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Aimer = to love, like something / someone

Depending on context and whether you use it on its own, the verb aimer can mean to love something / someone, or to like something / someone.

Aimer - to love <someone> / <something>

Used on its own, aimer generally means 'to love' <someone> and 'to love or to like' (depending on intensity) <something>:

J'aime Marie
I love Marie

J'aime Paris
I love Paris

Elle aime sa nouvelle veste.
She loves her new jacket.


NOTE
 that you can also use the verb adorer to emphasise love of something or someone:

J'adore les diamants !
I love diamonds!

J'adore ce mec ! Il est trop drôle !
I love that guy! He's so funny!


-> Here note that adorer does NOT mean "to be in love with", but expresses a strong liking of someone

 


When aimer is used in a question about something, it actually means "Do you like ...?" (for someone, it still means 'love'):

Tu aimes ma sœur ?
Do you love my sister?

Elle aime les tomates ?
Does she like tomatoes?

Est-ce que tu aimes ma nouvelle voiture ?
Do you like my new car?

 

Aimer bien / beaucoup - to like <someone> / <something> (a lot)

J'aime Marie
I love Marie

J'aime beaucoup Paris
I really like Paris

J'aime bien tes chaussures, mais je préfère les miennes.
I like your shoes, but I prefer mine.

Note that when using aimer bien, it actually lessens its meaning from 'to love' to 'to like' <someone> / <something>.

J'aime beaucoup Paris
I really like Paris

Tu aimes beaucoup tes parents.
You like your parents a lot.

When you use aimer beaucoup, it means 'to like a lot' / 'to really like'.

ATTENTION: If you wanted to say "I love you very much" in French, you would use a different expression:

Je t'aime très fort.
I love you very much.

 

Ne pas aimer - to not love / like <someone> / <something>

ATTENTION: You cannot use aimer bien in a negative sentence (ne ... pas) in French. To express dislike, you will revert to using simply aimer with the negation ne ... pas, to say both "not love / not like", as such:

Elle n'aime pas Michel.
She doesn't love Michel.She doesn't like Michel.


In this case, the context will remove ambiguity.

Laura n'aime pas ce film.
Laura doesn't like this film.

Ils n'aiment pas les concombres.
They don't like cucumbers.

You can also use ne pas aimer beaucoup to say 'not like much'.
Note that beaucoup will come after pas:  

Je n'aime pas beaucoup ce garçon.
I don't like that boy much.

Hugo n'aime pas beaucoup le chocolat.
Hugo doesn't like chocolate much.

 

See also Using "plaire" to express liking something / someone 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tu aimes ma sœur ?
Do you love my sister?


Je n'aime pas beaucoup ce garçon.
I don't like that boy much.


Tu aimes beaucoup tes parents.
You like your parents a lot.


J'adore ce mec ! Il est trop drôle !
I love that guy! He's so funny!


Elle aime sa nouvelle veste.
She loves her new jacket.


Ils n'aiment pas les concombres.
They don't like cucumbers.


J'aime bien tes chaussures, mais je préfère les miennes.
I like your shoes, but I prefer mine.


Laura n'aime pas ce film.
Laura doesn't like this film.


Est-ce que tu aimes ma nouvelle voiture ?
Do you like my new car?


J'adore les diamants !
I love diamonds!


Elle n'aime pas Michel.
She doesn't love Michel.She doesn't like Michel.


Elle aime les tomates ?
Does she like tomatoes?


Hugo n'aime pas beaucoup le chocolat.
Hugo doesn't like chocolate much.


Je t'aime très fort.
I love you very much.


aimer


J'aime Marie
I love Marie


J'aime beaucoup Paris
I really like Paris


J'aime Paris
I love Paris


J'aime bien Marie
I like Marie


Q&A

Bella

Kwiziq community member

15 October 2017

4 replies

I wrote "j'adore Sarah..." and it was wrong! When I see "with all my heart",

I believe it is correct to use the strongest alternative.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

-> Here note that adorer does NOT mean "to be in love with", but expresses a strong liking of someone.
When you use aimer beaucoup, it means 'to like a lot' / 'to really like'.
Bonsoir Bella,
These two examples are from the lesson and provide a phrase that is synonymous with the phrase presented and probably would have been marked correct.
ATTENTION: If you wanted to say "I love you very much" in French, you would use a different expression:
Je t'aime très fort.
I love you very much.
I hope this helps.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Hi Bella,

The phrase "Je t'aime" has acquired ideomatic status in French and is probably the least adulterated statement if you really want to express being in love with someone. Adding "bien" or "beaucoup" will only serve to lessen the power of this simple statement with respect to another person. Talking to several French native speakers about this, they told me unanimously that "je t'adore" can have different connoitations depending on the situation and the context you are using it in. It can be a stronger, more committed version of "je t'aime" but it can also be a slightly watered down version. It just depends.

-- Chris (who is not a native speaker).

Ron

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Bonjour Chris,
J'apprecie votre réponse.

Bella

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Merci beaucoup.
Mais... La dévaluation de mot, non?

Joakim

Kwiziq community member

13 April 2016

3 replies

aimer = love or like?

I used to be on Duolingo, and whenever this question came up, the experts always said "aimer means love for people&pets, like for things". Laura Lawless' article on french.about.com/od/grammar/a/aimer.htm agrees, with examples like "Aimes-tu le tennis? Oui, j'aime ça - Do you like tennis? Yes, I like it". But this lesson has aimer=love even for things. What am I to believe?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 April 2016

14/04/16

Bonjour Joakim,


Here it's a question of intensity. When you use aimer for things, most of the time, you are correct, you would use 'to like' in English. However, sometimes you do say "I love pasta!": to mark the intensity, you can still use aimer, or adorer.


I updated the lesson to hopefully put that point across, please let us know what you think:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-use-aimer-to-express-loving-and-liking-something-someone


A bientôt !

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 October 2016

12/10/16

I was talking with a native French friend and telling her about the fine points of distinction between aimer/aimer beaucoup/aimer bien. She said that in everyday situations the way HOW you say it and your body language overrides most of the rules given here. She agreed that "aimer" for people can mean loving someone but also liking someone, depending on how you say it and under which circumstances. For things "aimer" always means "like", she said.

I can't shake the feeling that this lesson is, maybe, overstressing the point?

-- Chris.

William

Kwiziq community member

30 March 2017

30/03/17

I'm puzzled here. Why do you value your friend's opinion more ?
Thinking...