Comment utiliser un mot en situation. / How to use a word in a particular situation.

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25
votes
5answers
18k views

How did “coucou” (with its original “cuckoo” meaning) become a greeting in French?

Several times now, I have seen French people greet each other (via text chat) by saying "coucou". This appears to simply be derived from the word of the same spelling "coucou", describing the noise a ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

Est-ce que c'est courant de demander “vous êtes de France?”

Quand je rencontre des personnes en train de parler français, je leur demande parfois « Vous venez de France ? », et d'habitude on me regarde comme si j'étais fou et on me demande de répéter. Je ne ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

The use of “slam” in the context of poetry and poetry competitions 'dans la Francophonie'

There’s a very cool event happening right now in my wife’s French hometown and the event’s brochure mentions that there’s an “Atelier d’écriture slam” scheduled for 15H30, followed by a “Grand ...
20
votes
9answers
53k views

What does the French expression “Bon courage” signify?

The expression "bon courage" has been said to me a lot by my professors. What does it mean? I would appreciate example situations in French where this would be appropriate to be used.
1
vote
3answers
80 views

Comment traduit-on « lap » : cuisses ou genoux ?

Est-ce qu'on dit placez l'enfant sur vos cuisses ou placez l'enfant sur vos genoux pour traduire « place the child across your lap » ?
5
votes
3answers
87 views

Does the word “clin” has other usage than “clin d'oeil” ?

Does the word "clin" has other usage than "clin d'oeil" ? Or is it only related to the eye.
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Usage du passé simple dans les textes

Lors des cours de français, les profs nous disaient que le passé simple est normalement utilisé dans le cadre de la littérature (romans, poèmes, etc.). Pourtant, je le croise parfois dans un contexte ...
6
votes
5answers
179 views

The phrase “À croire que”

Je n'aurais pas cru vous revoir ici. À croire qu'ils n'ont trouvé personne de compétent pour vous remplacer. What exactly does this phrase mean in this sentence? And how would you use the "À ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Pour preuve et Comme preuve

Quelle est la différence entre "Pour preuve" et "Comme preuve" ? Laquelle de ces deux phrases est correcte ? Si les deux sont correctes, ont-elles le même sens ? J'ai participé à la seconde ...
3
votes
3answers
96 views

C'est du beau travail / C'est du bon travail

Je voudrais savoir quand on doit utiliser une expression et quand on doit l'autre expression, car je ne saurais pas dire la différence. La seule chose que je sais c'est que « C'est du beau travail » ...
2
votes
2answers
70 views

How to say “mark the page that I reached”

How to say in French I turned up the corner of the page to mark the page that I reached Some ideas: J'ai corné la page pour marquer ou en suis-je J'ai corné la page pour marquer d'où il me ...
3
votes
4answers
100 views

Quelles sont les différence entre « amener » ou « ramener » et « apporter » ou « rapporter » ?

D'après ce que j'ai compris jusqu'à présent, on utilise « amener » pour faire venir quelqu'un avec et « apporter » pour porter quelque chose avec soi. Alors on ajoute un « r » à ces deux mots afin de ...
1
vote
3answers
55 views

I was sleepy (in the class)

I know that normally we use 'J'ai sommeil' to mean 'I am sleepy' or 'I want to go to bed' etc. But for e.g. if you just attended a class which was really boring and you recount that to a friend, ...
7
votes
7answers
2k views

How to say “I am taking an exam” in French?

In my textbook, the author uses the phrase "passer un examen," which translates to "to take an exam." So if I want to say that I am taking an exam, then should I conjugate "passer" and write : Je ...
8
votes
5answers
281 views

Difference between “soudain” and “soudainement”?

Soudain seems to be used to mean suddenly, but then when should soudainement be used? I can't discern a clear difference in usage other than that soudain is more often at the beginning of a sentence.
15
votes
4answers
3k views

When to use “pas” vs. “non” in expressing “not [adjective/adverb]”?

