For members


French phrase of the day: Rester en forme

It's just become a little more challenging but it's a highly important thing to do.

French phrase of the day: Rester en forme
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know rester en forme?

It's generally good advice for life, but you will see it around a lot at the moment, along with advice on how to do so in the current circumstances.

What does it mean?

It means stay in shape or stay fit.

And it's topical because France's lockdown means taking physical exercise is difficult, so you will see a profusion of advice on how to stay fit within the confines of your own home.

While Germany has come up with a word specifically to describe the weight you will gain while in confinement (coronaspeck – literally corona fat) in France it's all about staying in shape.


So you will be tripping over articles with titles like Comment rester en forme en période de confinement? – How to stay in shape during lockdown?

Sept exercises pour rester en forme pendant le confinement – Seven exercises to stay fit during lockdown.

It's not only a lockdown phrase of course, and French cities are generally full of people running, cycling or using urban gyms to do just that.

In fact during the heatwave of 2019, Parisians had to be very sternly told by the health minister to stop jogging at midday, as the temperatures topped 40C.

So you might hear people say: Je fais du pilates tous les jours pour rester en forme, et puis je cours le week-end – I do pilates every day to stay fit and I run at the weekends.

The other similar phrase is garder la forme – to stay in shape

Il a la cinquantaine, mais il garde la forme et il est très beau – He's in his 50s but he stays in shape and he's very handsome.
Meanwhile if you're not the sporty type but you want to start, you would use the phrase mettre au sport – to get fit.

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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