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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: génial

Today's word is used very often in French but not in its literal sense, so you'd better read on to find out what it means.

French Word of the Day: génial
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know génial?
 
Génial is a common French word that has nothing to do with the English word genial. You'll hear it all the time in conversation but it's come to be used in a lot more ways than in its literal sense.
 
So what does it mean?
 
Genial literally means 'brilliant' as in 'of genius' (for example: Ce mathématicien est génial — 'This mathematician is a genius'). 
 
But in it's also come to mean a lot more than that. In French conversation, génial can mean 'great', 'awesome' or 'fanstastic' or anything positive in exactly the same way as 'brilliant' has come to be used in English.
 
How do I use it? 
 
Génial is an adjective, so you can use it to qualify any noun you want to describe as génial
 
For example:
 
Ce prof est génial! —  'This teacher is great!'
 
Nous avons passé des vacances géniales. — 'We had an amazing holiday.'
 
But in conversational French, génial can also be used on its own to respond to something or as an exclamation, again, just like 'brilliant' or 'great' is used in English. 
 
Si tu veux, je peux te prêter ma voiture.
Génial!
 
'If you want, you can borrow my car. '
'Great!'
 
or 
 
Génial! La machine à laver remarche!  'Fantastic, the washing machine is working again!'
 
Other uses
 
You might also have heard génial being used with pas in front of it as in C'est pas génial which means 'it's not great'. In fact génial is used in this way almost as often as it is on its own. 
 
For example:
 
Ca va tes parents? 
Pas génial.
 
'How are your parents?
Not great.'
 
or
 
Ce n'etait pas génial de quitter le bar sans payer.
It was pretty bad to leave the bar without paying.
 
 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: Doper

This French word does not have anything to do with one of Snow White’s seven dwarves, even if it might look like it.

French Word of the Day: Doper

Why do I need to know doper?

Because you may not have realised you can use this word in several different contexts.

What does it mean?

Doper roughly pronounced doe-pay – shares the same meaning as the English word “to dope” – in the sense that it means taking or giving a stimulant before a sporting event or competition. 

It doesn’t carry the English sense of ‘to sedate’, however, nor is it used as a nickname for marijuana. 

In French this word is not only used when describing an athlete who has resorted to unfair methods to win. In fact, you will see this word in many other contexts as well because doper also means to stimulate or boost something in a generic sense. 

If you open a business newspaper in France, you might see an article using doper in the headline – perhaps one that discusses how the government plans to stimulate a dying sector of the economy.

If you want a synonym for doper, you can still use the verb stimuler (to stimulate) or dynamiser (to rejuvenate).

And Snow White? In France she is Blanche Comme Neige and the dwarfs are Prof (Doc), Timide (Bashful) Atchoum (Sneezy), Joyeux (Happy), Dormeur (Sleepy), Grincheux (Grumpy) and Simplet (Dopey).

Use it like this

La France dispose d’un plan national pour doper une énergie renouvelable prometteuse : la géothermie. – France has a national plan to boost a promising renewable energy: geothermal.

Les récentes réductions d’impôts et certaines autres mesures prévues sont destinées à doper l’emploi. – The recent tax cuts and other measures planned are intended to boost employment.

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