Oh, So French! Expressions

Beloved French phrases

Francophiles love to toss around French phrases when speaking English, but they’re not always as French as they may seem. Here are some "oh, so French!" expressions linked to how they’re actually used by native speakers – if at all.

Au contraire (mon frère)

Au contraire Au contraire is commonly used in French, but the mon frère bit is an Anglophone special.

C’est la vie

C'est la vie The French say c’est la vie sometimes, but it’s rarely as fatalistic as for English speakers.

Chacun à son goût

À chacun son goût The real French expression is à chacun son goût and it’s not used much at all.

Déjà vu

Déjà vu Déjà vu isn’t so much an expression as a grammatical structure.

Je ne sais quoi

Je ne sais quoi Je ne sais quoi really does have a certain something, in both languages.

Oh là là

Oh là là When the French say oh là là, it doesn’t have that sexy English connotation.

Vis à vis

Vis à vis In French, vis-à-vis has a wider range of meanings – and usually needs to be followed by de.

Vive la France !

Vive la France You are more than welcome to continue expressing admiration for all things French with the patriotic expression vive la France.

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi The French never, ever say voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ? and you shouldn’t either.

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Oh, so French expressions

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