Figure-toi qu'elle a le pouvoir de repérer tout ça en un rien de temps.

This phrase seems to carry the meaning of "Guess what?" or something, but in exactly what situations would you use it?

  1. When you’re about to say something surprising?

  2. When you’re about to say something you find important?

  3. When you want to add not-so-crucial information as a side note? Does it work like the word "incidentally"?

  • In your cases 1/surprising and 2/important I think it could work like "believe it or not." I'm not familiar with its use in your case 3/not-so-crucial/side note, but I suppose that it could work a bit like a smug "incidentally" (followed by "as a matter of fact").
    – Papa Poule
    Jul 16, 2016 at 18:35
  • I wonder if this phrase can also be used to express "for your information" or "for what it's worth"? Or are they somwhat off the mark? Merci. Jul 16, 2016 at 18:43
  • I'm getting even further in over my head with this, but I think that although "figure-toi" can capture the fairly neutral/non-aggressive notion of "believe it or not'" it would probably fail to capture the aggressive tone of "for your information." (I'd use "Pour ton info" for that tone). As for "for what it's worth," I think the problem there is just the opposite in that it's not forceful/aggressive enough (it might imply that the statement might not be true at all).
    – Papa Poule
    Jul 16, 2016 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


Figure-toi / figurez-vous usually announces you are going to say something that either you think the person you are talking to is not expecting or you want them to imagine.

Let's look at a few examples in context.

  • Figure-toi, dit-il en se tournant vers sa femme, que cet enfant, le jour où le ci-devant Capet reçut la satisfaction de faire ses adieux à sa famille, (je ne comprends point que l'on ait accordé cette faveur à un pareil tyran). Figure-toi, dis- je, que ... source

    Here the one who speaks introduces something that they don't expect the person they’re talking to already knows.

  • Enfin figure-toi dans tes connaissances quelqu'un de très vilain, de très ridicule, de très répugnant, avec un gros ventre, — c'est ça qui est affreux, — et de gros mollets velus. Tu le vois, n'est-ce pas ? Eh bien figure-toi encore que ce ... source

    Here the one who speaks wants the person he is talking to imagine what they are describing.

  • sur cette vaste place déserte , sous ce ciel d' un bleu noir, figurez-vous debout et immense une église qui pour l'aspect rappelle un peu Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, sinon qu'au lieu de pierre, elle est bâtie en marbre... source

    Here the writer is calling to the readers' imagination.

  • Ces anciens palais appartiennent à la mairie de Venise, figurez-vous. source

    Here it's expected to surprise the person who's listening.

Note that the primary meaning of the verb se figurer is to imagine.

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