The verb se moquer is used in two recent videos, in two slightly different senses:
Et il n'est pas le seul à se moquer.
And he's not the only one making fun.Play Caption
Non mais tu te moques de moi?
No but are you kidding me?Play Caption
Se moquer means to make or poke fun, or to kid. If it takes an object, as in the second example, you have to add de after it (to make fun of someone). It's cognate with "to mock" in English, and can also have that sense, depending on context:
Se moquer gentiment de personnages célèbres est très courant
Gently mocking famous people is very common
pendant la période de carnaval.
during the carnival period.
Caption 20, Le saviez-vous? - Le carnaval en FrancePlay Caption
But se moquer has another meaning that isn't quite as obvious. It's the verb you use when you don't care about something, or more precisely, when you couldn't care less:
Je me moque des règles.
I couldn't care less about the rules.
In more informal speech, se ficher is often used instead of se moquer in most of its senses:
On se fiche de nous ou quoi?
Are you kidding us or what?
Caption 5, Actus Quartier - Devant la SNCFPlay Caption
Je me fiche des règles.
I couldn't care less about the rules.
Another way of saying "to make/poke fun" is taquiner (to tease):
Ne taquine pas ta sœur.
Don't tease your sister.
There are a few other verbs for "to kid" in French. If you want to say "I'm kidding" or "just kidding," use plaisanter or rigoler:
Je plaisante, pas du tout.
I'm kidding, not at all.
Caption 22, Elisa et Mashal - Mon chien RoméoPlay Caption
Je ne ferai pas l'idiote. Non, je rigole.
I will not act like an idiot. No, I'm kidding.
Caption 52, Margaux et Manon - Conjugaison du verbe fairePlay Caption
Rigoler is an informal synonym of rire (to laugh). So you can think of je rigole as "I'm just having a laugh." Plaisanter, the verb form of une plaisanterie (a joke), means "to joke" or "joke around." So je plaisante is more along the lines of "I'm just joking around."
If you want to say "you're kidding," as an exclamation, you can say, Tu plaisantes! Or, you can even just say, Tu parles! (literally, "You're talking!")
Tu parles. Impôts?
You're kidding. Taxes?Play Caption
And for the phrase "no kidding," you can use the phrase sans blague (no joke). For more on that and other joke-related expressions, see our lesson Telling Jokes in French.
The expression au niveau de means "at the level of" or "on the level of." You can use this expression to talk about something that's physically level with something else:
...pour avoir de l'eau au niveau des genoux,
...having the water at knee level,
vous allez être emporté de ce côté.
you are going to be carried away to this side.
Captions 12-13, À la plage avec Lionel - La plagePlay Caption
La ville est au niveau de la mer.
The city is at sea level.
Or, as in English, it can refer to more general things, such as one's health or one's skills or abilities:
Ben, c'est vrai qu'au niveau de la santé,
Well, it's true that on a health level,
je le ressens parfois.
I feel it sometimes.
Captions 80-81, Amal et Caroline - La cigarettePlay Caption
Je ne suis pas au niveau des autres élèves.
I'm not at the (same) level as the other students.
Another way of saying "on a health level" is au niveau sanitaire. You'll often see "au niveau + adjective" (no de) used in this way: au niveau national (on a national level), au niveau économique (on an economic level), au niveau spirituel (on a spiritual level), etc.
But sometimes "on the level of" or "on an x level" isn't the most succinct translation of au niveau de. It's also equivalent to phrases such as "when it comes to," "regarding," and "in regards to":
Parce que... en France
Because... in France
on a souvent tendance
we often have a tendency
à faire des amalgames
to mix them together
en particulier au niveau du sandwich, du kebab...
particularly when it comes to sandwiches, kebabs...
-Au niveau des fromages...
-When it comes to cheeses...
Captions 54-57, Lionel et J.B. - La salade grecquePlay Caption
Ensuite au niveau de la selle,
Then regarding the seat,
faut bien la régler à votre hauteur.
you should really adjust it to your height.
Captions 35-36, Amal - VélibPlay Caption
Even when referring to physical spaces, au niveau de doesn't necessarily imply that something is level with something else. It could just mean "near," "by," or "in the region/area of":
Bruce se rend compte qu'un autre cours d'eau rejoint son
Bruce realized that another river joined his
Nil au niveau de Khartoum.
Nile near Khartoum.Play Caption
Au niveau de also functions as a simple preposition when used with body parts, in which case it means "in":
Je ressens une douleur au niveau de mon genou.
I feel a pain in my knee.
No matter your niveau de français, au niveau de is a great expression to know!
In the series d'Art d'Art, new at Yabla French, you'll learn the stories behind some of the most famous works of European art. You'll also learn plenty of art-related vocab too! Here are some key words from the first two videos in the series, on the Mona Lisa and The Death of Marat:
"D'Art d'Art", c'est l'histoire d'une œuvre d'art.
"D'Art d'Art" is the story of a work of art.
Caption 3, d'Art d'Art - "La Mort de Marat" - DavidPlay Caption
When we talk about an artist's "œuvre" in English, we're usually referring to the artist's entire body of work. In French, une œuvre can have that same connotation, but it can also just mean a single work of art.
