Posts Tagged ‘tenter’

Here are three expressions that have come up in conversations recently, and which are usually underused or unknown by learners of French.


De bonne heure means early. Arriver de bonne heure, to arrive early. Se lever de bonne heure, to get up early.

Y’est d’bonne heure un peu, mais j’vas fêter ça quand meme.
(=Il est de bonne heure un peu, mais je vais fêter ça quand même.)
It’s a bit early, but I’m gonna celebrate it anyway.

Y’est d’bonne heure sounds like yéd / bonne / heure. The conjugation j’vas rhymes with pas. The j and v are said together, with no vowel sound between, as jva. J’vas is a colloquial form of je vais.


We’ve looked often at this expression, but there’s a very good reason — it’s frequently used in conversations, and you need to know it. Instead of saying j’veux pas all the time, you can try to work in ça m’tente pas.

Des fois ça m’tente pas.
(=Des fois [parfois] ça ne me tente pas.)
Sometimes I don’t want to.

Ça m’tente pas d’sortir.
(=Ça ne me tente pas de sortir.)
I don’t wanna go out.

To pronounce ça m’tente, imagine the m as being on the end of ça instead: çam / tente / pas. The same goes for pas d’sortir; imagine the d as being on the end of pas instead: çam / tente / pad / sortir.


Here’s a colloquial expression that might be used in place of j’devrais, tu devrais, etc. It’s a short form of il faudrait bien que. It means (I, you…) really should (do), (I, you…) really must be (doing). This expression is followed by the subjunctive.

Ça m’tente pas trop, mais faudrait ben qu’j’me lève.
(=Ça ne me tente pas trop, mais il faudrait bien que je me lève.)
I don’t really wanna, but I really should get up.

Ben sounds like the French word bain. Ben qu’ sounds like bain with a k on the end of it. In j’me, the j and m are said together, with no vowel sound in between: faudraitbaink / jme / lève.

Faudrait ben qu’tu’m’racontes ça.
(=Il faudrait bien que tu me racontes ça.)
You really gotta tell me all about it.

You’d say this last one as: faudrait / baink / tum / racontes / ça. Of course, you’ll remember that the t of tu in fact sounds like ts when pronounced by the Québécois (like the ts in the English words cats, bats, hats): faudrait / baink / tsum / racontes / ça.

With these expressions in mind, can you say the following in French?

I don’t really want to leave early.
I really should do that, even if I don’t wanna.
I really gotta start getting up early.


Lots of contractions in this post — learn how words contract in spoken Québécois French (with audio): read Contracted French

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In a fast food restaurant, one friend told another to bring serviettes on his way back to the table. Amène des napkins means bring some napkins.

You’ll frequently hear amener quelque chose in spoken language, so it’s important to learn. Amène une chaise. Bring a chair. Amène un cabaret. Bring a tray.

Napkin is a feminine noun, heard in informal language. It’s pronounced as in English, but with the stress on the second syllable rather than the first. With the plural napkins, the final s isn’t pronounced.


In some fast food restaurants, you’ll be asked what your name is when you place your order. Your name gets printed out on the receipt; rather than be called by number when your order is ready, you’ll be called by name.

Votre nom pour la facture? literally means (what is) your name for the receipt? Facture is the usual word for receipt in spoken language. Reçu is also possible and immediately understood by all, but it’s not usually the first word used spontaneously in conversation.

A bill is also called a facture, even in a restaurant. On peut-tu avoir la facture? Can we have the bill? Continue to number 3 below to understand what the tu in this question means.


In this question, the tu placed after the verb serves the same function as est-ce que would at the beginning: est-ce que c’est comme ça que ça marche? This tu creates a yes-no question, and it’s used very frequently in spoken language. This question, then, means is that how it works?, does it work like this?, etc.

In number 2, you read on peut-tu avoir la facture? The tu after the verb in this question serves the same purpose of asking a yes-no question.

This tu doesn’t mean you. In a question like tu m’aimes-tu? (do you love me?), only the first tu means you. The second one, placed after the verb, creates the yes-no question.


Person A asked person B whose keys he had on him: those of person A or B. Person B replied that he had his own keys on him: j’ai mes clés à moi.

