Tag Archive | French

Colorful Adjectives Part 2

Part 2 of our colorful adjectives series!


Apart from its association with the brain, grey designates something rather unpleasant.

  • la matière grise | the little grey cells/grey matter
  • un temps gris | overcast weather
  • en voir de grises | to have an unpleasant time of it
  • faire grise mine à quelqu’un | to give someone the cold shoulder


As in English, yellow is associated with cowardice.

  • un jaune | a person or thing that regarded with dislike or disgust
  • le jaune d’un œuf | the yolk of an egg
  • rire jaune | to give a forced laugh/sickly smile


As in English, black is primarily associated with unhappiness or misfortune.

  • noir comme du jais | jet black
  • noir comme dans un four | pitch black
  • une bête noir | a pet aversion
  • le marché noir | the black market
  • une rue noire de monde | a road swarming with people
  • broyer du noir | to be depressed
  • Il fait noir. | It’s dark.
  • mettre noir sur blanc | to be put in black and white/in writing
  • porter le noir | to be dressed in black (mourning)
  • regarder quelqu’un d’un oeil noir | to look at someone with attitude/suspicion/disapproval
  • voir la vie en noir | to take a gloomy view of things

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !



Colorful Adjectives Part 1

You should be familiar with the main color adjectives in French used in their literal sense. Many of them are also used idiomatically. Even with the word couleur there are idiomatic expressions.

  • jouer dans la couleur | to follow suit (playing cards)
  • L’affaire prend couleur. | Things are taking shape.
  • Il a dit cela sous couleur d’amitié. | He said it under a show of friendship.
  • Il en parlait comme un aveugle des couleurs. | He went on about it without knowing anything,


In French, white has the traditional image of purity, but also the association of a blank, something nonexistent.

  • être blanc comme neige | to be as pur as the driven snow
  • devenir blanc comme un linge | to turn white as a sheet
  • une copie blanche | a blank script
  • un examen blanc | a mock exam
  • la houille blanche | hydroelectric power
  • un mariage blanc | an unconsummated marriage
  • des vers blancs | blank verse
  • de but en blanc | point-blank, without warning
  • dire tantôt blanc, tantôt noir | to say one thing then another
  • donner carte blanche | to give someone absolute freedom
  • faire chou blanc | to be a total flop
  • laisser un blanc | to leave a gap
  • passer une nuit blanche | to stay up all night


Blue in French designates something or someone as raw or fresh (green in English).

  • un bleu | a bruise; a new recruit/novice
  • un bifteck bleu | a rare steak
  • un conte bleu | a cock-and-bull story
  • une peur bleue | a terrible fear
  • le sang bleu | blue blood
  • les bleus de travail | working overalls
  • être bleu de froid | to be blue with cold
  • être bleu de colère | to be livid (with anger)
  • n’y voir que du bleu | not to smell a rat

Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…


Colloquialisms & Idioms

à un de ces quatre ! – see you someday!

  • Je dois y aller. À un de ces quatre !
  • I should go that. See you someday!

des fringues – clothes

  • Ève adore acheter des fringues.
  • Ève loves to buy clothes.

faire la grasse matinée – to sleep late/in

  • Demain c’est dimanche, donc on fait la grasse matinée !
  • Tomorrow is Sunday, so we’re sleeping in!

le cerveau en compote – brain turned to mush

  • J’ai trop étudié le français aujourd’hui, j’ai le cerveau en compote !
  • I studied too much French today. My brain turned to mush!

rater le coche – to miss the boat

  • J’ai manqué une belle opportunité, j’ai vraiment raté le coche !
  • I missed a great opportunity. I really missed the boat!

le bide – the belly

  • J’ai mangé trop de chocolat et maintenant j’ai mal au bide !
  • I ate too much chocolate and now my belly hurts!

une friandise – sweets/candy

  • Lucie a offert une boîte de friandises à Robert.
  • Lucie offered Robert a box of sweets/candy.

un costard – a suit

  • Pour cette soirée, il prévoit de mettre son plus beau costard.
  • For this soirée, he plans to wear his best suit.

un rencard – a date

  • Jacques a acheté des roses, il a un rencard ce soir avec Sandrine.
  • Jacques bought roses. He has a date with Sandrine tonight.

avoir la pêche – to feel great

  • J’ai bien dormi, j’ai la pêche !
  • I slept well. I feel great!

Happy new year, everyone!

Merci à vous !


Verbal Opposites

Verbal Opposites

Je monte l’escalier → je descends

  • I go up the stairs → I go down [the stairs]

Je m’habille → je me déshabille

  • I dress myself → I undress myself

Le soleil se lève → il se couche

  • The sun rises → The [sun] sets

Je décolle le papier peint → Je colle le papier peint

  • I take off the wallpaper → I stick on/adhere/paste/glue the wallpaper

Je crie → Je chuchote, je murmure

  • I shout → I whisper, I murmur

Je plie la serviette → Je déplie

  • I fold the napkin → I unfold

Je nettoie → Je salis

  • I clean up → I get dirty

J’ouvre → Je ferme

  • I open → I close

J’allume → J’éteins

  • I light up → I turn off

Je mouille → Je sèche

  • I dampen → I dry up

J’ai perdu des billes → J’ai gagné des billes

  • I lost some marbles → I got/won some marbles.

