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French expression of the day: Tu exagères

Disagreeing with someone in French? Here’s the phrase you will want to use.

French expression of the day: Tu exagères

Why do I need to know tu exagères?

The French love to debate, don’t they? Tu exagères is the perfect expression to slip into a conversation when you are politely disagreeing with someone.

What does it mean?

Its translation is 'you are exaggerating', but it will not have the exact same meaning depending on the context.

Tu exagères can be used when you believe someone is amplifying something, that this person is giving it too much importance. – J’ai beaucoup grossi tu ne trouves pas ? – Oh non tu exagères, juste un peu !

I put on a lot of weight, don’t you think? – Oh no, not that much, just a bit!

It can also be used when someone is bragging about something. – Mon fils est tellement intelligent. Je pense qu’il est surdoué. – Tu exagères un peu non ?

My son is so intelligent. I think he’s gifted. – Aren’t you exaggerating a bit?

You can also use that phrase when someone is going too far, and you are disagreeing with what that person is doing or saying. – Je n’aime vraiment pas notre nouvelle voisine, elle est méchante ! – Tu exagères !

I really don’t like our new neighbor, she’s nasty! – You’re exaggerating!  

As the use of the informal tu suggests, this is an expression best used for friends, family and people you know well. You wouldn’t say tu exagères to your bosses (even if you get along with them) or to your mother-in-law.

Always keep in mind that tu exagères is a phrase you’ll say in a casual situation, when you are not really angry, but just slightly disagreeing. Of course, it all comes down to the way you say it! 



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For members


French Phrase of the Day: Syndrome de la bonne élève

Why being a good pupil can sometimes be … bad.

French Phrase of the Day: Syndrome de la bonne élève

Why do I need to know Syndrome de la bonne élève?

Feeling under-valued at work despite doing everything – and more – asked of you? You may have ‘good student syndrome’.

What does it mean?

Syndrome de la bonne élève – pronounced sin-dromm de la bon ell-evv – translates, as we’ve already hinted, as good student syndrome. 

You may well also see it written as syndrome du bon élève (pronounced sin-dromm doo bon ell-evv) – but this is predominantly a female issue.

It refers to someone in the workplace who tries their hardest to work to the rules, do all the jobs asked of them – and more – and yet is overlooked in favour of co-workers who don’t necessarily put in the same hard graft.

It’s not an official ‘syndrome’, but mental health experts do recognise it in many people – particularly women.

It is a hangover, according to features in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, from school days when girls are considered to be harder workers and less trouble than their boy counterparts.

Marie Claire labelled it a “destructive perfectionism … which affects the mental health of the women they become, while preventing them from embracing positions of responsibility’.’

Use it like this

Le syndrome de la bonne élève touche essentiellement les femmes dans le monde occidental. – Good student syndrome mainly affects women in the Western world.

Cette question d’éducation est d’autant plus marquante que le syndrome du « bon élève » affecte généralement les femmes – This question of education is all the more striking because “good student” syndrome generally affects women