Posts Tagged ‘gratter une guitare’

I went through the last dozen posts on OffQc, pulled out key expressions and vocabulary, then rearranged it all into this dialogue for review. (If you squint your eyes and plug your nose, it almost sounds like a real dialogue, with a surprise ending and all.)

Enweille! Qu’est-ce tu fais? C’est pas l’temps d’niaiser!
J’gratte ma guitare, man…
— Ah, c’est l’fun, hein?
Pas tant qu’ça. J’file pas… J’peux-tu t’bummer une smoke?
— Euh… non.
T’es ben gratteux, toé. Enweille, donne-moé une smoke. J’te niaise pas. J’ai un paquet d’problèmes! Mon restaurant spécialisé en grilled cheese a été vandalisé.
— Ah, ok. Bon ben… c’est pour ici ou pour emporter?
— Quoi?
Tes Timbits, c’est pour manger ici ou pour emporter?
— Ah, ouais… mes Timbits… euh, pour emporter… merci…

— Come on! What’re ya doing? Quit wasting time!
— Strummin’ my guitar, man…
— Ah, that’s fun, huh?
— Not really. I’m not feelin’ good… Can I bum a smoke off ya?
— Uh… no.
— You’re so cheap. Come on, give me a smoke. I’m not kidding. I’ve got a whole bunch of problems! My restaurant specialised in grilled cheese was broken into.
— Ah, ok. Right so… is it for here or to go?
— What?
— Your Timbits, are they for here or to go?
— Oh yeah.. my Timbits… uh, they’re to go… thanks…

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In the last post, we looked at the expression un paquet de gens, used in an article in the Montréal edition of 24 Heures.

There’s more language to look at from that same edition of the newspaper. A different article bears this title:

«Facebook a starté la personne musicale que je suis»

[Source: «Facebook a starté la personne musicale que je suis» (Camille Dufrétel), 24 Heures Montréal, 13-15 mai 2016, vol. 16, no. 44, p. W30.]

The title is in fact a quote said by a musician called Maryanne Côté, who, as the title suggests, got her start on Facebook.

The verb starter is clearly a borrowing from English, and a colloquial usage, which is why the editors chose to put it in italics.

In English, what Côté said literally means: Facebook started the musical person I am, or more naturally: I got my start in music on Facebook.

Elsewhere in the article, we also read:

[Côté] gratte la guitare […] depuis quelques années.

In a past post, we looked at some different ways gratteux might be heard in Québécois usage. For example, un gratteux is a scratch-and-win lotto ticket, and a person described as being gratteux is stingy, tight with money.

Gratteux is obviously related to the verb gratter, used in today’s quote. Gratter literally means to scratch, but the expression gratter la guitare is used in the sense of to play/strum the guitar.

(By the way, if you’re going to use jouer, the expression is jouer de la guitare — don’t forget the de. Similarly: jouer de la flûte, jouer du violon, jouer du piano, jouer de la musique, etc.)


The OffQc book Contracted French will help you to make sense of the most frequently used contractions heard in spoken language and increase your understanding of what francophones are saying to you. You can buy and download it here.

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