Tu m’étonnes

Tu m'étonnes
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Informal French Expression

Meaning tell me about it, tell me something I don’t know, you don’t say, no kidding
Literally you surprise me
Register informal
Pronunciation [tu may tuhn]
IPA   [ty me tɔn]

Usage notes: The French expression tu m’étonnes doesn’t usually* mean what it says. Literally “you surprise me,” tu m’étonnes actually means just the opposite: “I know, I’m not surprised at all.” The first time I ever heard it I was a little offended by the sarcasm, but in fact it’s just an example of opposite speak.**

Par exemple…

– Ton pull est bête.
– Tu m’étonnes.
  – Your sweater is silly.
– Tell me something I don’t know.
– L’économie globale ne va pas très bien.
– Tu m’étonnes.
  – The global economy isn’t doing very well.
– You don’t say.

Synonyms

  • c’est clair
  • évidemment
  • je sais
  • sans blague

* Tu m’étonnes can also be used in its literal sense:

Tu sais jouer du piano, de la guitare et du violon ? Tu m’étonnes !   You can play piano, guitar, and violin? You’re amazing!

Synonyms

  • ça m’étonne
  • c’est étonnant

** Like in the expression “I could care less” when what you really mean is “I don’t care at all, so I could not care less.” In French, by the way, this is equivalent to Ça m’est égal or Je m’en fiche.

(Yes, yes, some people claim that the only correct expression is “I couldn’t care less.” I disagree. “I could care less” is widely used in the US, and even the OED lists it as an American colloquialism: source.)

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