When to use J'ai and je suis

NickiA0Kwiziq community member

When to use J'ai and je suis

Hi, I just did a test for dropping the ai part of j'ai when next to a vowel. I got this wrong but these examples were used. 

J'ai vingt ans- I am 21

Je suis grand - I am tall 

J'habite à Londre 

Why does j'ai (i thought this means I have and je suis (I thought this meant I am) both have the translation of " I am

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Yes, j'ai does mean "I have". But in French you state your age differently:

J'ai vingt ans. -- I have 20 years. In English you don't "have" 20 years, you "are" 20 years. That's why the French j'ai is translated as "I am" in English. But it's not what it means in French.

CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour Nicki,

Chris is correct! Here's a link on "avoir [number] ans = To be [number] years old": Avoir [nombre] ans = To be [number] years old (French Expressions with avoir)

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

HirutA0Kwiziq community member

Why J’habite not Je habite

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Because habiter starts with a silent h and therefore je contracts to j'.

DeletedA0Kwiziq community member

In English you "are" your age, i.e.: I am 20 years old, in French you "have" your age, i.e.: I have 20 years.   So to answer your question, you are quite right, Je suis is I am and J'ai is I have, but when translated from French to English the J'ai vingt ans translates to I am 20 years old.

When to use J'ai and je suis

Hi, I just did a test for dropping the ai part of j'ai when next to a vowel. I got this wrong but these examples were used. 

J'ai vingt ans- I am 21

Je suis grand - I am tall 

J'habite à Londre 

Why does j'ai (i thought this means I have and je suis (I thought this meant I am) both have the translation of " I am

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