OK, that’s not entirely true.

Par exemple does mean “for example” in Québec, but in the example below it doesn’t.

On page 174 of her book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Maude Schiltz admits to not drinking enough water between chemotherapy treatments.

She says:

Je ne bois pas assez d’eau. J’essaie, par exemple!

This quote doesn’t seem to make much sense when we translate par exemple as “for example,” does it?

That’s because par exemple means something else here:

Je ne bois pas assez d’eau. J’essaie, par exemple!
I don’t drink enough water. I try, though!

Ha! And you thought you knew what par exemple meant. You can try, the Québécois will always have a little linguistic surprise for you, par exemple! ;-)

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French quote written by: Maude Schiltz, Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville (Québec), 2013, page 174.

Non, merci. Je suis rassasié. Wouf.

Jude sends me a link about the use of the expression je suis plein to mean feeling full after eating.

The author there talks about how je suis plein is not used in France to describe having a full stomach.

In the case of a woman who says je suis pleine, the French may interpret this as meaning she’s pregnant.

But the author also mentions that je suis plein can indeed be heard in Québec and Belgium in the sense of having a stomach full of food.

That makes je suis plein an expression belgiquébécoise.

So, you’re not going to shock anybody in Québec if you decide to use the expression je suis plein. But if you’d rather avoid it, there are other things you can say that work everywhere French is spoken, like:

j’ai (déjà) assez mangé
j’ai (déjà) trop mangé

je n’en peux plus (or more informally j’en peux plus)

The s in plus is silent. Je n’en peux plus means: “I can’t manage [to eat] more.”

If you use these expressions to refuse the offer of more food, you’ll probably want to soften them with other words to avoid seeming rude:

Ah! C’était vraiment délicieux, mais j’ai déjà trop mangé, merci!

You might also hear someone tell you that it’s possible to say je suis rassasié or je suis repu to say that you’re full. I disagree. These expressions are much too formal to be appropriate during a conversation.

Unless you normally say things in English like: “Wow, that BigMac left me replete” or “More pizza? No, thanks, I’m satiated,” then I’d avoid rassasié and repu during conversations in French.

Does je suis plein come from the English “I am full”? I don’t know. But we should consider these points before rushing to label it an anglicism:

1. If the Belgians also say it, it’s unlikely to come from English;
2. Spanish literally says “I am full” (estoy lleno);
3. Italian also literally says “I am full” (sono pieno).

Although, if you’re Italian, you know that your nonna (grandmother) will never accept the idea that you’re full and you’ll be obligated to keep eating.

Another expression used in Québec when full of food is je suis bourré. It’s the equivalent of “I’m stuffed.”

Remember that je suis very often contracts to chu (or chui) during regular conversations: chu plein, chu bourré.

I saw this sign posted on the side of an apartment building. If you’re looking for an apartment to rent in Montréal, it’s a good idea to learn what everything on this sign means.

appartements à louer
apartments for rent

partially furnished

poêle et réfrigérateur
stove and refrigerator

heating included

eau chaude
hot water included

conciergerie et buanderie sur place
maintenance and laundry room on site

Chauffé doesn’t mean the apartment has heating — all apartments in Montréal have heating because of that thing called winter. Chauffé means the costs associated with heating are included in the amount you’ll pay in rent. You don’t need to pay extra for heating, in other words.

The same goes for eau chaude. It means that you don’t need to pay extra for hot water; it’s included in your rent.

Poêle and réfrigérateur are both masculine words.

The sign uses the word une buanderie, but the laundry room is very often called une salle de lavage.

If semi-meublé on this sign means partially furnished, then meublé means fully furnished. If the apartment isn’t furnished at all, it might say non meublé or nothing at all about furniture.

Le concierge is the person who takes care of the building. For example, if you needed a repair in the apartment, you’d call the concierge.

Not on the sign is the term bureau de location. That’s the rental office. If there’s a bureau de location in the building, that’s where you’ll sign your lease (le bail) and make your rental payments every month.

If an apartment is a (un trois et demie), it’s got 3 rooms + bathroom (½). The number before the half symbol tells how many rooms (not bedrooms!) are in the apartment. Note that a room may be a kitchen, living room or bedroom. The half symbol represents the bathroom. In the case of a 3½, you can expect a bedroom (1), kitchen (1), living room (1) and bathroom (½).

Demie is feminine because the word that’s understood is une pièce (room):

un trois et demie
= un [appartement] trois [pièces] et demie

In entry #753, we saw six different expressions used in Québec containing the words chien or chienne.

One of the expressions we saw in that entry was avoir du chien. Here’s what you read in that post about this expression:

If you’ve “got dog,” it’s because you’re determined. You’ve got personality. You’re a go-getter.

