The word "point" in French in sentences like "My point is" or "What's the point?"
“Mon point est que bla bla bla”, “c’est mon point”… Even if it seems to make sense because we use “point” in French and it looks similar with “point” in English, don’t do the mistake. So let’s see in what situations you can use this word:
1. “Point” as a unit for counting: Yes
It’s the same meaning in French and English.
– J’ai perdu 3 points sur mon permis. → I lost 3 points on my drivers license.
2. “Point” as a matter in a list or among others matters: Yes
– Le premier point que je voudrais soulever est… is quite a good formulation. It means there are different points you want to speak about and that is the first one. This point is the same with a bullet point. We can also say C’est un point important as “It’s an important point.”
3. “Point” as an idea/opinion: No
Don’t translate “my point is” by Mon point est… to justify something or explain yourself. Instead we would say: Ce que je veux dire, c’est que… meaning “What I want to say is that…”
– Tu n’as pas bien compris. Ce que je veux dire, c’est que tu dois être plus gentil.
→ You didn’t understand. My point is that you should be a kinder person.
Also, you should translate: “It’s the point” using the adverb justement like in: C’est justement ce dont il est question.
“It’s not the point” translate to: Ce n’est pas le problème / la question.
When saying : “It’s a good point”, say C’est une bonne remarque.
4. “Point” for purpose: No
“There is no point to discuss it” should translate as Ça ne sert à rien d’en discuter.
“What’s the point?” could be translated in severals ways: Quel intérêt?, A quoi ça sert? or A quoi bon? The latter is more formal and could be also used in writings to engage the reader.
5. “Point” as a characteristic: Yes and No
Yes, because we use the expressions point fort et point faible. As we say:
– Son point fort sont ses compétences sociales. → His strong point are his social skills.
No, because except these 2 idioms, we don’t use point but côté. Like in:
– Il n’est pas aimable mais il a des bons côtés. → He’s not very kind but he has some good points.