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Archive for the ‘Entries #1001-1050’ Category

I tried on an article of clothing in a store recently. When I came out of the cabin after trying it on, a woman working at the counter asked me if it fit.

Any idea how she might’ve said it?

She asked:

Ça vous faisait?

When talking about clothes, faire can be used in the sense of to fit.

If you wanted to ask a friend does it fit?, you might say:

Est-ce que ça te fait?
Est-ce que ça fait?

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A reader of OffQc asks how to say looking forward (to it) and looking forward to the weekend. You can use j’ai hâte, which means I’m looking forward to it or I can’t wait. If you want to say what it is that you’re looking forward to, use the preposition à before it:

J’ai hâte à la fin de semaine.
I’m looking forward to the weekend.
I can’t wait for the weekend.

J’ai hâte à lundi.
I’m looking forward to Monday.
I can’t wait for Monday.

J’ai hâte à l’été.
I’m looking forward to the summer.
I can’t wait for the summer.

But use de before a verb in the infinitive:

J’ai hâte de partir en vacances.
I’m looking forward to leaving on holiday.
I can’t wait to leave on holiday.

J’ai hâte de faire ça.
I’m looking forward to doing it.
I can’t wait to do it.

Use que before a subject, followed by the subjunctive:

J’ai hâte que tu viennes.
I’m looking forward to you coming.
I can’t wait for you to come.

J’ai hâte qu’il fasse chaud.
I’m looking forward to it being hot out.
I can’t wait for it to be hot out.

J’ai hâte à la fin de semaine!

Pronunciation

Hâte sounds a little like the English word ought. That’s because the h is silent, and the â resembles something falling in between the English aw and ow sounds. (That’s the Québécois pronunciation; a European speaker pronounces hâte like the English word at.)

Fin de semaine is pronounced spontaneously as fin d’semaine. But when this contraction occurs, the d’ is in fact pronounced like a t. This means fin d’semaine sounds like fin t’semaine. To say it, say fin with a t sound on the end of it, then say semaine.

À la, maybe you’ll remember, often contracts to à’ in spontaneous speech. (It sounds like an ever-so-slightly longer à.) This means à la fin de semaine can be pronounced spontaneously as à’ fin t’semaine.

Try saying j’ai hâte à la fin de semaine again, using this knowledge.

Hâte –> haste

The circumflex accent in French (e.g., in words like forêt, arrêt, hâte) can replace what used to be an s. English conserved that s: forest, arrest, haste. J’ai hâte literally means “I have haste.”

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During a conversation, I heard someone say a French equivalent of it went well. For example, if someone asked you how things had gone on your exam, you might say it went well (if it did indeed go well, of course).

How did the person say it in French?

Ça a bien été.

Ça a can contract to ç’a (sounds like sa), which gives us:

Ç’a bien été.

Because of the liaison, été is actually pronounced n’été here.

If someone tells you this expression doesn’t exist in French, don’t believe it. Ç’a bien été is very frequently used — in Québec, at any rate.

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In entry #1040, we saw a common expression underused by learners of Frenchça se peut. It means that’s possible.

In today’s post, let’s look at another common expression learners of French tend not to use.

This week, I returned an item I’d bought at a store. As the cashier was processing the return, she asked me to sign a form and to write in a reason for the return. She explained it didn’t really matter what the reason was; I just needed to write in anything. She said:

Ça prend juste une raison.
You just need (to provide) a reason.

Ça prend is used frequently in spoken language, but it’s usually not taught to learners of French. You’ve probably learned il faut, but not ça prend. They mean the same thing.

Pour magasiner en ligne, ça prend une carte de crédit.
You need a credit card to shop online.

Pour aller en Turquie, ça prend un billet d’avion.
You need a plane ticket to go to Turkey.

Ça prend literally means it takes (it takes a credit card; it takes a plane ticket), which is sometimes used in English too:

Ça prend du guts pour apprendre le français.
It takes guts to learn French.

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I took a look at some of the search terms visitors have used recently to land on OffQc via Google. In this post, I’ll try to provide the answers these visitors were looking for.

The search terms (in blue) are reproduced here exactly as the visitor spelled them in Google.

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #1:
french canadian pronunciation of the word “pet” (fart)

The French word for fart is un pet. What I think you were probably wondering is whether or not the t on the end of pet is pronounced. The answer is yes. You’ll hear pet pronounced pètt in Québec.

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #2:
le mot quebecois away la

The word you’re looking for is enweille or aweille. (The weille part sounds like the English word way. Other spellings are used as well, like awèye and enwèye.) Saying enweille! to someone is a way of motivating that person (as in you can do it!) or telling that person to get a move on, to hurry up (as in come on!).

For example, a coach might say enweille! to his players to encourage them (i.e., let’s go, you can do it!), or an angry parent might say it to his dillydallying child (i.e., come on, let’s go, move it!).

The expression let’s go! is also used in French, and it might be used alongside enweille:

Enweille, let’s go, let’s go!
You can do it, let’s go, let’s go!

Enweille, let’s go, let’s go!
Hurry up, let’s go, let’s go!

The Google searcher also wrote la in his search terms, which is of course là. can be used with enweille for emphasis: Enweille, là!

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #3:
meaning je capote

Je capote can mean either I love it! (when happy) or I’m flipping out! (when angry).

For example, if someone’s really excited about something (winning a prize, for example), that person might say je capote! (I love it! This is so awesome!). A person who’s really angry about something might also say je capote! (I’m flipping out! I’m freaking out!).

The spontaneously used pronunciation is in fact j’capote, which sounds like ch’capote. 

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #4:
expression prendre une brosse

The Québécois expression prendre une brosse means to get drunk, wasted, sloshed, etc. A variation on this expression is virer une brosse.

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #5
tu es fine in English

Tu es fine literally means you’re nice, you’re kind. It can also be translated as that’s kind of you. Fine is the feminine form. The masculine form is fin.

Remember, tu es contracts to t’es in regular speech (sounds like ), so you’ll hear it said spontaneously as t’es fine (for a woman) and t’es fin (for a man).

Other ways you can hear it said are: t’es ben fine, t’es ben fin and t’es don’ ben fine, t’es don’ ben fin. Ben sounds like the French word bain; it’s a contraction of bien. Ben fine and ben fin mean very kind, very nice. Don’ (from donc) adds even more emphasis. T’es don’ ben fine! (to a woman) You’re really kind! You’re really nice! That’s so very kind of you!

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #6
capoti bain bain raide

What you want is capoter ben ben raide. Here’s the verb capoter again. Capoter ben raide means to totally flip out (in anger), to flip out big time, to totally lose it, etc.

Again, ben is a contraction of bien; it sounds like the French word bain. It means really here, and it can be repeated for emphasis. Raide literally means stiff, but it’s used here to reinforce, like ben.

J’ai capoté ben raide!
I totally flipped out! I totally lost it! I lost it big time!

GOOGLE SEARCH TERMS #7
en calvaire québécois

In a recent post, we saw that être en tabarnak is a vulgar way of saying to be angry, similar to the English to be pissed off. Être en calvaire means the same thing. If you’re en calvaire, then you’re pissed off.

En calvaire can also be used as a rude reinforcer, like a vulgar version of the word très. (This goes for en tabarnak as well.) I’ fait chaud en calvaire, for example, means it’s really goddamn hot out.

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