What does this French phrase mean-it's driving me nuts?

I' m almost embarrassed to admit that after two years her in La Belle France, there is a phrase that I hear regularly that I do not understand. I don't know how to spell it as I've never been able to find it in a dictionary. I can only assume it's a conjugation of etre.....but it sounds as though it's spelt like 'S'ayez?'. Usually uttered in a questioning tone in the was that 'Ca Va?' is.

Can someone please put me ut of my misery so that I can reply appropriately instead of muttering and changing the subject...??

Sheepish of Lodeve....

Thank Elaine- I shall start using it myself now!

1 Like

Fabulous Katharine and Florent- thank you for putting me out of my misery!!- Ca y est!!

it means : "thats it done"

it is ca y est

1 Like

I'm new to this way of sending messages, but (as I said before) I think it means "That's it, then"...Ça y est! From Richard Longridge.

1 Like

Yes - it's what you might say if you'd been trying to do something a bit tricky, like thread a needle, then you manage it and you say 'ça y est' - that's it! done it!

It probably is translated as ça y est. Any other questions?

Have a nice day everybody.

The good thing (referring to your desire to be able to reply appropriately) is that you don't usually need to reply!

you don't usually need to reply

But that might be considered impolite; a suitable response (in my experience) would be c'est tout, merci

Oh yes I see what you mean! You are right, one needs to reply if it is a question eg when buying a list of items.. although in those situations in my experience it's usually "ca sera tout?" or something like that that is asked!

sayez (ça y est) = cébon (c'est bon) = céfé (c'est fait) = cévu (c'est vu). Answer: bien merci

Swiss version : cétubon (c'est tout bon) to be pronounced with a drawl


This link gives a fairly clear explanation along with several examples of its use.

Full version, “Ça y est?”, usually in the interrogative, asking a question, it means literally, ‘that, there is’. I get asked it often when I work on a market, at the end of the market i.e. about 2pm when we [all the traders] are packing up, the form is usually, “How was it for you?” i.e. how did the market go for you? (Did you sell much?). Hope that helps.

1 Like

It was always one of those phrases I thought I understood when I was learning French. It always seemed to occur in situations where I was watching some close and concentrated operation, where I was being instructed. It seemed to me to be rather like the northern word "sithee" which my father would use in such circumstances. That meaning "Look here" or "listen". In fact the French term is uttered at the end of the task as a statement of completion, rather than during the task, to ensure the attention of the other person.

Just to recap, the full version is Comment allez-vous? (how do you go?). If the person knows you very well this becomes Comment vas-tu? (how do you go?). The shortest way of saying this is ça va? It goes?

Every morning all of my colleagues ask me ça va? My reply is inevitably ça va. Nobody expects a longer reply – imagine having to explain how you really feel to 20 to 30 different people top of the handshake or kissing – you would never get any work done.

That's a good link - looks like a good site for those learning.

’Ça y est?’ Can be applied to so many situations - literally ‘that is there?’ It can be transated as '‘Will that do?’ ‘Is it there/OK?,’ ‘Is that enough?’, ‘Is that all?’, ‘Will that that be all?’, ‘Did you get/do/manage it?’ 'Does it fit?, ‘Did it arrive?’, or even ‘Are you okay?’ - almost like ‘Ça va?’ but not quite, more general. And so on!
All depends on the circumstances of the situation and it would be well to be flexible in your interpretation of non-verbal communication at the same time!