Voyez la solennité antique quasi religieuse
See the ancient, almost religious solemnity
qui se dégage de ce tableau.
that emerges from this painting.
Captions 10-11, d'Art d'Art - "La Mort de Marat" - DavidPlay Caption
As we explained in a previous lesson, there are three French words for "painting": une peinture (cognate with "painting"), une toile (literally, "canvas"), and un tableau (literally, "little table").
Sous son pinceau, la mort de Marat devient la mort de Jésus.
Under his brush, the death of Marat becomes the death of Jesus.
Captions 35-36, d'Art d'Art - "La Mort de Marat" - DavidPlay Caption
Un pinceau is a paintbrush, but it can also refer to a makeup brush (un pinceau de maquillage). It's related to the English word "pencil" (un crayon in French).
Les dernières lignes
The last words
qu'il a tracées avec sa plume, désormais inerte,
that he wrote out with his quill, now unmoving,
ce sont des noms destinés à la guillotine
are names (of those) intended for the guillotine
Captions 43-45, d'Art d'Art - "La Mort de Marat" - DavidPlay Caption
In an artistic sense, "to trace" usually just means to copy something by drawing over it. Tracer has that connotation too, but depending on context, it can also be a synonym of dessiner (to draw) and écrire (to write).
Ce jour-là, au musée du Louvre,
That day, at the Louvre Museum,
à la place du chef-d'œuvre de Léonard de Vinci,
in the place of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece,
il ne reste que le cadre.
only the frame remains.
Captions 10-12, d'Art d'Art - "La Joconde" - VinciPlay Caption
Le cadre is the frame around a painting or photograph. But that's not all! It's also the word for "framework" (as in the expression dans le cadre de, "within the framework of"), the word for "setting" or "surroundings," and the word for "executive" or "manager." You could say le cadre contains a lot of meanings within its "frame."
Finally, we have un chef-d'œuvre. We can think of a masterpiece as an artist's "chief work," or the "chief" of the artist's entire œuvre.
The adverb surtout is actually two words combined: sur (over, above) and tout (all). Once you know that, its meaning is self-explanatory:
Et surtout n'oubliez rien.
And above all, don't forget anything.
Caption 9, Bande-annonce - La Belle et la BêtePlay Caption
There are a couple different ways of saying "above all" in English, all of which are encompassed by surtout. There's "most of all":
Mais surtout c'est toi
But most of all, it's you
Caption 30, Aldebert - La vie c'est quoi ?Play Caption
J'ai du mal à mentir, surtout quand c'est pas vrai
I find it hard to lie, especially when it's not true
Caption 29, Babylon Circus - J'aurais bien vouluPlay Caption
And "particularly" or "in particular":
J'aime surtout la cuisine japonais.
I particularly like Japanese cuisine. / I like Japanese cuisine in particular.
Note, though, that "especially," "particularly," and "in particular" have more direct equivalents in French as well:
C'est le sujet qui nous intéresse tous spécialement aujourd'hui.
It's the subject that's especially of interest to all of us today.
Caption 62, Uderzo et Goscinny - 1968Play Caption
Mais quand on est sensible à la peinture,
But for one who appreciates painting,
ici, la lumière est particulièrement belle.
the light here is particularly beautiful.
Caption 8, Arles - Un Petit Tour d'ArlesPlay Caption
Les plages de la côte atlantique et en particulier
The beaches on the Atlantic coast and in particular
de la côte basque sont des plages très étendues.
on the Basque coast are very vast beaches.
Caption 31, Voyage en France - Saint-Jean-de-LuzPlay Caption
Surtout can also mean "mainly" or "mostly," which isn't quite the same as "above all":
En fait c'est ça surtout.
In fact that's it, mostly.Play Caption
Aujourd'hui j'ai surtout travaillé au bureau.
Today I mainly worked in the office.
In informal speech, surtout is also the equivalent of "whatever you do" or "be sure to":
Surtout, ne rate pas le prochain épisode de "Extra"!
Whatever you do, don't miss the next episode of "Extra"!
Caption 10, Extr@ - Ep. 5 - Une étoile est néePlay Caption
Surtout, regardez les vidéos les plus récentes sur Yabla French!
Be sure to check out the most recent Yabla French videos!
Un machin doesn't mean "a machine" (that's une machine). In fact, it doesn't mean anything specific at all. It's a filler word, used when you're speaking generally or when you can't think of the proper word for something. It's an informal alternative to une chose (a thing), roughly equivalent to "thingy" or "thingamajig," or when plural, "stuff":
C'est-à-dire... de la confiture et des machins comme ça.
That is to say... jam and stuff like that.
Caption 10, Sophie et Patrice - Le petit-déjeunerPlay Caption
D'abord, je mets un peu d'acétone
First, I apply a little bit of acetone
parce que souvent y a des étiquettes, des machins avec de la colle.
because often there are labels, stuff with glue.
Captions 58-59, Sophie et Patrice - Les lampes de SophiePlay Caption
C'est quoi ce machin-là?
What is that thing?
Je savais que ça n'allait pas être le single, le machin...
I knew that it was not going to be the single, the whatever...
