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I need to put a sign of "This side up" in English and French on a few boxes that I need to ship. What would be the most common choice of words for such a sign? Is "Ce côté vers le haut" correct?

This side up

Although I do speak some French, doing the right choice of words is not always easy.

If anyone knows the most common phrase used for this kind of signs in Quebec (Canada) it would be even better.

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I would say “Ce côté vers le haut” is a very good wording. I can't think of something better. –  Stéphane Gimenez May 28 '12 at 20:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes, you got it right on the nose. As Stéphane Gimenez said, "Ce côté vers le haut" is a very good wording. I live in Québec, and that phrasing is actually what I've seen on boxes of that type. So go ahead with that!

Canada Post in this French version of ABCs of Mailing even uses it. (You can Ctrl+F "Ce côté vers le haut" to find it.)

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In France, one usually writes just ↑HAUT↑ near the top, often with an arrow pointing up, and often also BAS near the bottom, sometimes in smaller script and usually with no arrow. While “ce côté vers le haut” or “ce côté en haut” would be understood, it is not idiomatic French in France (apparently, they are idiomatic in Québec).

Fragile is FRAGILE, no surprise there. The word is commonly associated with a picture of a drinking glass.

These pictures (by a label merchant) are fairly typical:

étiquettes haut, bas, fragile étiquettes haut, bas, fragile, verre, fleches

Or this photo from a real parcel:

Haut, fragile, bas

The association between the three words haut, bas, fragile is common enough that it was the title of a movie:

Haut bas fragile

Of course, like in English, “fragile” written on a parcel means “kick me” (“tape-moi dessus”).

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How is this not the accepted answer –  Aerovistae Dec 28 '12 at 6:50
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For future readers of this post, although this is a great answer, it is not the accepted answer because my original question was somehow Quebec-specific, which is what the accepted answer addressed. –  yms Jun 7 '13 at 13:37

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