J’ai fini → j’ai commencé, J’ai débuté

  • I finished → I started, I began

Je vide la bouteille → Je remplis

  • I emptied the bottle → I refilled

J’obéis → Je désobéis

  • I obey → I disobey

J’offre un cadeau → Je reçois

  • I offer a gift → I receive

Il me plait → il me déplait

  • I like it → I don’t like it

Je fais → Je défais

  • I make → I undo

Je déballe le cadeau → J’emballe le cadeau

  • I unwrap the gift → I wrap the gift

Ranger → Déranger

  • I tidy up → I disarrange

This is my 200th blog post! This will be the last post of the year. I’ll be back in January. Stay well, everyone, and enjoy your holidays!

A la prochaine année !


Très vs. Beaucoup & Merci de vs. Merci pour

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a versus post, and this week I’m bringing you two!

Très vs. Beaucoup

Très + adjective/adverb:

  • Elle est très sportive. | She is very athletic.
  • C’est très bien. | It’s very good.

Très + avoir faim, soif, peur, envie, mal, chaud, froid:

  • Tu as très faim ? | Are you very hungry?
  • Le chat a très peur. | The cat is very scared.

Beaucoup + noun/verb (Note, use de/d’ before the noun!)

  • Elle fait beaucoup de sport. |  She does a lot of sports.
  • J’aime beaucoup. | I really like.

Note: Never use très and beaucoup together!

Merci de vs. Merci pour

Merci de + infinitive

  • Merci de faire attention. | Thank you for paying attention.
  • Merci de ne pas fumer. | Thank you for not smoking.

Merci de/pour + noun

  • Merci pour/de ta visite. | Thank you for your visit.
  • Merci pour/de votre aide. | Thank you for your help.
  • Merci pour les gâteaux. | Thank you for the cakes.
  • Merci pour tout. | Thank you for everything.

Often the two prepositions are possible, but remember:

  • de + abstract noun
  • pour + concrete noun

Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…



Speaking good idiomatic French requires not only a sound grasp of grammar and vocabulary, but also a sensitivity to the different registers appropriate to situations. The following lesson is a guideline on courtesy in common situations.


Saying Hello

When greeting a stranger or an adult you only slightly know, remember to include the polite title of address: Bonjour, Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle.

When a young woman ceases to be addressed as Mademoiselle, and becomes Madame, and her marital status is unknown, looks to be under or over 20-25 years old, err on the side of caution by using Madame.

For informal or closer acquaintances, it is common to say the name after the greeting.

  • Bonjour, Monsieur Gautier.
  • Bonjour, Anne.

Salut is a familiar greeting, equivalent to “Hi” in English, and much used among young people.

  • Salut, Amandine ! | Hi, Amandine!

An initial greeting is usually accompanied by a handshake if you do not know the person well, or between men. For family and closer friends, particularly two women or a woman and a man, it is usual to faire la bise – to kiss on both cheeks. The number of bises given varies from region to region, two being the minimum, four the maximum – just follow local custom!

Note that the French expect to shake hands or faire la bise not just on a first introduction, but on subsequent meetings. For example, if you work in an office, you usually shake hands with your colleagues every morning and possibly again to say goodbye in the evening.

Thank you to those who share my blog. I notice where people are being referred from, and it just makes me so happy that you all are enjoying what I’m giving you all. So thank you again! And by the way, I am so close to having two hundred posts!!!

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !


Verbs – Partir

This week’s post is all about the verb partir! On a personal note, when I was first learning French (15 years ago), there was a song by an indie French singer called Partir that I loved. For me it was fun to learn the meaning of the word in relation to this song.

Ok, on to the lesson!

Partir – to leave, to go out

  • Partir, c’est mourir un peu. | To leave is to die a little.
  • La navette partira dans dix minutes. | The shuttle will leave in ten minutes.
  • Mathilde est partie faire quelques courses, elle rentrera vers six heures. | Mathilde has gone to do a little shopping; she will be back around 6 o’clock.
  • Colomb était parti chercher la route des Indes. | Columbus had set out to look for the way to India.

Partir à/en/pour quelque chose/de quelque chose– to leave for/from somewhere

  • Nous partons aux Etats-Unis le mois prochain. | We will leave for the United States next month.
  • Il va partir en Argentine construire une maison. | He is leaving for Argentina to build a house.
  • Nos voisins sont partis pour la montagne. | Our neighbours have left for the mountains.
  • Quand est-ce que vous partez pour votre croisière ? | When are you leaving on your cruise?

Partir pour + infinitif – to leave to + infinitive

  • Caroline est partie en Afrique pour combattre le sous-développement. | Caroline left to fight underdevelopment in Africa.
  • Il est bien parti pour gagner le Tour de France. | He has gotten off to a good start in the Tour de France.
  • Je suis parti pour rester tout l’été à travailler. | It looks like I will be working here all summer.

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !