Je vais peut-être vous choquer, mais ni elle ni moi ne sommes doués pour les relations à distance.

In conversation, I find myself using "choquer" like this more than I care to admit to express the idea of:

{In English}: It may shock you, but ...

{In German}: Das mag dich jetzt überraschen{surprise}, aber ...

The verb "shock" in English is about making someone (mentally) feel very surprised with something unexpected, eliciting a reponse like an incredulous "What?!".

I've always wondered if "choquer" in French, on the other hand, might lean more towards the idea of evoking a negative emotion: "offenser / bouleverser / troubler" than the intended "surprise someone a lot by saying something unexpected" -- especially as I can't seem to find a dictionary entry that supports the use of "choquer" in the sense of "surprise".

Is this specific use of "choquer", whether anglicism or not, considered acceptable in French?

2 Answers 2


Yes, "choquer" has a negative meaning, though it can be used in the sense you meant in colloquial french. In your case, I would use "surprendre" or "étonner", but it's a bit less strong.


In your example, it feels (in both French and English) like '[I am so wild, such as rebel that] what I say may shock you'. Interestingly, in this context people will not say 'ce que je dis est choquant' (but may say 'ce que je dis est peut-être choquant') : only other people are genuinely 'choquants' (I am 'peut-être choquant', i.e. a rebel).

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