Swallowing the French Verb ‘Avaler’: A Digestible Guide to Effective Usage


Bonjour! Get ready to dive into the realm of the French language once again as we embark on a linguistic journey to master the verb “avaler,” which translates to “to swallow” in English. In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to use this verb effectively, digesting its various meanings, expressions, and nuances. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to incorporate “avaler” into your French vocabulary like a seasoned language connoisseur. Bon appétit!

Understanding the Literal Meaning:

The verb “avaler” primarily refers to the physical act of swallowing. Let’s take a closer look at its usage in everyday conversations:

  • Je dois avaler ce médicament tous les jours. (I have to swallow this medication every day.)
  • Il a avalé son repas en quelques bouchées. (He swallowed his meal in a few bites.)

Delving into Figurative Usages:

Beyond its literal meaning, “avaler” also has figurative uses, allowing you to express various ideas and concepts. Here are a few examples:

  1. Swallowing Pride:
  • Elle a dû avaler son orgueil et s’excuser. (She had to swallow her pride and apologize.)
  1. Digesting Information:
  • Nous devons avaler ces données complexes et les analyser. (We have to digest this complex data and analyze it.)

Exploring Idiomatic Expressions:

The French language is known for its delightful array of idiomatic expressions. Here are a few gems that include the verb “avaler”:

  1. Avaler des couleuvres:
  • Elle avait l’air furieuse, mais elle a avalé des couleuvres et s’est excusée. (She looked furious, but she swallowed her anger and apologized.)
  1. Avaler de travers:
  • Il a avalé de travers et a dû être emmené d’urgence à l’hôpital. (He swallowed something the wrong way and had to be rushed to the hospital.)

Polishing Your Grammar:

When conjugating “avaler,” it follows the regular -ER verb pattern. Here’s a quick conjugation chart:

  • Je avale (I swallow)
  • Tu avales (You swallow)
  • Il/Elle/On avale (He/She/One swallows)
  • Nous avalons (We swallow)
  • Vous avalez (You swallow)
  • Ils/Elles avalent (They swallow)


Voilà! We’ve reached the end of our journey through the verb “avaler.” From its literal meaning of swallowing to its figurative uses and idiomatic expressions, you’ve now acquired a solid understanding of how to incorporate “avaler” into your French repertoire. Whether you’re talking about swallowing a pill, digesting information, or swallowing your pride, this verb offers a versatile tool for effective communication. So, go ahead, swallow your fears and immerse yourself confidently in the French language. À bientôt! (See you soon!)