Posts Tagged ‘‘es’

At a restaurant, I found a pair of keys at the counter. I picked them up and asked a man beside me if they were his. He said he had in fact seen the keys sitting there on the counter before, but they weren’t his.

He said:

Ah! j’es ai vues tantôt.
Oh, I saw ’em before!

What’s going on in this sentence?

First, here’s what it sounds like: jé zé vu tan tô.

What happened here is les got shortened to ‘es. It lost its first letter. It’s not so strange; that happens in English too: “I saw ’em.”

les = them
‘es = ’em

je les ai vues
(sounds like je lé zé vu)
I saw them

j’es ai vues
(sounds like jé zé vu)
I saw ’em

Contracting les to ‘es like this is an informal feature only, just like dropping the “th” in “them.” You don’t have to adopt this feature yourself when you speak, but you do need to recognise it.

What about tantôt?

This is a very useful word. It’s used to refer to a moment in the near past or in the near future.

Désolé pour tantôt.
Sorry about earlier on.
Sorry for what happened earlier on.

Merci pour tantôt.
Thanks for earlier on.
Thanks for what you did earlier on.

Tantôt tu disais que…
You were just saying how…
You just finished saying how…

À tantôt!
See you in a bit!

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