Posts Tagged ‘pis’

I grabbed a handful of usages that have appeared on OffQc since post #1000 and put them in a cloud. Can you explain to yourself how each one might be used? You can click on the image for a larger version.

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During a conversation, someone said:

[bla bla bla bla bla]… et là, mon téléphone sonne.

You’ll find it really useful to learn how to use like this. It means then here. (This is not the same that you read about recently in #1029.)

When you’re recounting past events in a conversation, you can use the expressions et là or, more informally, pis là the way English says and then. In the example above, the verb is in the present tense, but it’s understood that the events occurred in the past.

[bla bla bla bla bla]… et là, mon téléphone sonne.
[blah blah blah blah blah]… and then, my phone rang.

Et là and pis là both mean the same thing. Pis là sounds as if it were written pi là. Pis is a spoken contraction of puis.

You can also say on its own without et or pis before it.

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In a television show called Mensonges, a character who plays an investigator said to another character:

Pis? Ça avance-tu mon enquête?

In this question, we’ve got an example of tu being used to ask a yes-no question.

so? well? and?

ça avance
it’s advancing, moving forward

ça avance-tu?
is it advancing?, moving forward?

mon enquête
my investigation

Remember, the tu in this question can be understood as meaning yes or no? (and not you). It’s used to ask yes-no questions in an informal way in spoken French. Ça avance-[oui ou non], mon enquête?

Pis is a contraction of puis. It sounds as if it were written pi.

Pis? Ça avance-tu mon enquête?
So? Is my investigation moving forward?
So? Is my investigation going well?

This yes-no tu is placed after the conjugated verb.

Tu veux-tu?
Do you want to?

Ça se peut-tu?
Is that possible?

In tenses like the past tense, where there’s an auxiliary and a past participle, tu is placed after the auxiliary.

J’ai-tu dit ça?
Did I say that?

Tu is used to ask yes-no questions. You can’t use it with quand, pourquoi, qui, etc. For example, you can’t ask pourquoi tu fais-tu ça? because that’s not a yes-no question. You’d ask pourquoi tu fais ça? instead.

Can you turn these into yes-no questions with tu?

1. T’aimes ça.
2. On a besoin de ça.
3. T’as peur.

1. T’aimes-tu ça?
2. On a-tu besoin de ça?
3. T’as-tu peur?

There are many more examples of yes-no questions using tu in the downloadable OffQc books.

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Here’s even more wording you can add to your knowledge when asking for something in a restaurant; a guy in his 20s said:

Je vais juste vous demander une cuillère, s’il vous plaît, pis une autre coupe.
Can I just have a spoon, please, and another cup.

sundae, coupe glacée

The guy had just ordered ice cream in a cup (une coupe). Just as it was given to him, this was how he asked for a spoon and another cup — maybe to share with someone.

The image is of a McDonalds style coupe glacée or sundae. The sun part of sundae sounds like sonne; the dae part sounds like dé. If you want a chocolate one, add au chocolat to the term; if you want a caramel one, add au caramel.

un sundae au caramel

You can use the wording in the post about ordering in French at Tim Hortons in Québec to order at McDonalds as well.

Bonjour, je vais prendre le trio Big Mac.Ça va être le filet de poisson. / Un McFlurry, s’il vous plaît. Hello, I’ll take the Big Mac combo. / I’ll have the filet-o-fish. / A McFlurry, please.

You might be asked what size for certain items: Quel format? Some items have special names for sizes (collation, classique, etc.) so look at the overhead screens for the words. Otherwise, you can probably get away with petit, moyen, grand in many situations.

Pis from the quote above sounds like the English word pee, or as if it were written pi in French. It’s a contraction of puis, and it just means and here. If you want to hear it, search for this in Google: site:offqc.com/listen pis and all the videos in the Listen to Québécois French section where it’s used will appear in the results.

In case you missed it, I added a post yesterday about donne-moé don’ also heard when ordering.

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On the radio, I heard a speaker say this in an advertisement:

Pis? Ça va-tu mieux?
So? Is it better? Is that better?
Are things better?

We’ve seen in other posts how pis (sounds like pi and is a contraction of puis) is often used in the sense of and. Although we could in fact translate it as and here, it’s being used as a way to get someone to speak.

And? So? Well?

In the question ça va-tu mieux?, can you identify the subject?

This question contains the informal yes-no question marker tu. You can mentally replace it with oui ou non in your head:

Ça va-tu mieux?
Ça va-[oui ou non] mieux?

This means, of course, that tu is not the subject in this question. Tu only signals here that this is a yes-no question, asked in an informal way.

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