Caption 110, Watt’s In - Maître Gims : J'me Tire Interview ExcluPlay Caption
Un truc is another informal way of saying une chose. It's basically synonymous with un machin:
Mais y a un truc aussi qui se faisait avant,
But there was another thing that was done before,
c'est que la police, ils intervenaient au collège...
it's that the police went in to the middle school...Play Caption
Et on va aller acheter des trucs.
And we're gonna buy some stuff.Play Caption
But unlike un machin, un truc can also mean "a trick":
Tout ça, c'est des trucs pour nous faire travailler encore plus!
All these are tricks to make us work even more!Play Caption
And there are a couple of idioms with truc that can't be replaced with machin:
Je n'aime pas faire la fête. Ce n'est pas mon truc.
I don't like partying. It's not my thing.
Chacun son truc!
To each his own!
Likewise, there's one idiom that only uses machin:
Et quand je dis un grand ancien,
And when I say a great elder,
ça veut pas dire un vieux machin, pas du tout.
that doesn't mean an old so-and-so, not at all.
Captions 55-57, Uderzo et Goscinny - 1968Play Caption
Un vieux machin is a grumpy old man, an old fogey.
You can even use machin and truc as proper nouns when you don't know or can't remember someone's name. In this case they're capitalized:
Demande à Machin* de t'aider.
Demande à Truc de t'aider.
Ask what's-his-name to help you.
*As a proper noun, Machin becomes Machine in the feminine (Demande à Machine de t'aider/Ask what's-her-name to help you). Truc doesn't change.
There's also another expression you can use when you don't know someone's name: Monsieur Untel/Madame Unetelle:
Demande à Monsieur Untel/Madame Unetelle de t'aider.
Ask Mr./Ms. so-and-so to help you.
So when you don't know the name of something or someone, or you're just talking about "stuff" in general, machin and truc are the words to use.
In his latest video on the coronavirus pandemic, Lionel talks about the measures being taken to control the spread of the virus in France. Like everyone else in the world, French people are trying to minimize the risk of catching the virus by staying inside and wearing masks when they have to go out.
Though risk is a major theme of the video, when Lionel uses the verb risquer, he means something a bit different:
Lors du déconfinement,
nous risquons de sortir avec des masques
we're likely going out with masks
et... les distanciations sociales
and... social distancing
risquent de durer un bon moment.
is likely going to last for quite some time.
Captions 35-38, Lionel L - La pandémie, un mois déjàPlay Caption
We don't "risk" going out with masks on, nor does social distancing "risk" lasting for a while longer. (Quite the contary: these are the very measures that are reducing risk). Risquer often just means "to be likely" (être probable) or "there's a good chance that." The stakes don't have to be that high:
Cette année, Noël risque d'être très présent dans les rues.
This year, Christmas is bound to be very present on the streets.Play Caption
But risquer can also mean "to risk" or "run the risk of":
Si ça continue à cuire, ça risque de perdre sa belle couleur.
If they continue to cook, they run the risk of losing their beautiful color.
Caption 57, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano - Médaillon de HomardPlay Caption
Il a risqué sa vie pour sauver le chien.
He risked his life to save the dog.
Its noun form, risque, can mean "risk," "danger," or "chance." Note that, though it ends in an e, risque is masculine:
Le risque avec les lamas, c'est qu'en grandissant,
The danger with llamas is that as they grow up,
ils peuvent devenir agressifs.
they may become aggressive.
Caption 25, Angers 7 - Un lama en plein appartementPlay Caption
There's also the adjective risqué, which you probably recognize. Though risqué can mean "racy" and "suggestive," as it does in English, it also just means "risky":
Pour elles c'est trop risqué de s'accrocher à la locomotive.
For them it's too risky to grab on to the engine.
Caption 47, Grand Corps Malade - Les Voyages en trainPlay Caption
Some say it's a good thing to take a lot of risks, but these days, that doesn't seem like the safest advice. Ne prenez pas de risque! (Don't take any risks!)
In his conversation with Lionel, Lahlou describes his daughters' success in school and sports in an interesting way. He uses the verb assurer:
Les deux grandes franchement, elles assurent.
The two older girls, frankly, they're doing great.
Elles assurent super bien à l'école, au sport.
They're doing really well in school, in sports.
Captions 82-83, Lionel & Lahlou - Être musulmanPlay Caption
Elles assurent is a familiar way of saying "they're doing great," "they're doing a great job." Lahlou also could have used the preposition en to specify what the girls are succeeding in: elles assurent en maths (they're good at math), elles assurent en natation (they're good at swimming).
More often, assurer means "to assure" or "ensure," or, when reflexive, "to make sure"/"to check":
Je vous assure qu'elle est là.
I assure you that it's there.Play Caption
Mais on doit s'assurer que le pneu est bien assis
But we have to make sure/check that the tire is well-seated
sur la jante et ne pas trop gonfler.
on the rim and that we don't inflate too much.
Caption 19, Sports Shop - La mécanique d'un véloPlay Caption
Assurer has a few other meanings as well. It can mean "to secure" or "achieve":
Ses affiches et ses tableaux
His posters and his paintings
ont permis au Moulin Rouge
allowed the Moulin Rouge
d'assurer une notoriété rapide et internationale.
to achieve rapid international notoriety.