Ces deux jeunes-là ont du chien et réalisent de grandes choses.
Those two young people are go-getters and are doing big things.

Elle a du talent et du chien.
She’s got talent and determination.

In the comments section, RogerDog commented that he had seen a sign in Montréal promoting the comedy M. Peabody et Sherman, and that the expression avoir du chien was used on it.

I came across the sign too, so I took a photo. It says:

Une comédie qui a du chien

The expression works well here because one of the characters is a dog.

There are probably different ways to translate this, but if we want to hint at dogs, maybe we can say:

Une comédie qui a du chien
A comedy with bite

I wonder what the English version really says outside of Québec. Has anybody seen a poster for it?

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By the way, the expression avoir du chien means something different in France. The site linternaute.com defines the French use of avoir du chien as meaning “to be beautiful,” when speaking of a woman.

But it goes on to say that a woman qui a du chien is more than just belle; she also has ce petit truc en plus that makes her completely irresistible.

I ate at a Lebanese restaurant with a friend this week.

We sat at a table near the door. Just as we began to eat, a man entered the restaurant. He approached me and looked at what I had ordered.

Then he asked:

C’est quoi ça?
What’s that?

I told him it was the falafel dish. I didn’t mind the question. I was even glad he asked. I mean, hey, it’s frustrating to see a stranger eat something delicious and not know how to order it yourself.

Then he asked another question:

Est-ce que c’est bon?
Is it good?

I answered him again. As a good Samaritan, I was happy to impart a quick and positive opinion about my falafels to a stranger.

Then he asked:

Combien t’as payé ça?
How much did you pay for it?

I answered him again, but now I was hoping he’d stop asking questions. I was hungry and wanted to eat.

The man had other ideas, though. He wasn’t ready to give up. He wanted more. He wanted to look into my soul:

Pourquoi t’as choisi cette assiette?
Why did you choose this dish?

Shit, man. I don’t know. I ordered it ‘cos I like it. We done yet?

Nope. He had yet another question for me, and it included the expression I most dislike in French:

Est-ce que ça représente un bon rapport qualité-prix?
Does it represent a good quality-to-price ratio?

OK seriously, guy?

Stop playing the journalist, go order the fucking falafels, then come back and tell me what you think.

I think this guy’s watched too many episodes of L’épicerie.

The expression un bon rapport qualité-prix is used frequently in advertising.

On television, you’ll hear it used on shows like L’épicerie, where the hosts compare products to help consumers make informed purchases.

I hear the expression often enough in French that it sickens me. When my inquisitioner used it, I wanted to shove my falafels up his nose. Free of charge. Le meilleur rapport qualité-prix en ville.

In the end, the guy didn’t order falafels. In fact, he didn’t order anything at all. He said thanks, turned around, and walked out the restaurant.

Ah come on, man! Live a little. Go do something wild, like eat a falafel…

In Québec, you’ll hear ici also said as icitte. It’s considered to be a very informal way of saying ici.

The other day, I walked past a dépanneur serving the Haitian community in Montréal.

A small sign in the front window caught my attention. The sign is from a mobile phone company; it’s about recharging the minutes on a mobile.

The sign says: METE MINIT ISIT LA

I don’t speak Haitian Creole, but here’s my guess:


Hmm, too québécois with the là, maybe.

More seriously, I’m not entirely sure what la means on the sign. I’m going to hasard a guess and say that isit la means ici même. If anybody knows, leave a comment. (I should’ve gone in and asked…)

As for isit, it seems fairly clear it means icitte, I think!

6 gigs, ça fait beaucoup de selfies

6 gigs, ça fait beaucoup de selfies

I saw this ad in the street from Vidéotron advertising a smartphone special.

6 Go
Ça fait beaucoup de selfies

6 GB
That’s a lot of selfies

Sorry for the quality of the image. There was a lot of light when I took the photo, and I had to position myself to avoid getting my fat face de bœuf in the reflection.

Go (gigaoctet), gigabyte
Mo (mégaoctet), megabyte
ko (kilooctet), kilobyte

Gigaoctet is often shortened to gig when speaking, and mégaoctet to meg.

The selfie is a picture taken of yourself with your phone. When I was at university, before cellphones and later smartphones took over the planet (and before I had even sent my very first email ever), we used to playfully call the selfie une autophoto in French!

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Update (2014/04/11)

Some readers have made comments that I’d like to add here. On Twitter, @desrosier_j suggests moivatar for selfie. In the comments below, iericksen mentioned égoportrait. On the OffQc Facebook page, Maria pointed out that the OQLF has already recommended autophoto and égoportrait.