For members


French expression of the day: On va pas tarder

Whether you're late, delayed or arriving soon, this is a handy and versatile expression that doesn't really have an English equivalent.

French expression of the day: On va pas tarder
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know on va pas tarder?

Because French people use it all the time.

What does it mean?

On va pas tarder is yet another French expression that does not really have an English equivalent.

Tarder is the French verb for 'being late', and literally the expression means 'we will not delay' (which doesn't make sense). It can be translated in English as 'we’ll be there soon', but also 'we won't be late', 'we'll go home soon', 'we'll hurry' and so on.

Although it's a common expression, you won't see it written. 

It’s actually on ne va pas tarder but French usually ditch the ne in conversation (in general, not just for this expression).

On means 'we', but you can swap it for any pronoun, it's just a matter of changing the va to the right version of the verb aller.

READ ALSO: The best 10 expressions for everyday exasperation of life

Use it like this

Les nouvelles mesures sanitaires concernant la Covid ne vont pas tarder à être annoncées par le premier ministre – The new Covid health measures will be announced by the Prime Minister soon.

Je ne vais pas tarder à dîner – I'm going to have dinner in a bit

Mon nouveau livre ne va pas tarder à arriver – My new books is set to arrive soon

Mon patron ne va pas tarder à me proposer une promotion – My boss is going to promote me soon


On arrive bientôt – We’ll be there soon

Je suis bientôt  – I’ll be there shortly


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For members


French Word of the Day: Bordéliser

This French expression is not the kindest, but it will certainly get your point across.

French Word of the Day: Bordéliser

Why do I need to know bordéliser?

Because when things feel chaotic, you might want to use this word.

What does it mean?

Bordéliser roughly pronounced bore-del-ee-zay – comes from the swear word “bordel” which means brothel.

In popular usage, bordel is used to describe a mess or a chaotic environment, and bordéliser turns the bordel into a verb – meaning to make or create disorder, disaster or chaos. 

During periods of unrest in France, you may hear people blame one group for causing the problem by using this expression. Keep in mind that bordéliser is not polite language – the English equivalent might be to “fuck (or screw) something up”.

One popular theory says that the root word bordel comes from medieval French – at the time, sex workers were explicitly not allowed to work near the ports, so they were relegated to wooden huts or small houses – or bordes, in French –  away from the city.

You may also hear another French expression that uses the same root word: “c’est le bordel”. 

This literally translates to “it’s a brothel” but it is used to describe a situation that’s untidy, messy or chaotic, both literally and figuratively as in  ‘what a bloody mess!’ or ‘it’s mayhem!’ or ‘what a disaster!’

Use it like this

Le militant accuse le gouvernement de bordéliser le pays avec sa réforme impopulaire. – The activist accuses the government of “fucking up” the country with its unpopular reform.

Tu as bordélisé l’appartement et notre dynamique de colocation en achetant le singe comme animal de compagnie. Qu’est-ce qui t’a pris ? – You have screwed up the apartment and our roommate dynamic by buying the monkey as a pet. What were you thinking?