French word of the day: Précisions

French word of the day: Précisions
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
These are an important part of life in France right now.

Why do I need to know précisions?

Because they're a key aspect of daily life and they also don't have quite the same meaning in English.

What does it mean?

It means, as English-speakers would probably guess, a clarification. But whereas in English precision is a quality, in French une précision can be a noun.

Précisions are particularly important right now, but are a regular feature of life in France around rules or regulations.

The lockdown announcements in France have generally followed the same pattern – someone, usually the president, makes an announcement about the broad framework of the new rules and then a couple of days later ministers and/or the prime minister offer fuller details. And it's these more detailed briefings or statements that are known as précisions.

For example 

Macron a annoncé que les magasins pourraient rouvrir, mais nous attendons une précision du premier ministre demain – Macron announced that shops could be able to reopen, but we're expecting fuller details from the prime minister tomorrow. 

Or, as in the headline below 'What to remember about the government's clarifications after Emmanuel Macron's speech'


Because it sounds so similar to the English word and has more-or-less the same meaning, don't be surprised if French people speaking English ask you 'Have you read the precisions on exercise?'

In fact after a while you'll probably start adopting it yourself.

READ ALSO The 9 'English' phrases that will only make sense if you live in France

Précision can also be used in the same way as the English word precision.

La restauration d'images historiques exige une grande précision et une grande dextérité – the restoration of historic pictures requires great precision and dexterity.


Une clarification – a clarification

Une mise au point – an update



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