French Expression of the Day: C’est énorme!

This expression literally means 'it's enormous' - but it's used in many situations in France.

French Expression of the Day: C'est énorme!
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Why do I need to know c'est énorme?
It's a simple enough phrase but c'est énorme can be used in lots of ways and the French use it all the time.
If you listen carefully, you'll hear loads of things described as énorme, even if they are tiny or not even things. Confused?
Here's how to use this useful little expression.
What does it mean?
C'est énorme literally means it's enormous, but when it is used as an expression (and it often is as an exclamation) it means that something is great, or amazing or incredible.
It can also convey surprise – as in something that's unbelievable. 
With only two words, c'est énorme conveys a whole range of emotions!
For example:
Je suis tombé sur mon ancien prof de math en vacances. — C'est énorme! I bumped into my old maths teacher on holiday. That's incredible!
Ils lui ont proposé le boulot, c'est énorme! — They offered her the job, it's great!
Ta tarte aux pommes est énorme! — You're apple tart is amazing!
The origins of c'est énorme seem pretty straightforward and the expression is similar in many ways to the English 'it's huge or 'it's big' as in something that's unbelievable or awesome, or a big deal or big news. 
Enorme is also used in a few other French expressions such as c'est pas énorme meaning 'that's not much' or c'est déjà énorme which means 'that's already a lot'. 
Some more examples:
Tout le gouvernmemt a démissioné, c'est énorme. — The entire government has resigned, it's unbelievable. 
C'est énorme tous les progrès qu'il a fait depuis qu'il prends des cours.  — The progress he's made since taking lessons is amazing.
Elle a gagné au loto, c'est énorme! — She's won the lottery, it's great!

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French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

This might look like a mix of Spanish and French, but it is definitely not Franish.

French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

Why do I need to know mettre le holà?

Because you might need to do this if your friends go from laughing with you to laughing at you. 

What does it mean?

Mettre le holà – pronounced meh-truh luh oh-la – literally means to put the ‘holà’ on something. You might be thinking this must be some clever mix of Spanish and French, but ‘holà’ actually has nothing to do with the Spanish greeting. 

This expression is a way to say that’s enough – or to ‘put the brakes on something.’

If a situation appears to be agitated, and you feel the need to intervene in order to help calm things down, then this might be the expression you would use. Another way of saying it in English might be to ‘put the kibosh on it.’

While the origins of ‘kibosh’ appear to be unknown, ‘holà’ goes back to the 14th century in France. Back then, people would shout “Ho! Qui va là?” (Oh, who goes there?) as an interjection to call someone out or challenge them. 

Over time this transformed into the simple holà, which you might hear on the streets, particularly if you engage in some risky jaywalking. 

A French synonym for this expression is ‘freiner’ – which literally means ‘to break’ or ‘put the brakes on,’ and can be used figuratively as well as literally. 

Use it like this

Tu aurais dû mettre le holà tout de suite. Cette conversation a duré bien trop longtemps, et il était si offensif. – You should have put a stop to that immediately. That conversation went on for too long, and he was so offensive. 

J’ai essayé de mettre le holà à la blague sur ma mère, mais ils étaient sans pitié. – I tried to put a stop to the joke about my mother, but they were merciless.