Archive | April 2018

Idioms & Colloquialisms

It’s been a while since I’ve done an idioms or colloquialisms post!

  • nase – lame
    • “Ce film est nase, ne le regarde pas !”
    • “This movie is lame, don’t see it!”
  • être mimi – to be cute
    • “Ton chat est vraiment mimi !”
    • “Your cat is very cute!”
  • paumer – to lose
    • “J’ai encore paumé mes clés !”
    • “I lost my keys again!”
  • papoter – to chat, to gossip
    • “En été, j’aime papoter avec mes amis.”
    • “In the summer, I like to chat/gossip with my friends.”
  • chiant – annoying
    • “Mon portable s’éteint tout seul, c’est vraiment chiant !”
    • “My phone is going off by itself, it’s really annoying!”
  • pépère – cushy, comfortable
    • “Elle a trouvé un travail pépère, sans stress.”
    • “She found a comfortable job, without stress.”
  • se pieuter – to hit the sack (go to bed)
    • “Je suis trop crevé, je rentre chez moi et je vais me pieuter !”
    • “I’m dead tired, I’ll go home and hit the sack!”
  • un rencard – a date
    • “Michel a acheté des roses, il a un rencard ce soir avec Sandrine.”
    • “Michel bought roses, he has a date with Sandrine tonight.”
  • raconte des salades – to tell stories/lies
    • “Je ne te crois pas, tu  me racontes encore des salades !”
    • “I don’t believe you, you’re telling me lies!”
  • désormais – from now on
    • “Désormais, j’essayerai de t’aider avec les maths.”
    • “From now on, I’ll try to help you with maths.”
  • filer – to dash off
    • “Je dois filer, j’ai un rendez-vous dans 5 minutes !”
    • “I should dash off, I have a meeting in 5 minutes!”
  • soit…, soit… – either… or…
    • “Soit tu viens avec nous à la plage, soit tu restes ici regarder le match à la télé.”
    • “Either you come with us to the beach, or you stay here to watch the game on tv.”

Have a great week, everyone! Did anyone see the first practice set for the last two posts? If you haven’t, go check it out!

A la prochaine…


Practice Set : Prepositions Avec & Sans

Lessons: Prepositions Avec & Sans

Sans or Avec? Complete each phrase with either avec or sans.

  1. He’s an unimaginative man. C’est un homme ____ imagination.
  2. She answered bitterly. Elle a répondu ____ amertume.
  3. They write effortlessly. Ils écrivent ____ effort.
  4. Come eat with us! I really mean it! Viens manger avec nous ! ____ façons !
  5. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t have finished the job. ____ elle, nous n’aurions pas fini le travail.
  6. With the ice on the road, driving is difficult. ____ le verglas, il est difficile de conduire.
  7. You have to handle him carefully. Il faut le prendre ____ des gants.
  8. Don’t go out barefoot. Ne sors pas ____ chaussures.
  9. You have to speak sweetly to her. Il faut lui parler ____ douceur.
  10. He threw himself into the fray unflinchingly. Il s’est lancé au combat ____ broncher.

Give the French equivalent to each each expression using avec or sans in each case.

  1. doubtless
  2. otherwise
  3. heartless
  4. unemployed
  5. lovingly
  6. kindly
  7. anything else?
  8. unhesitatingly

The answers to this practice set will be posted as a comment in the next few days.

See you Thursday!


Preposition : Sans

The preposition sans is the equivalent of the English word “without”.

  • Notre équipe a dû jouer sans notre meilleur joueur. | Our team had to play without our best player.
  • Sans argent on ne peut rien faire. | Without money you can’t do anything.
  • Je me suis couché sans avoir fini mon travail. | I went to bed without having finished my work.

Sans can mean if it weren’t for… or but for…

  • Sans ce plan, on se serait perdus. | If it weren’t for this street map, we would have gotten lost.

The preposition sans + noun is often the equivalent of an English adjective ending in -less or an adjective with a negative prefix such as un- or in-.

  • sans abrisans domicile fixehomeless
  • une situation sans remède – a hopeless person
  • un film sans intérêt – an uninteresting film
  • une femme sans préjugés – an unprejudiced/unbiased woman
  • sans doute – doubtless
  • sans effort – effortless

The use of sans with negative words eliminates the need for ne. The partitive article often becomes de after sans because of the implied negative meaning of the preposition.

