Monday, January 14, 2008

bon vs. bien

"Quand, je me sens pas bon...," I started to say.

My French teacher burst out with a good-natured laugh and proceeded to explain
the difference between using bon and bien with the verb sentir.

Thankfully, she realized I was mistaken when I had said, "When, I don't smell good..."

I knew that bon and bien both mean essentially the same thing: good. Sentir, I know from when I am feeling sick: je me sens malade. What I didn't know was that sentir can also mean to smell.

So unless you want to tell the world you smell- use bien with sentir!


je sens, tu sens, il sent, nous sentons, vous sentez, ils sentent
Quand, je me sens pas bon When I don't smell good
Quand, je me sens pas bien When I don't feel good

La photo: A Jackass penguin during molting season. Without his feathers he still looks good but he does stink! At Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. Novembre 2007.