This tricky false friend is commonly used and often used in the French headlines (see below) which got us thinking about what it really means, which is very different from “bad-mannered” or “impolite”.
So, what exactly did Prudhomme mean?
Prudhomme's full quote was, “C'était un Tour de France rude”.
The perfect response to that invitation you don't really want to say a firm yes to.
Published: 19 May 2022 11:42 CEST
Why do I need to know un de ces quatres?
Because you will probably hear this phrase while trying to make plans with someone in French
What does it mean?
Un de ces quatres – usually pronounced uhn duh say cat-truhs – translates exactly to “one of these fours.” If taken literally the phrase really does not make any sense in French or English. But in actuality, it means “one of these days,” “at some point,” or just “soon.”
This expression is a shortening of “one of these four mornings to come,” which was first used in the second half of the 19th century. It designates a time that is sometime in the near future, but still rather indeterminate.
In French, the number ‘four’ is often used in expressions to refer to imprecise, or small, quantities. Some people say this is because four is the number for the seasons and cardinal points (North, South, East, West), so saying ‘one of these four’ shows a level of ambiguity. But unfortunately we don’t really know exactly how (or why) this phrase arose.
If you want another way of saying this, you can always stick with the regular “un de ces jours” (one of these days).
Use it like this
J’ai été tellement occupée ces derniers temps mais nous devrons prendre un verre un de ces quatres. – I’ve been so busy lately, but we have to grab a drink one of these days.
Il m’a dit qu’il nettoierait la salle de bain un de ces quatres, donc je suppose que ça n’a pas encore été fait. – He told me he would clean the bathroom one of these days, so I guess it hasn’t been done yet.
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