Posts Tagged ‘cent’

Julie LaferrièreIf you live in Montréal and read the Métro while riding the métro, perhaps you’ve come across Julie Laferrière’s column Hors du commun on Tuesdays.

In her column, Laferrière shares her experiences while using public transportation in Montréal.

In her article La noblesse (9 Dec. 2013), Laferrière describes an experience with a homeless man at métro Saint-Laurent: The homeless man asks her for change, but she doesn’t have any. Instead, she offers him the nuts she’s just bought at the dépanneur. The only problem is that he’s got no teeth and can’t eat them. The experience moves her.

In her article, there are several québécois usages that we can look at. On her way to the métro, Laferrière describes how hungry she was:

(…) je n’ai rien avalé depuis la toast de 7 h ce matin.
I haven’t eaten anything since the toast (that I ate) at 7 this morning.

She decides to go the dépanneur to buy a snack:

J’opte alors pour le dépanneur du métro Saint-Laurent et je jette mon dévolu sur un gros sac de noix.
So I decide to go the dépanneur at métro Saint-Laurent, and I set my sights on a big bag of nuts.

After she buys the nuts, a homeless man calls out to her and asks for twenty-five cents:

Madame, t’as-tu vingt-cinq cennes S.V.P.?
Madame, d’ya have twenty-five cents, please?

Laferrière doesn’t have change, so she offers him the nuts she’s just bought. With a large toothless smile, the man tells her:

T’es ben fine, mais j’pourrai pas faire grand-chose avec ça.
You’re really kind, but there’s not much I can do with that [with the nuts].

To read the entire article, click here or on the image above.

une toast
a piece of toast
Toast is a feminine word in French.

un dépanneur
a shop where you can buy snacks, cigarettes, milk, etc.

ya got…?
d’ya have…?
Read more about this informal usage here.

une cenne
one cent

vingt-cinq cennes
twenty-five cents

ben [sounds like bain]

t’es ben fine [said to a woman]
you’re really nice, kind

t’es ben fin [said to a man]
you’re really nice, kind

There are some other expressions in the article that you might like to learn:

il flatte son chien
he’s patting his dog

j’ai une boule dans la gorge
I’ve got a knot in my throat [because of emotion]

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Chris asks what the phrase arrondissement du cent means on a receipt he received at the grocery store (à l’épicerie).

The penny (sou noir or cenne noire) isn’t used in Canada anymore, so the price you pay is now rounded up or down to the nearest increment of five cents if you’re paying cash. Cash registers still display the price before being rounded-off.

If the cash register displays 6,52 $ (six et cinquante-deux), round the price down and pay 6,50 $ (six et cinquante). If it displays 6,53 $ (six et cinquante-trois), round the price up and pay 6,55 $ (six et cinquante-cinq).

A receipt may show both the original price and the rounded-off price. If it shows the rounded-off price, it may be preceded by something like montant arrondi or, like on the receipt that Chris received, arrondissement du cent.

The verb arrondir means “to round off.” Rounding up is arrondir à la hausse. Rounding down is arrondir à la baisse.

You’ll often hear cashiers call the receipt une facture. For example, a cashier may ask if you want the receipt by saying:

Voulez-vous la facture?
Do you want the receipt?

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I heard two strangers say these examples of French yesterday in Montréal. They are both related to money.

1. Est-ce qu’y’a quelqu’un qui a jusse vingt cennes?

A street kid asked this question of all the passers-by around him. It means: “Is there anybody who’s got just twenty cents?”

I’ve written it above exactly as he pronounced it.

est-ce qu’y’a [esskya] = est-ce qu’il y a
jusse = juste
vingt cennes = vingt cents

Cenne is a feminine word, une cenne. It’s an informal pronunciation of cent.

Cent is a masculine word, un cent. When cent means “cent” (as in $0.01), it’s pronounced like the English word “sent.” Don’t pronounce it like the French word for 100 in this sense.

Cent is a more formal usage than cenne. The word cent is used on Canadian coins, for example. In regular conversations, it’s pronounced cenne.

You may remember that sou also means “cent” in Québec.

vingt cennes
vingt sous
twenty cents

The terms cenne noire and sou noir both referred to the penny, but this coin is no longer in circulation in Canada. The noir part referred to the colour that the coin took on through use.

2. Payez-vous débit ou comptant?

A cashier asked me this. It means: “Are you paying by debit or cash?”

When you pay by debit card, the money is taken immediately out of your bank account.

Débit is pronounced débi. Comptant sounds like the French word content. The expression payer comptant means “to pay cash” (and not “to pay happy”!).

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