French Word of the Day: or

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

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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