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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Quoi de neuf?

This is a great way to mix up your everyday French and avoid cracking out 'ca va?' for the millionth time in a day.

French Expression of the Day: Quoi de neuf?
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know quoi de neuf?
 
Tired of saying ça va? a million times a day? Here’s a little expression to help you mix things up a bit.
 
What does quoi de neuf mean?
 
Piecing the words together might help you work out how to use Quoi de neuf (‘what of new’ — not 'what of nine' as you would be forgiven for thinking) because this informal greeting means ‘how are things?’ or ‘what’s new?’
 
But in conversations you’ll often hear it used between people that haven’t seen each other for a while and want an update on what the other person’s been doing.
 
Or could just as easily hear Salut! Quoi de neuf? from someone you saw recently as a casual way ask ‘How are you?’ at the beginning of a conversation. 
 
You might also hear it used with the preposition de or à attached, for example Quoi de neuf de ton coté? (what’s new from your side?’) or Quoi de neuf à Paris? (How are things in Paris?)
 
So, how do you respond to quoi de neuf?
 
Well, that depends on who’s asking and what you want to tell them. If you have news to share then go ahead and do it.
 
Otherwise you can move the conversation along by replying rien de nouveau (‘nothing new’), rien de special (‘nothing special’) or simply pas grand chose (‘not much.’)
 
Finally, it’s always polite to ask a question in return, so don’t forget to add Et toi, ça-va? (‘and how are you?’) at the end.
 
How can I use quoi de neuf?
 
Ça va? – Oui ,ça va. Et toi, quoi de neuf? – How are you? – Fine, thanks. How are things with you?
 
Salut, quoi de neuf? – Pas grand chose. Tout est vieux. – Hey, what’s new. – Not much. Same old, same old.
 
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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

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.

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