French Expression of the Day: Ça te dit

This handy French expression is a great way of asking people to do something with you in a casual way.

French Expression of the Day: Ça te dit
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know ça te dit?
This informal expression will make a really useful addition to your social French as a casual way to invite people to do things with you.
What does it mean?
Broken down in to its individual parts, ça te dit translates as ‘it you say’, which doesn’t really mean anything. 
But, you’ll hear it used in spoken French all the time to mean something like ‘do you feel like it’, ‘do you want to’ or ‘what do you think.’
People often use it when making social plans or inviting people to get together.
You can use it as a stand-alone phrase, like this: On va aller voir un film ce week-end. Ça te dit? (We’re going to see a film this weekend. Want to come?).
Or, you can also use it as the start of a question by adding the preposition de and a verb in the infinitive. For example, Ça te dit de voir un film ce week-end? (Do you feel like seeing a film this weekend?).
One thing to be aware of is that adding quelque chose to the end of this expression changes the meaning completely. 
In this case, the question ça te dit quelque chose? means ‘does that mean anything to you?’ or ‘does that ring a bell?’ 
You might hear this expression used when someone is reminding you of something or somewhere, for example, On est y allé avec Marc en été. Ça te dit quelque chose? (‘We went there in summer with Marc. Does that ring any bells?’).
A good reply could be, oui, ça me dit quelque chose.(Yes, that sound familiar.) Or, non, ça me dit rien. (No, that doesn’t ring any bells.)
How can I use ça te dit?
Ça te dit d’aller au cinéma? – How about going to the cinema?
Si ça te dit, on pourrait aller boire un verre ensemble. – We could go for a drink if you like.
(the above examples are from

Member comments

  1. It’s just silly to say “Broken down in to its individual parts, ça te dit translates as ‘it you say’”. We’re not that daft. It would be better to say “Broken down in to its individual parts, ça te dit translates as ‘that tells you’”.

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French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

This might look like a mix of Spanish and French, but it is definitely not Franish.

French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

Why do I need to know mettre le holà?

Because you might need to do this if your friends go from laughing with you to laughing at you. 

What does it mean?

Mettre le holà – pronounced meh-truh luh oh-la – literally means to put the ‘holà’ on something. You might be thinking this must be some clever mix of Spanish and French, but ‘holà’ actually has nothing to do with the Spanish greeting. 

This expression is a way to say that’s enough – or to ‘put the brakes on something.’

If a situation appears to be agitated, and you feel the need to intervene in order to help calm things down, then this might be the expression you would use. Another way of saying it in English might be to ‘put the kibosh on it.’

While the origins of ‘kibosh’ appear to be unknown, ‘holà’ goes back to the 14th century in France. Back then, people would shout “Ho! Qui va là?” (Oh, who goes there?) as an interjection to call someone out or challenge them. 

Over time this transformed into the simple holà, which you might hear on the streets, particularly if you engage in some risky jaywalking. 

A French synonym for this expression is ‘freiner’ – which literally means ‘to break’ or ‘put the brakes on,’ and can be used figuratively as well as literally. 

Use it like this

Tu aurais dû mettre le holà tout de suite. Cette conversation a duré bien trop longtemps, et il était si offensif. – You should have put a stop to that immediately. That conversation went on for too long, and he was so offensive. 

J’ai essayé de mettre le holà à la blague sur ma mère, mais ils étaient sans pitié. – I tried to put a stop to the joke about my mother, but they were merciless.