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How to Ask For Help in French

10 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of French Words and Phrases for Traveling

Know how to ask for help in French before you have an actual emergency. Save valuable time in a crisis by knowing simple French words and phrases to cover emergencies with illness or theft.

The simplest way to ask for assistance is Au secours!, which means Help! You can also use the phrases: Est-ce que vous pourrez m’aider? (Will you help me?) and Aidez-moi s’il vous plaît! (Please help me!)

Of course, you might need different kinds of help depending on the situation. For example, if you're experiencing a legal emergency of some kind, you want to ask for the police, which is spelled the same in French and pronounced poh-lees. The following phrases might also come in handy.

  • On vient de me voler. (I’ve just been robbed.)

  • Nous avons besoin de parler à un agent de police. (We need to speak to a police officer.)

  • *Où est le consulat? (Where is the consulate?)

Most emergencies that happen in foreign countries, however, are medical. The most efficient way to get the help you need is to know how to ask for the right kind of help and to be able to explain what's wrong.

The following vocabulary words can help you get to the right person to assist you.

  • To ask for a doctor say médecin or docteur (dohk-tuhr).

  • To ask for a hospital say l’hôpital.

  • To get medicine as for la pharmacie.

  • To ask for a nurse say infirmier.

Once you are able to talk to the right person, you can use the following words to explain what's wrong.

urgence (emergency)
accident (accident)
grippe (flu)
maladie (illness)
la santé (health)
l’aspirine (aspirin)
des médicaments (medication)
un mal de tête (headache)
un mal de ventre (stomachache)
une blessure (injury)
une douleur (pain)
une infection (infection)

The following phrases might come in handy when describing medical emergencies.

  • Elle est tombée dans l’escalier et elle a besoin d’un médecin. (She fell down the stairs and needs a doctor.)

  • Il se sent malade et il a de la fièvre. (eel seh sahNt mah-lahd eh-teel ah deh lah fyeh-vr ) (He’s feeling sick and has a fever.)

  • Où est l’hôpital? (Where is the hospital?)

The following words can help you to describe what part of your body is injured.

épaule (ay-pohl) [f] (shoulder)
figure (fee-gewr) [f] (face)
main (mahn) [f] (hand)
nez (nay) [m] (nose)
œil (uhy) [m] (eye)
oreille (oh-rehy) [f] (ear)
pied (pyeh) [m] (foot)
poitrine (pwah-treen) [f] (chest)
bras (brah) [m] (arm)
doigt (dwah) [m] (finger)

The [m] and [f] delineate masculine and feminine nouns.

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