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Questions tagged [expressions]

Concerne les expressions, au sens grammatical, dont le sens peut être interprété. L'étiquette *expressions-idiomatiques* regroupe les expressions ou les formulations dont le sens est opaque.

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What is the appropriate response when tasting a wine when it’s presented to you in a restaurant?

When you order wine in a restaurant, often you are presented a taste in order to check for problems in the bottle, if it’s off or “corked”. See the description of this tasting ritual. Assuming it’s ...
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2answers
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Traduction de « cookbook approach »

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cookbook cookbook adjective Definition of cookbook (Entry 2 of 2): involving or using step-by-step procedures whose rationale is usually not explained;...
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Making a restaurant reservation in french

I've been using Duolingo, but I realize that I have no idea how to make a restaurant reservation in French. Could people suggest useful expressions with translations? Thanks!
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87 views

There's something to that

Comment traduirez-vous de façon idiomatique l'expression anglaise « There's something to X » ? Cette expression signifie que X ne semble pas être faux, comme dans cet exemple où j'ai employé un ...
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2answers
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Le subjonctif ou l’indicatif?

J’ai besoin de votre aide! Dans ces deux phrases, les verbes sont-ils conjugués au présent du subjonctif ou de l’indicatif ? Et pourquoi? Merci d’avance~ C’est la chose la plus intéressante que je ...
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1answer
33 views

Traduction de « something is in order »

Je me demande si la traduction ci-après de la phrase : Some definitions are in order now. est idiomatique ou non. Voici la traduction : Certaines définitions sont en ordre maintenant.
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Translation of “Take a toll”

The problems of the past few months have taken their toll on her health and there are shadows under her eyes. The deepening recession has also taken its toll in the south of the country, where ...
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What would be the equivalent of 'haute couture' but for high-end graphic design or visual design?

There is haute couture and haute cuisine, but I'm curious what the expression for 'haute' graphic design or visual design would be?
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« Off the record » et « officieux »

Comment dit-on « off the record » en français ? Peut-on employer la locution telle quelle ? Ou bien la locution un peu plus francisée hors du record ? Doit-on employer une autre traduction parmi ...
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1answer
52 views

“Il ne nous reste plus qu'à…” vs “nous n'avons plus qu'à…”?

I was wondering whether there was a significant difference between the above two constructions (note that the use of 'nous' is just an example - 'me', 'te' etc. can be substituted if need be) or ...
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1answer
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How to describe having completed and having NOT completed in an action over a given period of time?

My main confusion is in regards to the differences between English and French when expressing the fact that something hasn't been done in a given period of time, specifically ça fait and depuis. For ...
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use of infinitive in a sentence where the subject is unchanged

Since he made an effort to speak to me, I thought I should at least know his name. 'Puisqu'il a fait un effort de me parler, je croyais au moins devoir savoir son nom' I am wondering if: a) I have ...
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Can an expression of thought precede 'falloir'

Would it be acceptable to precede "il faut/faudrait" etc. with something like "je pense." For example, is the sentence "Je suppose qu'il faudra que je demande à mon patron si je peux partir tôt ou ...
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1answer
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Using subjunctive when referring to the past

If I wanted to say something to the effect of, "It seems like it was just yesterday that we spoke about ..." I was thinking about using "il semble que..." which requires the subjunctive mood. ...
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1answer
37 views

How to use “donner l'impression”?

I recently used the phrase: Je pense qu'on devrait donner aux clients l'impression d'être occupés. I wanted to essentially say that “I think we should give the customers the impression that we are ...
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1answer
44 views

How to use “avoir l'impression que/de”?

I was wondering when to add de or que after “j'ai l'impression”. If the subject remains the same, do we just add de? For example: J'ai l'impression d'avoir oublié quelque chose. And can an ...
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6answers
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2 is the oddest prime: équivalent français dans le même esprit?

En anglais, un jeu de mot qui joue sur la double signification du mot odd (étrange ou impair) nous donne un succulent : 2 is the oddest prime number → 2 est le plus étrange/impair des nombres ...
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3answers
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“Le douze quatorze”?

