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Posts Tagged ‘trousers’

Yesterday, we looked at how to talk about jeans that don’t fit in French. Today, let’s look at a fun expression used in Québec related to pants that are way too short!

First, know that in Québec the basement of a house is often called la cave. It’s also known as le sous-sol, but you’ll need to know the word cave to understand today’s expression.

Imagine your basement, or cave, flooded with water. You’d have to roll up the bottom of your pants or trousers before going down to the cave to take care of business, right?

When your pants are rolled up, they look too short. So, if you heard someone say that so-and-so has “water in the basement,” it’s a funny way of saying that his pants are too short!

avoir de l’eau dans la cave
to be wearing pants that are too short
(literally, to have water in the basement)

Remember, dans la often contracts to dans in conversations. So, when you hear people in fact say avoir de l’eau dans cave, it’s not a grammatical mistake; it’s an informal shortcut in pronunciation.

I found this example online about someone who hates how his pants look so short when he gets up on his motorbike:

Je déteste avoir de l’eau dans cave quand je m’assis sur le bike.
I hate how my pants look so short when I get on the bike.

Without wanting to get too far off topic, you may sometimes come across the conjugation je m’assis in Québec. If you use it yourself, francophones may correct you: it’s not the standard form in Québec. I recommend you learn what it means (i.e., I sit) but say or write je m’assois instead. This always works.

As for the difference between the forms je m’assois and je m’assieds, the first one (je m’assois) is used more often in spoken Québécois French than the second one (je m’assieds).

Finally, to say “to wear a pair of pants,” you can use either porter un pantalon or porter des pantalons. For some people, pantalons in the plural is less correct than pantalon in the singular. In a written text, you can avoid all doubt and use the singular. Otherwise, know that both are used.

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Mes jeans ne me font plus!

Ah shit, mes jeans ne me font plus

Maude Schiltz’s book Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1) is such a treasure trove of French written in a down-to-earth, conversational style that I always have trouble deciding what we should look at next.

Today, I picked something from her book that I think a lot of us can relate to after winter — jeans that don’t quite fit like they did before winter. All those Timbits really add up, you know?

In Maude’s case though, her jeans don’t fit because of chemotherapy. The treatment has caused her to gain weight. Maude describes her experience:

J’ai eu une phase où je mangeais comme un ogre, mais depuis, mon appétit est revenu à ce qu’il était, et pourtant je continue à trouver mes jeans de plus en plus tight chaque fois que j’essaie de les mettre. D’ailleurs la plupart ne me font plus. Câlisse.

I went through a phase where I ate like a beast but, since then, my appetite has returned to normal — and yet I still find my jeans getting tighter and tighter every time I try to put them on. As a matter of fact, most of them don’t fit me anymore. Fuck.

The part in particular that made me choose this quote was where Maude says: la plupart [de mes jeans] ne me font plus. More than once I’ve noticed a French-language learner hesitate when wanting to talk about a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit.

Mes jeans ne me font plus.
My jeans don’t fit me anymore.

On the other hand, if an article of clothing te fait bien, it fits and looks good on you. Ça te fait bien ce chandail-là!

_ _ _

French quote written by Maude Schiltz in Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer (tome 1), Éditions de Mortagne, Boucherville (Québec), 2013, page 186.

You can follow Maude on Facebook through the link right above.

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