French Word of the Day: bon gré, mal gré

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French Word of the Day: bon gré, mal gré

Convey a sense of inevitability with flair thanks to today's expression of the day.


Do you need someone to just get on with something already? Read on for the perfect phrase to give them a kick up the butt.

Why do I need to know bon gré, mal gré?

Sometimes in life, some things just need to be done. Bon gré, mal gré is a great way of conveying inevitability. 

So, what does it mean?

The expression bon gré, mal gré means "like it or not", "willingly or not" or "willy-nilly". 

For example, if you've got a misbehaving child, you might say: Tu dois ranger ta chambre, bon gré mal gré ! - "You have to clean your room, whether you like it or not!"

And if they aren't eating their greens, you could quip: Tu vas manger tes légumes, bon gré mal gré! - "You'll eat your vegetables, whether you like it or not!"

Or, with the meaning "willy-nilly": Je me suis mariée bon gré mal gré et j'ai eu des enfants. - "I willy-nilly got married and had children."

The phrase can either be used when giving orders or simply describing something that's already happened. 

Did you know?

There's a whole bunch of French phrases that use the "gré" part of bon gré, mal gré

A son gré means "to one's liking", de bon gré or de plein gré is "willingly" and de gré à gré is "by mutual agreement". 

For more French phrases, check out our word of the day section.


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