With à moi, you can insist that something is yours. Mes clés à moi, my keys (and not yours or anybody else’s). Ça, c’est mon livre à moi, pas à toi. That’s my book, not yours.


The expression ça m’tente (and variations on it) is used frequently in spoken language. Ça m’tente means I want to. The negation is ça m’tente pas. The ça m’ part (from ça me) sounds like the name Sam, where me loses its vowel and the remaining m’ is pronounced as though it were on the end of ça.

Ça vous tente means you want to. Using the informal tu described in number 3, this can be turned into a yes-no question: ça vous tente-tu? Remember, only vous means you here. We can translate ça vous tente-tu? as d’ya guys wanna?, d’yaz wanna?, etc.


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

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During a conversation, someone asked a French equivalent of do you want to try? Does how you’d have asked this question in French resemble the following?

Est-ce que ça te tente d’essayer?
Do you want to try?

That’s how the question was asked, using the verb tenter. Although to want can be said in French using the verb vouloir (e.g., tu veux, you want), it’s frequently said using tenter instead (e.g., ça te tente, you want).

Tenter is cognate with the English verb to tempt. So, if it helps you to analyse this verb, the expression ça te tente is like saying in English it tempts you. Does it tempt you to try? Just understand that the verb tenter translates better here as to want.

Ça me tente. I want to.
Ça me tente pas. I don’t want to.

Ça te tente and ça me tente can contract to ça t’tente and ça m’tente in spoken language, which sound like çat tente and çam tente. Ça m’tente pas!

The speaker asked the question with est-ce que, but don’t forget that yes-no questions are often asked using tu in spoken language:

Ça t’tente-tu d’essayer?

Don’t confuse the tu in that last question with the second-person singular meaning you. Instead, this tu turns a statement (ça t’tente) into a yes-no question (ça t’tente-tu?).

You can hear the question ça t’tente? (but asked without the yes-no tu) here, in the third video.

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We’ve seen before how both the expression avoir le goût and the verb tenter can be used in the sense of to want, to feel like, or like the expression avoir envie.

Ça m’tente pas.
J’ai pas l’goût.
J’ai pas envie.

I don’t want to, I don’t feel like it,
I’m not up for it, etc.

There are some informal contractions in the examples above, and you’ll want to be sure how to pronounce them.

Ça m’tente pas is an informal contraction of ça ne me tente pas. Instead of trying to pronounce m’tente on its own, move the m’ to the end of ça as though it were çam’ tente pas. Now you can say it easily. Ça m’ sounds like the first syllable of samedi.

Ça m’tente pas trop, là.
I don’t really wanna.

J’ai pas l’goût is an informal contraction of je n’ai pas le goût. To pronounce pas l’goût, move the l’ to end of pas, and you can pronounce it easily.

J’ai pas envie is an informal equivalent of je n’ai pas envie.

Both tenter and avoir le goût can be followed by de + a verb in its infinitive form. The same goes for avoir envie.

J’ai pas l’goût de cuisiner.
Ça m’tente pas de travailler.
J’ai pas envie de sortir.
I don’t feel like cooking, working, going out.

On this little sign that I saw in a supermarket in Montréal, we read:

Parce qu’on n’a pas toujours le goût de cuisiner.
Because you don’t always feel like cooking.

The sign is advertising a brand of milk and is placed right in front the breakfast cereals sitting on the shelves.

Can you suggest why the expression avoir le goût might have been chosen here instead of avoir envie?

See you again in #1000. 😀

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While listening to the radio yesterday, I heard the host of a radio show speak about the weather; she asked her listeners:

Est-ce qu’on a de la pluie par chez vous?

Par chez vous is a good usage to know. It means in your region, in your area, in your neck of the woods, etc., or simply where you are.

Est-ce qu’on a de la pluie par chez vous?
Is it raining where you are?
Is it raining in your region?


A man called into the show and sang a song on air. After he’d finished singing, the host of the show said:

Merci, c’est le fun, ça!

We’ve seen how c’est le fun is used in colloquial language in the sense of it’s fun or that’s fun. Here, though, I’d probably translate it as that’s great. Either way, the host said c’est le fun to show that she enjoyed his singing.


Very frequently used — the verb tenter. Ça me tente pas means I don’t want to, I don’t feel like it.

Ça me tente pas vraiment.
I don’t really feel like it.
I don’t really want to.

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