Bon, j'ai pas été clair, je reprends. Toi (ne) pas rester dans mes pattes.

The use of the Infinitif « rester » in an Impératif sentence has me intrigued. I wonder if and how this sentence construction carries a different meaning from saying:

Ne reste pas dans mes pattes.

On a side note [1]: Does « je reprends » mean "I’ll say it again" or “I’ll repeat what I’ve said earlier"?

On a side note [2]: Can you also join the two sentences together with a colon instead of a period? « Bon, j'ai pas été clair, je reprends : Toi pas rester dans mes pattes. »

  • Depending on the context, who you're speaking to, etc., the first sentence could be understood as somewhat racist. "Toi pas rester" (w/o the "ne", it makes a big difference) could refer to "petit nègre" pseudo language: fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petit_n%C3%A8gre (sorry, can't find a decent english link to this, the wikipedia english "français tirailleur" is less interesting) Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 7:29

2 Answers 2


Toi pas rester dans mes pattes.

This is an ironic structure, where the idea is to simplify the structure to be sure the other person will understand what you mean (the use of infinitive is the easiest form of a verb, right ?). So you will use this kind of structure when you are talking to someone who don't understand your language.
When talking to someone who speaks French well, this is rude, implying "I'm lowering my language skill to fit yours, so you can understand me".

You may also add a pause between each part of the sentence, as if you were expecting him to need time in order to parse your sentence and understand it...

Toi.... pas rester... dans mes pattes

On your side note [1]: (I didn't understand the difference you make between "saying again" and "repeating", but I'll try to explain anyway)

Je reprends

Here, "reprends" should be understood in the context of pause/resume (on a DVD for instance), with the slight difference here where you're not only continuing your chapter, but you also came back to the beginning of it, and change the language settings.

You may also hear it when a teacher is giving a lesson, then a student interrupts her, so the teacher stops her speech, answers the student, and says "bon, je reprends..." to continue where (s)he stopped.

So the idea of "repeating something I said" is not mandatory, it's a matter of context.

Edit: Eau qui dort gave us a very nice rephrasing:

"Je reprends" also means "Let me try again" in this context. "Je reprends mes efforts pour t'expliquer" in other words

On your side note [2]: Indeed, that's the idea.

  • Condescending structure, interesting. The phrase "j'ai pas été clair" in the preceding sentence suggests that the speaker is not pleased that his interlocutor is slow on the uptake. Which explains his condescending tone, non? :) Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 16:44
  • As for "je reprends", it must be a French equivalent of "I'll pick up where we left off (in our earlier conversation)". Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 16:45
  • 3
    @LUNA "Je reprends" also means "Let me try again" in this context. "Je reprends mes efforts pour t'expliquer" in other words. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 21:28
  • Très bel exemple @Eauquidort, je l'ai ajouté à la réponse ;)
    – Random
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 20:07

Where did you get the sentence from ?

Impératif mustn't have any subject, Toi can't be used with an impératif form. Neither for Infinitif, because Impératif and Infinitif are both different conjugation.

Knowing that, the first sentence is grammatically incorrect. You can still see it sometimes for example it is the form used by Tarzan. If it is your sentence, use instead "Ne reste pas dans mes pattes."

  • Hi. Picked it up from a French subtitle. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 15:50
  • Okay, what was the movie or the video ? As said by Random (lol) it might be just a way to be more clear. Like you would do with someone that doesn't speak well or a kid.
    – Alvisslp
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 16:46
  • In fact, thinking about the first sentence it looks like the character said to someone to let him alone, the "someone" didn't leave, so the main character exaggerate and ironise to make himself understood.
    – Alvisslp
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 16:50
  • Je suis on ne peut plus d'accord. :) Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 16:53

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