Real insight on French culture from a French native point of view.
Mostly run by Em, 26, living in Paris.
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How to make compound nouns plural in French.

You have to look at the fonction of each part. As a general rule, nouns and adjectives agree, adverbs, verbs and prepositions don’t. 

1) noun + noun

a) When the second noun’s fonction works as an adjective > both agree :

  • des choux-fleurs

b) When the second works as a complement, with a written or meant preposition to link them > only the first agrees :

  • des crocs-en-jambe, des timbres-poste (des timbres pour la poste)

c) When the first noun is shortened (generally ending by -i or -o) > the second agrees

  • des tragi-comédies
  • exceptions : des pot-au-feu, des rez-de-chaussée

2) noun + adjective or adjective + noun

Both agree :

  • des coffres-forts, des plates-bandes

3) adjective + adjective 

Both agree unless one of the adjectives works as an adverb (and hence can’t agree) or color adjectives.

  • des sourds-muets

4) verb + noun

a) Noun that works as a direct object > agree depending on the meaning but verb remains invariable : 

  • des couvre-lits (several beds)
  • des gratte-ciel (only one sky) 
  • exceptions : des ayants-droit, des ayants-cause

b) Noun that works as an indirect object > don’t agree :

  • des touche-à-tout

5) verb + adverb > Don’t agree  :

  • des passe-partout

6) verb + verb > Don’t agree

  • des savoir-vivre

7) adverb or preposition + noun

> the noun agrees  :

  • des arrière-boutiques

8) “demi” + noun

> the noun agrees :

  • des demi-heures

9) “garde” + noun

a) When “garde” means “gardiens” > “garde” agrees and the noun can also agree depending on the meaning

  • des gardes-malades (several sick people)
  • des gardes-chasse (the “concept” of hunting)

b) When “garde” refers to the verb “garder” (to keep, to protect) > don’t agree :

  • des garde-manger

10) “grand” or “franc” + noun or adjective

"Grand" or "Franc" only agree when masculine : 

  • des grands-pères
  • des grand-mères (“grands-mères” can also works but never “grandes-mères”)

Article translated from here


"To dig" 
To make you hungry. 

Ça creuse de fumer des joints. 
Smoking joints makes you hungry.  



"Par exemple" substitutes.

A l’instar de …

A l’instar d’Amy Winehouse, beaucoup de jeunes chanteurs ont des problèmes de drogue qui deviennent pathologiques.

Lots of young singers have drugs issues that become pathological, like Amy Winehouse. 

Comme …

Comme pour Amy Winehouse, le star système tient une grande responsabilité dans la mort tragique de certaines célébrités. 

Like what happened to Amy Winehouse, star system has a great responsibility in the tragic death of some celebrities. 

Pour illustrer …

Pour illustrer ce problème de drogue, nous pouvons parler du cas d’Amy Winehouse.

To illustrate this drugs issue, we can discuss Amy Winehouse’s case.

C’est le cas de…

C’est le cas d’Amy Winehouse, qui a souffert d’une overdose mortelle. 

It’s like Amy Winehouse, who suffered a fatal overdose. 

"Café Français" 
Em Clouzet // Do not remove credit. 

"Café Français" 

Em Clouzet // Do not remove credit. 

AWEEEEESSSOOOMMEEEEE french blog, omg it’s so good I’m shaking

I hope you're alright now (no longer bored and angry - that kind of mood sucks! :)), but I have a question about French - the suffix -âtre, to be more specific. How does it change the meaning of the word? I've read a little about it but I still can't get the hang of it all. Is it used often or regarded as old-fashioned? And is there a difference between using it with adjectives and with nouns? Thank you in advance, a big hug from Poland :)!

It kinda works like -ish in English. It sounds like “a little of” or “kind of similar to”, it’s pejorative. 

(Jaune) Jaunâtre > Yellowish
(Rouge) Rougâtre>  Reddish

Elle avait des cheveux bleuâtres, comme si elle avait oublié de faire sa couleur depuis 6 mois et que la couleur était passée. 
She had blueish hair, as if she had forgotten to dye her hair for 6 months and the color faded. 

