Figurez-vous qu'on vient de recevoir un email d'Alyssa nous annonçant, tenez-vous bien, qu’elle aurait à son tour repéré un OVNI !

In order to express the idea of "guess what" and whatnot, I usually use the locution « figurez-vous que ... » at the beginning of a sentence. But what about when you want to express this idea in the middle of a sentence?

I wonder if you can place the locution « tenez-vous bien » or « tiens-toi bien » right before what you consider an interesting piece of information to spark the listener's interest in what's to come?

Incidentally, I assume you cannot start off a sentence with « tenez-vous que ... » in the same vein as « figurez-vous que ... ». Likewise, you cannot insert « figurez-vous bien » halfway through in place of « tenez-vous bien », I suppose?

  • You are translating: Get ready to [whatever], right? The best way to say that is merely: Attention ! [Then you say your piece]. Guess what is: Tu sais quoi? Figurez-vous is not guess what. Tenez-vous bien sounds like earth-shattering news is about to be delivered....
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2017 at 18:52
  • Figurez-vous is more like: And you know [blah blah blah].
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2017 at 18:55
  • Or "wait for it!" ?
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:11

3 Answers 3


There is a lot of way to mark a point of interest, you can almost litterally use guess what with « vous ne devinerez jamais », or for a really casual locution to one person « devine quoi, ... ». You can also use « saviez vous que ».

As for « tenez-vous que ... » and « figurez-vous bien » are not correct expression, « tenez-vous bien » can be translated as "hold yourself tight" and « tenez-vous que ... » would have no meaning for French people.

However, yes you can use « tenez-vous bien » or « tiens-toi bien » right before a point of interest like you do in your example, but i am not quite sure what is your question.

I hope my English isn't too bad and i have been of some help.


(I'm a french citizen)

Yes, you can say :

On vient de recevoir un email d'Alyssa nous annonçant, tenez-vous bien, qu’elle aurait à son tour repéré un OVNI !

I think the begining of the sentence is a synonym of

Vous vous rendez compte, on vient de...

"Figurez-vous" and "tenez-vous bien" are two different expressions to express the need of attention from the interlocutor


Tenez-vous que

is not a correct. It means nothing.

PS : If you need more explaination, ask in comment, I will edit my answer.

  • Hi. Am I correct in assuming that you cannot leave out "bien" in "tenez-vous bien"? Jun 26, 2017 at 16:29
  • @Alone-zee You can't, it's a set phrase with bien.
    – None
    Jun 26, 2017 at 16:36
  • @Laure Hi. Does this locution basically want to say: "Tenez-vous prêts à être étonnés"? Jun 26, 2017 at 16:44
  • 2
    @Alone-zee No, the litteral meaning is "Hold on to something", in the same way that you could say "You might want to sit down for this" - meaning you could be so shocked by the following statement that you would fall. (But "tenez-vous bien" is just for surprising statements, not negative statements).
    – Kerkyra
    Jun 26, 2017 at 16:50
  • @Alone-zee Tenez-vous bien is an attempt at translating: Get ready [for this], etc. Right??
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2017 at 18:52

When someone is about to announce some dramatic news, it's not unheard of to request their counterpart to take a sit:

Assieds toi, s'il te plait. J'ai une nouvelle importante à t'apprendre.

The purpose is to avoid the counterpart to be hurt, if he or she come to faint when discovering this announcement.

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