Cost-effective Communication: Mastering the Art of Using the French Verb ‘Coûter’

As we embark on our exploration of the French language, we encounter the versatile verb “coûter,” which translates to ‘to cost’ in English. Just like budgeting our expenses, learning to use “coûter” effectively is essential for clear communication in French. In this blog post, we’ll uncover the various applications of this verb while ensuring it doesn’t ‘cost’ you any confusion.

1. Price Evaluation: A Literal Cost

If you want to express the price or cost of something in French, “coûter” is your go-to verb. Utilize it in the following examples:

  • “Ce livre coûte 20 euros.” (This book costs 20 euros.)
  • “Combien coûte cette robe?” (How much does this dress cost?)
  • “Les billets de concert coûtent cher.” (The concert tickets are expensive.)

2. Costing Someone an Effort: Figurative Usage

“Coûter” can be employed figuratively to express the effort or difficulty involved in accomplishing a task or achieving something. Take note of these instances:

  • “Ce projet m’a coûté beaucoup de temps.” (This project cost me a lot of time.)
  • “Son succès lui a coûté des sacrifices.” (His success cost him sacrifices.)
  • “Naviguer ce site web peut coûter de la patience.” (Navigating this website can be challenging.)

3. Expressing Indirect Consequences: The ‘Cost’ of Something

The verb “coûter” can also be used to indicate consequences or negative impacts resulting from an action or situation. Consider these examples:

  • “Cette décision lui a coûté sa réputation.” (This decision cost him his reputation.)
  • “Le vol raté nous a coûté une journée de vacances.” (The missed flight cost us a day of vacation.)
  • “Leur comportement coûte cher à l’entreprise.” (Their behavior is costly for the company.)


As we wrap up our journey into the realm of the French verb “coûter,” it’s evident that mastering its usage opens doors to effective communication. Whether you’re evaluating prices, describing effort, or conceptualizing consequences, “coûter” allows you to express and comprehend various nuances of the French language. Remember, just like finding the best deals, familiarizing yourself with “coûter” might require some effort, but the rewards of clear communication will far outweigh the costs. Bon voyage dans le monde de “coûter”! (Have a great journey in the world of “coûter”!)