Captions 19-21, Amal et Caroline - Moulin RougePlay Caption
Il est difficile d'assurer un emploi en ce moment.
It's hard to secure a job these days.
It can mean "to take care of," "handle," or "deal with":
Je dois assurer l'école.
I have to take care of the school.
Caption 13, Les zooriginaux - 3 Qui suis-je?Play Caption
La brigade des pompiers assure l'extinction des incendies.
The fire department takes care of putting out fires.
Or it can mean "to insure," as in "to provide insurance coverage":
Notre maison est assurée.
Our house is insured.
Likewise, its noun form assurance can either mean "insurance" or "assurance," or more precisely, "self-assurance," "confidence," "certainty":
Le stress au travail a en effet un coût, humain bien sûr,
Stress at work does indeed have a cost, a human one of course,
et économique pour l'assurance maladie:
and an economic one for national health insurance:
près de cinquante milliards d'euros.
close to fifty billion euros.
Captions 57-58, Le Journal - Le stress au travailPlay Caption
Il faut parler avec assurance pour convaincre les gens.
You have to speak with self-assurance/confidently in order to convince people.
So whether you're assuring, ensuring, making sure, or insuring, assurer is the verb to use. You can find even more ways of using it here.
You may already know that the verb savoir means “to know.” But did you know that, when followed by an infinitive, it can also mean “to be able to” or “to manage to" (synonymous with pouvoir)?
The Paris-Meudon Observatory...
a su garder sa spécificité d'astrophysique
was able to keep its astrophysical specificity
Captions 18-20, Voyage en France - MeudonPlay Caption
L’article a su le convaincre à recycler.
The article managed to convince him to recycle.
It’s easy to see that “know” wouldn’t really work in either of these examples, since their subjects aren’t human. You wouldn’t say that the Paris-Meudon Observatory “knew” how to keep its astrophysical specificity, nor that an article “knew” how to convince someone.
On the other hand, there are plenty of cases where savoir plus an infinitive can go either way:
Pour quelqu'un qui sait faire la cuisine.
For someone who knows how to cook.Play Caption
Bref, Jean de La Fontaine fait partie pour moi de ces auteurs intemporels
In a word, Jean de La Fontaine is for me one of those timeless authors
qui à travers une forme littéraire intéressante
who, through an interesting literary form,
a su toucher le fond de la nature humaine.
was able to reach the depth of human nature.
Captions 38-40, Le saviez-vous? - Jean de La FontainePlay Caption
We could just as well switch the translations here: “someone who can cook”; “Jean de La Fontaine… knew how to reach the depth of human nature.” "To be able to" and "to know how to" are more or less synonymous, so it makes sense that they overlap in the same French verb.
Just note that the other verb for "to know," connaître, doesn't have this extra connotation. While savoir means "to know how to" or "to be aware of," connaître means "to know someone" or "to be acquainted/familiar with."
In our last lesson, we discussed the expression on se croirait (literally, "one would believe oneself"), which means "it feels like." Now we'll take a look at a similar expression: on dirait. Both are impersonal expressions using a verb in the conditional. On dirait literally means "one would say," but it's also a synonym of il semble (it seems/looks like).
When introducing a clause, on dirait is followed by que:
On dirait que les gens sortent de la terre
It looks like people are coming out of the ground
Caption 31, Lionel - En studio d'enregistrementPlay Caption
But when it comes before a standalone noun ("it looks like x"), you don't need the que:
On dirait un serpent à pattes.
It looks like a serpent with paws.Play Caption
You can also use on dirait by itself, without introducing a noun or clause:
C'est ton jour de chance, on dirait.
It's your lucky day, it seems.
Caption 11, Marie & Jeremy - MonopolyPlay Caption
Je suis rouge de colère.
I'm red with anger.
On dirait pas.
It doesn't look like it.
Captions 1-2, Sophie et Patrice - Les couleursPlay Caption
Depending on context, on dirait can mean something more specific than "it seems/looks like":
On dirait que t'as huit ans
You act like an eight year old
Caption 45, Mika - Elle me ditPlay Caption
On dirait... on dirait Cluzet!
It sounds... it sounds like Cluzet [French actor]!Play Caption
And sometimes it comes closer to its literal meaning:
Belle, c'est un mot qu'on dirait inventé pour elle...
Beauty, it's a word you could say was invented for her...
[Beauty, it's a word that seems to have been invented for her...]Play Caption
But be careful: dire is a very common verb, so you'll just as often encounter on dirait used in a literal sense.
On dirait pas "as-tu", axe verbe en premier, sujet en deuxième...
We wouldn't say "have you," verb in first position, subject in second...
Caption 31, Le Québec parle - aux FrançaisPlay Caption
On dirait que cette leçon est terminée!
There's an interesting expression in Sophie and Patrice's latest video on Paris's twentieth arrondissement: on se croirait (literally, "one would think/believe oneself"). It means "to feel like," or more specifically, to feel like you're in a different setting than the one you're in now. Whenever Sophie and Patrice are in the center of Paris, for instance, they feel like they're in Euro Disney:
Ça ressemble maintenant à Euro Disney, quoi.
