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Bonjour!

It wasn't until I started speaking French regularly that I realized how often I use the word "anyway" in English. Unfortunately it seems like there's no catch-all word in French that covers all the bases as is the case in English (in English it can be used to change the subject, to mean "despite that"/"regardless", etc.)

The following are some cases where I'd use "anyway" in English, but am not sure how to translate them most naturally into French:

  1. I just took the hardest exam of my life today. They asked for specific dates of at least 30 historical events and I couldn't even remember one. I'm betting I failed it. But anyway, enough about me, how are you doing?

  2. I can drop your package off at UPS for you. I have to go there anyway.

  3. Why did you need all of that money anyway?

  4. You're gonna be late? That's fine, I could use more time to cook anyway!

  5. It doesn't taste good? Eh, I'll try it anyway.

  6. Organic vs. non-organic, store brand vs. name brand, what difference does it make anyway?

I've come across "bref", "sinon", "quand même", "de toute façon" and "en tout cas" as direct translations, but have trouble determining which one to use and when. If anyone has any pointers on how to use the aforementioned phrases I'd appreciate that as well.

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  • The connection between “anyway” & “regardless” in English is important. Although not listed among the direct translations you came across, I THINK that “au fait” & “en fait” could also be used to capture the GENERAL “whatever” notion of “regardless,” especially when neither "de toute façon" nor "en tout cas" seem to be the perfect fit (as in, imo, your examples #3 & #6). However, when the “mindless”/“careless”/“showing no regard” notion of “regardless” is involved when making a SPECIFIC choice in spite of certain known facts (as in, imo, ex. #5), I think “quand même” would work best.
    – Papa Poule
    Oct 22, 2016 at 15:12

3 Answers 3

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Here is my translation for these different cases, hope that help.

  1. Je suis sûr que je l'ai raté. Bref ! Quoi de neuf de ton coté ?

  2. Je peux déposer ton colis a UPS si tu veux. Il faut que j'y passe de toute façon.

  3. En plus, pourquoi tu as besoin d'autant d'argent ?

  4. Tu arrivera plus tard ? Ca tombe bien, j'ai besoin de plus de temps pour préparer à manger. (here 'anyway' merge with 'That is fine')

  5. C'est pas bon ? Bof, je vais goûter quand même.

  6. Quelle différence ça fait de toute façon ?

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  • That's pretty spot on. It's what I would have said. Oct 24, 2016 at 9:31
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The right phrases to use for "anyway" vary from context to context.

In the first example, for instance:

Quoi qu'il en soit, assez parlé de moi. Et toi, alors ?

Bon, assez parlé de moi. Et toi, alors ?

Enfin bref, assez parlé de moi. Et toi, alors ?

The thing is that I don't necessarily translate these phrases as "anyway", but they each serve as what the English word "anyway" denotes.

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Small precision : "Anyway" can also be translated as "Peu importe". It is a shortened expression to say "Peu importe qu'il y ait un mur, on y va." The following example is a conversation between A and B :

A : Look, a wall ! --> Regarde, un mur !

B : Anyway, we're going through. -> Peu importe, on y va.

"Peu importe" theoretically has the same meaning as "Aucune importance", "De toute façon" and "Quoi qu'il en soit". However, one sentence would be :

B : Aucune importance, on y va.

While for the orher two, it does not make sense to use them in this precise case, but we can reformulate :

B : On y va quand même.

B : On y va, quoi qu'il (nous/m')en coûte. (= "whatever it may cost (us/me)").

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