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Posts Tagged ‘quand même’

A good expression to know that came up while I was listening to the radio is quand même.

You’re probably familiar with quand même when it means “anyway,” like this: C’est cher, mais je vais l’acheter quand même. It’s expensive, but I’m going to buy it anyway.

A usage you might be less familiar with is when quand même is used to show surprise.

Overheard on the radio:

— Ça coûte deux millions de dollars. Quand même!
— Quelle aubaine!

— It costs two million dollars. Imagine that!
— What a great price!

The speaker who said it was an aubaine said this sarcastically. He didn’t really believe it to be a great price.

Another example:

— Il roulait à 130 kilomètres à l’heure.
— Quand même…

— He was driving at 130 kilometres per hour.
— Imagine that…

We’ve also got aubaine in the first example above. Learn that one too. It’s a feminine word and refers to a good price, a sale item: C’est une aubaine. It’s a good deal, a good price.

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More overheard French from around Montréal for you (1. enweille, 2. on se dépêche, 3. bonne fin de semaine), plus Chris asks a question about the expression quand même.

1. Enweille!

Come on! This was said by a dad to his son, who was lingering behind a little. He used enweille to tell his son to get a move on, to hurry up.

Not only can enweille be used to encourage someone to hurry up (enweille, on est en retard!, “come on, we’re late!”), it can also be used to motivate someone (enweille, t’es capable!, “come on, you can do it!”).

Although this expression is used mostly in spoken French, you’ll also sometimes see it in informal writing. It can take on all kinds of different spellings, like anweille, enweille, enwèye…

Enweille isn’t the only way to encourage people to hurry up…

2. On se dépêche!

Hurry up! Quickly! A teacher on a Montréal STM bus was travelling with a large group of students, about 15 of them. When they were getting off at their stop, the teacher yelled out repeatedly on se dépêche! to encourage the students to get out fast and not hold up the bus.

She used the on form of the verb se dépêcher to give an order, instead of the imperative (dépêchez-vous). This isn’t unusual. Another example of this might be calming down a hysterical friend by saying on se calme!!

3. Bonne fin de semaine!

Have a good weekend! The weekend has two names in Québec: (la) fin de semaine and (le) week-end. You’ve maybe heard that fin de semaine is how weekend is said in Québec and that week-end is how it’s said in France. This is only partly true.

Yes, fin de semaine is a québécois usage, but this doesn’t mean that week-end isn’t used in Québec. You’ll see and hear week-end used extensively in québécois media, and you’ll sometimes hear people say it too during conversations. That said, fin de semaine is still perceived to be the typically québécois way of saying it.

4. And a question from Chris

Chris wrote to me asking about the expression quand même. He’s familiar with how quand même is used in the sense of “anyway,” like this:

C’est trop cher, mais je vais l’acheter quand même.
It’s too expensive, but I’m going to buy it anyway.

His doubt was that he sometimes hears quand même used in a different sense, a sense that he’s unfamiliar with, and if I knew what it might be.

I suspect that what you’re hearing, Chris, is the use of quand même to show surprise or anger.

— Il roulait à quelle vitesse?
— 100, 110.
— Quand même!

— How fast was he going?
— 100, 110.
— Oh, that fast!

Faut pas exagérer quand même!
Oh come on, don’t exaggerate!

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