Sometimes I see it written one way, such as non seulement for not only, and sometimes the other way, with pas. When to use which? Is there a difference? Are they interchangeable? I don't mean with ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Can “faire ça/cela” be used as a stand-in for any action?

In English, one possible use of the verb to do is in combination with the pronouns it/this/that to form a stand-in for a more explicit action when the action is already known to the audience, like so: ...
3
votes
2answers
239 views

Regarding usage and history of special character/symbols/diacritics in French? [closed]

What are these special characters (symbols) meant for? Do they have well-defined purposes, and is there any rhyme or reason to how they came to appear in the words that use them? I mean : à â ä æ ...
4
votes
3answers
97 views

“Avoir” as “recevoir” in regards to Christmas gifts?

I was watching this video in which the host asks children what they got for Christmas, and the question was always in some variant of this form: T'as eu quoi comme cadeaux pour Noël cette année ? ...
6
votes
4answers
317 views

What is the difference between cacher and masquer?

I am somewhat confused in regards to the verbs cacher and masquer. Both of them mean to hide in English, but I believe it depends on what context they are used in. Looking through usages of the word, ...
15
votes
9answers
74k views

How to correctly say “my friend” in French to express a friendship relation? — Comment limiter la portée de « mon ami(e) » à une relation d'amitié ?

My French teacher always say that “mon amie” or “mon ami” expresses an amorous relationship, like “girlfriend” and “boyfriend”. So, what would be the current way to say things like (for example): I ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Common usage of “mon œil”?

When I first learned French in high school, we were taught that mon œil was a way of expressing disbelief to another person, accompanied by a silly finger-eye gesture. For the French users here, I was ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Règles pour ajouter “de” aux noms étrangers

À la radio, j'ai souvent entendu « Donald de Trump » ou « David de Cameron » — ou sans le « de ». Ceux qui ajoutent « de » prononcent aussi les noms plus « français ». Je ne me souviens pas de cas où ...
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Differentiating “I must not” and “I don't have to” ?

Take these two constructions: Il ne faut pas partir and: On ne doit pas partir Am I right that these both mean "It's not necessary to leave"? And then this: Il faut ne pas partir ...
3
votes
1answer
236 views

How to translate this very particular casual phrasing from English?

Okay, I'm hoping you'll get what I'm talking about; it's very specific. This is a thing many Americans do when speaking casually in a joking manner—we use the present indicative tense of a verb to ...
1
vote
3answers
90 views

How did “Allez, viens!” originate?

This phrase has never made much sense to me. It's a 2nd-person plural imperative followed by a 1st/2nd person singular non-imperative. I understand it to me "C'mon, let's go!" but it's not clear to ...
5
votes
3answers
138 views

Usage of “baiser”?

Okay, so in English at least, it's pretty normal to mention kissing, whereas depending on the context, it's pretty inappropriate to mention fucking or fucking someone over. Yet apparently baiser ...
2
votes
2answers
65 views

La différence entre “Je peux t'en prêter 5$” et “Je peux te prêter 5$”

Je ne comprends pas la différence entre "Je peux t'en prêter 5$" et "Je peux te prêter 5$". Pour moi, c'est normal pour dire "Je peux te prêter 5$", mais il y a beaucoup de résultats sur Google avec ...
1
vote
2answers
71 views
2
votes
2answers
69 views

What rules govern the usage of “tout” to mean “very”?

I sometimes see tout used where I might expect très, such as in this sentence: On vient d'un tout petit village dans les Ardennes. Is there a limited set of words for which it is normal to use ...
4
votes
1answer
47 views

Usage of “par la même occasion” vs “en même temps”?

I understand both of these phrases to mean at the same time, but I'm unsure of how their exact meaning and usage varies.
7
votes
3answers
804 views

Ça vs. ca in French

I've started learning French recently, and I've been having a hard time knowing when to use ça or ca in sentences. What are the differences between these two words and how did they etymologically ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

Comment utiliser « il y a » ?

