Archive | August 2017

Asking for and Offering Explanations

Something to note before going into this lesson, the verb expliquer is used to translate “to explain”, but the reflexive form s’expliquer often translates to “to quarrel”, or “to have a fight”, and une explication can suggest an acrimonious change of views.

Ils se sont expliqués hier. | They fought yesterday.

Asking Someone for an Explanation

This may be a neutral request for information, or a demand that the person addressed should justify him/herself.

Est-ce que vous pourriez m’expliquer les modes d’emploi ? | Could you explain the instructions to me?

Tu peux m’expliquer ce qui se passe ? | Can you explain to me what’s happening?

Je vous demanderais de m’expliquer votre décision. | May I ask you to explain your decision?

J’espère du moins que vous pourrez expliquer votre absence. | I trust you can account for your absence.

Comment voulez-vous justifier ce retard ? | How do you intend to justify this delay?

Offering an Explanation

Here are some examples of how to give your explanation to someone.

Vous aimeriez que je vous explique la structure de notre société ? | Would you like me to explain to you our company’s structure?

Si tu veux, je peux te montrer comment l’appareil fonctionne. | If you’ like, I’ll show you how the machine works.

Permettez que je vous explique notre raisonnement. | Allow me to explain our reasoning to you.

Si vous permettez, j’essayerai d’éclairer la raison de ce malentendu ? | May I try to explain the reason for this misunderstanding?

Il voulait me fair comprendre les obstacles. | He wanted to explain the obstacles to me.

Mon collègue pourra vous rendre compte de nos progrès. | My colleague will be able to tell you about our progress.

Je dois m’excuser de ma conduite hier. | I must apologise for my conduct yesterday.

Je ne veux pas y aller. Je vais prétexter un rendez-vous. | I don’t want to go. I’ll make the excuse that I’ve got a meeting.

There will be a part 2 to this post, so be sure to come back next Thursday for that post! I hope everyone is having a great week!

A bientôt !


Accepting Apologies

This is part 2 to last week’s Making Apologies post. This week we’ll learn what to say when we accept these apologies.

To accept an apology without reservation:

Ce n’est pas grave. | It doesn’t matter.

Je t’en prie. / Je vous en prie. | Don’t mention it./Forget it.

Il n’y a pas de quoi. | That’s alright.

Ne t’en fais pas. / Ne vous en faites pas. | Don’t worry.

N’en parlons plus. | Let’s forget it.

To accept an apology, but stress that the fault must not happen again:

Ça va, pourvu que tu ne recommences pas. (especially to children) | That’s alright, just don’t do it again.

Je vous excuse, mais vous devriez faire mieux attention à l’avenir. | I forgive you, but you should take more care in the future.

Espérons du moins que cela ne se reproduira pas. | Let’s hope it does not happen again.

Some less formal and more colloquial responses:

Pas de problème ! | No problem!

Il n’y a pas de mal ! | No harm!

Pas de soucis ! No worries!

Very short post this week. I try to bring you guys enough content in each post, so I apologise for the brevity of this post! Look at how I’m apologising on an apologies post (not intentional!). Now what would you say in response? En français. 🙂

A la prochaine…


Making Apologies

In French, as in most languages, there are set formulae for making your apologies, and accepting those apologies of someone else.

Apologizing to Friends/Close Colleagues

Simplest form of an apology:

Oh, pardon ! | Sorry!

Je m’excuse ! | My apologies! / I’m sorry!

Je suis désolé(e) ! | I’m really sorry!

Slightly more elaborate ways of apologising and admitting responsibility:

C’est ma faute. Excuse-moi. | It’s my fault. Sorry.

Je m’en veux beaucoup. | I’m really cross with myself for it.

J’espère que tu ne m’en veux pas / ne m’en voudras pas. | I hope you’re not too upset with me.

Je suis désolé(e) de t’avoir dérangé. | I’m really sorry to have disturbed you.

There are ways to apologise and also suggest that you are not entirely to blame. You would use “Je suis désolé(e)” and one of the following examples:

Je ne l’ai pas fait exprès. | I didn’t do it on purpose/deliberately.

Je ne pouvais pas faire autrement. | I had to./There was nothing else I could do.

J’essayais simplement de vous aider. | I was only trying to help you.

Je n’avais pas le choix. | I didn’t have a choice.

More formal apologies in conversation:

Brief apology:

  • Oh, pardonnez-moi ! (ex: if you accidentally bumped into someone or stepped on their foot) | Oh, I’m sorry!
  • Excusez-moi ! (ex: when you’ve done something wrong) | I’m sorry. / My apologies.
  • C’est moi le coupable. | It’s my fault. / I’m to blame.

Come back next week for part two of this post, “Accepting Apologies”. As always, if you have a request or a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment and I will be happy to help. 🙂 Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…