Is "je m'en fous" rude/offensive?

Hi, I've read this can mean "I don't care" or "I don't give a [swear word]". I don't want to use it incorrectly and offend someone. Which is correct? Thanks.

March 4, 2018


"Je m'en fiche" means I don't care.

"Je m'en fous" is indeed rude as it means I don't give a (swear word)

French is my first language by the way.

March 4, 2018

Oh yes, indeed. it is offensive.

Rule of thumb in a new cautiously with slang and obscenities.

March 4, 2018

don't use these lightly. A better way to say it, which is neutral, is:

"Ça m'est egal" = 'It is the same to me – I don't care either way"

"Je m'en fous" and "Je m'en fiche" are quite strong, and would be considered rude in conversation. They are similar to "I don't give a damn" and "I don't give a rat's a...!"

March 5, 2018

Hi, I recommend that this question be re-routed to the French forum so you will find people who speak French and are able to help you. This is the Troubleshooting forum, and you might not get many answers here. Bonne chance.

March 4, 2018

OK, everybody's right, saying that it is (strictly speaking) rude, but it's very commonly used for "I don't care / I couldn't care less". Of course, if the question was "Can I help you?", then "I couldn't care less" is not exactly polite, is it? But if the question was "Will Harvey Weinstein get a good defence", maybe "I couldn't care less" doesn't sound so bad, and if you say "Je m'en fous", everyone will nod, and say "Oui, moi aussi".

March 6, 2018

Yes, but this gets to an important cultural difference between France and the US. France is much more formal than the US, and using the wrong language gets you disrespect. People won’t say anything maybe, but they will judge you.

I remember when my family lived there this mattered. If you wanted to buy a stamp at the PO you could not just say (and my French is too rusty now to write this in French...): “I’d like a stamp.” But instead had to say something like: “Madame, would you be so kind as to please sell me a stamp.”

I would only use this phrase with very close friends whom I knew would be ok with it.

March 6, 2018

Dcalr1, you make a beautiful point about language.

I once saw Americans get off a plane in Paris and blurt out to the first person they saw: "Where is immigration?". And I saw the LOOK on the french persons face. They were miffed and replied in a lecturing voice: "BONJOUR Monsieur! ... this way please."

It was such a great return to France, to be reminded of the cultural differences right off the plane! Of course I was prepared, dressed reasonably elegant, (heels and a dress), and started every conversation with "S'il vous plait madame" and "Bonjour monsieur" ... It was beautiful.

March 7, 2018

It reminds me a video I saw on Youtube by NotevenFrench , she explains the differences about politness between the countries . Not the same rules at all apprently ! We wouldn't adress someone without saying something like "bonjour, s'il vous plait, excusez moi" otherwise yes it is rude.

"Madame, would you be so kind as to please sell me a stamp.” this sentence is extremely polite , you don't need to be so "chic" ;))

March 8, 2018

I wouldn't call it offensive , rude..I don't know but it's not very polite . As a foreigner you can find an other way to say the same : -ça m'est égal - j'en ai rien à faire - je m'en fiche (it's polite to me , maybe even a little childlike , not strong like someone here said)

It's strange to me when a foreigner use slang or swear words . I always think he should learn the rest a the language instead of using that kind of words .. maybe if he has been living in the country for a long time...

The problem is that these days lots of people in France use that kind of sentences and don't consider them rude or anything . They don't even realise what it is the normal polite way to speak.

If you come in France , you can hear "je m"en fous " a lot ! But it doesn't mean you should use it too , it's better if you're more polite than us ! ;)

March 8, 2018

Moving this to the French forums =]

March 5, 2018

Hi Jonathan, you can say, to be polite "Cella m'est égal". et Thomas Ricomard

March 5, 2018

You can say it but you can not write it, if you write it, please correct : "Cela m'est égal", or "ça m'est égal". You also have the equivalent "peu importe", which is short too, the shortness of the expression showing that you do not want to hear anymore . The evidence provided in this discussion about the way to speak/to connect with French people is very true. I can even not answer to someone who doesn't begin by : "bonjour", or "excusez-moi" or s'il vous plait" ...

April 4, 2019

I've been wondering this same question! The French word in question appears in the lyrics of some French songs I've found... really frustrating, 'cause I can't figure out exactly what it means, and I DON'T want to go around swearing (or singing along with a song that has a swear word) without even knowing it!

June 8, 2019

It means “I don’t give a f***”

June 8, 2019
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