While shopping in an office supplies store in Montréal, I came across two signs for sale: one reads vente de garage, and the other vente-débarras.
Both terms refer to what’s known in English as a garage sale, which is an informal sale held by the residents of a house, usually in their driveway or on their front lawn.
At garage sales, people usually sell off whatever household items they no longer want, like books, furniture, kitchenware and blackrubberything that’s been sitting at the back of your garage for the past decade.
Is there any difference between the two French terms vente de garage and vente-débarras?
Although they both refer to a garage sale, only vente-débarras is approved by the Office québécois de la langue française. The Office encourages this term in the hope they’ll render vente de garage obsolete because it derives from English.
The term vente de garage is nowhere near obsolete, however. In regular language, it’s still the usual term used to talk about garage sales.