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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: faire la tête

If someone tells you not to ‘faire la tête,’ they’re not prohibiting some sort of strange dance move, but a different behavior all together.

French Expression of the Day: faire la tête
Photo: Depositphotos

Why do I need to know faire la tête?

Knowing this phrase will ensure that you know when you’re being chided, as well as allowing you to reprimand others, or better yet, to encourage friends when they’re feeling down.

What does it mean?

Faire la tête literally means ‘to do/make the head’, which sounds pretty bizarre if you’re not familiar with the phrase’s more common idiomatic use.

In everyday language, faire la tête means ‘to sulk’, ‘to pout’, 'to be glum' or to visibly show one’s displeasure, often in response to an adverse situation or decision.

Obviously, to faire la tête is not a socially desirable behavior, so it is often used with a critical or prohibitive tone – think of an authoritative parent or teacher reproaching a child or student.

A colleague complaining about a coworker who sulks whenever he hasn’t gotten his way might say, Il fait toujours la tête quand il n’a pas eu ce qu’il voulait.

Or, a friend encouraging you not to get down after a piece of bad news might say, Ne fais pas la tête, ça va aller (Don’t sulk, it will be OK).

Faire la tête is informal but commonplace, and can be used without apprehension in most contexts – just know that it carries a negative connotation.

There's even a pop song from the 60s called Ne fais pas la tete by French singer Kathy Line (see video below). 

How do I use faire la tête?

Ne fais pas la tête! – Quit sulking!

Arrête de faire la tête et réagis! – Stop being moody and do something!

Il faisait la tête parce qu’elle n’a pas choisi son projet. – He was being grumpy because she didn’t choose his project.

Alternatives

Bouder is the formal French verb you can use to say ‘to sulk’ or ‘to pout’.

Faire du boudin (‘make blood sausage’) and tirer la gueule (‘pull a mug’ – gueule is pejorative slang for ‘face’) are less common and more colorful ways to communicate the same idea.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Un de ces quatres

The perfect response to that invitation you don't really want to say a firm yes to.

French Expression of the Day:  Un de ces quatres

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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