So this phrase is from a song I'm listening to

Oui, j'ai pleuré mais ce jour-là

I'm an absolute beginner in French and I was wondering what is the correct translation. Does it more accurately translate to

Yes, I cried but it was that day (not today)


Yes but I cried that day.

I would appreciate if someone could write a different translation if it would be better than the above two.

Thanks a lot!

  • In your sentence there is no punctuation at the end; as you say that the words come out of a song it is important to know what is found after "ce jour-là"; if you have something else than a full stop, a colon, an exclamation point or suspension points the meaning is possibly different from the meaning resulting from supposing there is one of those four marks. – LPH Feb 26 '19 at 10:36
  • Right after, he says "Non je ne pleurerai pas". Does that change the intended meaning in any way? – Amin Sammara Feb 26 '19 at 14:36
  • That depends; it could mean "Yes, I cried, but on that coming day I won't cry…"; it is really necessary to provide the full sentence and the sentences after and before so as to be sure (several sentences, better too many than too few). – LPH Feb 26 '19 at 14:49
  • "Laissez tomber les filles .... et un jour c'est toi qu'on laissera ... Oui, j'ai pleuré mais ce jour-là ... Non je ne pleurerai pas" Working from where you left off, would this be a suitable translation: "Yes I cried, but on that day (when I will leave/drop you) I will not cry"? – Amin Sammara Feb 26 '19 at 15:39
  • It would unless after "non je ne pleurerai pas" you find something such as "quand tu partiras." In that case it could be different. It is really necessary to have the exact words and punctuation and more sentences (before and after). Do not hesitate to modify your question by adding an extended passage containing your sentence. The names of the song and the artist would be useful; that way we might be able to get at the lyrics if you don't know how to find them. – LPH Feb 26 '19 at 15:51

The French sentence might have a comma before mais and a full stop at the end:

Oui, j'ai pleuré, mais ce jour-là.

In such case, your first attempt is fine. The reference is not specially "today" though :

Yes, I cried but it was that day (not another day)

I guess you can avoid the second verb in English too:

Yes, I cried, but on that (specific) day.

However, the actual song (Laisse tomber les filles, by Serge Gainsbourg and sung by France Gall in 1964) words are:

Oui j'ai pleuré mais ce jour-là, non je ne pleurerai pas.

which means,

Yes I cried, but on that (future) day, no, I won't cry.


Oui, j'ai pleuré mais ce jour-là

can simply be translated by:

I cried that day.


I think the sentence is not complete. I suggest to you this translation:

Yes I cried, but that day ....

The complete sentence could be like this:

Yes I cried, but that day, I didn't

  • The way is was written in the question is possible as a whole sentence. Adding an ellipsis or I didn't is also a possibility, but it would significantly change the sentence meaning. – jlliagre Feb 27 '19 at 12:53
  • Actually I don't know the song, but when you read it, it's seems incomplete, that what I want to emphasise on. – asendjasni Feb 27 '19 at 15:46

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