https://www.duolingo.com/CosmoKaiza

French Idioms I (Explained in English)

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I decided to do this post for French learners, we have beautiful idioms and special words, I hope my explanation will be clear. Sorry fo the bad english and mistakes.

  1. Je n'y vois que du feu / Je n'ai vu(e) que du feu :

Literally : I only see fire / I only saw fire It means when you are naive and someone did you a trick in front of your face and you only realized it after the explanations of the trick (--> Je n'ai vu que du feu).

  1. Remuer / Tourner le couteau dans la plaie

Literally : You are touring a knife into an injurie, but of course it is a metaphor. It means when someone (just a person, close to you or not) is living a bad situation (for example a breakup) and you or someone insist about and say something : Imagine if you were more kind with him/her ... If someone says : Arrête de remuer le couteau dans la plaie, has a negative connotation and means that the person is mean.

  1. Ne pas être sorti(e) de l'auberge :

Literally: We are not out of the motel yet It means that a problem or a situation is happening and it will take time to solve it. Ex: You want to go outside but your friend is slow and take time to dress etc. You will : On est pas sorti de l'auberge !

  1. Se grouiller :

Literally : No accurate traduction sorry It means to go faster. Warning using it is considered as bad french, but it shows that you are a real francophone. Ex : Someone is taking time to get prepared but you are in a hurry so you will say : Grouille - toi !

  1. Les doigts dans le nez Literally : The fingers in the nose It means that you accomplish something easily or you think it will be accomplished easily. Ex : J'ai réussi mon examen les doigts dans le nez. = You think that the exam was easy and you didn't had to put too much effort in it.

  2. Prendre son pied

Literally ; Took his / her foot It means when you have great sex. Ex: Il a pris son pied hier avec sa nouvelle copine. (copine = girlfriend, you can also say petite amie)

  1. Coucher

Literally : Sleep (but sexual connotation) When you have sex with someone Ex : J'ai couché avec elle. I slept with her. Warning : Do not mistake with se coucher, which means sleep Ex: Je me suis couché a 22h hier. Also saying : Nous avons couchés ensemble, When you want to say Nous avons dormis ensemble (no sexual connotation) is confusing.

I hope, you liked this post and it was useful. Tell me in the comments below if you want more posts like this :) !

4/7/2015, 2:28:12 PM

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/PoetryOtter

Cool, here are some of the English ones that fit them:

2) Rub salt into the wound 4) People will usually say "chop chop!"

4/7/2015, 2:32:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

Yes, I've heard that one.

4/12/2015, 2:09:40 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul.Morris

Tourner le couteau dans la plaie

This has a direct equivalent in English: "Twisting the knife in the wound".

Meaning, "to make worse an already bad situation".

This is often shortened, in English, simply to "twisting the knife". For example, "He is really twisting the knife now".

"Blade" is sometimes used instead of knife and "turning" instead of twisting so, in fact, the phrases are exactly the same both literally and idiomatically.

Thanks for this contribution. Idiom is something that is rarely covered in language courses (and when it is mentioned always seems to be twenty years out of date). It is also the easiest thing to get wrong in conversation!

4/8/2015, 10:24:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/lennonmacca
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I like this! In language courses I miss these kind of things that actually are really important if you want to understand the language and its speakers better! :) I would have thought that the first one was an expression of anger haha.

4/7/2015, 4:21:32 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/CosmoKaiza
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I will do a weekly post then :) At least try

4/8/2015, 4:43:06 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/lennonmacca
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That would be really nice! :D

4/8/2015, 5:32:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AussieCraig

The first one for me brought images of 'smoke and mirrors' to mind for me.

4/11/2015, 7:46:27 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

I think we have one similar to yours. We call it the smoke screen.

4/12/2015, 2:10:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Batomouch
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Hello Kozmo! Great post, but some errors in your French : Correct sentences are 1-"Je n'ai VU que du feu" vu only like this. 2-"Grouille-toi !" with - between grouille and toi. 3- "Nous avons couché ensemble" and "Nous avons dorMI ensemble" couché and dormi without "s" because the auxiliary verb used is HAVE. Friendly Kozmo ;-)

4/9/2015, 5:33:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

Merci Batomouch. On se donne un coup de main. C'est le but.

