Posts Tagged ‘c’est s’a coche’

We’ve seen in past entries how sur le and sur la have a tendency of contracting during everyday conversations in French.

sur le can become

sur la can become

This means you might hear, for example, sur le bord pronounced as su’l bord. Do you remember the expression c’est s’a coche? This is an informal way of saying that something is amazing, the best. The s’a in this expression is a contraction of sur la.

One contraction that we haven’t looked at much and also using sur is the contraction formed when sur and les come together:

sur les can become

I’ll put you to the challenge of learning to hear the contracted form s’es in Lisa LeBlanc’s song J’pas un cowboy.

Listen to this part of the song (video below), which begins at 1:14:

J’ai pas de belt avec un fusil
But j’ai un beau coat de cuir

Avec des franges s’es manches pour que ça seye crédible

I don’t have a belt with a gun
But I’ve got a nice leather coat
With tassels on the sleeves to make it authentic

s’es manches
= sur les manches

pour que ça seye crédible
= pour que ça soit crédible

Lisa LeBlanc may be from New Brunswick, but the contracted form s’es can also be heard in Québec when people speak French informally.

You don’t need to start using these informal contractions yourself, but you do need to be able to recognise them.

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Is there anybody you care so much about that you’d throw yourself in front of a bus to save them from being hit?

Here’s what an Urbania author had to say:

Y’a deux personnes sua Terre pour qui, sans y penser pantoute, je pourrais me garrocher devant un autobus si ledit autobus devait les frapper.

Without having to think about it at all, there are two people on Earth who I could throw myself in front of a bus for, if said bus were about to hit them.

1. garrocher = jeter
2. sua = sur la
3. pantoute = (pas) du tout
4. y’a = il y a

Garrocher is mostly a québécois usage, although some other francophone regions may use it as well. You’ll hear it used literally and figuratively in the sense of throwing things (garrocher des roches, garrocher des insultes) and even throwing oneself (se garrocher devant un autobus, se garrocher par terre).

When sur and la come together (as they do here in sur la Terre), you may hear a contracted form. One of them is s’a, the other is su’a. We’ve come across s’a before in the expression c’est s’a coche from entry #626.

Pantoute is a strictly informal usage. J’aime pas ça pantoute! (I don’t like it one bit!) Je veux pas y aller pantoute! (I don’t wanna go there at all!) C’est pas vrai pantoute! (That’s not true at all!) As-tu peur, toi? Non, pantoute! (Are you scared? No, not at all!)

You’ll hear il y a pronounced as y’a, and il n’y a pas pronounced as y’a pas.

Ledit is a formal written usage, used here for comical effect. It’s like saying “said bus” rather than simply saying “that bus” (ledit autobus / cet autobus-là). This word has four forms: ledit, ladite, lesdits, lesdites.

_ _ _

French quote by: Véronique Grenier, « Amour », Urbania, 12 février 2014.

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In this La Presse article about the use of coupons at Maxi (a supermarket in Québec), we learn that une couponneuse is an avid coupon collector and user.

According to the article (16 June 2013), the majority of couponneuses are women between the ages of 25 and 45:

[…] les accros des coupons, qu’on appelle familièrement les couponneuses (majoritairement des femmes de 25 à 45 ans).


After writing about the expression être s’a coche, Eva commented that she knew another expression from Québec using the word coche: péter une coche.

This expression means to get angry and “blow a fuse” or “lose it.” Here’s an example of this expression pulled from the Wikébec glossary:

Y’a pété une coche quand y’a coulé son examen.
= Il a pété une coche quand il a coulé son examen.
He lost it when he flunked his exam.

You may also hear sauter une coche used in the same sense.


You’ve already seen the verb couler from the example above (couler son examen) if you’ve read this entire blog. I’ve used examples of it from TV series like Les Parent, La Galère and 30 vies. The kids in these shows talk about flunking at school using the verb couler.

For example, Olivier in Les Parent said this about his maths teacher:

Y fait couler tout le monde!
He flunks everybody!

[Les Parent, season 4, episode 15, Radio-Canada, Montréal, 6 February 2012]

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C’est s’a coche! Ian asks me about the meaning of the expression être s’a coche used by younger people in Québec.

The Wikébec glossary defines this expression here as: être à la page, à la mode, intéressant, super, plaisant. We could also add “cool” to this list. In short, it means that something is very good.

Maybe you’re confused about the s’a in the middle of it. This s’a is in fact an informal spoken contraction of sur la. If we were to “decontract” the expression, it would be être sur la coche.

Une coche is a nick or mark, like the kind made with a knife by carving a notch in a piece of wood.

In French, the expression être à côté de la coche refers to being off the mark, on the wrong track. If being off the mark is bad, then maybe we can say that being on the mark, like in être s’a coche, has to be very good!

I found a clip on YouTube of two people practising a slogan to promote their restaurant’s poutine. They use the expression être s’a coche in the video: Au resto Magik Gus, la poutine est s’a coche!

Here’s another clip where the expression is used. In this ad from the STM (Montréal’s public transport provider), the speakers flaunt the ecological nature of the métro.

At the end of the clip, a kid yells out: Le métro, c’est s’a coche!

Maybe you noticed that the uploader of this video entitled it Le métro, c’est su’a coche. The contraction su’a means the same thing as s’a. In fact, it’s half-way between sur la and s’a!

Contracting sur la isn’t limited to this expression. You may hear it contracted elsewhere during an informal conversation. I suggest that you stick with the full sur la in regular language situations yourself — except perhaps with this informal expression, if you’re particularly keen on using it!

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