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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French expression of the day: Tendre une perche

Although this might sound like you're about to take part in an athletics event, the phrase has a more straightforward and everyday meaning.

French expression of the day: Tendre une perche

Why do I need to know tendre une perche?

It's a fairly common phrase that will come up in everyday conversation, and in a workplace setting.

What does it mean?

Its literal translation is the rather athletic sounding 'throw a pole' or 'throw a line' but in fact it really means to give someone a chance, offer a helping hand or perhaps throw them a bone.

Laisse-moi lui tendre une perche, elle a vraiment du mal avec sa grammaire française – Let me help her out, she's really struggling with her French grammar.

Je sais qu'il est ennuyeux, mais tu dois lui tendre une perche – I know he's annoying, but you've got to give him a chance.

Permettez-moi simplement de tendre une perche au maire pour qu'il prenne la bonne décision – Allow me to simply offer the mayor a helping hand so that he may make the right decision.

Any other options?

If you want to be a bit more literal in what you are saying, you could use the phrase Donner une chance – to give a chance or Donner un coup de main – to give a helping hand.

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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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