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Essential French Expression
|Meaning||anything, nonsense, whatever|
|Literally||no matter what|
|Pronunciation||[neh(n) puhr t(eu) kwah]|
|IPA||[nɛ̃ pɔʀtə kwa]|
Usage notes: Once you learn the French expression n’importe quoi, you’ll quickly find that it’s essential. You probably already know the original meaning,* which is simply "anything":
|Il fera tout et n’importe quoi.||He’ll do anything and everything.|
|N’importe quoi plutôt que ça !||Anything but that!|
But the fun and incredibly useful expression is informal and means "nonsense" or "rubbish."
|Mais tu dis n’importe quoi !||You’re talking nonsense/rubbish!|
|C’est (du) n’importe quoi !||That’s nonsense/rubbish!|
Other possible translations
- That’s ridiculous!
- What on Earth are you going on about?!
- What the heck are you talking about?!
Also, while n’importe quoi isn’t quite the same as the dismissive "whatever!", it’s the closest French equivalent I’ve found.
C’est en faisant n’importe quoi, qu’on devient n’importe qui !
(alternatively: C’est en faisant n’importe quoi, que l’on** devient n’importe qui !)
Literally “It’s by doing nonsensical things that you become nonsensical” but perhaps better translated as “It’s by doing anything that you become anyone." This is a play on his stage name as well as on the French proverb C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron – literally, "It’s by forging that one becomes a blacksmith," but idiomatically "Practice makes perfect."
- * All about n’importe
- ** On vs l’on
- Expression: peu importe
- Conjugations: importer | être
- Negative adverbs