Here's a facebook ad I recently saw:

Gouvernement de l'Ontario.
Dénoncez la violence et le harcèlement sexuels.

[Text message from someone else:]
Bonbon pour les yeux au gym. Je suis ça de près.

[Our text message reply:]
Du harcèlement sexuel? C'en est!

I'm having trouble understanding the two text messages. Here are my guesses:

- Bonbon pour les yeux au gym.

My best guess: "A candy for the eyes at the gym"

There is no subject or verb in this sentence. Is it saying "You are [a candy for the eyes]"? Or is it saying "There is [a candy for the eyes]"? Or even "I am [a candy for the eyes]"?

Because there's no verb, I'm not sure how to interpret "au gym". Usually when I see à, I look to the verb to see if "verb + à" means something special, and if it does not, I interpret "à + place" to just mean "at [place]".

Questions: 1. Is it correct to guess that "au gym" means "at the gym", because there is no verb to help me understand what à means? 2. What is the implied subject and verb? 3. There is no article ("un bonbon") in the text message. Is the "un" implied?

- Je suis ça de près.

My best guess: "I am that .. close up"??

Both wordreference and linguee.fr say that "près de" is an adverb meaning "close up". But I have no idea what "I am that, close up" means. Is the person sending this text saying that they are eye candy at the gym, close up? (And if so, Close up to what/who??)

Question: What does this sentence mean? I cannot understand it.

- C'en est!

Best guess: This is [some sexual harassement]!

Is the "en" replacing "du harcèlement sexual", with "du" being the partitive article?

Question: Is my guess of what "en" means correct?

  • “Je suis ça de près” might mean “I follow that closely” thanks to the confusing conjugation of être and suivre. Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:58

1 Answer 1

  1. Bonbon pour les yeux au gym. Je suis ça de près.

The first sentence is telegraphic style and Canadian French. It means "(There is an) eye candy at the gym".

In France, that might have been: Y'a d'la bombe à la salle de gym.

Neil is right about the meaning of the second sentence: "I follow that closely", i.e. "I stay focused on the subject".

  1. C'en est.

That means what we were talking about previously (en), i.e. the text message, is sexual harassement. Literally: "That is some."

  • 1) Does "Bonbon pour les yeux" mean "(There is an) eye candy", only because it is used idiomatically like that? That is, is part of the idiom to not use an article for "bonbon", and that it always means "There is an", and never "I am an" or "You are an"? 2) What does it exactly mean to "follow that closely"? Is the person who sent the text message looking closely at the eye candy, or is just thinking strongly about the eye candy, or are they literally physically following the eye-candy person around the gym?
    – silph
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 20:48
  • 1
    Bonbon pour les yeux is kind of an anglicism and is rarely used in France. Here it exactly matches the English eye candy, a very attractive persion. It can't be "I am" or "you are" because the third person derogatory ça is used. To follow closely is figurative, means "I stay focused on the subject."
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 20:58
  • 1
    Using Un bonbon pour les yeux... wouldn't be incorrect and on the opposite is the standard usage.The article is only missing here because of the "telegraphic style" used. A verb is also missing for the very same reason.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 2:44
  • 2
    I wouldn't say that "bonbon pour les yeux" is rare in France, I'd say it doesn't exist. It's one of these literal translations from English that are purely Canadian. @silph Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 7:56
  • 1
    @Gilles J'ai d'abord écrit que l'expression était inconnue en France mais j'ai changé d'avis après avoir trouvé suffisamment d'occurrences dans des pages web sans lien avec le français canadien. Comme l'a écrit Améraldor, on connaît déjà bien le régal pour les yeux, et il y a aussi le plaisir pour les yeux pour faciliter la compréhension et l'émergence de bonbon pour les yeux en France.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 12:06

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