Souffler ses bougies

Souffler ses bougies
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Informal French Expression

Meaning to celebrate one’s birthday/anniversary
Literally to blow out one’s candles
Register informal
Pronunciation French sound files [soo flay say boo zhee]
IPA   [su fle se bu ʒi]

Usage notes: The French expression souffler ses bougies can literally mean "to blow out one’s candles" on a birthday cake. But it’s more often used figuratively, meaning "to celebrate one’s birthday" or, in the case of a company or organization, "to celebrate its anniversary."

Par exemple…

Elle a soufflé ses quarante bougies. /
Elle a soufflé sa quarantième bougie.
  She celebrated her 40th birthday.
Je ne sais pas où souffler mes 21 bougies. /
Je ne sais pas où souffer ma 21e bougie.
  I don’t know where to celebrate my 21st birthday.
Cette entreprise soufflera ses 5 bougies cette année. /
Cette entreprise soufflera sa 5e bougie cette année.
  This company will celebrate its 5th anniversary this year.

 Grammar notes / Variations

The possessive adjective changes to match the subject – whoever’s birthday or anniversary it is.

The possessive adjective and the number both change to make two slightly different but perfectly synonymous expressions.

  1. souffler + plural possessive adjective + cardinal number + bougies
  2. souffler + singular possessive adjective + ordinal number + bougie

 Related expressions

Gifts for French lovers

Related lessons

Useful verb conjugations

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Souffler ses bougies

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