French Word of the Day: or

So many meanings, so little time. Do you know all the ways the word 'or' can be used in French?

French Word of the Day: or
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Why do I need to know or?

Or might be a short word but it encompasses a whole variety of meanings – many of which you're likely to hear on a daily basis in France. 

One thing's for sure, it doesn't mean the same thing it does in English. 

So, what does it mean?

Firstly, the noun or means gold. 

So you could say, Le cours de l'or est très haut actuellement. – 'The price of gold is very high at the moment.' 

It can also be used as an adjective without any changes to its spelling. 

For example, Le silence est d'or. – 'Silence is golden.'

However it can also be used in place for several conjunctions in English, such as but, yet and well and now. 

So, you could say: Il voulait que je lui raconte tout. Or, je ne savais rien. – He wanted me to tell him everything, but I knew nothing.
Or you could say, S'il lui était arrivé quelque chose, il m'aurait appelé. Or, il ne l'a pas fait. Donc, ça veut dire que rien ne lui est arrivé. – If something had happened to him, he would have called me. Well, he hasn't called, so that means nothing has happened to him.
Another way of using or would be: Il était sûr de gagner, or il a perdu. — 'He was sure he would win, and yet he lost.'

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French Expression of the Day: Chanter faux

This is definitely not lip synching.

French Expression of the Day: Chanter faux

Why do I need to know Chanter faux ?

Because if you were not blessed with a beautiful singing voice, then this might be a good phrase to know. 

What does it mean?

Chanter faux – pronounced shahn-tay foe – literally means to ‘fake sing.’ You might assume this expression would mean ‘lip sync’ in French, but its true meaning is to sing out of tune. (Lip synching is chanter en playback).

It joins a chorus of other French expressions about bad singing, like chanter comme une casserole (to sing like a saucepan) or chanter comme une seringue (to sing like a siren).  

Chanter faux is actually the most correct way to describe someone being off key, so it might be a better option than comparing another’s voice to a cooking utensil. 

You might have seen this expression pop up recently amid the drought, as people call for rain dances and rain singing (where there is no shame in singing badly).

Use it like this

Pendant l’audition pour la pièce, Sarah a chanté faux. Malheureusement, elle n’a pas obtenu le rôle. – During her audition for the play, Sarah sang out of tune. Sadly, she did not get a role.

Si on fait un karaoké, tu verras comme je chante mal. Je chante vraiment faux, mais je m’en fiche. Il s’agit de s’amuser. – If we do karaoke you will see how badly I sing. I am really out of tune, but I don’t care. It’s all about having fun.