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Saturday, September 23, 2023

French Phrases to Spice your English

When you want a character to sound pretentious, nothing beats a nice turn of French. Somehow, Americans writers (and readers) associate all things French with money, pretense, and culture. It’s quite the mix of responses, a “lovehate” relationship with France. If you want a character with class or one completely without class, French is a wonderful tool. Affaire de Coeur – love affairAu contraire – to the contraryAu fait – possessing practical knowledge of a thingAutre temps, autres moeurs – other times, other customsAvec plaisir – with pleasureBête noire – a thing especially dislikedBon jour – good day; helloBon soir – good nightBourgeoisie – middle-class; materialisticC’est-a-dire – that is to sayC’est la vie – such is lifeChacun à son goût – each to his own tasteCoûte que coûte – costs what it costsDégagé – without emotional linksDe trop – too much or too manyDernier resort – last optionDieu avec nous – God is with usDieu défend le droit – God defends the rightEn plein jour – in full daylight; openlyEn rapport – in sympathyFait accompli – accomplished fact; finished actFemme de chambre – chambermaidFête champêtre – outdoor festivalGardez la foi – keep the faithGrand monde – world at large; refined societyHoni soit qui mal y pense – evil be with him who has evil thoughtsIci on parle francais – French is spoken hereJeu de mots – play on words; a punJeu d’esprit – play of witJ’y suis, j’y reste – here I am, here I stayLe roi est mort, vive le roi – the king is dead, long live the kingLe style, c’est l’homme – the style is the manMise en scène – setting; environment; the stageMon ami – my friend; my love (friendly)N’est ce pas? – Isn’t that so?Nom de guerre – assumed nameObjet d’art – object of artPeu de chose – a small matterPièce de résistance – the primary event; main reason; principal mealPis aller – last resortQuand même – nevertheless; nonethelessQui s’excuse, s’accuse – he who excuses himself, accuses himselfRaison d’être – reason for beingSans peur et sans reproche – without fear, without reproachSans souci – carefreeTant mieux, tant pis – so much the better, so much the worseVoilà – look or seeSource from Tamari Publications: www.tamari.com

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