I have recently been trying to listen to RFI and noticed that they mention le douze quatorze often. But I' having difficulty following everything around it. I can't tell exactly what they are ...
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2answers
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Pourquoi « bonne merde» veut dire « bonne chance! »

Pourquoi quand on dit « bonne merde », ça veut dire « bonne chance »? Il y a quelque chose qui concerne avec la culture, non? je sais que dans la culture d’anglophone, si un oiseau fait caca, c’est ...
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2answers
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How can I say “Yes, I am” and “No, I am not” in French?

Well, a very simple question,but I just dunno its answer. 😂 Like, when someone ask "Are you French?" "Are you hungry?" "Are you Danny Smith?" , how can I answer those questions, not only with "oui" ...
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4answers
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Natural French phrase for 'you got a strange idea for fun'?

The vocabulary needed seems simple enough but I'm struggling with composing a whole sentence. Is there a natural French phrase to say this kind of things half jestingly? (You wave at total strangers ...
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2answers
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How does the 'ne…plus qu'a…' structure work?

I came across the sentence 'Ils n'ont plus qu'a attendre le prochaine',(in regards to a family who has missed their train) If 'plus' were removed, I understand the meaning would be something along the ...
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1answer
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What does “loi Évin oblige” mean?

En 2016, Jennifer Le Néchet remporte le Diageo World Class, un des plus prestigieux concours dans le monde du bar. Peu médiatisé en France – loi Evin oblige –, ce « Top Chef » version cocktail ...
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2answers
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Win win situation

We think that in many ways this is a win-win situation. Nous pensons qu’à bien des égards, il s’agit d’une situation gagnant-gagnant. J'ai entendu l'emploi de situation gagnant-gagnant. Mais ...
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135 views

Complément du nom sans préposition ?

On peut souvent rencontrer des expressions où un nom est complété par un groupe nominal sans préposition. Très souvent, il s'agit d'un nom propre (par ex. Rue la Fayette, Centre Didot), mais ...
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3answers
227 views

What is a natural French phrase for 'As if I could find them in just about any shop!'

Having consulted the online dictionaries, I tried to come up with a French phrase for 'As if I could find them in just about any shop!', but I can't think of an appropriate phrase describing the ...
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4answers
170 views

What is a natural French phrase for 'You could do worse than'?

In order to recommend to someone something you think is a good idea, 'You could do worse than' is said like an understatement. It's like saying, 'Why don't you at least do something, there are a lot ...
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2answers
110 views

I insist! or Please, go ahead!

How do you say when you’re holding the door for someone for example and you’re trying to say the equivalent of “I insist!” when they hesitate to go ahead? Can you just say “S’il vous plait!”?
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What does it mean : Le capitalisme, c'est l'exploitation de l'homme par l'homme ; et le marxisme, C'est le contraire.

Le capitalisme, c'est l'exploitation de l'homme par l'homme ; et le marxisme, C'est le contraire. (attributed to Jeanson but probably not invented by him) What does it mean? To be particular, what ...
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Is there a French phrase to say 'I wouldn't put anything past her'?

I want to write a short message addressed to a friend of mine. Unfortunately my French is not good enough to come up with a French phrase to say the phrase put in italics. It was luck and luck ...
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1answer
70 views

Au fur et à mesure

Au fur et à mesure Pourquoi dit-on à mesure et pas à la mesure, vue que au fur = à+le fur, non ? Pourquoi pas à fur et à mesure ? L’expression "au fur et à mesure" double le sens de chaque terme ; ...
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1answer
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About “tour d'horizon”

Has this phrase originated from an anecdote or story? What does it mean precisely? Can one use this phrase both in English and French?
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1answer
82 views

Meaning of “faire souffler le chaud et le froid”

La thermothérapie, vous connaissez? C’est faire souffler le chaud et le froid pour le bien du malade. What does “faire souffler le chaud et le froid pour le bien du malade” mean?
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1answer
55 views

Comment dirais-je ?

Dans quels cas peut-on employer Comment dirais-je ? Quelle est la correcte prononciation ? Il me semble que j'ai entendu Comment en dirais-je ? Cette variante existe-t-elle ?
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1answer
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What is the meaning of “effet ’yau de poêle”?