4/9/2015, 11:11:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/CosmoKaiza
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Merci je fais pas trop attention, surtout quand je réfléchis en anglais et français. :)

4/18/2015, 4:48:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

This is very interesting.

I have some we use; I think I understand most of what you wrote.

1) As far as the trick part is concerned, we usually say, "the hand is quicker than the eye." For the naive part, we might say someone pulled the wool over your eyes.

2) Rub it in; this is the term we use where I am from. It is often used by young people such as teenagers. It can also be used by adults. It is used in conversation like in the example you used above. It is more casual, and more likely with someone you know.

3) We're not out of the woods yet: a problem is taking place, but it will take some time to solve it.

4) Step on it! Move it! Get a move on! Step on Christmas! (It's usually May or June, and someone's remarks you better hurry up and get ready for Christmas even though it's months away when you really don't need to start preparing yet). Not everyone will use this phrase in this manner. It is considered regionalism.

5) we slept together (had sex); we slept on/in the same bed (usually we slept together but didn't have sex; on makes it sound more innocent/neutral, in may suggest possible sex took place but not necessarily. It depends on who you went to bed with.

Merci

4/7/2015, 4:05:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

I deleted above by accident. I meant to say I hadn't realized you look like a teenager (if that is you in the photograph), so I need to censor my idioms because some things are not for young ears.

4/9/2015, 11:17:19 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Marsloves

Very interesting. Thanks

4/9/2015, 3:09:56 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/lisalooleeli

thanks for taking the time to present this.

4/9/2015, 3:26:20 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Mamio16

Thank you so much,they're very helpful and yes we want more and more posts like this,thank you!

4/9/2015, 4:30:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlanJBrown

Thank you so much Kozmo ,please post more, these are excellent ways of learning about true conversational French, duolingo, together with your posts, just flipping brilliant!.

4/10/2015, 1:48:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sahjaza
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merci beaucoup. Now I understand my boyfriend so much better . I still don't get the meaning of Prendre son pied! I have no clue what it has to do with sex but at least now i know he was not teasing me about it

4/11/2015, 5:16:30 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AussieCraig

Perhaps your boyfriend was suggesting that he 'swept you off your feet' (which was how I read the idiom) . It need not be sexual but certainly could be....

4/11/2015, 7:40:21 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

I see your point of view and think it can be based on interpretation, and how we can take a completely innocent or everyday expression and use it in other ways. I like to collect French books for fun. In one of them, it does say prendre son pied means to have a good time. In the dirty word book, it does say it means to have a good time with a sexual connotation, only it's used in a slightly different form: on a pris notre pied, we had a good time.

4/12/2015, 2:42:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/LeVieuxSieur

"prendre son pied" means "to enjoy (doing something)" and it does not usually have any sexual connotations at all! whoever stated otherwise here is simply wrong, you will hear it quite often in colloquial French.

4/11/2015, 10:51:12 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sahjaza
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He tends to very proper and polite probably because he teaches at university in Paris, but he said it is the polite way to say "IT was really good " in mixed company. Living in the us and hearing anything and everything i had to hide my giggling .

4/12/2015, 3:25:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

Yes, some people can be very candid, especially young adults. For some people, it is perfectly acceptable, or they know it isn't acceptable, but they disregard social graces. As for where I come from, this isn't anything we discuss except maybe among very close friends or certain family members. If a person talks about his sex life, especially in mixed company, it is considered "kiss and tell." It's also considered being disloyal to his partner. I know some people like to "tell all," but for me and my circles, it's not considered proper to discuss what it is like.

4/12/2015, 4:21:51 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/sahjaza
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that was how it came up he is definatley not a young adult but we were having lunch with someone and that person made the remark. This was almost 3 yrs ago and i had never even heard French until we met. He of course felt the need to explain to me the meaning when i got the dazed and confused look.

4/12/2015, 5:18:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarySophieLe

Well, I'm not sure why the other person would bring it up like that. I think it's impolite.

4/12/2015, 6:07:33 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul.Morris

For what it's worth, Wiktionary seems to agree with our original poster on this phrase noting that the idiomatic translation "to take pleasure from something" is usually sexual in connotation taking the meaning (if I may put it delicately) "to reach a peak of 'enjoyment'".

See the link for the unexpurgated version...

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/prendre_son_pied

4/12/2015, 7:14:36 PM
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