Oh, ce que j’ai honte ! Faisons comme si vous ne l’aviez pas vue, d’accord ?

It is easy to assume that this expression means « vous me faites rougir en parlant d’un sujet délicat pour moi », but I’m not sure how the construction « ce que ... » leads to such a meaning.

How does it compare with these two constructions:

Comme c'est embarrassant !

Quelle honte !

  • At first sight, I would say it has the exact same meaning than "Comme"...
    – Random
    Dec 11, 2016 at 15:55
  • @Random Finding out its meaning is one thing, but I'm just as curious about how this expression can be used in other instances. Merci. Dec 11, 2016 at 16:07
  • So I may add : it has the same meaning and can be used in the exact same way :)
    – Random
    Dec 11, 2016 at 16:09
  • 1
    @PapaPoule Other way round: “[Qu’est-ce que] j’ai honte” is the more modern form of “[ce que] j’ai honte”. It's the same phenomenon (but in this case less stigmatized) as the tendency for the reinforced interrogative pronouns to replace the complex relative pronouns: "Regarde [ce que] j'ai fait" -> "Regarde [qu'est-ce que] j'ai fait" Dec 11, 2016 at 22:13
  • 1
    It's not that uncommon. I'm surprised you haven't heard it already. Maybe it's because it's at the same time casual, but not used at all by young people. And even then most people prefer "Qu'est-ce que ..." over "Ce que ..." Dec 12, 2016 at 10:47

1 Answer 1

  • Ce que j'ai honte ! is equivalent to Random's comment comme j'ai honte !. See the tlfi ce entry (II.B.1.) .The person speaking is personally embarrassed. (I'm so ashamed!)

  • With comme c'est embarrassant !, the person speaking is telling something is embarrassing but might not be affected personally. (How embarrassing!)

  • Finally, with quelle honte !, the person speaking is upset by someone else's behavior. (What a shame/disgrace!)

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