It looks like Euro Disney now, you know.
On se croirait à Euro Disney un petit peu.
It feels like Euro Disney a little bit.
Captions 20-21, Sophie et Patrice - Le vingtième arrondissementPlay Caption
And in Extr@, when Sacha smells a strong fragrance upon walking into her apartment, she feels like she's in a perfume shop:
Qu'est-ce que c'est que cette odeur?
What's that smell?
On se croirait dans une parfumerie.
It's like we're in a perfume shop.
Captions 19-20, Extr@ - Ep. 3 - Sam a un rendez-vousPlay Caption
In English we use "you'd think" in a similar way to on se croirait:
On se croirait même dans une ambiance de campagne.
You'd even think you were in a country atmosphere.
Caption 27, Le Québec parle - aux FrançaisPlay Caption
Alors on se croirait pas du tout à Paris,
So you wouldn't think you're in Paris at all,
et on a énormément de verdure.
and you have lots of greenery.
Captions 13-14, Antoine - La Butte-aux-CaillesPlay Caption
You can also use the phrase avoir l'impression de (to feel like, to get the impression that) to express this feeling of being elsewhere:
On n'a plus l'impression d'être à Paris.
You don't feel like you're in Paris anymore.
Caption 62, Actu Vingtième Vendanges parisiennesPlay Caption
If you're playing Dorothy in a French adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, you might even say:
Toto, on ne se croirait plus dans le Kansas!
Toto, it doesn't feel like we're in Kansas anymore!
Or, in a more accurate translation of the line:
Toto, je n'ai plus l'impression d'être dans le Kansas!
Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for our next lesson and tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to email@example.com.
The French have a long history of protesting, from the storming of the Bastille to the student protests of May 1968 to the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement today. Our latest video, from Le Monde, covers a strike on December 5, 2019 during which thousands of people across the country took to the streets to protest the pension reforms proposed by then Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. As you can imagine, the video contains a lot of vocabulary related to protests, which we'll examine here.
Un mouvement très suivi en France,
A very well-attended action in France,
et quelques tensions entre manifestants et forces de l'ordre.
and some tension between demonstrators and police.Play Caption
Un mouvement can be a social movement or protest movement (such as le mouvement des gilets jaunes), but it can also be a protest in its own right, or, as above, an "action."
Un mouvement wouldn't be un mouvement without des manifestants ("demonstrators" or "protesters"). Manifestant comes from une manifestation, which is the word for "protest" or "demonstration":
Les manifestations se sont déroulées dans environ soixante-dix villes.
Demonstrations took place in about seventy cities.Play Caption
But sometimes une manifestation is less political than a protest. It can just be an "event":
Cette manifestation attire des touristes du monde entier.
This event attracts tourists from around the entire world.
Caption 28, Le saviez-vous? Le carnaval en FrancePlay Caption
Or simply an "expression" of something (this sense is the closest to "manifestation" in English):
Il y aura entrave à l'épanouissement affectif,
There will be obstacles to emotional fulfillment,
à la manifestation des sentiments...
to the expression of feelings...
Captions 4-5, Le Mans TV - Horoscope: ScorpionPlay Caption
However, the slang term une manif specifically refers to a protest. We have a whole Yabla series centered around this word: Manif du Mois (Protest of the Month).
But let's get back to the December 5 protest, which, like many protests in France, was launched by des syndicats (unions):
Le mouvement a été lancé par des syndicats...
The action was started by unions...Play Caption
The syndicats didn't just call for un mouvement, but une grève:
L'appel à la grève n'a pas souffert du froid hivernal.
The call to strike didn't suffer from the winter cold.Play Caption
Some of the protests turned violent, which prompted the Prime Minister, in his response, to make a distinction between les manifestants and les casseurs—the rioters, or literally, "the breakers" (from casser, "to break"):
Y a eu quelques villes
There were a few cities
où on a constaté des débordements
where we observed some violent outbreaks,
souvent liés à la présence de casseurs
often linked to the presence of rioters
qui ne venaient pas pour manifester.
who didn't come to protest.Play Caption
Un débordement is "a flood" or "an overflowing," but its figurative meaning is more violent: "an outbreak," "outburst," or, when plural (des débordements), any kind of wild or uncontrolled behavior.
There are three different ways of saying "sometimes" in French, and they all have one thing in common: the word fois (time).
The first is quelquefois, which literally means "sometimes" (quelque = some; fois = times). Note that quelquefois is written as one word, like "sometimes," but unlike other quelque words such as quelque chose (something) and quelque part (somewhere):
Quelquefois, vous allez voir des produits qui ne correspondent pas à cette recette.
Sometimes, you'll see products that don't correspond to this recipe.
Caption 38, Le saviez-vous? - La Maison de l'Olive à NicePlay Caption
Then there's parfois (par = by, through, per; fois = times):
Je vais parfois au cinéma.
I sometimes go to the movies.
Caption 25, Le saviez-vous? - Les différentes négationsPlay Caption
Finally, there's des fois (literally "some times" or just "times"), which is a bit more familiar. It roughly corresponds to the English expression "at times":
Je me force un peu des fois
I force myself a bit sometimes (at times)
à sortir de ma zone de confort.
to get out of my comfort zone.
