A pregnant woman is in a car accident and falls into a deep coma. Asleep for nearly six months, she finally wakes up and sees that she's no longer pregnant. Frantically, she asks the doctor about her baby.

The doctor replies, "Ma'am, you had twins, actually. A boy and a girl. The babies are fine. Your brother came in and named them."

The woman thinks to herself, "Oh no, not my brother, he's such an idiot!"

Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Okay, what's the girl's name?"

"Denise," Says the doctor.

The new mother thinks, "Wow, that's not a such bad name. I guess I was wrong about my brother. I like the name Denise." Then she asks the doctor, "What's the boy's name?"

The doctor replies, "Denephew."

The word spouse refers to a husband or a wife. It is the equivalent of "conjoint" in French. These days, because we are having more and more same-sex marriages, the word "partner" is also becoming popular. Married people are wedded, and from this latter word we have the verb to wed, a wedding ring, a wedding cake and a wedding dress. Quite recently, we have begun to hear "co-brother" and "co-sister". Your co-brother is your sister-in-law's husband [Laissez-moi le dire en français : c'est le mari de la soeur de votre femme], whereas your co-sister is your brother-in-law's wife [la femme du frère de votre mari]. Est-ce clair, ou pas encore?

Your spouseYour husband | your wife
Your spouse's familyYour family-in-law | your in-laws
Your spouse's siblingsYour brother or sister-in-law
Your spouse's parentsYour parents-in-law
Your spouse's fatheryour father-in-law
Your spouse's motheryour mother-in-law
Your child's husbandYour son-in-law
Your child's wifeYour daughter-in-law
Your child's childrenYour grandson | granddaughter
The husband of your spouse's sisterYour co-brother
The wife of your spouse's brotherYour co-sister
The husband of your motherYour step-father
The wife of your fatherYour step-mother
The daughter of your siblingYour niece
The son of your siblingYour nephew
The daughter of your step-parentYour step-sister
The son of your step-parentYour step-brother
Someone who looks after a child not his/her ownA foster parent
Blood relationSomeone you're related to by birth
Extended familyGrandparents, uncles, aunts, etc

Try this quiz

Sign up to receive learning tips and advice here: