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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: C’est parti

Today's French expression is one you'll hear used a lot between friends and family in France, although it may not be immediately obvious to you why people are saying it. Here's a look at what it really means.

French Expression of the Day: C’est parti
Why have we chosen C'est parti?
 
C’est parti is a useful little phrase that crops up all the time… right at the beginning of things. 
 
You'll also spot it in headlines from time to time.
 
 
So, what exactly does it mean?
 
C’est parti literally means ‘it has left’, but it is commonly used in spoken French to get something going or to say that something has started.
 
If you followed last summer’s football World Cup (won by Les Blues, of course) you will have heard this expression all the time from commentators, moments after kick off as a way of saying ‘and they’re off!’
 
In more everyday circumstances you might hear it used at work to mean something like ‘let’s go’ or ‘here we go’. 
 
For example, C’est aujourd’hui le lancement de notre project. C’est parti! (Our new product launches today. Here we go!).
 
As this expression is informal you may well also hear it used regularly between friends or family members at the start of small events like car journeys, holidays or even a meals, such as Tout le monde est prêt? C’est parti! (Is everybody ready? Let’s get going!)
 
C’est+ the past participle (in this case, of the verb partir) is a pretty common structure in French but despite the fact that it contains a past participle, c’est parti can only be used in this form to describe things that are happening in the present moment.  
 
Examples
 
From the headline above:
 
Foire Internationale de Metz: C'est parti pour dix jours – Metz International Fair – Here we go for ten days!
 
C’est parti pour cinq jours au soleil! – It’s time for five days of sun!
 
On va au déjuner? – C’est parti! – Shall we go for lunch? – Lets go!
 
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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Surprisingly, this phrase has nothing to do with beekeeping.

French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Why do I need to know faire son miel?

Because you might want to describe how you were able to buy a new wardrobe after the airline lost your luggage.

What does it mean?

Faire son miel – usually pronounced fair soan mee-ell – literally means to make your honey, or to make your own honey. In practice, this phrase actually means to take advantage of a situation, usually by turning a profit or to get the most out of a situation. 

The phrase comes from the idea that bees are actually profiteers: they take advantage of flowers in order to make honey. In the 16th century, this phrase was first put into use, and it followed the idea that bees fly up to the innocent flowers and steal their nectar and pollen for their own purposes. People began to use this as a way to describe people who take advantage of others or particular situations for their own benefit, or those who take things that do not belong to them.

Though the phrase is tied to the idea of turning a situation around for your own benefit, it is does not necessarily have a negative connotation. It can be used both for physical profit, or intellectual. It is somewhat similar to the English phrase of ‘making lemonade from lemons’ – taking a bad situation and making something good out of it.

In fact, French actually has another phrase that is quite similar to this one: faire son beurre, which is potentially even older than faire son miel

Use it like this

La compagnie aérienne a perdu nos sacs, avec tous nos vêtements dedans. Nous avons pu faire notre miel de la situation et acheter un nouvel ensemble de meilleurs vêtements avec l’argent de la compagnie aérienne! – The airline lost our bags, with all our clothes inside. We were able to take advantage of the situation by buying a whole new wardrobe on their dime!

Les oiseaux font leur miel de tous les nouveaux arbres plantés dans la ville. Ils profitent de ce nouvel espace pour faire leurs nids. – The birds are taking advantage of all the new trees being planted across the city. They are enjoying the new space to build their nests.

Le politicien a fait son miel des fonds supplémentaires et en a utilisé une partie pour son propre projet de construction. Ils pourraient le mettre en procès pour corruption. – The politician took advantage of the extra public funds for his own construction project. They might put him on trial for corruption. 

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