Captions 46-47, Giulia - Sa marque de bijoux 'Desidero'Play Caption
There are a couple other ways of saying "sometimes" in French that use the other word for "time," temps. These are de temps en temps and de temps à autre, which both mean "from time to time," "every now and then," "once in a while," "occasionally":
Peut-être que vous sentez les odeurs qui sortent des studios de temps en temps.
Maybe you smell the aromas that come out of the studios from time to time.
Caption 10, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano - Médaillon de HomardPlay Caption
Je parle à mes amis d'université de temps à autre.
I talk to my college friends every now and then.
Just don't confuse any of these with the expressions for "sometime" and "some time." "Sometime" (meaning "eventually" or "at a later time") is un de ces jours (one of these days) or un jour ou l'autre (one day or another). And "some time" (meaning "a while") is quelque temps:
Un jour ou l'autre (Un de ces jours) on sera tous papa
One day or another we'll all be a dad (We'll all be a dad sometime)
Caption 28, Stromae - PapaoutaiPlay Caption
Et puis après, j'ai été célibataire quelque temps.
And then after that, I was single for a while (for some time).
Caption 26, Le Journal - L'âge et la fertilitéPlay Caption
Thanks for reading! Tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conjunction or pops up in two of our new videos this week:
Or la gravité est présente partout.
But gravity is present everywhere.
Caption 79, Le Monde - L’astrologie fonctionne-t-elle ?Play Caption
Or, je n'étais pas de garde et surtout j'étais saoul.
But, I wasn't on call and above all I was drunk.Play Caption
Or is not a particularly common conjunction, but it's a good one to know nonetheless (just don't confuse it with the English "or," which is ou in French). It's a synonym of mais (but, yet) and related words like cependant, néanmoins, pourtant, toutefois (however, nevertheless):
Or, il y en a un quatrièmeque nous décrit ici en détail un grand voyageur qui se nomme Amerigo Vespucci.
However, there's a fourth one that a great explorer named Amerigo Vespucci describes to us here in detail.Play Caption
You'll also see or used as a more general conjunction, equivalent to "now" or "well," often to introduce a new or oppositional fact:
Cette pièce a été remplacée ensuite par celle-ci
This coin was replaced later by this one
au début vingtième siècle.
in the early twentieth century.
Or c'est à peu près la même, mais modernisée pour l'époque.
Now, it's more or less the same, but modernized for the era.
Captions 16-18, Georges - Breizh NumismatPlay Caption
Je croyais qu'il allait me demander en mariage ce soir-là. Or, il ne l'a pas fait.
I thought he was going to ask me to marry him that night. Well, he didn't do it.
As you can see here, or always comes at the beginning of a sentence or clause when used as a conjunction. You could even call it a "transition word." But or isn't only a conjunction! It also happens to be the word for "gold":
Il doit y avoir une mine d'or.
There must be a gold mine here.Play Caption
L'or is both the color gold and the element. Its adjective form is doré(e):
Il m'a donné une bague de fiançailles dorée.
He gave me a gold engagement ring.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for our next lesson and tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to email@example.com.
The preposition dans can mean "in," "inside," or "into," depending on context. For example, elle est dans la maison could either be "she is in the house" or "she is inside the house," and elle va dans la maison could be "she goes inside the house" or "she goes into the house." In this lesson, we'll focus on "inside" (and its opposite, "outside"), which has a few other translations besides dans.
The first is dedans. Unlike dans, which is a preposition, dedans usually functions as an adverb. It can either mean "inside" or "indoors":
Là y'a nouveau jeu. Ils doivent deviner combien il y a de bonbons dedans.
There's a new game. They have to guess how many candies there are inside.Play Caption
Je n'aime pas rester dedans toute la journée.
I don't like staying indoors all day.
Like "inside," dedans can also be used as a noun:
Le dedans de l'église est très sombre.
The inside of the church is very dark.
We could also say l'intérieur de l'église est très sombre (the interior of the church is very dark), or simply il fait très sombre dans l'église (it's very dark inside the church). In fact, l'intérieur is the other word for "inside" in French. You'll often see it in the phrase à l'intérieur (de), which can also mean "within":
Maintenant, on va la laisser reposer
Now we are going to let it rest
pour que les levures à l'intérieur puissent permettre à notre pâte d'être aérée.
so that the yeast inside can allow our dough to be airy.
Captions 32-33, Alsace 20 - Grain de Sel: le Lycée hôtelier Alexandre DumasPlay Caption
Alors des maisons, c'est très rare d'en trouver, euh...
So [standalone] houses, it's very rare to find them, uh...
à l'intérieur de Paris, je vous le promets.
within Paris, I promise you.
Captions 19-20, Antoine - La Butte-aux-CaillesPlay Caption
We could easily rewrite these two examples using dedans and dans: les levures dedans (the yeast inside), en trouver dans Paris (find them in Paris).
Now let's move "outside." Though French has a general word for "in" (dans), it doesn't have one for "out." However, dedans and à l'intérieur (de) do have direct opposites: dehors and à l'extérieur (de).
Dehors functions in the exact same way as dedans, as an adverb or noun:
Dois-je payer pour ce qu'ils font dehors?
