Americans aren’t the only people who are in tune with computers, cell phones and the like. The French are too! Many of these words, like their English counterparts, didn’t even exist a few years ago. Such is our ever changing world!


Français English
l’ordinateur (masc.) computer
le téléphone portable cell phone
l’iPod (masc.) iPod
le lecteur MP3 / le MP3 MP3 player
la tablette tablet
l’imprimante (fem.) printer
la clé USB USB drive / stick / key
le souris mouse
l’appareil photo (masc.) camera
le clavier keyboard
gigaoctet (Go) gigabyte (GB)
écran tactile touch screen



As you can see, many of these common technology words are very similar to English! However, do keep in mind that though the French use iPod and even iPad in everyday speak (since it is a trademark name), they pronounce the word in a French accent. So make sure you pronounce iPod and iPad accordingly when using the word in French.

Because technology has become such an integral part of our everyday lives, you might find yourself needing something. You might need a portable device for listening to your music, or you might find yourself in need of a new keyboard for your computer, or maybe that you are about to go on vacation and so you need a new camera.

You already know how to talk about things you want, using je veux.


Talking About Needing Things

In English, when you say that you need something, you have just two words: I need.

I need a new computer.

I need a USB stick.

In French, there are three words that you use, including a form of the verb “avoir,” which you know means “to have”:

Avoir + besoin + de

Why those two extra words? Because in French when you are talking about something you need, you are literally saying you “have need of” that item.

Avoir + besoin + de

Have + need + of

J’ai besoin d’une clé USB. = I need a USB stick (lit. I have need of a USB stick).

J’ai besoin d’une imprimante. = I need a printer.

J’ai besoin d’un souris. = I need a mouse [hopefully the computer kind!]


Using “De” to Describe Things

Let’s say that you’re walking into the local FNAC on your trip to France and you need a new USB stick because maybe the one you brought with you to France no longer works for some strange reason. You don’t want just any USB stick, but perhaps you want one with a lot of space for photos and videos, like a 2 GB or even 4 GB one.

So how could you tell the salesperson in FNAC that you need a 4 GB USB stick?

Very easy!

J’ai besoin d’une clé USB de quatre gigaoctets. = I need a 4 GB USB drive.

J’ai besoin d’un iPod de seize gigaoctets. = I need a 16 GB iPod.


All you do is add “de,” the number, and then “gigaoctets” after the noun you need to describe.


Elle a besoin d’un iPad de vingt gigaoctets. = She needs a 20 GB iPad.



Download this worksheet here, print, and complete for next week. Make sure you follow the directions carefully!

Complete this quiz on technology words

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