  • sans parler à personne – without speaking to anyone
  • sans rien faire – without doing anything
  • sans jamais l’avoir vu – without ever having seen him
  • sortir sans faire de bruit – to go out without making any noise

Hello, followers! I will be posting my first practice set this week. I just don’t know what day would be best – I’m thinking either Friday or Saturday. What would you all prefer? This first set will cover this lesson and last weeks lesson.

A bientôt !


Prepositions : Avec

The preposition avec expresses accompaniment, much like the English word “with”.

  • Attends, j’irais avec toi. | Wait, I’ll go with you.
  • Je suis d’accord avec vous. | I agree with you.

Avec labels the clause.

  • Avec l’inflation, tout le monde parle des prix. | With inflation, everyone is talking about prices.
  • J’ai peur de conduire avec toute cette neige. | I’m afraid to drive with all this snow.

Avec expresses in addition to.

  • Et avec cela (ça), madame ? | Anything else, ma’am? (In a store.)
  • Il n’a pas étudié et avec ça il a séché le cours. | He didn’t study, and on top of that he cut class.

Avec + noun is often the equivalent of an English adverb.

  • avec joie | joyfully
  • avec colère | angrily

I’m thinking of adding, in addition to these posts, having a practice set, or homework, with an answer key posted on another day. What do you guys think?

ALSO, my blog turned 5 years old last Thursday! I can’t believe I forgot to mention it!

Have a great week, everyone!

A bientôt !


Position of Adjectives (Part 2)

Adjectives whose meaning changes according to position

There are a number of common adjectives whose meaning changes according to whether they are placed before or after the noun they qualify:


  • une ancienne église | a former church
  • une église ancienne | an old church


  • un brave garçon | a good/fine boy
  • un garçon brave | a brave boy


  • un certain échec | a certain/particular failure
  • un échec certain | a certain/definite failure


  • un cher ami | a dear friend
  • un magasin cher | an expensive store


  • un court entretien | a short/brief interview
  • un nez court | a short nose


  • le dernier jour de l’école | the last day of school
  • la semaine dernière | last week (i.e.: previous to this week)


  • différentes idées (in plural only) | various ideas
  • une idée différente (in singular only) | a different/another idea

divers (pl.)

  • diverses opinions | various opinions
  • des opinions diverses | differing opinions


  • un grand artiste | a great artist
  • un artiste grand | a tall artist


  • la même personne | the same person
  • la personne même | the very person


  • un nouveau projet | a new/different project
  • un projet nouveau | a newly created plan


  • une pauvre famille | a poor family (expressing sympathy)
  • une famille pauvre | a poor/impoverished family


  • la prochaine date | the next date (i.e.: in a sequence)
  • une date prochaine | a date not far off
  • la semaine prochaine | next week (i.e.: after this week)


  • ma propre voiture | my own car
  • une voiture propre | a clean car


  • un sale coup (colloquial) | a dirty blow
  • une rue sale | a dirty road (not clean)


  • le seul tableau | the only/single picture
  • le tableau seul | the picture alone/only the picture


  • une vraie histoire | a real story
  • une histoire vrai | a true/authentic story

Position of two or more adjectives qualifying a noun

When one noun is qualified by two adjectives, both of which normally precede the noun, the order is: ordinal numerals / indefinite adjectives

  • nouveau/jeune/vieux/vrai
  • bon/beau/gros/haut/joli/mauvais/méchant/sot/vilain
  • grand/petit
    • un jolie petit bébé | a pretty little baby
    • chaque jeune arbre | each young tree

Two adjectives preceding the noun may be linked by et, indicating that the two characteristics are distinct:

  • un beau et vieux portrait | a fine, old portrait

If either of the adjectives is qualified by an adverb, it should follow the noun:

  • un mauvais quartier très vaste | a bad, very large district

When one noun is qualified by two adjectives both of which usually follow the noun, the adjectives should be joined by et:

  • un homme courageux et intelligent | a brave and intelligent man

However, if both the adjectives define the status of the noun, et is omitted:

  • le représentant socialiste italien | the Italian Socialist representative

When one noun is qualified by two adjectives, one of which normally precedes and the other follows the noun, the order of the adjectives is unchanged:

  • une vieille ferme provençale | an old Provencal farm

Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…