Should I pay for what they do outside?
Caption 20, Alain Etoundi - Allez tous vous faire enfilmer!Play Caption
Le dehors de la maison est plus joli que le dedans.
The outside of the house is nicer than the inside.
There's also the phrase en dehors de, which means "outside of" in both a literal and figurative sense:
Parce qu'il y a énormément de personnes qui vont travailler en dehors de Paris.
Because there are so many people who go to work outside of Paris.
Captions 47-48, Adrien - Le métro parisienPlay Caption
En dehors de ça, je ne vois aucune autre solution.
Outside of that, I don't see any other solution.
Sometimes you'll see hors de rather than dehors de:
J'aurais du mal à vivre hors de Paris maintenant.
I'd have trouble living outside of Paris now.
Captions 38-39, Elisa et sa maman - Comment vas-tu?Play Caption
But hors (de) usually means "outside" figuratively, along the lines of "beyond," "without," or "excluding":
C'est hors de question!
That's out of the question!
Le loyer est de 600 euros hors charges.
The rent is 600 euros excluding utilities.
Finally, there's à l'extérieur, the opposite of à l'intérieur:
Ce quartier-là, à l'extérieur, il a quand même une certaine réputation...
This neighborhood, on the outside, it has a certain reputation, nevertheless...Play Caption
Ça m'a permis d'aller travailler à l'extérieur de ce pays.
It's allowed me to work outside of this country.
Caption 24, Annie Chartrand - Grandir bilinguePlay Caption
Il y a des gargouilles sur l'extérieur de la cathédrale.
There are gargoyles on the cathedral's exterior.
Now you know all the ways of saying "inside" and "outside" inside and out!
In a previous lesson, we discussed the words finalement and enfin, which both mean "finally" but have different connotations. Now we'll look at the related phrase à la fin, which can also mean "finally," but is more aptly translated as "in the end":
Comme une larme à la fin de l'histoire
Like a tear at the end of the storyPlay Caption
However, like enfin, which is often used as a filler word equivalent to "well," "I mean," "in any case," or "come on," à la fin also has a more colloquial meaning. It's used to express frustration, when you've had enough of something and want it to be done with, or when you're fed up with someone's behavior:
Tu deviens ridicule à la fin avec cette histoire.
You're becoming ridiculous with this story at this point.Play Caption
Mais qu'est-ce que t'as à la fin avec ce garçon?
But what is it with you and this boy, ultimately?Play Caption
Mais arrête à la fin!
But stop it already!Play Caption
In this sense, à la fin overlaps with enfin, which can also be used to express frustration:
Mais enfin, relève-toi!
Come on, stand up!Play Caption
You can even use the two in the same sentence, when you're really frustrated:
Enfin de quoi vous parlez à la fin?
Well, what are you talking about now?Play Caption
Mais enfin, elle est dingue, cette histoire à la fin!
But come on, this story is crazy now!Play Caption
But that's not all! There's yet another word that's used informally for this purpose: encore (still, again). Patricia gives a succinct explanation of this in her video on encore and toujours:
Enfin le mot "encore" peut désigner l'impatience
Finally, the word "encore" can indicate impatience
ou le mécontentement par rapport à un événement
or dissatisfaction with regard to an event
qui se répète ou continue.
that repeats or continues.
Par exemple, la phrase: Quoi encore?
For example, the sentence: What now? [What is it now?]
Captions 17-21, Le saviez-vous? - Utilisation de "encore" et "toujours"Play Caption
Patricia also uses two phrases meaning "to be fed up with" or "to be sick/tired of" in this video—en avoir assez de and en avoir marre de:
Ah! Encore lui!
Ah! Him again!
C'est clair, ça veut dire que on en a assez de le voir.
It's clear, it means that we're tired of seeing him.
On en a marre de lui.
We're sick of him.
Captions 25-28, Le saviez-vous? - Utilisation de "encore" et "toujours"Play Caption
You now have all you need to vent your frustrations in French!
While preparing a gâteau aux pommes with Marie, Jeremy uses the phrase grâce à several times when noting the utensils they use to add the ingredients:
On ajoute cent grammes de sucre mesurés avec précision grâce à un mesureur.
We add one hundred grams of sugar measured precisely thanks to a measuring cup.
Captions 10-11, Marie & Jeremy - Le gâteau aux pommesPlay Caption
Ensuite on mélange grâce à un fouet avec vivacité et énergie.
Then we mix using a whisk with speed and energy.
Captions 14-15, Marie & Jeremy - Le gâteau aux pommesPlay Caption
Ensuite, grâce à une petite balance de cuisine.
Then, with the help of a small kitchen scale.
Caption 16, Marie & Jeremy - Le gâteau aux pommesPlay Caption
"Thanks to" is the closest equivalent to grâce à in English. Though Jeremy uses it to talk about inanimate objects, you can just as well use it to refer to a person, someone you're literally thanking:
Merci beaucoup. Grâce à vous, ce mariage, c'était formidable.
