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Le film X, le film Y, bof.

in the sense of:

Le film X, le film Y, c'est pas ma came.

My girlfriend who speaks French as her second language often uses the interjection "bof" like this, attaching it to the end of her own remark, as opposed to the standalone interjection used as a response.

She seems to be using it as an equivalent of the colloquial "нет-нет {no-no}" in Russian, which is her native tongue. I wonder how this adjective-ish use of the interjection "bof" sounds to French speakers. Is it perfectly acceptable in an informal setting?

  • I don't really see anything un-interjection-y here. – Luke Sawczak Apr 15 '18 at 17:39
  • @LukeSawczak You've got a point, though I tend to associate "bof" with a standalone word given as a response -- not being attached to the end of your own remark like this. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 15 '18 at 18:22
  • Interjections work like this too (cp. this question). And when you translate it by a whole sentence, rather than an adjective ("le film Y, nul"), it gives the impression that you too parse it as an interjection! – Luke Sawczak Apr 15 '18 at 18:29
  • @LukeSawczak It seems to me that "quoi" and "bof" are not to be put into the same category here, though. :D – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 15 '18 at 18:37
  • Syntactically I'd say they're close at least :p However, Constance's examples in the comments are clearly adjectival anyway so my point is moot. – Luke Sawczak Apr 16 '18 at 2:23
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You could consider “bof” as an equivalent of “meh”: really nothing to write home about. Something that leaves you indifferent, not interested, not impressed.

It’s an interjection. It’s not rude, just very informal. It’s used A LOT in French. And often you shrug to accompany the word.

-“Ça t’a plu, le film?

-Bof. Pas terrible.”

“Ça cassse pas les briques” was another way to... elaborate on the “bof”. My grandma would have said “ça casse pas trois pattes à un canard”.

So... “Meh”.

  • Hi. I'm specifically talking about "bof" being attached to the end of your own remark, as opposed to the standalone use as a response in your example. What do you think, then? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 15 '18 at 19:11
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    Well, if it was written, I would still see that “bof” as an interjection after-three- dots, in a way: “ce film est plutôt ...bof”: But You are right, it has somehow made its way to the job of an adjective in French, in which case, saying “un film bof”, you’d saying “a meh film”. You won’t find bof as an adjective in the dictionary just yet, I think. So, if someone says “ce film est vraiment bof”, I would understand “this film is really average”: the person didn’t enjoy it, can’t really be bothered to explain in depth why. Still an interjection, but easy to understand in that adjectival “role”. – Constance Apr 15 '18 at 20:44
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It sounds perfectly acceptable to me in casual, informal spoken settings. I would even say it is a rather gentle way to turn down a proposal and to convey your lack of enthusiasm for it.

  • Hi. This is nitpicking, but is it better to use an em dash: "Le film X, le film Y bof."? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 15 '18 at 16:55
  • As "bof" rather belong to spoken contexts, I guess there would be different acceptable transcriptions: the dash is one, but you could have written "le film y, bof", "le film y: bof" or "le film y... bof". – Greg Apr 15 '18 at 17:28
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Yes in this sentence, to me "bof" is used as an adjective.

Je suis allé voir le film mais franchement il est bof.

In your sentence, any adjective could be used in place of "bof" so it makes sense to see it as an adjective to me, more than an interjection.

Le film X, pas terrible.

Le film Y, génial !

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