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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French expression of the Day: Tant mieux

You may know tant pis, but what about its more positive cousin tant mieux?

French expression of the Day: Tant mieux

Why do I need to know tant mieux?

Sometimes in life there are things you cannot change, but you might still want to express your opinion in a slightly world-weary yet elegant way.

What does it mean?

It's a phrase that is generally translated into English as 'so much the better' or 'all the better' or 'good for you'.

So if you were discussing politics, you might opine Si les parliments nationaux peuvent coopérer au sujet de brexit, tant mieux – If the national parliaments can cooperate on Brexit, so much the better.

Je vais vous expliquer le système tel qu'il est, mais si des améliorations peuvent être apportées, tant mieux – I'm going to explain the system as it is, but if improvements can be made then so much the better.

You can also use it in a more direct way if you're talking to someone.

Tu as négocié un salaire plus élevé? Tant mieux pour toi! You negotiated for a higher salary? Good for you!

It's opposite meaning 'too bad' is tant pis, often translated slightly more bluntly into English as 'tough shit'.

As in  – Vous ne voulez pas remplir les papiers? Tant pis! You don't want to fill out the paperwork? Too bad!

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 

Alternatives

You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).

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