Thank you very much. Thanks to you this wedding was great.Play Caption
Grâce has the same Latin root as the Spanish gracias and the Italian grazie, which both mean "thanks." It's also the source of the English word "grace." Like "grace," la grâce (don't forget the circumflex) can mean "elegance," "pardon," and "mercy":
Par lui, tout est grâce et lumière et beauté
Through it, all is grace and light and beautyPlay Caption
La grâce des membres de l'Arche de Zoé pourrait intervenir la semaine prochaine.
The pardoning of the members of Zoe's Ark could occur next week.
Caption 22, Le Journal - L'Arche de ZoéPlay Caption
Les vénérables vieillards, plusieurs fois centenaires, n'ont pas connu grâce.
The venerable old men, centenarians several times over, did not get any mercy.Play Caption
As you might have guessed, "mercy" is the literal meaning of merci. So when you say "thank you" in French, you're really saying "mercy." And when you say "thanks to" something or someone, you're really saying "grace"!
There are a few different ways of saying "when" in French, the most basic of which is quand. Like "when," quand can either be an adverb or a conjunction. As an adverb, it's generally used to form questions:
Quand seras-tu libre?
When will you be free?
Tu l'as inventé quand ce morceau?
When did you compose this piece?
Caption 24, Claire et Philippe - Mon morceau de pianoPlay Caption
À quelle heure is an adverbial expression that's more or less synonymous with quand, albeit a bit more specific. It's the equivalent of "at what time" in English:
Enfin, tu commences à quelle heure le travail?
Anyway, what time (when) do you start work?
Caption 70, Elisa et Mashal - Petit-déjeunerPlay Caption
As a conjunction, quand is synonymous with lorsque:
À Paris quand vous sortez le soir,
In Paris when you go out at night,
le métro se termine à minuit trente.
the metro stops [running] at half past midnight.
Captions 15-16, Amal - VélibPlay Caption
Lorsque je vous vois, je tressaille
When I see you, I quiver
Caption 19, Bertrand Pierre - Si vous n'avez rien à me direPlay Caption
We could easily switch quand and lorsque in those examples:
À Paris lorsque vous sortez le soir, le métro se termine à minuit trente.
Quand je vous vois, je tressaille
However, you can't use lorsque as an adverb, that is, as a question word. So you would never ask someone, Lorsque seras-tu libre?
You'll also see the phrase au moment où ("at the moment when") instead of quand or lorsque:
Au moment où le chat sortit en courant,
When the cat ran out,
la calèche royale atteignait le château.
the royal carriage reached the castle.
Captions 33-34, Contes de fées - Le chat bottéPlay Caption
Où usually means "where," but sometimes, as in au moment où, it means "when":
Les lignes de métro vont s'ouvrir
The subway lines will open [continued to open]
jusqu'à mille neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix,
until nineteen ninety,
dans les années mille neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix,
in the nineteen nineties,
où la ligne quatorze fut ouverte.
when line fourteen was opened.
Captions 17-20, Adrien - Le métro parisienPlay Caption
Le dimanche, où les gens ne travaillent pas,
Sunday, when people don't work,
on va prendre le croissant, on va prendre le pain au chocolat.
we'll have a croissant, we'll have a chocolate croissant.
Captions 29-30, Arles - Le petit déjeunerPlay Caption
If you're ever in doubt when to use which word for "when," just go with quand. It has the broadest scope, so you can use it pretty much n'importe quand (whenever).
De nouveau and à nouveau both mean "again" (or more literally, "anew"), and you'll often find them used interchangeably in everyday speech. But technically there's a subtle difference between them. De nouveau implies a repetition of something that already happened:
Le lendemain il se retrouva de nouveau sur le bord d'un immense lac.
The next day, he found himself again on the edge of an immense lake.
Caption 13, Contes de fées - Le vilain petit canardPlay Caption
Je ne vous ai pas entendu. Pourriez-vous m'expliquer de nouveau?
I didn't hear you. Could you explain it to me again [repeat what you just said]?
On the other hand, à nouveau implies something happening in a different way than before—that is, in a new way:
On retravaille à nouveau l'orthographe français [sic: française].
French spelling has once again been reworked.
Caption 46, Le saviez-vous? - L'histoire de la dictéePlay Caption
Je ne comprends pas. Pourriez-vous m'expliquer à nouveau?
I don't understand. Could you explain it to me again [in a different way]?
Do you see the difference between the second sentences in the examples above? If you don't hear something someone said, you want them to repeat it. So you use de nouveau. But if you don't understand what they said, you want them to rephrase it, say it in a new way. So you use à nouveau.
Note that both these expressions only use nouveau, not the other forms of the adjective (nouvel, nouveaux, nouvelle, nouvelles). If you see any of these after de, you're dealing with "new," not "again":
...et de la mémorisation de nouveaux mots ou de nouvelles phrases.
...and the memorization of new words or new phrases.
Caption 49, Le saviez-vous? - Les bénéfices de la dictéePlay Caption
If you forget when to use à nouveau versus de nouveau, you can always just use encore, the most basic equivalent of "again":
On espère te... te voir encore sur d'autres scènes en Alsace?
We hope to... to see you again on other stages in Alsace?
Caption 62, Alsace 20 - Femmes d'exception: Christine OttPlay Caption
Just keep in mind that encore can also mean "still," as we discussed in a previous lesson.