To convey

I mean, come on, let's get real.

deepl gives

Je veux dire, allez, soyons réalistes.

but to my non native ears, soyons réalistes sounds more formal than let's get real. Am I right?

  • 2
    get real: sometimes you can only get the meaning across by switching registers. For slang like the English: Ecoute, faut pas charrier. Try that one on for size. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented May 31, 2021 at 21:23

4 Answers 4


DeepL sounds too formal indeed, if only because it uses the first person plural.

Here are colloquial expressions that should be closer in tone to the English idiom.

If you are targeting someone else:

Non mais attend, réveille-toi, là !

Non mais, ouvre les yeux !

If you belong to the target:

Bon, faut qu'on se réveille, là !

Bon, on arrête le délire maintenant !

  • Encore 103 points pour 150,000k au compteur… bel ouvrage qui a pris une douzaine d'années… !!
    – Personne
    Commented May 22 at 15:59

My take on it would be "Je veux dire, allez, il (ne) faut pas se mentir" ; translated literally as "I mean, come on, we shouldn't be lying to ourselves".

In an informal context, you'll generally omit "ne".

  • Oui et souvent sous la forme : "on (ne) va pas se mentir"
    – XouDo
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 7:22

"Get real" can be a response to something the speaker considers absurd, meaning "You can't be serious!" or "You must be kidding." Example: "You think you can write a 30-page paper in one day? Get real!"

In Quebec the expression that conveys strong emotion (surprise, disbelief, incomprehension) about something absurd is "Mais voyons donc!" Example: "Ton chat pèse 25 livres? Mais voyons donc!"

  • 2
    Salut ! Aussi avec b(i)en plutôt que mais ? Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 5:08
  • Well, ben/bais also means but, although it's hard to distinguish the pronunciation between ben and bais---it's somewhere in the middle. But I agree that we don't clearly pronounce "mais" voyons donc, but rather "ben" or "bais" voyons donc (also without pronouncing the c in donc). A very useful and fun expression.
    – Eggy
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 17:07


(informal) used to tell somebody that they are behaving in a stupid or unreasonable way

From the Free Dictionary

get real To realize or accept the truth; to be realistic or practical. Often used as an imperative.

♦I hope the government gets real about the homelessness problem and starts taking it seriously.
♦ We need to get real about this project and stop coming up with silly pipe dreams.
♦ Oh, get real—there's no way you got the job over the CEO's son, no matter how qualified you are.

From Cambridge Dictionary

get real! informal used for telling someone that they should try to understand the true facts of a situation and not hope for what is impossible
♦ Get real! He's never going to give you the money.

This term is merely informal and can still be translated by terms in the normal register. It seems that "I mean" can be understood as an expletive, a word that adds nothing; it is therefore difficult to translate, and it is easier to do away with it, unless the speaker is trying to give an alternative formulation to what he/she said just before.

"Soyons réaliste !" is more formal but still belongs to the normal register, and it is used more often than "regardons les choses en face" (ngram).

  • Allons ! Regardons les choses en face !

  • Voyons ! Soyons honnêtes avec nous-mêmes !

  • Allons ! Arrêtons ces idioties ! (The OALD definition justifies this possibility.)

  • Un registre trop formel, mon cher. Faut descendre dans la rue, un peu. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 15:23

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