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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: kif-kif

Six of one, half a dozen of the other? French gives you plenty of ways to say that it’s all the same.

French Expression of the Day: kif-kif
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know kif-kif?
 
This informal phrase will help you out when comparing multiple things that are more or less the same, or when you want to make someone believe that that’s the case.
 
What does it mean?
 
Kif-kif means ‘it’s all the same’, ‘it’s equal’, or ‘it makes no difference’. This phrase is usually used in informal scenarios to compare two options that are so similar that they are virtually equal. 
 
For example, Si je prends le métro ou le bus, c’est kif-kif, ça va durer une demi-heure (Whether I take the metro or the bus, it’s all the same, it’s going to take half an hour).
 
It can also be used to indicate that two parties have contributed equally to something, especially expenses:Tu as payé le dîner ? Non, on a payé kif-kif. (Did you pay for dinner? No, we split the bill).
 
In this case, the term moite-moite or moitié-moitié (half and half) can also be used.
 
Origin
 
According to some sources, the expression kif-kif comes from the Arabic expression 'kïf kïf', meaning ‘exactly the same’, a repetition of the word kïf (كيف), meaning ‘how’ in the interrogative and ‘like’ in the affirmative.
 
French colonial soldiers brought it back to mainland France in the mid-19th century, and it can be found in literature from as early as 1867. So while kif-kif is informal, it is well established in the French language.
 
How do I use kif-kif?
 
Here are a few more examples:
 
Le Ricard ou le pastis 51, c’est kif-kif. – ‘The Ricard or the 51 (two brands of pastis), it’s the same thing.’
 
J’ai payé les billets et tu as payé le transport, c’est kif-kif. – I payed for the tickets and you payed for transport, we’re even. 
 
Alternatives
 
There are a number of variations of kif-kif, notably kif-kif bourricot and kif-kif la bourrique, which don’t change the meaning, but do add a little bit of rhetorical pizzaz. 
 
Also similar are bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet and c’est du pareil au même, both of which are used to indicate that two seemingly different options are in fact the same, as in politics.
 
For example, Que gagnent la gauche ou la droite, c’est du pareil au même! – ‘Whether the Left or the Right wins, it’s all the same!’
 

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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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