Ça ne fait rien

Ça ne fait rien
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Informal French Expression

Meaning it doesn’t matter, never mind, that’s ok
Literally that does nothing
Register informal
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.

Par exemple…

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

  En anglais

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.

Variations

  • San fairy Ann / Anne / Anna / Aunt
  • Sanfairyann
  • 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:

 Related lessons

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Ça ne fait rien
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