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Avoir l'air

French expressions analyzed and explained


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 appearance, how that person 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 does not change to agree with the subject; it is always masculine singular to agree with air.)

   Il a l'air étonné.
   He looks astonished.

   Elles avaient l'air très content.
   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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