“Yes, you Ken English” Podcast


February 16, 2021

In this episode you will learn (in less than 5 minutes):
- 3 different ways to say “savoir être” in English
- 2 ways to say “savoir faire” (and I’ll show you that you need to be careful with one of them)
- The difference between “actuel” and “actual” (and how to express each one in the other language)



Welcome to today’s podcast!

Are you ready to learn some useful English in less than 5 minutes?

Today, we will cover the following French and English words and expressions:

Savoir-être”, “savoir-faire”, the French word “actuel” (compared to the English word “actual”).


Let’s start with the French expressions “savoir-être” and “savoir-faire”.


  1. “SAVOIR-ÊTRE” is a common French expression.

I can think of at least 3 ways to express this in English:

-Interpersonal skills

-People skills

-Soft skills

Let’s look at different sentences with these English words.

“INTERPERSONAL SKILLS are skills that we use every day to communicate and interact with others.”

“PEOPLE SKILLS are how people interact with each other, using verbal and non-verbal behavior.”

“SOFT SKILLS are non-technical skills that relate to how you work.”


  1. Let’s look at “SAVOIR-FAIRE”.

The two main ways to say “savoir-faire” are 1) know-how and 2) expertise.

Know-how and expertise basically mean the same thing.

Let’s look at each in a sentence.

“Know-how”: “I don’t have the KNOW-HOW needed to build a website, but I am willing to learn.”

“Expertise”: “We need to hire someone who has financial EXPERTISE.”

Please be very careful with the English word “expertise”, which is a big “faux ami” with the French “une expertise”, which basically means to hire an expert to examine or investigate a situation and then write a report about his or her conclusions.


  1. The French word “actuel” and the English word “actual” are faux amis. By the way, there are two ways to say “faux ami” in English: one is, “false friend”, the other is “false cognate”. I suggest that you use “false friend”, because it’s easier to remember.

Many French people incorrectly translate the French word “actuel” as ”actual”. The correct translation is usually “current”.

Let’s look at a sentence with the word “current”.

“My CURRENT boss is very nice.”

What about the English word “actual”?

The English word “actual” can be translated into French as “réel”.

For example: “The ACTUAL percentage of French people who speak English is higher than expected.”

In other words, “Le pourcentage réel de Français qui parlent anglais est plus elevé qu’attendu.”


OK, let’s review what we’ve learned today:

  1. There are three main ways to say “savoir-être” in English: 1) interpersonal skills, 2) people skills and 3) soft skills.

  2. There are two main ways to say “savoir-faire” in English: 1) know-how and 2) expertise.

  3. The French word “actuel” is usually translated by the English word “current” and the English word “actual” is translated by the French word “réel”.

Thank you for listening to today’s podcast!

Next week you will learn how to express several different meanings of “il s’agit

Have a good week!


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