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Here are three expressions that have come up in conversations recently, and which are usually underused or unknown by learners of French.

1. DE BONNE HEURE

De bonne heure means early. Arriver de bonne heure, to arrive early. Se lever de bonne heure, to get up early.

Y’est d’bonne heure un peu, mais j’vas fêter ça quand meme.
(=Il est de bonne heure un peu, mais je vais fêter ça quand même.)
It’s a bit early, but I’m gonna celebrate it anyway.

Y’est d’bonne heure sounds like yéd / bonne / heure. The conjugation j’vas rhymes with pas. The j and v are said together, with no vowel sound between, as jva. J’vas is a colloquial form of je vais.

2. ÇA M’TENTE PAS

We’ve looked often at this expression, but there’s a very good reason — it’s frequently used in conversations, and you need to know it. Instead of saying j’veux pas all the time, you can try to work in ça m’tente pas.

Des fois ça m’tente pas.
(=Des fois [parfois] ça ne me tente pas.)
Sometimes I don’t want to.

Ça m’tente pas d’sortir.
(=Ça ne me tente pas de sortir.)
I don’t wanna go out.

To pronounce ça m’tente, imagine the m as being on the end of ça instead: çam / tente / pas. The same goes for pas d’sortir; imagine the d as being on the end of pas instead: çam / tente / pad / sortir.

3. FAUDRAIT BEN QUE

Here’s a colloquial expression that might be used in place of j’devrais, tu devrais, etc. It’s a short form of il faudrait bien que. It means (I, you…) really should (do), (I, you…) really must be (doing). This expression is followed by the subjunctive.

Ça m’tente pas trop, mais faudrait ben qu’j’me lève.
(=Ça ne me tente pas trop, mais il faudrait bien que je me lève.)
I don’t really wanna, but I really should get up.

Ben sounds like the French word bain. Ben qu’ sounds like bain with a k on the end of it. In j’me, the j and m are said together, with no vowel sound in between: faudraitbaink / jme / lève.

Faudrait ben qu’tu’m’racontes ça.
(=Il faudrait bien que tu me racontes ça.)
You really gotta tell me all about it.

You’d say this last one as: faudrait / baink / tum / racontes / ça. Of course, you’ll remember that the t of tu in fact sounds like ts when pronounced by the Québécois (like the ts in the English words cats, bats, hats): faudrait / baink / tsum / racontes / ça.

With these expressions in mind, can you say the following in French?

I don’t really want to leave early.
I really should do that, even if I don’t wanna.
I really gotta start getting up early.

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Lots of contractions in this post — learn how words contract in spoken Québécois French (with audio): read Contracted French

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