French Word of the Day: Si!

No, we haven't done a Spanish Word of the Day by mistake. Si! is a really common and confusing French word that you should learn to use.

French Word of the Day: Si!
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Why do I need to know si?

Si will demonstrate that you know the nuances of the many different ways to say ‘yes’ in French.

What does it mean?

Si is one of the many ways to say ‘yes’, along with the ever reliable oui and its more casual cousins ouais and mouais, the latter being used when you have a hint of hesitancy about whatever you are agreeing to.

Si, however, is used in a very specific situation, when you are contradicting someone who has made a negative statement. The appropriate facial expression to adopt when using si is an indignant one.

Si can also be used to reply to a negative question with a “yes!” in the same emphatic and challenging way.

Remember: si is used when stressing the opposite of what the other person is saying, if their comment or question is negative. If they were making a positive statement and you wanted to contradict them, use non instead. 

One word of warning. Si also means ‘if’ in French. So context is crucial.

How is it pronounced?

Exactly the same as the Spanish or Italian si, or the English see or even sea. 


‘Tu n'aimes pas le chocolat, n'est-ce pas?’ ‘Mais, bien sûr que si! J'adore ça!' — ‘You don’t like chocolate, right?’ ‘But, of course I do! I love it!’

‘Tu étais paresseux aujourd'hui et tu n'as pas travaillé?’ ‘Si! J'ai travaillé!’ — ‘You were lazy today and didn’t work?’ ‘Yes! I worked!’

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French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Surprisingly, this phrase has nothing to do with beekeeping.

French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Why do I need to know faire son miel?

Because you might want to describe how you were able to buy a new wardrobe after the airline lost your luggage.

What does it mean?

Faire son miel – usually pronounced fair soan mee-ell – literally means to make your honey, or to make your own honey. In practice, this phrase actually means to take advantage of a situation, usually by turning a profit or to get the most out of a situation. 

The phrase comes from the idea that bees are actually profiteers: they take advantage of flowers in order to make honey. In the 16th century, this phrase was first put into use, and it followed the idea that bees fly up to the innocent flowers and steal their nectar and pollen for their own purposes. People began to use this as a way to describe people who take advantage of others or particular situations for their own benefit, or those who take things that do not belong to them.

Though the phrase is tied to the idea of turning a situation around for your own benefit, it is does not necessarily have a negative connotation. It can be used both for physical profit, or intellectual. It is somewhat similar to the English phrase of ‘making lemonade from lemons’ – taking a bad situation and making something good out of it.

In fact, French actually has another phrase that is quite similar to this one: faire son beurre, which is potentially even older than faire son miel

Use it like this

La compagnie aérienne a perdu nos sacs, avec tous nos vêtements dedans. Nous avons pu faire notre miel de la situation et acheter un nouvel ensemble de meilleurs vêtements avec l’argent de la compagnie aérienne! – The airline lost our bags, with all our clothes inside. We were able to take advantage of the situation by buying a whole new wardrobe on their dime!

Les oiseaux font leur miel de tous les nouveaux arbres plantés dans la ville. Ils profitent de ce nouvel espace pour faire leurs nids. – The birds are taking advantage of all the new trees being planted across the city. They are enjoying the new space to build their nests.

Le politicien a fait son miel des fonds supplémentaires et en a utilisé une partie pour son propre projet de construction. Ils pourraient le mettre en procès pour corruption. – The politician took advantage of the extra public funds for his own construction project. They might put him on trial for corruption.