J'ai cherché la traduction de l'expression « il y a » mais je suis confus. Le livre que j'utilise déclare que l'expression « il y a » signifie « there are / there is » en anglais. Cependant, l'auteur ...
6
votes
7answers
14k views

Is there a difference between “J'ai faim” et “Je suis faim”

I'm curious about this, as what I was taught in high school suggests that "J'ai faim" is the proper way to say "I'm hungry". However, I know that a wealth of everyday French cuts even more corners or ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Liter/100 km or km/Liter

In America we say the fuel economy of car as miles/gallon (miles per gallon). I know in some countries people use Liter/100 km (liter per 100 km). Some countries use km/Liter (km per liter). My ...
5
votes
3answers
450 views

Is “d'accord” a contraction?

I'm currently learning French (it's not going very well, but hey, I'm trying. :)) I was looking at the word d'accord. I noticed the apostrophe. Is this a contraction? I was thinking, possibly, "de ...
2
votes
3answers
204 views

How to say “I look forward to it”?

I have an email from a supplier letting me know when something is going to be made available. I would like to thank them and say "I look forward to it". How would you say this in French?
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Dois-je utiliser « on » ou « nous » ?

Dans les situations où on doit utiliser « vous » à la place de « tu », doit-on aussi utiliser « nous » à la place de « on » ?
2
votes
3answers
116 views

How can I translate “I have improved”?

QUESTION 1. "I have improved" How can I translate into French "I have improved"? Google Translate gives me "Je me suis amélioré" using "to be" instead of "to have." Is that correct as translation? ...
1
vote
4answers
126 views

“He was like” vs “il était genre” similarities and differences

What are the similarities and differences between the Americanism 'He was like...' And the French expression 'Il était genre...'? They both introduce citations.
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Difference between the verbs “amener” and “emmener”, and also “emporter” and “apporter”?

I was under the impression that both amener and emmener mean "to take" someone somewhere. I'm not sure how they differ in usage. I started wondering after hearing the song L'Homme Que J'Adore, where ...
14
votes
8answers
23k views

What is the correct way to pronounce 'poutine'?

In Canada, there's a dish spelt 'poutine', which consists of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. However, I have come across two conflicting accounts of how to pronounce the word online, and I would like ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Website, app or book with verbs used in sentences

I am brushing up on what little French I learned when I used to take classes two years ago and I'm looking for a reference where I can look up verbs and find plenty - no, LOTS - of examples where the ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Seeking an appropriate response to “bienvenue”

Welsh friend living in Brittany and struggling to learn French, responded to me accepting his Facebook 'friend request' with "well well well bienvenue". What is an appropriate French response?
1
vote
2answers
143 views

How do you say, “I would like to join the gym”

I just moved to Paris and have found a gym I'd like to join. I see many words for "to join" in French, but not sure which one should be used in this case: joindre, unir, se joindre, adhérer, ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

Translation of 'how do you pronounce 'x''

I have checked dictionary and thought the correct translation may be this: Comment est-ce que tu prononces 'x' ? If I want to say 'how do you pronounce this word, which is spelt as :ECRIT' What is ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of “du coup”

I often come across the phrase du coup in the course of discussion with my French friends. What does it signify and when to use it? Some of them tend to add it in every other sentence, most often at ...
1
vote
3answers
67 views

Quelle forme pour « on prend “y” tel que “x”… » ?

Doit-on dire « on prend y tel que x est égal à 5 » ou « on prend y tel que x soit égal à 5 » ? Il me semble que la seconde option est préférable mais j'ai déjà entendu la première. La première ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

How to ask customers if they want to update their credit card credentials?

I'm a bilingual customer service rep & I just got off a French call & I wanted to offer the customer if she wanted to update her credit card on file, I was thinking about saying it: Vous ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Les neurones qui surchauffent

Dans quel contexte est-ce qu’on peut utiliser cette phrase ? Est-ce que c’est au travail quand on est submergé qu’on dit « oh punaise! j’ai les neurones qui surchauffent » ?