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Informal French Expression
|Meaning||it doesn’t matter, never mind, that’s ok|
|Literally||that does nothing|
|Pronunciation||[sah neu fay ryeh(n)]|
|IPA||[sa nə fe rjɛ̃]|
Usage notes: Ça ne fait rien is an informal expression you can use to dismiss a topic or respond to an apology.
|La conclusion est un peu vague, mais ça ne fait rien.||The conclusion is a little vague, but that’s ok.|
|– Je n’ai pas assez de liquide.
– Ça ne fait rien, je t’invite.
|– I don’t have enough cash.
– It doesn’t matter, it’s on me.
|– Excuse-moi, j’ai oublié de te téléphoner hier.
– Ça ne fait rien.
|– Sorry, I forgot to call you yesterday.
– No problem.
Ça ne fait rien si asks for confirmation that something is acceptable:
|Ça ne fait rien si on finit cette discussion demain ?||Is it ok if we finish this conversation tomorrow?|
Synomyms: see the list at ce n’est pas grave
World War I soldiers anglicized ça ne fait rien (not "sans fait rien" which has no meaning in French) to "San fairy Ann," which became a catchphrase they used throughout the war and took back to Britain afterwards. It was part of the common vernacular for several decades, and can still be heard today.
- San fairy Ann / Anne / Anna / Aunt
- San ferry Ann / Anne / Anna / Aunt
- Send for Mary Ann
- Sally fair Ann
- Aunt Mary Ann
- Sandbag Mary Ann
Sylva Norman in Time & Tide Business World, 1933 mentions a "less obvious … connection of ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ meaning ‘nothing,’ with a woman who was murdered and cut up in 1812" but since that was a century before the war, I’d say there’s no connection at all, other than the shared initials.
Other expressions that were deformed when imported into English:
- Ça and other indefinite demonstrative pronouns
- Faire conjugations
- Ne… rien and other negative pronouns
- 6 garbled French expressions