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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: pas de souci

It is impossible to get through the day without hearing, and saying, this very useful little phrase. Even an experience as common as buying a baguette is often accompanied by this little civility.

French Word of the Day: pas de souci
Photo: Depositphotos

Why do I need to know pas de souci?

Pas de souci will show French people you are not an ill-mannered foreigner and that you understand the basic rules of politeness.

What does it mean?

Pas de souci is the French equivalent of saying ‘no problem’, ‘not a bother’ or ‘don’t worry’.

It is used as an informal response to merci when you do someone a favour or help them. It can be used when you open a door for someone and they, hopefully, say thank you. Or when you give someone directions and they express gratitude for not spending another hour lost in Paris’s meandering streets. Or if your friend announces he has forgotten his wallet and you offer to treat him to lunch.

Souci literally translates as 'worry', so the whole phrase means ‘without worry’. You could also use pas de problème or tout va bien.

How is it pronounced?

This sounds almost exactly as it is written, although the s is silent in pas.

Here's a handy audio file to help you learn.

Examples

‘Mon dieu ! J'ai oublié mon portefeuille.’ ‘Pas de souci’ — ‘My God! I have forgotten my wallet.’ ‘Don’t worry.’

‘Je suis désolé d'être en retard, merci d'avoir attendu.’ – ‘Pas de souci’— ‘I'm sorry I am so late, thank you for waiting.’ – ‘Not a bother’.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Les grands esprits se rencontrent

Though this phrase has a close English equivalent, it's just so much more poetic in French

French Expression of the Day: Les grands esprits se rencontrent

Why do I need to know les grands esprits se rencontrent?

Because you might want to use this phrase the next time you and a friend have the same idea for how to spend vacation.

What does it mean?

Les grands esprits se rencontrent – usually pronounced lay grand eh-spreets suh rahn-cahn-truh – literally translates to “the great minds meet each other” or “the great spirits meet each other.” More appropriately, the very poetic phrase in French translates to the English expression “great minds think alike.” 

For the French phrase, it actually finds its origins with Voltaire. In 1760, he wrote a letter to another well-known French writer at the time and included the phrase: “Les beaux esprits se rencontrent” (the beautiful minds meet each other) to emphasise the fact that both expressed the same idea at the same time.

Over time, the phrase switched from ‘beautiful’ minds to ‘great’ minds, but the meaning remains the same. The phrase is usually said ironically in French, and can be used more or less interchangeably with the English version of this expression (which curiously has different origins altogether). However, sadly, the French version does not include the snarky reply: “and fools seldom differ” 

Use it like this

J’avais envie de pizza pour le dîner mais je lui ai demandé ce qu’il voulait quand même et il a dit pizza. Les grands esprits se rencontrent ! – I was wanting pizza for dinner, but I asked him what he wanted anyways, and he said pizza. Great minds think alike!

Nous pensons tous deux que la vue de Paris depuis le Belvédère de Belleville est la meilleure de la ville. Les grands esprits se rencontrent. – We both think that the view of Paris from Belvédère de Belleville is the best of the city. Great minds think alike.

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