It's raining ropes

Recently I tried to translate an English proverb into French but it didn't quite work! I tried to say it's raining cats and dogs which I translated as il pleut les chats et les chiens.

My neighbour was perplexed until she said 'ah il pleut des cordes' which I would translate back as 'it's raining ropes?'

My neighbour frequently uses 'Rome ne s'est pas fait en un jour' and 'Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid' which I recogised as Rome wasn't built in a day and Little by Little the bird makes it's nest (you can see that these expressions relate to us renovating our house) and so when talking about the weather with her the other day I made that faux pas assumption that I could simply translate the English to French. Not so.

Have you come across any other French Proverbs which don't quite translate? I'm interested to learn more as I think this is one of the areas which helps you converse more naturally. Or have you made any faux pas' like me? Please share!

ha ha, I was teaching in a horticultural lycée in Brittany the first time I heard that one, Carol, I thought the lycéenne in question had tombée dans les pommes in the orchard, until the pennt dropped...!!!

Hi Suzanne

Yes, I came across a similar proverb but what about this one, which gives a different slant on it:

"Il pleut comme une vache qui pisser!"


"cattivo", non lo so - non era veramente colpa mia ma era colpa del mio amico - lo diceva tutto il tempo fuori casa...!

Good book but a little outdated now (unless it's been updated, that is!) or it was when I read it in the late 90s ;-)

Thought you must have been fairly local, we moved to Tuxford in 1982. This Christmas we took the kids over to the UK and one of our outings was to show them Sherwood Forest and the Major Oak.

Hi Suzanne we have just recently bought the book called The Complete Merde which states it is the real French you were never taught at school. It is very funny and gives typical sayings and gestures

Though born in Lincolnshire I grew up for the most part in Edwinstowe in the heart of Sherwood Forest. Living as I did in a coal-mining community it was quite normal for brawny miners to address each other as "duck". We also thee'd and tha'd a lot though this was positively discouraged at school and "ayup youth" was the salutation of choice among us youngsters . My father in law though still referred to his brother as "our youth" even well into middle age.

Chi era un cattivo ragazzo, allora?

New proverb, proxy compliments of Suz: Beware of French folk bearing bananas!

come on over ;-)

I'd better get over to your shop Andrew to buy a ticket - I could do with being the 3rd!

really oh no - I'm always saying Izzy is like a monkey - oops!

Hee hee!

even being taught "officially" doesn't help at times, you'll appreciate this one having lived in Italy - at sunday lunch with an italian friend and his familly near Reggio Emilia, we were watching the formula 1 and there was a crash and I let out the usual (amongst blokes only) porca madonna - very very red faces all round...! I was at uni at the time reading French and Italian...!

Siling it down, haven't heard that for a few years, where are you from David. Although born in Doncaster, we moved to just outside Retford as I grew up and was highly amused when everyone kept calling me 'duck'

The other thing to watch out for in France is not to call your kids little monkeys, in French it is quite an insult to call someone a monkey.

When I first started contracting in France, many years ago, I mentioned to a lady that the office was 'comme une bordelle' she hastily pointed out that 'pagaille' was more appropriate! Oh, the mistakes we make when we haven't been taught officially.

yes, universally used, Tracy, but watch who you say it to :-O

Suzanne, there are sooo many I don't know where to start, jamais deux sans trois slips from my lips every day - there have been two millionaire wins in my shop so the third can't be far away. Les chiens font pas des chats, un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras etc...

Haha, when I began rock climbing we used a pre-Harry Potter word for climbing in the rain (Harrison's Rocks in Kent mostly) - slithering - to describe the slimy, wet state the limestone was in after several hours of wet weather. When Slithering came to my attention in my daughters' Harry Potter films I could but chuckle to myself. Is Joanna Rowling a secret rock climber?