Understanding the French Expression "Avoir l'air"

French expressions analyzed and explained

Elle a l'air content
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Expression: Avoir l'air

Pronunciation: [ah vwar lehr]

Meaning: to look, seem

Literal translation: to have the look

Register: normal

Notes: The French expression avoir l'air describes someone's or something's appearance, how that person/thing looks or looked at a particular moment. It can be used with an adjective, noun, or verb.

Avoir l'air + adjective

= To look _____.
(Note that the adjective can change to agree with the subject, or can remain masculine singular to agree with air.)

   Le gâteau l'air délicieux.


   The cake looks delicious.

   Elles avaient l'air très content / contentes.
   They looked very happy.
 

Avoir l'air de + noun

= To look like a(n) _____.

   Tu as l'air d'un artiste.
   You look like an artist.

   Charlotte avait l'air d'une princesse.
   Charlotte looked like a princess.
 

Avoir l'air de + infinitive

= To look like one is / was _____-ing.
   Daniel a l'air d'aller à une fête.
   Daniel looks like he's going to a party.

   Vous aviez l'air d'être en retard.
   You looked like you were running late.

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