Posts Tagged ‘chicanez-vous pas’

I heard a few uses of chicane on the radio yesterday. This feminine noun means “fight” or “argument.” In particular, I heard these two usages:

une chicane au bureau
a fight at the office
an argument at work

une chicane de famille
a family fight
an argument in the family

I also heard the verb se chicaner, which means “to fight with one another.” Ils se chicanent. They fight with one another.

In particular, the speaker on the radio said this using se chicaner:

Chicanez-vous pas, là!
Don’t fight, now!
No fighting, now!

The speaker said this to two people who were play-fighting on air.

Grammar books would tell us the way to form this negative construction is ne vous chicanez pas. But that’s not what the speaker said — she did indeed say chicanez-vous pas. This is an informal, spoken construction. It was formed by simply adding pas after the affirmative.

chicanez-vous, fight
chicanez-vous pas, don’t fight

One that you’ll hear often enough in spoken French in Québec following this form is inquiète-toi pas, don’t worry.

inquiète-toi, worry
inquiète-toi pas, don’t worry

Remember, this is felt to be informal. When the rules of written grammar must be followed strictly (like on your exam in your French course), you’d have to write ne t’inquiète pas.

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