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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Ça me soûle!

If you hear the words 'ça me soûle', watch out: the speaker isn’t happy, and an angry tirade might be on the way.

French Expression of the Day: Ça me soûle!
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know ça me soûle?
 
Ça me soûle is a commonly used phrase that you’re likely to hear in an informal social context, especially an airing of grievances. If you want to put a little emotional weight behind your expression of displeasure, this expression will do the trick.
 
What does it mean?
 
The verb soûler, also sometimes spelled saouler but always pronounced ‘su-lay’, means ‘to intoxicate’, or, in a more literary sense, ‘to satiate’. Used in the reflexive, it means ‘to get drunk’, as in les ivrognes se soûlent de vin bon marché, ‘the winos get drunk on cheap wine.’
 
If you hear someone say ça me soûle, however, it doesn’t mean ‘that intoxicates me’, but rather, ‘that exasperates me,’ ‘that’s getting on my nerves,’ or if the speaker is really irritated, ‘that pisses me off.’ 
 
Someone who arrives at a boutique only to find that the owners have closed up shop early might say, ils ont fermé tôt encore une fois, ça me soûle! (They closed early again, that gets on my nerves).
 
Of course, it isn’t only situations that are irritating, but also people, which is why it’s common to hear the verb soûler used to describe annoying behavior. Someone who tells you, tu me soûles avec tes histoires is letting you know (emphatically), ‘you annoy me with your stories.’
 
Just keep in mind that ça me soûle is a fairly critical and colloquial thing to say, so be careful about the context you use it in.
 
How do I use ça me soûle
 
Mon train à Marseille a été annulé à cause de la grève, ça me soûle! – My train to Marseille was cancelled because of the strike, that pisses me off!
 
Mon chef n’est jamais content, il me soûle avec ses petits commentaires. – My boss is never happy, I’m fed up with his little comments.
 
Alternatives
 
If you want to say ça me soûle in more formal French, you can use the verb énerver, ‘to irritate’, or in the phrase ça m’énerve
 
Given the frequency of expressed displeasure in French conversation, there are, of course, other options: ça me gonfle (‘that swells me up’) or ça me fatigue (‘that wears me out’) mean the same thing as ça me soûle.  
 
 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: De bonne heure

Surprisingly, this French phrase does not mean ‘on time’.

French Expression of the Day:  De bonne heure

Why do I need to know de bonne heure?

Because someone might tell you to arrive at this time, and you’ll want to know what they mean.

What does it mean?

De bonne heure – usually pronounced “duh bohn urr” – literally translates to “the good hour,” which you might think would mean “to be on time.” However, in practice, the phrase actually means to be early or to be in advance. The most common French synonym of this phrase would simply be “tôt” which means early.

It can also be used to describe something that happens early in the morning or early in the day more generally. 

Interestingly enough, when the phrase started being used in the 14th century, it did mean to be on time, but its meaning shifted over time, the reason for which remains unclear. 

Up for a pun? Say this phrase three times fast to feel happy (if you didn’t get the joke, it’s because bonne heure sounds like bonheur, French for happiness).

Use it like this

Nous avons commencé la réunion de bonne heure, vers 7h30, avant l’ouverture des marchés boursiers. – We started the meeting early, around 7:30am, before the markets opened.

Je n’avais même pas encore commencé à cuisiner quand il est arrivé de bonne heure. Je n’étais pas préparée à le recevoir. – I hadn’t even started cooking when he arrived early. I wasn’t ready to have him over.

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