La saucisse était rougeâtre, elle n’avait pas l’air très fraîche. 
The sausage was reddish, it didn’t look very fresh.  

We only use it for very specific adjectives and nouns, which are : 

  • beigeâtre : beige-ish
  • bellâtre : “fop” (the idea of a pretty guy-ish)
  • blanchâtre : whitish 
  • bleuâtre : blueish
  • brunâtre : brownish
  • douceâtre : sweetish
  • folâtre : frisky-ish
  • grisâtre : greyish
  • jaunâtre : yellowish
  • noirâtre : blackish
  • olivâtre : olive-greenish
  • opiniâtre : stubborn
  • rosâtre : pinkish
  • rougeâtre : reddish
  • roussâtre : reddish-brown (“ginger-ish”)
  • verdâtre : greenish
  • violâtre : purple-ish

And some others, which are really archaic : 

  • cocâtre : chicken who got a ball cut off xD 
  • fillâtre : bad daughter/step-daughter
  • filsâtre : bad son/step-son
  • finâtre : fine-ish
  • gentillâtre : nice-ish
  • marâtre : bad mother/step-mother (the idea of a mother-ish)
  • parâtre : bad father/step-father
(Se) la faire à l’envers

To do it reverse (to you)
To get conned, to dupe.

(En comptant de l’argent) Je n’y crois pas, le serveur me l’a fait à l’envers ! Il m’a rendu une pièce de 1€ au lieu d’une de 2€ !
(When counting money) I can’t believe it, the waiter ripped me off! He gave me a 1€ coin instead of 2€!

"Ne me la fais pas à l’envers ! Je sais que tu as passé la nuit chez elle et pas avec tes potes au match de foot comme tu le prétends, alors ne me dis pas que tu ne me caches rien."
"Don’t even try to fool me! I know you spent the night with her and not with your buddies at the soccer game like you’re pretending, so don’t tell me you’re not hiding anything from me."

Etre à fleur de peau

"To be at [the] flower of skin"
To be really sensitive, to be on the edge

Je n’arrive pas à dormir la nuit, ça m’épuise… Je suis vraiment à fleur de peau. 
I can’t sleep at night, it’s exhausting me… I’m on the edge. 

To the French-themed photo blogs (specifically but that’s worth for everybody)

Please, don’t forget that it’s illegal to take pictures of people in France. Crowd is okay, but portraits with very clear faces is definitely not okay. You could get in serious trouble for that, you could get arrested if someone catches you doing it or finds out about it on the internet. You must ask them if they’re okay with it, before or after taking a pic. Be aware that French law regarding privacy is very strict (that’s why so many celebrities hang out in Paris > they can get anyone taking pics of them arrested, paparazzi included), that’s not something we joke about. And personally, if I ever find out that someone took and uses a picture of me, I wouldn’t hesitate to make everything possible to take the photo down and get it deleted.

That means that, without their consent, you can’t take pics of :
- CHILDREN (not only that violates the privacy laws but it’s also considered as child abuse as the pictures could be used on not-so-lovely-websites-you-know-what-I-mean)
- Bouquinistes
- people in museums/train stations/métro
- waiters
- lovers
- people smoking
- people chatting
- also, CHILDREN

We tolerate :
- crowd
- people’s back
- blurred/unrecognizable faces
- body without faces (don’t take it literally, don’t cut people’s head, that’s mean)
- street performers
- still no children

You can take wonderful pics of :
- our amazing architecture (with Edith Piaf singing in the background)
- breathtaking landscapes (Edith still singing)
- our typical vintage street signs
- food (and we have a LOT of food)
- pastries (I mean, they deserve their own category and also they’re most of the time much prettier than people’s faces, I mean, have you seen how fucking sexy are the choux à la crème ?!!!)
- restaurant windows and doors, especially red ones that look like out of the 30’s
- animals (they’re cute)
- boats (that’s romantic)
- yourself (you’re gorgeous you know, you should do more selfies)
- your friends (they’re gorgeous too, damnit, you bunch of cutie pies)
- still no children (I said, no children, no me gusta)

Again, you could get in trouble if someones catches you, if a cop sees you, if someone recognizes themselves on the internet

Please reblog to let people know about laws they probably aren’t aware of, and hence keep everybody out of trouble. Thank you very beaucoup.

