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French expression of the day: T’es malade

Don't worry, this has nothing to do with Covid-19.

French expression of the day: T'es malade

Why do I need to know t'es malade?

Because it's basic French teenager slang that has become widely used.

What does it mean?

T'es malade directly translates as 'you're sick', but it's not a referral to an actual physical illness.

Malade here is more a referral to being 'sick in the head', and t'es malade is similar to saying 'are you mad' or 'are you crazy'.

It's a slang expression. T'es, an abbreviation of tu es, is how you often hear tu es pronounced. It's an inaccurate spelling, but many – especially young people – use it for chatting and text messages.

And, like most French slang expressions, t'es malade originated among young crowds. 

T'es malade or quoi ? – Are you crazy or what? – is not uncommonly heard in lycées (high schools).

It doesn't need to be a question; T'est malade – you're a lunatic – works just as well.

T'es malade is used to explain disbelief, shock or disagreement. If your high school pal says 'let's skip second period and go home to game instead', you could say, t'es malade, ta mère flipperait si elle savait (you're crazy, you're mother would freak out if she knew).

Oddly, it can also be a compliment. Said in awe, il est malade ! can actually signify admiration or acknowledgement. 

It doesn't need to be directed at 'you', anyone can be malade if you just change the conjugation of pronoun and the verb être. Vous êtes des malades ! – You're crazy!

As usual, and a bit unhelpfully, what exactly t'es malade means depends on the context and what tone the person speaking is using. 

Use it like this

J'ai trouvé ce film trop nul. / T'es malade ou quoi, j'adore Ryan Gosling ! – I thought that film sucked. / Are you mad, I love Ryan Gosling! 

Tu vas faire tout ça tout seul ? T'es un gros malade en fait. – Are you going to do all of that by yourself? You're crazy.

T'as vu ce qu'il m'a achèté pour Noël ? Quel malade ! –  Did you see what he bought me for Christmas? What a lunatic!


T'es fou/folle – you're crazy



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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