Quick help with French

Indeed - one or two others have come up, starting to wish I’d made a list.

Before Google Translate of course… simply hearing the words"pas mal" meant we thought all was well… ooops

I tend to use Reverso which has examples “in context”.

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When our daughter was about thirteen, her Mum, her school pal and I were flying out of Marseilles with RyanAir to Dublin. Now that she was “all grown up” I asked her what time we needed to be at the airport and she checked the boarding passes. We arrived in the Terminal just as the flight took off. What could you do but laugh. Luckily there was another flight later in the day but it cost a grand to rebook the four of us. I’m sure sure her pal’s parents thought we were nuts. Which was quite amusing as he’s a trick cyclist :slight_smile:

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Personally I go straight for the jugular with a “quand pouvez-vous livrer” or a less formal “vous pouvez liver quand?” with implied raised, slightly skeptical, eyebrows. It probably doesn’t matter anyway because if he’s anything like FedEx in the Var he won’t turn up anyway. Last time I had to send them a link to picture of my front gate on Google streetview.

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Possibly, but as we’re talking about a 1.05x2.6m dining table he might want it out of his storage space.

I just hope the damned thing doesn’t turn up looking like Oak Furniture Land delivered it.

Make sure he arrives with adequate manpower or prebook yourself into the Chiropracteur. The table will be handy for lying in after the treatment :slight_smile:

Just saw the link, disappointing.

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I always use je voudrais in any situation where I am asking for something…,I just think it’s more polite as in uk I would never dream of asking for anything with “I want”…

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I’m so ingratiating I tend to avoid even “je voudrais” - I go for “serait-il possible de…” and “que pourriez-vous proposer” and suchlike. Or at least to start with I do - I find it works quite well and makes them feel all helpful. But if it doesn’t work, I get more assertive :grinning:


My French is still really basic…but if I picked out pas and mal in any conversation then I would take it to mean that all is not well…

(I’m a million miles from fluent…still in toddler stage really but always ready to try and engage and in gratitude to my next door neighbour who slows down every word until I get the gist of it…shame on me but in gratitude to her…)

What about “c’est pas mal” :slight_smile:

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This is not bad…??? :slightly_smiling_face: or maybe it is not bad…??? :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s good :slight_smile: I’m sure you know “it’s not terrible” means it IS terrible :crazy_face:


Sadly, Helen… in those early days, we often heard “pas mal” said together (not apart)… which seemed to mean “ok” “not bad”

So, when thinking of buying an old car (from a French friend I might add)…hearing the words “pas mal” said together - we took to mean “not bad” - but in the whole phrase it means something quite different.

Il n’y a pas mal de chose à faire = turned out to mean : there is a lot which needs doing… aaaargh :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

so many little phrases and spoken so swiftly…

c’est mal fait…

ce n’est pas mal fait…


Nowadays - if I am in any doubt - on whatever subject we may be discussing … I will throw in a question:

“c’est bien … ou pas bien???” “c’est normale???”

and that leads to clarification - often amidst much laughter… :smile:

The most important thing I have learnt is not to worry about admitting a lack of language, not to worry about grammar/accent etc - folk are generally very understanding and appreciative of whatever effort foreigners will make…

+1 for John. French is a much more direct language than English. Stop faffing about :slight_smile:

I think when I sit down with them I will be fairly direct on the “when can you deliver” question - I only have a one week window - in fact less as I’ll go over Monday 28th to pay the balance and that really leaves Tues-Fri or at a pinch Saturday for delivery.

But I saw no reason not to be polite in the email

Anyway they have responded that the table is complete and we’ll sort the delivery date when I get there.

Paul… I’d be tempted to send another email.

Thanking them for their reply and mentioning clearly that you will only be in France betwen this… and that… date and that delivery will need to be made between such dates, please…

If they are not aware how little time you will be in France, they might not have sufficient time to arrange the delivery…

just a thought.

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I would have said the opposite, in fact
In my experience they all like their little phrases de politesse, especially in written communications. Merci de bien vouloir, je vous saurais gré de bien vouloir, je vous prie de bien vouloir - French has a whole range of nuanced expressions to trot out where English would probably say ‘please’ or not even that.
Though I’m sure the French are used to a blunter approach from anglo saxons.

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Yes, indeed.

Always best to say in simple words…

hello, thank you for (merci de) whatever they have done (if applicable)…

and finishing with something like…

thank you for (merci pour) your assistance with whatever you hope they will do.

Even if the phrases are not truly brilliant French, they will understand and appreciate the attempt at politeness/civility.

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