Changer les idées

Changer les idées
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French Expression

Meaning to take one’s mind off things, clear one’s head, take a break
Literally to change one’s ideas
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Pronunciation [sha(n) zhay lay zee day]
IPA   [ʃã ʒe le zi de]

Usage notes: The French expression changer les idées describes how doing something different, like going for a walk or taking a trip, can help you clear your head in order to deal with some dilemma or difficulty. Note that the person in question is the object of the preposition à, and is very often replaced by the indirect object pronoun.

Par exemple…

J’espère que ce voyage changera les idées à Paulette.   I hope this trip will take Paulette’s mind off things.
Il devrait partir en week-end, ça lui changera les idées.   He should go away for the weekend, that will take his mind off things.

It is often used pronominally: se changer les idées

Je vais sortir les chiens ; j’ai besoin de me changer les idées.   I’m going to take the dogs out; I need to clear my head.
Que faire pour se changer les idées après une rupture ?   What can you do to take your mind off things after a break-up?

Somewhat synonymous

  • avoir besoin d’une pause – to need a break
  • faire une pause – to take a break
  • avoir besoin de vacances – to need a vacation
  • prendre des vacances – to go on vacation

 Related lessons


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