Why do I need to know génial?
Génial is a common French word that has nothing to do with the English word genial. You'll hear it all the time in conversation but it's come to be used in a lot more ways than in its literal sense.
So what does it mean?
Genial literally means 'brilliant' as in 'of genius' (for example: Ce mathématicien est génial — 'This mathematician is a genius').
But in it's also come to mean a lot more than that. In French conversation, génial can mean 'great', 'awesome' or 'fanstastic' or anything positive in exactly the same way as 'brilliant' has come to be used in English.
How do I use it?
Génial is an adjective, so you can use it to qualify any noun you want to describe as génial.
Ce prof est génial! — 'This teacher is great!'
Nous avons passé des vacances géniales. — 'We had an amazing holiday.'
But in conversational French, génial can also be used on its own to respond to something or as an exclamation, again, just like 'brilliant' or 'great' is used in English.
Si tu veux, je peux te prêter ma voiture.
'If you want, you can borrow my car. '
Génial! La machine à laver remarche! 'Fantastic, the washing machine is working again!'
You might also have heard génial being used with pas in front of it as in C'est pas génial which means 'it's not great'. In fact génial is used in this way almost as often as it is on its own.
Ca va tes parents?
'How are your parents?
Ce n'etait pas génial de quitter le bar sans payer.
It was pretty bad to leave the bar without paying.