Un vieux de la vieille

"An old(man) of the old(woman)"

Someone who has a lot of experience.

Clint Eastwood et Woody Allen seront à cet évènement, qui regroupera tous les vieux de la vieille.
Clint Eastwood and Woody Allenwill attend this event, which will bring together all the most important/iconic people (of the movie industry).


Idiot, stupid. 

"Ce film est tellement tarte, les dialogues sont niais et les acteurs sont très mauvais."
This movie is so stupid, the dialogues are silly and the actors are very bad. 

Courir sur le haricot

"To run on the bean"
To exasperate, to infuriate.

"Ca commence à me courir sur le haricot qu’il annule tous nos rencards, à chaque fois !"
It’s starting to exasperate me that he cancels all our dates, every single time!


Snippy, bitchy.

Quelle pète-sec la prof d’espagnol ! Elle n’est jamais contente et tu ne peux jamais rien lui dire. Dès que tu lui fais une remarque, elle prend la mouche et te colle une retenue !
How bitchy is the spanish teacher ! She’s never satisfied and you can’t tell her anything. If you dare criticizing something, she goes ballistic and you get detention !

Verbs about “seeing”.

The ability to see, to perceive thanks to your eyes, literally or not.

  • Je vois le jour à travers les rideaux : I see the light of day through the curtains.
  • Aveugle de naissance, on l’a opéré et quand il s’est réveillé, il a vu : Born blind, he got operated and when he woke up, he saw.
  • Je vois que tu n’as pas rangé ta chambre : I see you didn’t clean your room.

The action of using your eyes to see, to sort of concentrate to see.

  • Tu n’as pas vraiment regardé le tableau ! Approche-toi et regarde-le vraiment, regarde tous les détails : You didn’t really look at the painting ! Come closer, truly look at it, look at all the details.
  • Je m’ennuyais hier donc j’ai regardé un film : I got bored yesterday so I watched a movie.
  • Le recruteur regarde d’abord le CV avant d’accorder un entretien : The recruiter looks at the CV before granting any interview.

To study something, to look at something professionally.

  • Nous avons visionné un documentaire de M. Moore en cours d’Histoire : We watched a documentary from M. Moore in History class.
  • Les historiens ont du visionner des centaines d’heures d’archives pour comprendre ce qui s’est réellement passé au delà de la propagande : Historians had to watch hundred hours of film footage to understand what truly happened despite the propaganda.
  • Les étudiants en cinéma doivent visionner au moins 4 films par semaine : Cinema school students must watch at least 4 movies a week.

Fixer (du regard)
To stare, to look at someone in the eye

  • On ne peut pas fixer les chiens du regard, ça les rend nerveux : you can’t stare at dogs, it makes them nervous.
  • Cet homme n’arrêtait pas de me fixer dans le métro, j’ai pris peur alors je suis descendue et je suis allée chercher la police : This man just couldn’t stop staring at me, I got scared so I left the train and looked for the police.
  • Fixer quelqu’un du regard est une technique de psychologues pour stresser leurs patients et leur faire avouer quelque chose : To stare at someone in the eye is a psychologists technique to stress their patients and make them confess something.

To catch sight, to notice

  • J’ai aperçu ta mère vers Chatelet, je n’ai pas pu lui dire bonjour car j’étais dans le bus : I saw your mom around Chatelet, I couldn’t say hello because I was in the bus.
  • Ceux qui font l’expérience de la mort imminente disent tous apercevoir un tunnel avec de la lumière blanche au bout : All those who went through near-death experience say that they see a tunnel with white light at the end.
  • J’ai cru apercevoir une bouteille de champagne dans ton sac, est-ce que c’est pour moi ? I sort of noticed a bottle of champagne in your bag, is that for me ?

Zieuter (slang)
To look at something. Comes from “zieu” (the way we pronounce “les yeux”/ "lé+zieu") 

  • Mais arrête de zieuter sur ma copie, j’aime pas quand tu copies sans demander ! Stop looking at my test, I don’t like when you cheat without asking first !