member

13 July 2018

1 reply

Aime vraiment

In the quiz "aime vraiment" was marked wrong and "aime beaucoup" was required. 

As far as I can tell both are equally valid and in common use, even though this lesson does not mention "aime vraiment". And from a literal point of view, since the English said "really like" and not "like a lot" "aime vraiment" seems more appropriate.

Roberta

Kwiziq community member

12 September 2018

12/09/18

I agree, I keep getting marked wrong for "aime vraiment" but doesn't that mean "really like"? 

Jay

Kwiziq community member

4 July 2018

1 reply

So, if 'Tu aimes ma soeur?' is 'Do you love my sister?' how do you say 'Do you like my sister?' Is it 'Tu aimes bien ma soeur?'

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

5 July 2018

5/07/18

Hi Jay,


'Tu aimes bien ma sœur?' is safer in this case!


'Tu aimes ma sœur? 'could be construed as love.


Hope this helps!

fiona

Kwiziq community member

28 June 2018

3 replies

Bonjour Aurélie, So "j'adore' is lesser than much love or like, right? because I am stressed. And can I say "je ne l'aime pas beaucoup?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

28 June 2018

28/06/18

Bonjour Fiona !


J'adore is equivalent to J'aime beaucoup = I love / I like very much


The nuance is that you wouldn't use it to express love for someone, as in in love with.



J'adore Pierre !  = I love Pierre, in the sense of "I love that guy!" (not in love)


J'aime Pierre. = I'm in love with Pierre.



You can say Je n'aime pas beaucoup [ça] I don't like [that] very much


I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 June 2018

29/06/18

Yes, but with the proper timbre, "Je t'adore" can make a heart melt.


-- Chris.

fiona

Kwiziq community member

2 July 2018

2/07/18

Bonjour,


Yes it was helpful. Merci!

Bella

Kwiziq community member

15 October 2017

4 replies

I wrote "j'adore Sarah..." and it was wrong! When I see "with all my heart",

I believe it is correct to use the strongest alternative.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

-> Here note that adorer does NOT mean "to be in love with", but expresses a strong liking of someone.
When you use aimer beaucoup, it means 'to like a lot' / 'to really like'.
Bonsoir Bella,
These two examples are from the lesson and provide a phrase that is synonymous with the phrase presented and probably would have been marked correct.
ATTENTION: If you wanted to say "I love you very much" in French, you would use a different expression:
Je t'aime très fort.
I love you very much.
I hope this helps.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Hi Bella,

The phrase "Je t'aime" has acquired ideomatic status in French and is probably the least adulterated statement if you really want to express being in love with someone. Adding "bien" or "beaucoup" will only serve to lessen the power of this simple statement with respect to another person. Talking to several French native speakers about this, they told me unanimously that "je t'adore" can have different connoitations depending on the situation and the context you are using it in. It can be a stronger, more committed version of "je t'aime" but it can also be a slightly watered down version. It just depends.

-- Chris (who is not a native speaker).

Ron

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Bonjour Chris,
J'apprecie votre réponse.

Bella

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Merci beaucoup.
Mais... La dévaluation de mot, non?

Joakim

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2016

3 replies

aimer = love or like?

I used to be on Duolingo, and whenever this question came up, the experts always said "aimer means love for people&pets, like for things". Laura Lawless' article on french.about.com/od/grammar/a/aimer.htm agrees, with examples like "Aimes-tu le tennis? Oui, j'aime ça - Do you like tennis? Yes, I like it". But this lesson has aimer=love even for things. What am I to believe?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 April 2016

14/04/16

Bonjour Joakim,


Here it's a question of intensity. When you use aimer for things, most of the time, you are correct, you would use 'to like' in English. However, sometimes you do say "I love pasta!": to mark the intensity, you can still use aimer, or adorer.


I updated the lesson to hopefully put that point across, please let us know what you think:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/how-to-use-aimer-to-express-loving-and-liking-something-someone


A bientôt !

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 October 2016

12/10/16

I was talking with a native French friend and telling her about the fine points of distinction between aimer/aimer beaucoup/aimer bien. She said that in everyday situations the way HOW you say it and your body language overrides most of the rules given here. She agreed that "aimer" for people can mean loving someone but also liking someone, depending on how you say it and under which circumstances. For things "aimer" always means "like", she said.

I can't shake the feeling that this lesson is, maybe, overstressing the point?

-- Chris.

William

Kwiziq community member

30 March 2017

30/03/17

I'm puzzled here. Why do you value your friend's opinion more ?
How has your day been?