Top 10: French phrases to use in an argument

Have you ever been left lost for words during an argument in French and had to resort to rude gestures to make your point or tell someone exactly where to go? The Local has put together these essential 10 verbal missiles to help you get the upper hand. WARNING: Use with caution.

Top 10: French phrases to use in an argument
"Do you want my photo!" So you don't have to resort to gestures like this lady did, check out our handy French phrases to use in argument. Photo: Andrei_Alaev

Having a good old verbal rumpus is considered healthy in France, perhaps more so if it takes place in public.

But one of the hardest things about living abroad is not knowing what to say when you get into a heated argument with a local, as inevitably happens from time to time.

And unless you've really mastered the langauge, you'll often be left frustrated and lost for words, wishing you had learned some useful one-line comebacks or putdowns that could give you the upper hand.

Have you ever been left fuming, when you couldn't even think of a good way to say "P*** off"?

Are you forced to swallow your pride, even when you know you're in the right? Well not any more – The Local has put together these 10 indispensable verbal missiles to keep in your argumentative arsenal.

Be warned, though, some of these may only get temperatures rising even further, although at least you'll have the satisfaction of having something to say.

TOP 10: Handy French phrases to use in an argument

Can you help us add to our list. Let us know your favourite French phrases to use in an argument.

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French elections: What is ‘parrainage’ and how does it affect candidates?

If you follow French politics, it's about this time that you will start to see a lot of mentions of parrainage - here's what that means and how it affects the race for the presidency.

French elections: What is 'parrainage' and how does it affect candidates?

The French word parrainage means sponsorship or guardianship and it comes from parrain – godfather.

Just as in English, parrain can be used in its literal sense for a child’s godfather (godmother is marraine) or a more general sense for anyone who is a powerful figure – the classic mafia movie The Godfather is Le Parrain in France.

But in the context of presidential elections it has a more specific meaning, which is to do with how you get onto the ballot paper.

In order to be a candidate in a French election you have to be a French citizen aged 18 years or over. 

But you also need to collect at least 500 signatures (or parrainages) from elected officials to back your campaign.

These can be from anyone elected to public office from village mayors to MPs, MEPs and Senator but there are some rules – the officials must come from at least 30 different French départements or overseas French territories and no more than 50 signatures can come from one département or overseas territory.

This year, candidates have until March 4th to gain the signatures they need, if you’re on French social media you may recently have spotted lots of obscure politicians tweeting pictures of either a signed form or a letter being popped into the postbox – they’re making a public declaration of their parrainage.

You don’t need to be on Twitter though, the names of all the officials who have given their signatures will be published on March 8th, along with the list of candidates who have gained the required 500 and therefore their place on the ballot paper. 

Until that date, the question of who has the required numbers of parrainages is the subject of a lot of speculation and newspaper headlines, as well as charts like the one below, which are generally based on public declarations of support.

You can follow all the latest news and explanations of the 2022 presidential election campaign HERE.