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French word of the Day: Mon copain

French word of the Day: Mon copain
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
For when you're starting to get friendly.

Why do I need to know mon copain?

Because if you spend long enough in France you are going to start getting friendly with people, perhaps very friendly.

What does it mean?

 

Un copain, or une copine in the female version, has two meanings, it can mean either a friend or a lover.

It's a casual term, slightly slangy, but it's certainly not rude.

It can mean a mate, a pal, a chum and is often used by children and young people

Mon copain George et moi sommes allés au zoo – My pal George and I went to the zoo

The female version is la copine

Emily est ma copine parce que nous aimons faire du cheval – Emily is my friend because we both enjoy horse riding

But it has a second meaning which is perhaps more common among adults – although they too use it to mean friend – that of a partner or boyfriend/girlfriend. It is generally used among people who are in a long-term relationship but are not married.

Mon copain et moi avons acheté une maison, mais elle est un peu en ruine et a besoin de beaucoup de travaux – My partner and I have bought a house together but it's a bit of a ruin so it needs a lot of work.

Ma copine aime cuisiner pour moi le vendredi – My girlfriend likes to cook for me on Fridays.

Unfortunately there isn't a grammar rules that explains whether someone's copain is their boyfriend or just a friend, so you will have to rely on context.

Alternatives

There are lots of alternatives for a friend, from the formal ami/amie to the more casual mec or pote while for a girlfriend you could use meuf or nana as an alternative to petite amie.

 

 

 


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