Posts Tagged ‘overheard’

You’ve arrived at a waiting room and taken a number.

The receptionist says you can leave and come back later (instead of waiting there the entire time), but she also tells you to not go far so you don’t miss your number being called.

In a situation similar to the one described above, two different people said to me, in French, an equivalent of: “Don’t go far.” Can you guess how they both said it?

They said:

Restez pas loin.

Of course, more literally, this means “stay nearby,” but it was used in the same sense as the English “don’t go far.”

Can you identify what makes restez pas loin a colloquial usage?


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Overheard in French: someone who said an equivalent of “I tripped” (i.e., he lost footing).

To say this, he didn’t use the verb trébucher. He didn’t use tomber, either. And he didn’t use tripper from the last post, which of course has a different meaning altogether.

So what verb did he use? He used s’enfarger.

s’enfarger, to trip
il s’est enfargé, he tripped
s’enfarger dans l’escalier, to trip in the staircase
s’enfarger dans ses lacets, to trip on one’s (shoe)laces

S’enfarger can also be used in a figurative sense.

Il s’est enfargé dans mon nom.
He got (said) my name wrong.
Literally: He “tripped” on my name.

Il s’est s’enfargé sounds like i sé t’enfargé in spoken language.

Enfarger quelqu’un means to trip someone, for example, by sticking your leg out so he falls over it.

In short:

s’enfarger, to trip
enfarger quelqu’un, to trip someone

Using enfarger or s’enfarger, can you now say he tripped me; I tripped; I tripped on my laces?


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Inside one of Montréal's new métro trains (March 2016)

Inside one of Montréal’s new métro trains (March 2016)

In the last post, we saw how a saleslady in Montréal said:

Vous avez rien trouvé à vot’ goût?

She said this to two customers on their way out of the shop, upon seeing that they hadn’t bought anything.

She also said something else to them, the meaning of which you should learn:

Bye, au plaisir!

What’s understood in this expression is au plaisir de vous revoir, or au plaisir de te revoir (looking forward to seeing you again; see you again soon, etc.). You can say it when saying good-bye to someone.

If you signed off an email with au plaisir, then what’s understood is looking forward to hearing back from you, to hearing from you again soon, etc.

This is a nice, short expression you can learn, so as to avoid making long and convoluted literal translations of the English versions above.


I’m still working on the next OffQc guide (the one about contractions). I won’t say when it’ll be ready yet because I’m still busy with it, but I’m getting closer to finishing every day. In the meantime, you can get caught up with the guides that are already on sale, if you haven’t got them yet:

All are available here in the OffQc store.

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Boulevard Saint-Joseph, à Montréal [mars 2016]

Before we look at the question in the title, consider this situation:

In a shop in Montréal, two customers left without buying anything. On their way out, the saleslady asked them in French an equivalent of you didn’t find anything you liked?

Can you guess how she might have asked this?

She didn’t use the verb aimer.

She didn’t used the verb plaire, either.

But she did use the noun gôut. More specifically, she used the expression à votre goût, meaning to your liking. Can you make a guess now?

Here’s what she said:

Vous avez rien trouvé à vot’ goût?
You didn’t find anything you liked?
(You didn’t find anything to your liking?)

Remember, ne is omitted in spoken language; rather than vous n’avez rien trouvé, you’ll hear vous avez rien trouvé.

Votre was pronounced colloquially as vot’, which sounds like the French word vote.

Let’s look now at the question in the title.

In a restaurant, a waiter or waitress might ask you:

Est-ce que c’est à votre goût?
Everything good? ok?
(Is it to your liking?)

In this case, you’re being asked if you like the dish that’s been served to you.


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Here are a few more examples of French overheard in Montréal today, and that I’ve managed to remember long enough to create a new post! 😀

Y’a-tu une caisse pop?

Is there a (Desjardins) credit union (around here)?

A man who passed by in his car asked me this.

Y’a-tu is an informal equivalent of est-ce qu’il y a? You’ll remember that y’a is a spoken pronunciation of il y a. The tu after it turns it into a yes-no question.

Caisse pop is an informal abbreviation of caisse populaire. Desjardins is a caisse populaire.

Attention à gauche!

Look out on your left!

A man on a bike yelled this just before passing by some people walking on a bike path. He said à gauche because he was coming up quickly from behind the walkers and intended to pass on their left.

It’s also possible to say just à gauche! or attention!

Jus d’ananas

Pineapple juice

The final s in ananas isn’t pronounced — anana.

The letter a appears three times in ananas — you’ll probably hear the last a pronounced like the vowel sound heard in the word bas in this video (at 0:15) or in the words pas and chat in this video (at 0:20). The other two sound like the vowel sound in la, sa, ta, etc.

T’es ben fin.

That’s really nice/kind of you.
(literally, you’re really nice/kind)

Fin is often used in the sense of nice or kind, like gentil. The feminine form is fine. T’es, an informal contraction of tu es, sounds like té. Ben, from bien, rhymes with fin. (A better spelling would be bin, which is phonetic, but I use ben here because it’s the more common spelling.) Ben means really here.

If this had been said to a woman, it would be t’es ben fine.

Even though fin and fine resemble English words, they’re not — pronounce them as French words. As for gentil, remember that the final L isn’t pronounced. In the feminine form gentille, the final ille sounds the ille in fille. Be careful not to use that ille sound in the masculine gentil, which just ends in an i sound.

C’est gentil, merci!
That’s kind of you, thanks!

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