I have seen this under many videos on YouTube in discussions, but I cannot find out what it exactly means and what it refers to, what's the background, what is being referred to? This is one example, ...
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1answer
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L'expression familière “être de” + événement auquel on est invité - régionalisme ou pas ?

J'ai entendu quelques fois en France l'expression familière "être de" signifiant "être invité à, avoir prévu d'assister à", utilisé avec le nom d'un événement tel un mariage, un anniversaire, un ...
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1answer
64 views

“Trust you to do …!” in French

Trust you to be punctual, turning up well into a meeting! This colloquial expression is used here to point out sarcastically that he has arrived with typical punctuality; he can be predictably ...
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1answer
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“One day …, the next …” in French to convey the idea of “how time flies”

One day you’re just a little girl, the next you’re getting ready to get married. I'm proud of the lovely young lady you've turned out to be. === It seems it was just yesterday that you were just a ...
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2answers
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Pourquoi dire « ma journée s’est bien déroulée » ?

Pourquoi utilise-t-on le verbe « se dérouler » dans ce cas ? Cet usage du verbe serait-il métaphorique ? ps: Peut-être comprendrez-vous mieux ce que je vous demande si je vous dis que l'expression ...
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2answers
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Quand utiliser « d’une manière/façon+adj » plutôt qu'un adverbe ?

Comment est-ce que les francophones utilisent les mots « manière » et « façon » ? Utilisent-ils plutôt des adverbes dans leurs phrases ? Par exemple : Il la regarde d’une manière innocente. Il la ...
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1answer
97 views

What's the matter? / What's happening?

Y a-t-il des différences (sens, nuance, registre, conjugaison, etc.) parmi les propositions ci-après ? Que se passe t-il ? Qu'est-ce qui se passe ? Qu'est-ce qu'il y a ? Qu'est-ce ...
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2answers
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What does “cette feuille de platane” mean in this context?

It is from Jules Verne's Navire au large. Ce port, l'ancien Oetylos d'Homère, est situé dans l’une de ces trois profondes indentations qui decoupent, sur la mer Ionienne et sur la mer Égée, cette ...
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1answer
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Can “tirer sa révérence” serve as a euphemism for “prendre sa retraite”?

Chatting with a colleague who has just passed his thirtieth birthday, I said jokingly: Tu ne crois pas qu'il est temps de tirer ta révérence et de laisser la place aux jeunots ? Looking back on it,...
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1answer
38 views

« Il existe » vs « il y a »

Quelles sont les différences majeures entre il y a et il existe ? Dans quels cas peut-on les utiliser indifféremment ? Dans quels cas ne peut-on pas employer l'un à la place de l'autre ?
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1answer
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C'est assez marron !

I know the word "marron" and the expression "être marron", but none of the senses matches with the apparent meaning of the phrase "C'est assez marron !". I encountered this phrase recently in slang (...
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1answer
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Emploi et conjugaison de « ça va aller »

Quand peut-on utiliser l'expression ça va aller ? Peut-on la conjuguer ? Par exemple ç'ira aller s'emploie-t-il ?
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1answer
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“être tête en l'air”: Why use “être”, not “avoir”?

Tu es bien tête en l'air ce matin ! I use this phrase to express the idea of "avoir la tête dans les nuages", but I have always wondered why it is coupled with "être" rather than "avoir". To see "...
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2answers
119 views

In French, how do you say “air quotes”?

I was having a conversation with my friend who has been toying with the idea of living in Tokyo, and I said: It's all very well going all starry-eyed about life in Tokyo, but you'll land back on ...
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In French, how do you say “go starry-eyed about life in Tokyo”?

I was having a conversation with my friend who has been toying with the idea of living in Tokyo, and I said: It's all very well going all starry-eyed about life in Tokyo, but you'll land back on ...
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In French, how do you say “hop onto an express train” as opposed to “get on”?

I just sent an IM in English: This is just a short message, as I'm outside now at a fireworks festival in Nagaoka city in the Niigata prefecture. I could wrap up today's work at 15:30, so we ...