À la française

À la française
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French Expression

Meaning French, in the French fashion/manner/style
Literally in the French
Register normal
Pronunciation [ah lah fra(n) sehz]
IPA   [a la frã sɛz]

Usage notes: You know that the French equivalent of the adjective "French" is français, but did you know that it can also be à la française? The longer phrase doesn’t imply outright ownership the way français does, but rather serves as a sort of softened variation, a shortened alternative to à la façon, manière, or mode française.

Par exemple…

Aimez-vous les films à la française ?   Do you like French movies?
Un bel exemple de la démocratie à la française.   A nice example of French-style democracy.

 Note that façon, manière, and mode are all feminine and therefore française remains so even when they are dropped – regardless of what noun the phrase as a whole is modifying. Similarly, française is still an adjective modifying the omitted noun and is therefore always lower case.

Set expressions

la fenêtre à la française casement window  
le format à la française portrait (photo, document) format à l’italienne (landscape)
un habit à la française suit with coat, vest, and breeches (18th- and 19th century men’s fashion)
le jardin à la française formal garden jardin à l’anglaise (landscaped garden)
l’ouverture à la française French overture (Baroque music)
le pain à la française French bread  
le parc à la française formal garden parc à l’anglaise (landscaped garden)
le plafond à la française French ceiling (exposed beams)
la reliure à la française hardcover binding  
la robe à la française sack-back gown (18th-century women’s fashion)
le service à la française
servir à la française
simultaneous serving of dishes
to serve at the same time
service à la russe (sequential service)
le vin à la française sweet wine served in a bowl  

Related expressions

You can follow the same format with other adjectives that describe people, culture, or places (city, region, country, continent):

  • à l’africaine – African-style
  • à l’américaine – American-style
  • à l’anglaise – English-style
  • à l’anglo-saxonne – British/American/Canadian/Australian-style
  • à la bretonne – Brittany-style
  • à la caraïbe – Caribbean-style
  • à l’espagnole – Spanish-style
  • à l’européenne – European-style
  • à la japonaise – Japanese-style
  • à la parisienne – Parisian-style
  • à la provençale – Provençal-style
  • à la russe – Russian-style
    etc.

 Related lessons

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A la française
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