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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French expression of the day: Je m’en fiche

If you're looking for one of the more polite versions to say that you don't give a flying fig, this is the one.

French expression of the day: Je m'en fiche
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know je m'en fiche?

Because it's useful.

What does it mean?

Je m'en fiche is one of the many French ways to say 'I don't care'.

It's not vulgar like its sister expression je m'en fous, just a little colloquial.

It's a great one to use for everyday drama, if say your partner didn't do the laundry like they said they would because they had “too much to do”, and you don't think that's a valid excuse because you know someone was using the Netflix account earlier.

While throwing your hands up in exasperation, you may exclaim: 

Je m'en fiche ! Tu m'avais promis que tu allais le faire ! – I don't give a flying fig! You promised you would do it!

However, it can also mean 'I don't mind', which can be slightly confusing.

If your boss asks you whether you prefer to work from home or come into office next week and you say Je m'en fiche, you're not being impolite, you're just saying, 'I'm easy'.

So the meaning of the expression changes depending on the context and – crucially – your tone. 

Examples

Tu préfères des pâtes ou du riz avec les légumes ce soir ? Je m'en fiche, les deux me vont. – Do you prefer pasta or rice with the veggies tonight? I don't mind, both work for me.

Il avait vraiment l'air de se ficher complètement que c'était notre anniversaire de couple ! – He seemed like he couldn't care less that it was our couple anniversary!

Bon, ce n'est pas très grave. On s'en fiche. – Well, it's not that big of a deal. It's irrelevant.

Synonyms

Je m'en fous – I don't care (extremely colloquial)

Ca m'est égal – I don't mind

Je m'en moque – I don't mind (colloquial)

Je m'en tape – I don't mind (more colloquial)

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Surprisingly, this phrase has nothing to do with beekeeping.

French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Why do I need to know faire son miel?

Because you might want to describe how you were able to buy a new wardrobe after the airline lost your luggage.

What does it mean?

Faire son miel – usually pronounced fair soan mee-ell – literally means to make your honey, or to make your own honey. In practice, this phrase actually means to take advantage of a situation, usually by turning a profit or to get the most out of a situation. 

The phrase comes from the idea that bees are actually profiteers: they take advantage of flowers in order to make honey. In the 16th century, this phrase was first put into use, and it followed the idea that bees fly up to the innocent flowers and steal their nectar and pollen for their own purposes. People began to use this as a way to describe people who take advantage of others or particular situations for their own benefit, or those who take things that do not belong to them.

Though the phrase is tied to the idea of turning a situation around for your own benefit, it is does not necessarily have a negative connotation. It can be used both for physical profit, or intellectual. It is somewhat similar to the English phrase of ‘making lemonade from lemons’ – taking a bad situation and making something good out of it.

In fact, French actually has another phrase that is quite similar to this one: faire son beurre, which is potentially even older than faire son miel

Use it like this

La compagnie aérienne a perdu nos sacs, avec tous nos vêtements dedans. Nous avons pu faire notre miel de la situation et acheter un nouvel ensemble de meilleurs vêtements avec l’argent de la compagnie aérienne! – The airline lost our bags, with all our clothes inside. We were able to take advantage of the situation by buying a whole new wardrobe on their dime!

Les oiseaux font leur miel de tous les nouveaux arbres plantés dans la ville. Ils profitent de ce nouvel espace pour faire leurs nids. – The birds are taking advantage of all the new trees being planted across the city. They are enjoying the new space to build their nests.

Le politicien a fait son miel des fonds supplémentaires et en a utilisé une partie pour son propre projet de construction. Ils pourraient le mettre en procès pour corruption. – The politician took advantage of the extra public funds for his own construction project. They might put him on trial for corruption. 

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