Simple French for Travellers 2: the magic phrase you need to know!

Many languages have words or phrases that can be used in many different situations and contexts. As an example, Aloha in Hawaiian has a plethora of meanings depending on the situation. Similarly, in English, one can get through many conversations simply using fuck, cool and like.

A phrase of great ubiquity in French is Je suis confus (juh swee kungfu).

There is a lot of confusion about with the phrase actually means. But you don’t need to be a grammarian to use it in everyday conversations in French. You see, French is similar to Italian in that a lot of hand gestures are used to augment meaning while speaking. The Italians call this “gesticulare,” while the French call it “N’y touchez pas à ce trou du cul.”

Typical Usage

Here are some things you can do and say, and the hand gesture you make while saying je suis confus.

To order a croissant, say: Je suis confus (point at croissant)

To order a beer, say: Je suis confus (point at beer)

To order wine, say: Je suis confus (point at wine)

To call the waitress: Je suis confus (touch the desired waitress)

Intermediate Usage

Now some more complex ideas that utilize more sophisticated hand gestures along with je suis confus.

Please don’t hit me:  Je suis confus (wave hands wildly)

Ow! You kicked me:  Je suis confus (covers testicles with hands)

Where is my wallet?: Je suis confus (crawl on floor)

Take me to the American Embassy: Je suis confus (wave passport wildly)

Is this the hospital?:  Je suis confus (rub fingers in blood)

Typical Conversation

We meet our friends Aujus and Bechamel at the hospital (l’hopital (loppy tail) Fun fact – L’hopital is a very common French name for a pet rabbit. A pet rabbit in French speaking countries refers to a rabbit that won’t be eaten ’til later))

Test yourself! See if you can translate the conversation!

Béchamel: Bonjour. Ça va?

Aujus: Je suis confus!!! (he points to his bloody crotch)

Béchamel: Mon Dieu, ça fait beaucoup de sang! Ça va?

Aujus: Ça va!? Ça va?!?! Non! Ne pas ça va!

Béchamel: Je suis confus… (looking intently at Aujus’ crotch)

Aujus: Je suis confus? (Aujus sits up despite the pain)

Béchamel: Je suis confus… (he pulls a fancy woman’s shoe, covered in blood, out of what remains of Aujus’ groin area.)

Béchamel: Bonjour! C’est ne pas ça va. S’agit-il d’un Louboutin?

Aujus: Je suis confus… (wipes blood off shoe)

Béchamel: Non, j’étais confus. C’est un Manolo Blahnik!

Aujus: Je suis confus… (passes out)

Béchamel: Où avez-vous mis mon morse? (grabs him Aujus by shoulders and throat and shakes him vigorously, as if to awaken him. Dommage! Aujus is unconscious.)


You’ve met me somewhere in Montreal. Perhaps I took your picture! Please send me a message to say hi, or get a copy.

Vous m’avez rencontré quelque part à Montréal. Peut-être que j’ai pris ta photo ! Veuillez m’envoyer un message pour me dire bonjour ou en obtenir une copie.