Whether you are writing a love letter or saying je t'aime to your partner, French offers a multitude of words and expressions to express your love. Discover the different ways to say I love you in French. Beware of a trap that English speakers fall into. In French, we can say "je t'aime" and "je vous aime". These two expressions will be translated as "I love you" but they are not used in the same way.
What is the meaning of je t'aime ? (I love you)
"Je t'aime" means "I love you" in English. It is an expression used to express feelings of love towards someone. Be careful, in French "je t'aime" can have a different meaning depending on the context and the relationship between the people involved.
Expressed to one's spouse, I love you indicates a deep, romantic and passionate feeling of love. Here, I love you can be translated as "I love you" in English.
Expressed to a friend or family member, "je t'aime" in French indicates a feeling of attraction, affection or friendship. It will then be translated by "I like you in English".
To avoid any ambiguity, we can also use the expression "je t'aime bien" in French.
“Je t’aime” or “je t’aime bien”, don't make the mistake!
"Je t'aime" (I love you) expresses a feeling of deep and intense love, or friendship for a person.
"Je t'aime bien" (I like you) expresses more of a slightly less intense but sincere feeling of affection or friendship.
"Je t'aime" (I love you) is often used to express romantic feelings between two lovers, while "je t'aime bien" (I like you) is often used to express feelings of friendship or strong affection for a friend.
Be careful not to say "Je t'aime bien" to your lover, he might take it badly 😳
How to write "I love you" or "I love you" correctly?
Sometimes non-French speakers (and even French speakers) misspell je t'aime or je vous aime. They add an "s" to "aime" and therefore write "je vous aimes" or "je t'aimes" ❌
They mistakenly think that the verb "to love" should be conjugated in the second person singular or plural when the subject is "I", thus the first person singular.
So we write "je t'aime" or "je vous aime".
Translation of I love you in different languages
🇫🇷 In French : je t’aime / je t’aime bien
🇺🇸 English I love you / I like you
🇪🇸 Spanish Te quiero (for "I like you") / Te amo (for "I love you")
🇩🇪Allemand : Ich mag Dich (for "I like you") / Ich liebe Dich (for "I love you")
🇮🇹 Italian Ti voglio bene (for "I love you well") / Ti amo (for "I love you")
🇵🇹 Portuguese Eu gosto de voce (for "I like you") / Eu te amo (for "I love you")
🇷🇺 Russian : Я тебя люблю ("Ya tebya lyublyu", for "I love you") / Мне нравишься ("Mne nravishsya for "I like you")
🇯🇵 Japanese : 大好きです ("Daisuki desu", for "I like you") / 愛しています ("Aishite imasu", for "I love you")
Arabic : احبك ("Ana uhibbuka", for "I love you") / انا احبك بشكل خاص ("Ana uhibbuka bishakl khas", for "I love you well")
"I love you" or "I love you"?
In 99% of time, we will say "I love you" when addressing a person with whom we have an intimate relationship, such as a love partner. It is indeed logical that we say "I love you" to the person with whom we have such a close relationship.
However, there are very rare cases in France where people who know each other very well can use the form of address. It is for example the case in certain noble families where the members of the same family can use the vouvoiement instead of tutoiement.
"I love you" will therefore be more commonly used in these settings.
How to pronounce "je t'aime" in French?
The pronunciation of "je t'aime" in French is /ʒə tɛm/.
To pronounce "I love you" correctly, pronounce the "j" sound as in the word "yellow", followed by a silent "e" as in the word "little".
The "t" sound is pronounced slightly with the tip of the tongue touching the hard palate. Then "aime" is pronounced as "èm", with the lower lip lightly touching the upper teeth.
The link between the words "t'aime" is also important: "t" is linked to "aime", so that it is pronounced "tèm".