Posts Tagged ‘Québécois French’

A Québécois usage we’ve not taken much of a look at on OffQc is ordinaire. Have a look at this example, pronounced recently by a speaker in Québec:

Il fait beau aujourd’hui, il fait chaud! Profitez-en parce que demain ça va être ordinaire.

You might be tempted to translate ordinaire into English as “ordinary,” but there are better ways to render it. By ordinaire, the speaker meant the weather would be lousy. Indeed, the following day was a very rainy and cool one.

It’s nice out today, it’s hot! Make the most of it because tomorrow’s gonna be lousy.

It’s not just weather that might be described as ordinaire.

Le resto Poutinorama? Ben, honnêtement là, j’ai trouvé ça ordinaire et assez coûteux.
The Poutinorama restaurant? Well, to be honest, I didn’t think it was good, and it was pretty expensive.

J’ai mal joué, ç’a été ordinaire pour moi aujourd’hui.
I didn’t play well, today wasn’t a good day for me.

C’est pas mal ordinaire comme produit.
It’s a pretty lousy product. (The part that means “pretty” here is pas mal. Read those two words together because they form an expression. Pas mal isn’t a negation.)

Franchement, j’trouve ça ordinaire de sa part.
Honestly, I think that’s lousy of him.

Keep working on your French — the OffQc store is there to keep you going.

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A pedestrian walking eastward in Montréal crossed the street. Although he had the right of way, a car making a turn at the intersection attempted to cut him off. Angry, the pedestrian yelled at the driver of the car:

Mange d’la marde!

When the pedestrian reached the other side, he crossed the street yet again, this time heading south. That’s when another car passed in front of him, even though he again had the right of way. The pedestrian also yelled at this second driver:

Enweille, épaisse!!

As he yelled it, he motioned with his arms for the driver to get out of his way.

In the first quote, as you may have guessed, the expression manger de la marde means to eat shit.

In the second quote, enweille! is used to tell the driver to get a move on, as in move it!, come on! Épais, and the feminine form épaisse, are used in Québec to call someone an idiot.

Mange d’la marde!
Eat shit!

Enweille, épaisse!!
Move it, you idiot!!

Where does enweille! come from? Enweille! is an imperative form, deriving from the verb envoyer. It’s a colloquial pronunciation of envoye!, and you’ll sometimes see it spelled like that too in literature, in the dialogue of a character. In informal writing, you’ll see different variations: enweille!, anweille!, awèye!, etc.

As an adjective, épais means thick. In colloquial language, épais can also be used as an adjective or noun in the sense of idiot.

T’es ben épaisse de dire ça.
You’re such an idiot for saying that.

(T’es is a contraction of tu es; it sounds like té. Ben is a contraction of bien; it sounds like the French word bain and means very here. You can learn about high-frequency contracted forms used in colloquial Québécois French with OffQc’s Contracted French ebook and audio.)

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Here are 7 statements in French. Can you turn them into yes-no questions in an informal style like the Québécois do using tu?

Example: C’est bon. -> C’est-tu bon?

Apply any possible colloquial contractions. The answers come after the image.

1. C’est fini. It’s finished.
2. Ça vous tente. You [pl.] want to.
3. Il en reste. There’s some left.
4. Il est parti. He left.
5. Tu as gagné. You won.
6. Ça se peut. That’s possible.
7. Je peux. I can.


1. C’est-tu fini? Is it finished?
2. Ça vous tente-tu? Do you [pl.] want to?
3. Y’en reste-tu? Is there any left?
4. Y’est-tu parti? Did he leave?
5. T’as-tu gagné? Did you win?
6. Ça s’peut-tu? Is that possible?
7. J’peux-tu? Can I? (j’peux sounds like chpeu)


Learn how words contract in spoken, colloquial Québécois French (with audio): read Contracted French

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I was asked to explain the difference between the French equivalents of to be bored and to miss (someone), using the verb s’ennuyer.

Je m’ennuie means I’m bored.
Je m’ennuie au travail. I’m bored at work.
Je m’ennuie avec elle. I’m bored (when I’m) with her.

If you put de after s’ennuyer, you get the expression to miss (someone).

Je m’ennuie de toi means I miss you.
Je m’ennuie de vous autres. I miss you guys.
Je m’ennuie de Québec. I miss Québec City.

I was also asked about the adjective plate in relation to all of this:

If something bores you, you can describe it as being plate in informal language.

T’es plate! You’re no fun! You’re boring!
C’est plate! This is boring!
C’est ben plate à soir! Things are so boring tonight! (Ben means very and sounds like the French word bain; it’s a contracted form of bien.)
J’ai une job plate de bureau. I’ve got a boring office job.

Note: plate means boring, not bored. So if you’re bored, don’t describe yourself as plate. It’s the thing that causes the boredom that’s plate.

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An important Québécois usage related to shopping for food is the French equivalent of to go food shopping.

In French, this is faire son épicerie.

Je viens de faire mon épicerie.
I’ve just gone food shopping.

When you go food shopping, you push your items about in a wheeled shopping cart. This is called un panier in Québec.

The term in full is panier d’épicerie, but panier on its own is fine when it’s clear what you’re talking about.

Certain places may require you to put a coin in the cart to unlock it.

Ça prend une piasse pour débarrer le panier.
You need a loonie to unlock the cart.

If you’ve got no change, you might say:

J’ai pas d’change sur moi!
I’ve got no change on me!

Du change is often used in place of de la monnaie.


The OffQc guide 1000 Québécois French will help you to increase your vocabulary and knowledge of essential, everyday expressions. It’s a condensed version of the first 1000 posts on OffQc; you can use it to become acquainted with the most important Québécois French vocabulary and expressions for the first time, or to review a large amount of material in less time.

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