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Posts Tagged ‘prends-moi pas’

If you’re new to OffQc, you might like to get a copy of C’est what?

C’est what? is an OffQc guide that you can use to get started in understanding what makes Québécois French Québécois, with lots of examples that you can use immediately yourself in conversations. You can buy it here, or you can learn more about it here first.

In C’est what?, there’s an example on the page for sentence 5 that reads: Prends-moi pas pour un cave. Literally, it means don’t take me for an idiot, but it can be used where an English speaker might say I’m not an idiot, you know. How does this sentence work exactly?

Prends-moi pas pour un cave.

  • prends-moi, take me
  • prends-moi pas, take me not
  • pour, for
  • un cave, an idiot

If you’re taking French lessons, you’ll have learned (or will learn) to negate prends-moi like this: ne me prends pas. But that’s not what we’ve got in the example above; we’ve got prends-moi pas. Why?

Negating prends-moi as prends-moi pas is an informal usage. It’s what you’d hear used spontaneously in conversations. You’ll notice this informal negation is simply the affirmative form with pas added to it.

Today, I heard someone say in French don’t listen to them, in an informal style. Based on the above, can you guess how it was said?

Answer
If listen to them is écoute-les, then the informal negation of it is écoute-les pas. (The non-colloquial way is ne les écoute pas.)

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Ostie que ça pue

Here are 5 items in French that you’ll find useful to learn. This list of 5 all started with 1 smelly garbage bin in Montréal…

1. Ostie que ça pue!

“Fuck that stinks!” I heard a man yell this while standing at a bus stop with some friends. Near them was a smelly garbage bin.

When something stinks, ça pue.

Ostie derives from hostie, the sacramental bread for Catholics. Variations of the swear word ostie exist, like estie and astie.

Yelling ostie or one of its variations is equivalent to yelling “fuck!”

Ostie que ça pue dans ta chambre!
Does it ever fucking stink in your room!

Remember how vidanges means “garbage” in Québec? I found this example on the web using both puer from our example above and vidanges:

J’devrais p’t’être sortir les vidanges qui puent la marde.
= Je devrais peut-être sortir les vidanges qui puent la marde.
I should probably take out the garbage which smells like shit.

2. Marde

That last example used puer la marde, “to smell like shit.” And that’s not a spelling mistake for merde — you really will hear marde in Québec.

Merde is also understood, like everywhere in the French-speaking world, but marde is distinctively québécois shit.

In a scene from La Galère (season 3, episode 10), Claude panics when her fiancé leaves her. She exclaims:

J’sus dans marde!
I’m in deep shit! I’m screwed!

3. J’sus dans marde!

When you’re up shit’s creek, t’es dans marde. The expression is être dans la marde, but you’ll hear it said as être dans marde, without la. It’s an informal contraction where la gets swallowed up by dans.

J’sus sounds like chu. It means the same thing as je suis, but chu is an informal pronunciation of it. Another informal pronunciation you’ll hear is j’suis, which sounds like chui.

In another scene from La Galère (season 2, episode 2), Stéphanie is angry because she’s let herself get hurt again by her boyfriend. She uses the informal j’sus when she says:

J’sus cave, j’sus cave, ostie, j’sus cave.
I’m so stupid, so stupid, fuck, I’m so stupid.

4. Cave

Un cave is an idiot. Olivier from Les Parent (season 3, episode 19) says:

Prenez-moi pas pour un cave!
I’m not stupid, you know!
(Don’t take me for an idiot!)

He used the vous form because he was speaking to more than one person. If we convert it to the tu form, it becomes prends-moi pas pour un cave!

5. Prends-moi pas

This form is an informal usage. According to the rules of standard written French, it would have to be ne me prends pas. During conversations, you’re very likely to hear it said as prends-moi pas instead.

Here’s another example of this with the verb toucher.

1. touche-moi
2. touche-moi pas
3. ne me touche pas

(1) is the affirmative form. (2) is an informal spoken form in the negative. (3) is the standard written form in the negative.

Below is an example from the web using touche-moi pas. And just to take us full-circle back to number 1 of this list, it also uses the verb puer as part of the expression puer la sueur, similar to puer la marde.

Tu pues la sueur dès huit heures le matin.
Touche-moi pas!

You stink of sweat as early as 8 o’clock in the morning.
Don’t touch me!

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