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French word of the day: Jour J

French word of the day: Jour J
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Wednesday is a 'Jour J' is France, so here's what that means in different contexts.
Why do I need to know Jour J?
 
Jour J has a very specific meaning to describe a certain event in history but it is also used as an expression in everyday conversation. 
 
So, what does it mean?
 
Jour J is the French equivalent of D-Day – the day when Allied forces began the Normandy Landings in 1944, which launched the Western Allied effort to liberate France from Nazi Germany. 
 
However it is also used to describe other important days or key dates in the calendar.
 
Like D-Day in English, Jour J is used figuratively in everyday conversation to refer to a big event, and in both languages the letters ‘J’ or ‘D’ do not stand for anything but are simply taken from the words Jour and Day. 
 
So Wednesday is Jour J for the health passport – the day when the previously announced pass sanitaire scheme comes into force.
 

 
 
 
 
Unlike in English however, the French also use linked military expressions to mean the build up, or days following, an important event. 
 
For example, in French you can describe three days before a big events a J-3, or similarly two days or one day before as J-2 and J-1, respectively. You can do the same for the days following the event, such as J+3, J+2 and J+1. 
 
Use it like this 
 
C’est Jour J pour le pass sanitaire dans les lieux de loisirs et de culture rassemblant plus de 50 personnes – It’s the launch day for the health passport in culture and leisure venues where more than 50 people gather
 
Le Jour J et la bataille de Normandie est une période de l’histoire si intéressante à étudier – D-Day and the battle for Normandy is a very interesting period of history to study
 
Mondial-2019: à J-3, Macron passe ses consignes aux Bleues – World Cup 2019: Three days to go and Macron gives his instructions to the French women’s team
 
 

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